First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
A breezy, blustery day on the North Cornwall coast, and a Sunday morning hush over Padstow. A herring gull with a crab claw in its beak stood on the harbour wall, observing me with pale, unfriendly eyes. Up on the coast path to Stepper Point the westerly wind pushed and smacked, shoving roughly, tossing the yellow heads of alexanders vigorously enough to make a hiss that almost drowned the sulky roar of the incoming tide in the mouth of the Camel Estuary.
There was salt on my tongue, and a fish-belly glint of dull silver on the sea. It was fantastically exhilarating walking in such a wind, like fighting a boisterous but essentially friendly troll.
Up on Stepper Point the old daymark tower whistled quietly to itself. Here, stories said, the women of Padstow had paraded in their red cloaks to frighten off the French. What a sight they’d have made on a morning like this, billowing scarlet before the gale sailed them all away over the estuary. Picturing that, I leaned on the wind and plodded west down the black line of the coast, looking ahead along many miles of foam-battered cliff. The rabbit-nibbled turf was spattered with thousands of pale blue stars, the petals of late-flowering spring squill. Grassy knolls over the sea shook white bells of sea campion, and in a sheltered hollow, unbelievably, I found a bank of primroses still in bloom.
Skirting an enormous blowhole in the cliffs near Trevone, I pushed on to Harlyn, where the thought of breakfast suddenly occurred. Well, brunch, then – a cheeseburger with relish and mustard from the ‘Food for Thought’ kiosk overlooking Harlyn Bay. Completely delicious, but just what the doctor wouldn’t have ordered. ‘You say that,’ observed the lady of the van, ‘but we have a doctor who’s a regular customer – and he tells his patients to eat here too!’
I was tired of fighting the wind, and just as well; I had it at my back now. I sauntered like a man in no sort of hurry past sleepy Trevone, through a hamlet too small to have a name, and on among the clucking bantams and stolidly chewing lambs of Trethillick. The wind dropped to a sigh in the hedges, and the sun came striding through the clouds to bathe Padstow and the estuary in pure gold.
Start & finish: Padstow TIC, Red Brick Building, North Quay, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8AF (OS ref SW 920755)
Bus (http://www.carlberry.co.uk/rfnlistr.asp?L1=PAD001&op=D) 397 from Truro; 555 from Bodmin Parkway; 556 from Newquay; 557 from St Columb Major.
Road: A30, A39; B3274
Walk (9 miles, moderate, OS Explorer 106): Pass Shipwright’s Arms; up path (‘Coast Path, Hawker’s Cove’); follow Coast Path arrows/acorns for 6 3/4miles to Harlyn, and nearly back to Trevone. At kissing gate (887757 – marked ‘Playing Field’on Explorer map), right (footpath sign) up field edge. Dogleg left/right; left along upper field edge to road (893755); left to road in Trevone. Left for 50 yards; right at left bend (fingerpost) by Hursley house; through gateway, across 2 fields. In 3rd field, left across stream; on past buildings, over stile at bend of lane; on across fields to lane (905758); right to Trevillick. Right, then left; over stile; cross 2 fields to road (910757). Right to Padstow.
NB – Online map, more walks: www.christophersomerville.co.uk
Lunch: ‘Food for Thought’ kiosk, Harlyn; or Harlyn Inn (01841-520207; www.harlyn-inn.co.uk)
More info: Padstow TIC (01841-533449); www.visitcornwall.com
Coast Along for WaterAid: Sponsored walks day, 11 September (info 01225-526149; www.coastalongforwateraid.org): one of the walks is around Trevone!