Friday, 8 April 2016

The Roseland Peninsula - St Just to St Mawes

Continuing my walk exploring the Roseland peninsula, I arrived in the village of Portscatho in a particularly heavy rain shower.  As I headed inland from the village the rain passed and a burst of sunlight brought out the colours of land, sea and sky to great effect.  My plan was to cross the peninsula using country lanes and farm tracks in order to walk back to St Mawes - the ferry timetable dictated that my pace would need to be fairly brisk....

But having arrived at St Just in Roseland, I made time to slow down and visit the parish church. Situated on a tidal creek in a very sheltered spot, the church is at the base of a steep bank, and the churchyard is one of the most remarkable anywhere.  Part cemetery, part semi-tropical garden, it's an incredibly beautiful, unique and when I visited, peaceful spot.  the church is however, one of the most photographed in Cornwall and must get very busy in the summer.

There was plenty of evidence of the early spring here - the view down to the church tower was framed by the flowers of a large Magnolia - in almost full flower before the end of March.

The church of St Just in Roseland dates from the 13th century and is built on the site of a Celtic chapel and was served by Celtic clergy from nearby Lanzeague for the first 400 years before being taken into the Saxon, bishop led, church.  Cornwall and the French region of Brittany have a shared Celtic heritage which is fiercely preserved with distinct language and customs.  A 19th century vicar planted many of the exotic trees and plants which today make this a very special and unique place.  Along the path edges there are many granite blocks inscribed with biblical verses, at this time of year surrounded by masses of Primroses.

Having lingered at the church I pressed on down the western edge of the Roseland peninsula.  A path goes through farmland just above the shore here but after a spell of wet weather it was incredibly muddy and I ended up abandoning the path to walk and clamber along the rocky shoreline itself - which proved a bit more strenuous but a lot less messy!  I arrived at St Mawes in good time, and in a burst of warm sunshine.  As I'd walked close to 25 km and had a half hour to spare before the last ferry, I felt that some refreshment would be in order, and so......

....repaired to a suitable purveyor of refreshments and sat in the sun to enjoy.....

...a frothing Sports Recovery Drink......

The ferry "Duchess of Cornwall" arrived right on time and soon I was crossing back to Falmouth, reflecting on a great day's walking.  If the Place ferry is running, this is a walk well worth the effort - starting at either Falmouth and using two ferries, or at St Mawes using just the Place ferry.  Shorter loops can be walked too, based on either St Mawes or Place.

My thanks to Sam, skipper of the "Duchess of Cornwall" for going out of his way to drop me at Place on a day when the small ferry wasn't running.


  1. It works every time Rolf - and assists the local economy too!


  2. A great day, Ian. I too could spend a lot of time exploring these marvellous parish churches, as old as meaningful time, and so full of stories. I look forward to sharing with you a "tribute" to all of the above. ;) Warm wishes.

    1. Hi Duncan - I wish I'd had more time at St Just church; a very remarkable place

      Warm wishes