Mevagissey to Trenarren (Black Head) - 3.7 miles
OS Explorer 105: grid reference SX015448 to SX033490
Our route followed Walk 6 in Bob Acton's excellent guidebook From the Roseland to St. Austell Bay: 18 Round Walks from Portscatho to Par. but taking the coastpath first before an inland return. Park your car in the large car park at Mevagissey. Walk down through the town towards the harbour. On meeting the harbour bear left towards Mevagissey Museum. Take the inclined coastpath as marked, looking down on the museum and outer harbour walls. Walk up steps to meet a 'playing field' near houses and the Trevalsa Court Hotel and continue along the path at the end of residents gardens. The route grows more leafy as you pass above Polstreath Beach. Shortly you encounter a granite stile. Next drop down the slope to the bottom of the field. Now about 20 minutes into your walk, cross the wooden footbridge as you pass above the northern end of Polstreath Beach, noting the metal steps dropping to beach level for access.
Bear left to climb up steps to approach a gate and bench as you near Penare Point. Rest a while to take photographs if you wish. Rejoin the path and make your way to the crest of Penare Point. Cross a stile into another field, keeping to the right hand side. Beware halfway down the slope lie quite a few holes in the path caused by the entrance to badger setts. You could twist an ankle easily here! Look down onto the wide sandy crescent of Pentewan Beach arcing across to Hallane, Drennick and Black Head. In the distance it may be possible to see the red and white daymark tower of the Gribbin near Fowey. Drop down the slope, quite steeply in places. Negotiate a stile in a hedge dropping down the six feet or so by steps and a helpful metal handrail. Pass through a gap in another hedge. The shingle beach below you is Portgiskey Cove. Cross a stile and two wooden footbridges as you pass this quite secluded cove, pause a while to explore if you wish. Climb up sharply now. Cross a further two stiles to leave the fields and walk above the quite noisy road. Join the road after a few minutes. Take care where the path runs close to the road! Turn right into Pentewan again taking care at the single track bridge. Arrive at the small car park in Pentewan Village - the start of the next section.
Walk through the village towards the harbour passing the Ship Inn.This section follows Walk 7 in Bob Acton's Book. Stop at the shops to get provisions if you need them. You could well need more refreshment than you think on this quite strenuous route! Pass the public toilets and turn right into the harbour area. At the end of the cottages look for a footpath on your left going up steps through gardens to link up once again with the signed coast path behind the cottages. After a relatively steep climb the path levels off as you pass to the right of a fence along Polrudden Cliffs. Cross a stile at the crest and drop down now Black Head looming ever larger. The nearest headland is called Drennick. Drop down into a picturesque grassy valley progress is good thanks to well maintained steps. Climb up the other side to another level path. The grey-yellow shingle beach at Hallane now comes into view. This is our picnic stop. Unfortunately there is now the small matter of negotiating the cliff known as The Vans - another steep climb and descent is involved. We took a breather before making one last push up the steepish incline. Cross the narrow footbridge and begin your ascent. We were a bit bemused to meet a troupe of cub scouts in full regalia at the crest. Take care as badger setts once more dot the path. Drop down quite steep steps into a wood and cross a stream by a footbridge. Cross a small streamlet and head left for the coast path as signed at the T-junction. Now an hour into the walk we decided to leave the coastpath and head right the short distance down onto Hallane Beach. Well worth a few minutes of your time. The beach is quite secluded and to the right lies a waterfall and rock arch. We took an hour out here for a relaxed lunch and photographs.
Return to the coastpath at the T-junction and turn left then right where signed. Climb above Hallane and up steps. After a stile the path levels out. Cross another stile by the fenced path dropping down gradually looking right to see Black Head. Pass the memorial stone to A.L. Rowse, bearing right to explore the NT property of Black Head if you wish. Otherwise bear left to continue on the coast path to Trenarren. Keep right at a path fork, climbing a few steps to pass an old 2-finger wooden signpost. Pass the sign for Ropehaven Cliffs Nature Reserve. After a further 10 minutes meet a rocky path, where you turn right, downhill. Take care here if it is wet! As you pass above a cottage in Ropehaven Woods bear left up a walled lane and on into a wider lane. Turn right to pass Trenarren House and then on to a small lay-by/car park. From here it is simply a matter of following the signed route - on the road at first - down passing a house onto the footpath leading to the start of our next walk at Silvermine Point. Take care this route becomes quite strenuous near its end!
It is possible to combine trips to the ports of Fowey and Mevagissey by boarding the Fowey-Mevagissey Passenger Ferry. The 35 minute trip on the 'Bessie James' leaves Fowey from Whitehouse Quay and passes the Blockhouse and Readymoney Cove on its way west. For more information try www.mevagissey-ferries.co.uk. The seating is limited to 35 people so arrive early.