Cornwall Walk Of The Month: Hall Walk

From Fowey to Polruan

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Hayley Bisofsky Pope
Cornwall dweller, lifestyle blogger and founder of The Little Naturalists Club
3 June 2022

Hall walk runs from Bodinnick to Penleath Point and was given to the National Trust by the Shackerly family as a joint memorial to Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and the men of the local area that had sadly perished during the Second World War.

Beautiful viewing points

Sir Arthur was noted for his compilation of The Oxford Book of English Verse and was a Cornish poet, novelist and anthologist who lived in Fowey from 1891-1944. Under his pseudonym ‘Q” he wrote Dead Man’s Rock in 1887 which was one of several novels about Cornwall and the sea.

The walk provides ample opportunity to admire the views that inspired him to write so passionately about Cornwall. The walk is peppered with benches that look out over Fowey and, it also takes you through woodland that provides shade and shelter on sunny or windy days.

Travelling by ferry

The ground can be a little uneven and is quite steep in places so may not be suitable for those with mobility issues and during particularly wet periods I would advise some substantial foot attire (walking boots) as it can get rather slodgy and slippery underfoot.

The walk also has the novelty factor of two ferry crossings which break up it up a little and provide a memorable talking point for those visiting the area. The full walk is a circular 4 miles (6.5km) and can be started at either Fowey, Bodinnick or Polruan, all of which have car parking facilities.

Steeped in history

We started our walk by parking in the Caffa Mill car park in Fowey and caught the Bodinnick Ferry across to Bodinnick. We walked up the slipway past the Old Ferry Inn and saw the sign for “Hall walk” pointing towards a narrow path part-way up the hill on the right.

The footpath that leads from Bodinnick to Penleath Point dates back as far as the 16th century and was created by the Mohun family of nearby Hall. It’s an early example of an ornamental promenade that was later famed as the place where King Charles I was nearly shot at the height of the English Civil war in 1644.

Paying respects

In Tudor times it was known for its substantial borders that were full of “sweet scenting flowers” and the ground had been levelled for playing bowles. Sadly the area was decimated in the war but the remains of a summerhouse are still visible.

There are a few memorials along the path which provide a moment to pause and reflect upon the areas history. As you follow the path along the creek you will walk through some holly trees that were planted near the house to offer protection from witchcraft and lightening strikes. European mythology associated holly with the thunder gods Thor and Taranis, but we now know that there is some scientific basis for this belief as the distinct shape of the holly leaf acts as mini lightening conductors, thereby protecting the tree and nearby houses and objects.

Time for a picnic

You will soon see some buildings and a bridge letting you know that you have reached the tiny hamlet of Pont, the perfect place for a picnic – we were overjoyed to see a heron, kingfisher and weasel during our pitstop. It was once a busy quay where barges would unload coal and limestone.

Lime kilns were built on either side of the creek in the early 19th century and the farmhouse was once an inn frequented by the crews. Upon crossing the bridge you will see signs for Polruan.

An old row boat

As you follow the path uphill and through a series of fields you will see a gap in the hedgerow with a gate that leads into woodland. Enter through the gate and stick to the lower path which you will stay on all the way to Polruan where you can catch the ferry across to Fowey.

For most of the time that the ferry has been running the ferry itself was a rowing boat. If you wanted a cheap ride you could save your return fare by doing the rowing yourself! In the summer months you will arrive at Whitehouse Pier and in the winter months at Fowey Town Quay. From both points you will need to turn right and walk along Fore Street back to Caffa Mill where our walk started.