OS Explorer Map: 103
Start Ref: 759 261
End Ref: 759 261
Grading: Easy
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 3hrs

This circular walk, initially takes us along the tree lined banks of the Helford River before taking us out to Dennis Head and its clear views back all the way to Rame Head, and then heading back past the Church on the beach at St. Anthony-in-Meneage and then further into the tree lined valleys and fields to Manaccan and then back to Helford.

All in all, this walk has a little of almost everything. Plenty of benches to stop and just look, or little beaches where you can play or have a picnic. Plus the added bonus of cafes, pubs and restaurants at either Manaccan or Helford to aid with refreshment and/or food at the beginning, middle or end of our walk.

We start our walk in the Helford Village car park which is just alongside the Sailing Club. This car park has toilets and more importantly a lovely café called the Holy Mackerel Café – it comes on high recommendation from fellow walkers that I chatted to.

From the car park, we are going to pick up the SW Coast Path at the entrance of the car park and head off along this narrow lane as it takes us above the sailing club and after about 5 minutes, down some steps to the road at the little hamlet of Treath. Once on the road, turn right and head up hill until it bears right and we see the footpath we want to take directly in front of us and taking us via a Permissive Path through the grounds of Bosahan Estate. This well-trodden path leads us along the foreshore of the Helford for around a mile, all the while under the canopy of trees and with tantalising glimpses and often access (except for two which are private) to shale beaches.

The path starts to climb just past Ponsence Cove and suddenly we find that we are now above the trees and walking alongside a field and heading towards Dennis Head. Here we find a signpost giving directions and a little gate. Here is an opportunity for an extra circular section of about ¼ mile as you follow the path and do a loop of the Head (it brings you back to this point regardless of taking the left or right path further towards the Head) or you can go through the little gate and find a bench which affords great views back towards Falmouth.

A view of the headland with the sea in the distance

Whichever you have done, once you find yourself back at the signpost, we are going to head across the field towards Gillan Creek and down to St. Anthony-in-Meneage where we find its Church right next to the creek. This little creek is well worth exploring, and the far side (Gillan) is a real gem. If the tide is right, and by this I mean very low, there are stepping stones across to the far side – but it needs to be low and you then have a 2 mile walk back!

From the Church, we are going to walk along the road towards Carne. We are only on the road for a short while, as soon there is a little path off to our left that takes us into the National Trust Gillan Creek woodland walk, which takes us almost to the head of the creek. Again, we have benches to stop and admire whilst sitting under great pines. We are now just over half way through our walk.

A boat out of the water in low tide sitting on a mud bank

The path semi loops back to the road, which we are now going to follow until the T Junction where we turn right heading for Manaccan. Again, we are only doing this for a few minutes, as we shortly come across a little footbridge over the stream on our right and we are going to take this woodland path (take a breath as this is the steepest section of the walk) as it heads up before emerging into fields, where we hug the sides before coming out on a Bridleway.

At the Bridleway, we turn left and when we reach the Church, we turn right (unless going to the pub!). As we reach the next road, we turn right and then immediately left so as to pick up the footpath between the houses. We cross over one field before coming out on another road and our next footpath is on the other hedge but slightly up on our left.

Once in the next field we start to descend towards the trees and find ourselves being led to the left until we suddenly find that we are now back in amongst the trees.

A small stone footbridge going over a stream

We reach a little fork in the path (left or right), where we need to head down to the right – and yes it does look boggy as we cross the stream – to continue on our way. We now have around ½ mile of woodland walking, with the stream constantly accompanying us on our left hand side.

Only when we reach the thatched cottage at the end of this path do we find that we are now back at Helford. Keep the river of your left (unless you are going to one of Helford’s pubs) as we head past the little footbridge and then start to head uphill on the road. Within a few minutes we find that the car park in which we started is back on our left and our walk is finished.

I hope that you enjoy this walk, and hopefully it will inspire you to explore this area of Cornwall a little more.