If Fowey is the gateway to River Fowey Valley, then halfway up the estuary and hidden away up its own stunning creek, Lerryn is its gem. We should know - we live here and we wouldn't swap it for anywhere else in Cornwall! On the Fowey Estuary Walk, we also often use Lerryn as a base for those arriving or departing in Mid Cornwall for other coast walks. It’s not well known and is therefore unspoilt by mass tourism, and as a decompression chamber either when arriving from or departing to the hectic modern city, it is perfect.
Pronounced "Ler-in" the name is Cornish for 'waters' and it is the constant coming and going of the tidal river that gives the village its appeal and its ever-changing scenery. Nestling at the head of the creek at the tidal limit, the village is surrounded by miles of wild, dense woodland and forest downstream, with farmland and meadow upstream above its medieval bridge.
Well hidden from the usual tourist trail, the stunning village spreads itself around both banks of the Lerryn Creek with a central village green beside the waterside which commands views downriver to seemingly endless and uninterrupted forest and creek, inspiration to writers, artists and all who visit. Kenneth Graham based 'The Wind in the Willows' and the tales of Ratty and Mole on the riverbanks here, overshadowed by Ethy Manor (Toad Hall) high on the hillside above the village. Years later, "simply messing about in boats" is still a big part of the village life with the ebb and flow of the tide seeing plenty of lazy rowing, leisurely canoeing and the chugging up and down the estuary by locals travelling off downriver to Fowey by boat. Gentle canoe expeditions run by Encounter Cornwall operate every day here in the summer, on this unique stretch of water they are not to be missed and can be built into your walking holiday.
The river has been bridged here for over 700 years and the current tiny arched stone bridge has survived since 1573. The view straight through the village and onto the forest clad creek beyond is a stunning introduction to a village that really can't be matched in Cornwall for its peace, tranquillity and beauty. Linking both sides of the river at low tide is a span of stepping stones, which disappear into the waters as the high tide comes flowing in. Wildlife includes a healthy population of ducks, geese and swans in the village with deer, heron, kingfisher, egrets and buzzard as you head into the woods and away from habitation. Hidden in the woods below the river are miles of superb walking alongside uninhabited creeks and inlets that reveal superb panoramas of the estuary and the wildlife.
There are former mills, Victorian standing stones and even the overgrown remains of a former ornate garden where a crumbling fountain, plinths and monkey puzzle trees can still be spotted merging into undergrowth now overtaken by natural woodland. Centre spot of the village is the welcoming Ship Inn, a haven for thirsty and hungry visitors, you can enjoy a beer in its lively locals bar, relax in the sunny beer garden or, if you want the full vista, take your drink down onto the riverside to watch the sunset over the creek. The Lerryn Village Shop meanwhile provides a range of hot drinks, ice creams and food on the village green, the perfect spot to relax after a day’s activity in the River Valley.