Pentewan to Heligan Trail
Starting at the beginning of the Pentewan valley track adjacent to the cycle hire shop.
From here, the level accessible track heads up the Pentewan valley into woodland. The track you walk on was once site of the old Pentewan valley railway that carried clay from the St Austell clay quarries out to the Pentewan harbour where vessels would transport around the globe.
Today you see an ancient deciduous woodland home to large numbers of native tree species. The path is truncated half a mile or so further up the valley by a small wooden bridge which crosses a stream.
Another short distance further on the track opens out beside the St Austell or White River so called from times when the clay works upstream turned the water putty coloured. Thankfully this no longer occurs and the river now boasts species such as Herons and Kingfishers: sure signs that fish stocks have returned. Turn towards the right and continue beside the river.
On your right lies the historic Kingswood once purchased from King Charles 1 and is now managed by the Woodland Trust. You will see several paths leading into the woodland from your walk. After 400 yards you come to a large wooden bridge crossing the river.
(Here you can continue on to St Austell or to enjoy trails through the woodland). For Heligan and Mevagissey, cross the bridge, coming to the main road and turn left. Please take care here as traffic is very fast.
Just past the campsite, cross the road and continue on the path heading left beside the road picking up the Cornish Way. After 400 yards the path turns right and climbs away from the road towards Heligan. If you are cycling be warned that the trail here climbs for the next half mile or so. There are resting stops on the way up the hill.
You are once again ensconced in woodland as you climb the ridge. Where there are gaps in the trees you will have your first of many beautiful views. On a fine day you can easily glimpse the hills around St Austell and areas referred to as ‘The Clays’.
After this hearty climb, the track levels out as you come to a stone bridge. The bridge is the main road to Heligan. Just ahead of this the trail goes straight on to Heligan (or left to Mevagissey). Here the track becomes quite rough with a slight incline. You come to Heligan campsite and you have right of way through the site until you come to a wooden gate on your right. Cross the narrow lane which serves Heligan house and head into Heligan gardens car park through another wooden gate. The gardens are well worth a visit irrespective of what time of year you are visiting.
This trail is suitable for walking, cycling, large mobility scooters (on a full charge). Small scooters will make it to the first bridge but probably won’t manage the hill.