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A Waterside Walk by the Fal Estuary

From Mylor Churchtown to Flushing in a quiet peninsula world still dominated by ships and sails.

Distance 4 miles (6.4km)

Minimum time 3hrs

Ascent/gradient 164ft (50m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Good paths throughout. Wooded section to Trelew Farm is often very wet, 7 stiles

Landscape Wooded peninsula flanked by river estuaries and creeks

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 105 Falmouth & Mevagissey

Start/finish SW 820352

Dog friendliness Dogs on lead through grazed areas.

Parking Mylor Churchtown car park

Public toilets Mylor Churchtown and Flushing

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© AA Media Limited 2015. © Crown Copyright Licence number 100021153

1 From the car park entrance at Mylor Churchtown, turn right to the start of a surfaced walkway, signposted to Flushing. Follow the walkway, then, by the gateway of a house, bear left along a path signposted to Flushing. Pass in front of Restronguet Sailing Club, go up some steps and turn left along the coast path.

2 Follow the path round Penarrow Point and continue round Trefusis Point. Reach a gate and granite grid stile by a wooden shack at Kilnquay Wood. Continue to a lane.

3 Follow the surfaced lane round left, then go right through a gap beside a gate and continue along a public road. Where the road drops down towards the water's edge, bear right up a surfaced slope to reach the delightful grassy area of the 'Bowling Green'. (Strictly no dog fouling please.) Continue past a little pavilion and toilets and go down a surfaced walkway, then turn left by a junction and signpost into Flushing.

4 Turn right at a street junction and go along Trefusis Road past the Seven Stars Inn. At a junction by the Royal Standard Inn, keep right past the Post Office and go up Kersey Road. At the top of the road, by Orchard Vale, go left up steps, signposted 'Mylor Church'. Cross a stile and keep to the field edge to reach an isolated house and to a stile made of granite bollards.

5 In a few paces go right through a gate then turn left over a cattle grid and follow the drive to a public road, Penarrow Road. Cross with care, and go down the road opposite for 30yds (27m), then go right down steps and on down the field edge. Keep straight ahead where the field edge bends left, and enter shady woods.

6 Enter the woodland and keep right at a junction to follow a rocky path that is often a mini stream after heavy rainfall. Go through a gate, keep left at a junction then cross a proper stream. Go through a tiny gate and turn right down a farm track to reach a surfaced lane at Trelew.

7 Turn right along the lane, passing an old water pump. When you get to a slipway, keep ahead along the unsurfaced Wayfield Road. Continue along between granite posts and on to join the public road into Mylor Churchtown. Cross the road with care (this is a blind corner) and go through the churchyard of St Mylor Church (please note, the path through the churchyard is not a public right of way). Turn right when you reach the waterfront to find the car park.

The inner estuary of the River Fal, the Carrick Roads, is reputedly the third largest natural harbour in the world. It has welcomed all manner of vessels, from Tudor warships to fishing fleets, to modern cargo vessels and oil rigs and a growing number of yachts. Part of the long maritime heritage of the Fal belongs to the Post Office Packet Service that was responsible for communications throughout the British Empire. The Packet Service was based in the Fal from 1689 to 1850. It was a glorious and freebooting period of British seafaring. Fast Packet vessels ran south to Spain and Portugal and then on to the Americas. The Packet sailors were notorious for their opportunism and many a Packet ship returned from a trip with more than half its cargo as contraband goods. The main Packet base was at Falmouth, but Mylor was a servicing and victualling yard for the Packet boats and many of the Packet captains lived at Flushing in what was effectively maritime suburbia.

At Mylor today, maritime traditions are as strong as ever, as far as leisure sailing goes. Boatyards still bustle with work and local sailing clubs thrive. A gold medal winner in sailing at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, Ben Ainslie, learned many of his skills as a Laser dinghy sailor in these waters and today every creek and inlet of the Fal is dense with sailing and leisure craft. Modern Flushing is an exquisitely peaceful backwater, within shouting distance of bustling Falmouth, but with the river between.

The walk takes you from Mylor along the shores of the blunt headland between Mylor Creek and the Penryn River and on to Flushing, in full view of Falmouth docks and waterfront. Flushing is a charming enclave of handsome houses, many with distinctly Dutch features. At Point d on the walk, note the plaque opposite, commemorating the Post Office Packet service. From Flushing you turn inland and on to a delightful old track that runs down a wooded valley to the tree-shrouded waters of Mylor Creek from where quiet lanes lead back to St Mylor Church. Here in a churchyard that resonates with maritime history, stands the Ganges Memorial, a commemoration of 53 youngsters who died, mainly of disease, on the famous Royal Naval training ship HMS Ganges that was based at Mylor from 1866 to 1899.

Where to eat and drink

Half-way through the route, at Flushing, there are two good pubs, the Seven Stars Inn and the Royal Standard Inn. At Mylor Bridge there is a restaurant on the waterfront, the HMS Ganges Restaurant.

While you're there

Visit the Parish Church of St Mylor and the HMS Ganges Memorial in the churchyard. The church has a gnomic tower and a campanile, a separate tower, houses the church bells. The Ganges was a famous Victorian training ship that moved to Harwich in 1899 and became a shore establishment in 1905. The original Ganges was a three-masted sailing gunship, built in Bombay and the last of its kind to sail round Cape Horn.

What to look for

The wooded sections of the walk are composed mainly of deciduous trees. Unlike conifer woods, these diverse environments support numerous flowering plants amidst their damp, tangled, humus-rich undergrowth. Look for the pink and red flowers of herb robert and campion and the starry white blooms of greater stitchwort. This latter plant was believed to have curative properties in earlier times; it was ground into a paste and applied to boils and sores. Children in Cornwall were once warned not to touch stitchwort at night or they would become 'pixie-led' and lost in the woods.

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