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Walk - Mullion & Poldhu

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Route Description

  1. Coming out of the main village car park in Mullion, turn right on the main road, crossing it to go into the playing field opposite. At the end of the field turn right onto the lane, carrying on ahead at Laflouder Fields. Cross the next road to continue along the footpath between the hedge and the garage, coming out on Laflouder Lane. Turn left here, turning left again immediately to walk along the next path, which bears right and then left. Carry on ahead past the track into the field on your right, staying with the lane as it returns to the road at Laflouder Fields. Turn right and walk to St Mellans Terrace, turning left here to walk to Nansmellyon Road.
  2. On the main road turn right and cross over to walk past both the cricket ground and Glenmoor Lane. Take the footpath to the left of the bungalow after the postbox and cross the field to the corner diagonally opposite, coming out on a small road.

This road is known as Ghost Hill, and the nearby copper mine, Wheal Unity, was sometimes known as Ghost Croft, after sightings of will-o'-the-wisps gave rise to tales of spooks and spectres. Wheal Unity was first mentioned in 1741 and it was the only significant mining venture on the Lizard. In the nineteenth century it produced a record-breaking slab of native copper, 30 feet long and 3 tons in weight, which was displayed in London's Great Exhibition in 1851.

  1. Turn left on Ghost Hill and turn onto the footpath on your right a moment later. Follow this path across two fields, going into the left-hand field beyond and walking along the left-hand hedge of this field to the lane.
  2. Turn right on the lane and walk to Nansmellyon Road, turning left to drop gently downhill to Mullion Cove.

Mullion Island is formed of lava which erupted on an ancient seabed about 350 million years ago. It is the most important site on the Lizard for nesting birds: look out for cormorants, shags, kittiwakes and black-backed gulls.

Mullion harbour was built in 1893-5, in two stages: first the west wall and then the south pier. The cost was met by Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock, who built it to make life easier for the local fishermen, after they had been hit by several disastrous pilchard seasons. The shoals dried up almost entirely early in the twentieth century, and local men had to find other ways of making a living. These included transporting cartloads of seaweed inland to fertilise the fields, as well as the odd spot of smuggling. Nowadays the catch is almost entirely crabs and lobsters, but the remnants of Mullion's heyday as a fishing cove have been preserved around the harbour by the National Trust.

Between 1867 and 1909 the cove had its own lifeboat station, after 69 lives were lost in nine shipwrecks during a six-year period, along just 1½ miles of coastline.

  1. Pick up the South West Coast Path, heading up a flight of steps beside the Cellar House apartments towards Polurrian. Follow the Coast Path steeply uphill above the harbour, coming out at the top in the Mullion Cove Hotel car park. In the far left-hand corner the Coast Path continues through the National Trust land at Polurrian Cliff. Bear left along the stony path when a footpath leaves to the right and ignore the next tiny path on your left. The Coast Path continues behind the houses and then comes to another small path to the left and a road to the right. Carry on ahead, along the Coast Path, passing under a footbridge and then forking left to drop steeply to Polurrian Cove, crossing the stream on another footbridge.

Polurrian marks the western end of a major boundary running through Mullion and across to Porthallow on the eastern side of the peninsula. This is where Cornwall stops, geologically, and the Lizard begins, the slate of the former giving way here to the hornblende schist of the latter.

  1. For a shortcut turn right on the bridleway after the stream at Polurrian Cove, turning right again on Laflouder Lane and carrying on ahead to rejoin the longer walk at 9. For the longer walk, carry on ahead across the National Trust land at Mere's Cliff, following the Coast Path's acorn waymarkers along Angrouse Cliff past the Marconi monument, rounding Mên-y-grib Point and Poldhu Point to walk above Poldhu Cove.

'An grouse' is Cornish for 'The Cross' and it was the meeting place for local Methodists from 1758 until 1762. It is thought that there was a stone cross here in medieval times, although there is no trace of it today.

  1. Coming out onto the tarmac lane on the right, detour left to visit the beach at Poldhu Cove, but otherwise turn right, towards the Marconi Centre.

Erected here in October 1900 to avoid publicity in the early stages, the Poldhu Wireless Station (just a short distance from the Marconi Monument) had by 1901 transmitted messages more than 200 miles to ships at sea. In December of that year, the first-ever transatlantic wireless telegraphy signal was sent from here to Newfoundland, 1800 miles away, where Guglielmo Marconi was able to receive the message on his yacht in the South Atlantic.

Leaving the Marconi Centre, carry on along the path uphill towards Mullion village, until you come to Angrouse Farmhouse.

  1. Take the small footpath to the right beyond Angrouse, noting the plaque behind the right-hand gatepost and follow the waymarked path through the fields.

This field is known as Parc Venton (Cornish for 'Spring Field'). John Wesley, father of the Methodist movement, preached here in September 1752.

  1. Going ahead along the lane at the end of the second field, fork right and then left onto Laflouder Lane. Turn left here and retrace your steps to the car park at the start of the walk.

Nearby refreshments

In Mullion village or Poldhu Beach Cafe. En route, the Old Inn in Mullion is recommended by users of www.doggiepubs.org.uk as serving good food and being dog-friendly.

Public transport

The First number 37 bus travels regularly between Helston and Mullion. For details visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

In Mullion village car park

Climbing Out Of Mullion Cove. Photographer John Lacey, Bromsgrove.

Climbing Out Of Mullion Cove. Photographer John Lacey, Bromsgrove.

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