The Godolphin estate also extends into the woodland and the area surrounding the River Hayle. Yes that same river which often features in my Hayle harbour posts. It’s not a very big river by all means, in fact one might say it is just a narrow, but fast flowing stream and is only 12 miles long. We’re not particularly big on rivers in Cornwall. But the area surrounding it is a site of Special Scientific Interest because of its rare bryophites (liverworts and mosses) that thrive on copper-rich old mining sites. There are a couple of easy walks from here, this one follows the river beginning and ending with a wooden troll bridge (sadly no trolls).
It is supposedly an ‘easy’ walk, but tackling it at the end of February after weeks of consistent rain may not have been our wisest idea. Best to save this one for the summer months when it is a great place to spot birds and wild flowers and have a picnic. Of course we could have simply walked back the way we had come, or even along the bridle path on the opposite side of the river, but no, I spotted a circular route that led directly back to the NT car park. Which involved a hill. And a lane. A very churned up muddy lane. Did I mention I was just wearing a pair of flat shoes?
We walked down to the river along the road from the NT car park after a visit into the garden. There is in fact a car park right next to the river, but I am sure the extra steps did us good. The walk alongside this short section of the river wasn’t too bad, a few muddy patches, but easily skipped over. This is an old tin-streaming area where workers once sifted through the sediment to search for tin ore. On reaching the second troll bridge the path leads to a step stile and onto the road, but it was so muddy here that we were in danger of slipping into the river itself, so we opted to cross the wooden bridge and turn left over the simple arched granite bridge then right onto a smaller road.
After another 50 yards we turned left through a gate and up the left hand side of a field, though it wasn’t clearly marked. This path comes to another gate and a track where you can turn right to continue climbing up Godolphin hill, or left as we did to return to the NT car park.
(This is not an easy walk as you are walking uphill towards the track, the easy route (flat) would be to walk back along the bridle path on the opposite side of the stretch of river, crossing over the first troll bridge to get back to the lane.)
But the views across the valley were worth it. Fields of Cornish daffodils in neat rows on the opposite hillside waiting to be picked for the markets.
Unfortunately the track deteriorated the further along we progressed with deep, muddy patches and puddles covering the width of the lane, churned up by tractor tyres. The kind of sticky mud that sucks your shoes off and slurps around your ankles. At one point I was tempted to take off my shoes and just walk barefoot as I squelched along. But at that point we either continued or returned the way we had come – neither choice was enticing, but we had to decide what to do. In the end we continued, slipping and sliding all the way back to the car.
Next time we do this walk we will wear wellies, or wait until there has been a week of dry weather at least!