Perhaps I should mention first of all that the romance is all Daphne Du Maurier’s.
I snipped this walk out of The Observer (I think it was) decades ago and at last I have had the chance to actually step it out for myself! I stayed at a B&B for five nights in Cornwall in the village of Tywardreath (pronounced “towerdreth”). Almost all my daytime hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent at Port Eliot Festival but on Thursday I was not required until the afternoon so decided to do the walk that morning.
I took the bus to Fowey and arrived back at Par Station to take the train to St Germans, which is where Port Eliot House and the festival are located, at about 1pm. Unfortunately the day started with rain but I was glad I’d set out and the weather improved as the day progressed. I’ve added my photos to some of Christopher Somerville’s text and instructions.
Bodinnick Car Ferry leaving Bodinnick for Fowey
MS Prinsendam Cruise Liner in the Fowey Estuary
From car park (I took the bus from Par Station) descend steps into town. Bear left along Fore Streetand on to Bodinnick ferry. Cross to Bodinnick;
The Old Ferry Inn Sign near the Ferry
go up the street past St John’s Chapel.
St John’s Church, Bodinnick
The little stone chapel stood back modestly from the village street, its dark interior cool as an icebox. The building had been a stable until its conversion in 1948. In the chapel’s early days, its furnishings were primitive – worshippers were obliged to carry their own chairs down the lane to evensong.
Go right above Old School House (sign “Hall Walk – Polruan 4 miles”); follow Hall Walk above Pont Pill [the muddy creek curls down between wooded hill slopes to join the River Fowey … Hall Walk follows the northern rim of the creek a couple of 100 feet above the water] for one mile.
A Glimpse of Fowey from Hall Walk
Boats Bobbing in the Fowey Estuary
With the rain coming down luckily most of Hall Walk was covered over by trees with occasional glimpses of the creek below and now and again a viewpoint opened up to reveal the boats bobbing in Fowey harbour and estuary.
Cornwall’s grand monument to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a tall granite monolith, faced another stunning view of Fowey, where the great Cornish-born man of letters lived for more than 50 years. Back in 1900, “Q” – as he was known – had edited his classic edition of the Oxford Book of English Verse. … “Courteous in manner,” the monument’s inscription eulogised, “charitable in judgment, chivalrous in action, he manifested in life as in literature the dignity of manhood, the sanctity of home and the sovereignty of God.”
Cornish Stone Stile
When nearly opposite church tower, cross stile; follow wood edge for 150 yards; right across Cornish stone stile; down through woods following “Polruan” signs and over Pont Pill.
Pont Pill with National Trust Holiday Cottages clustered around
Pass Pont Creek Farmhouse; up the path through trees to road. Left for 10 yards; right through gate (sign “Footpath to church”) to St Willow’s church.
St Willows Church Lanteglos
Here, after a boat ride up the creek, Daphne Du Maurier was married under the simple and beautiful wagon roof and the wide granite arches in 1932. St Willows also features as Lanoc Church in her first novel “The Loving Spirit”.
The Wagon Roof, St Willows Church, Lanteglos-by-Fowey
Close-up of Pew Ends
Left opposite Churchtown Farm to road. Right for 150 yards [now a field path that avoids walking on the road]; left (fingerpost “To the Coast Path” to cliffs. Right on coast path for one-and-a-half miles to road in Polruan.
Looking back to the church, Hall Walk woods and Fowey
The coast path walk is part of the national trail – The Southwest Coast Path. The rain had stopped by this point but the skies were still overcast.
Lantic Bay from the Coast Path
View from Coast Path near Polruan
Left down School Lane; right at bottom to road; left to Fowey Ferry. Cross to Fowey; climb to the Esplanade; turn right into town. I then had a stiff walk uphill to the bus stop with only seconds to spare. Luckily for me the bus was a few minutes late arriving but I still managed the train with time to spare.
The Polruan Foot Passenger Ferry Approaches
Map Showing Places Mentioned
How wonderful, Barbara. Thank you for taking me along on your walk even though I’m sitting in Melbourne on a very windy morning. It makes me want to read some DDM!
Thank you, Lyn. There will be more DDM to come soon I hope. So don’t get blown away!
This is all very Salcombe-ish isn’t it? Mrs. B. had all the DDM novels, and Mary Stewart, so I spent the summer making my way through her collection. Good fun. I remember one where people traveled in time, but their physical bodies were still in the present. I believe an unfortunate incident with a train was involved. Now I want to do this walk too.
Oh it’s very Salcombe-ish indeed!! I thought about Devon all the time – Dart estuary/Salcombe. I’ve only read Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel then Jamaica Inn and came unstuck – not very into historical.
Extremely Salcombe-ish! I thought of you and your love for Poldark and Mary Stewart. I don’t know MS books at all. You’d love this walk and Fowey in general if you could get here.
Every year we say, “We must go down to Cornwall!” as we’ve only ever made the briefest of visits, ages ago, over the border from Devon – but we never do. It looks as if we are missing something very special.
Well, I must say we love Devon very much. I was in Cotehele once – just over the Tamar from Devon and spent a week in Penzance but found the weather to be rubbish even in June. On this occasion it rained twice locally. The festival was magic though and we had good weather there throughout.
We did the same walk, prompted by the same article (it was from the Saturday Telegraph by the way) ☺…..that little area around Fowey oozes literary connection. In the week we were there we visited all the Du Maurier locations we could. Paid tribute to Q, walked around the Pont Pill where Leo Walmsley lived. Then we walked upstream to Golant and the mill by the river where Denys Val Baker once resided.
Definitely a book lovers destination.
Hello, Rod. Well fancy that! Thank you for the nod on the Telegraph – do you have a note of the date?? Must quite a couple of decades ago I should think. Now I need to go back to check the other places. I will post next about DDM connections which I came across.
We have racked our brains about the date, we are awful at keeping track of things like this. We can nail it down to between 15 to 20 years ago…not that definite, sorry.
Thank you, Rod. Never mind. It was a good walk and happy to know you enjoyed it too. The descriptions were all pretty accurate despite the time lapse.
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