AboutWalking Holidays : Cornwall side of the Tamar Valley
Walking the Cornish side of the Tamar valley takes you along the edge of Cornwall, from the ancient capital, Launceston, past Hingston Down, where, according to some versions of the story, the last Cornish resistance was defeated by the Saxons.
This ancient riverland is heavily wooded and covered in the remnants of nineteenth century mine workings, market gardens, and older remnants too : Bronze age barrows and Iron Age hill forts are scattered along the Cornish slopes of the Tamar, and at Calstock you can follow an ancient road which will take you past the church and right through the forgotten remnants of one of Cornwall's three known Roman forts.
Around Launceston the land is open and rolling, with narrow twisting lanes winding across small fields which offer easy walking. There are far reaching views from time to time across to Bodmin moor and Caradon hill. The Tamar is a fairly small river at this point, and is crossed by a pretty granite bridge at Old Greystone Hill. The little village of Rezare is a good place to stay when walking on holiday in this area, or you could go a little further west to visit the Lakeside Gallery and the Springer Spaniel pub.
Following the Tamar South from the little Cornish village of Luckett, walkers can explore Greenscoombe Wood, where mining remnants, market gardens and a Hill Fort have all together been swallowed by the encroaching woodland. Here the main footpath is strung along the side of a forbiddingly steep hillside, so you can look out from the Cornish slope over the low-lying green Devon fields to the Dartmoor hills beyond.
A little down the river at Gunnislake, where the A390 crosses the Tamar on an old bridge the situation is reversed, with steep cliffs rising up on the Devon side frowning across at the Cornwall side. Walking on the Cornish side, you'll find a long stretch of footpath
all along the Western side of the river, connecting from time to time with narrow, little-used lanes which make for pleasant walking.
It is worth venturing a little further from the river to climb the long slopes of Kit Hill, an isolated hilltop between Dartmoor and Bodmin moor. It is a long climb up to the summit, but the spectacular views of both moors and also down to Plymouth and the sea make it worth it.
As you climb up out of the river valley, you may well notice the weather changing. The Tamar Valley often has its own weather, and sometimes there is bright sunshine in the valley when Kit Hill is cold and sticking its head up high into the mist. First thing in the morning you will often see the reverse effect, with the riverfog blanketing in the valley like a fallen cloud, when the sun has already warmed the hilltops.
As you walk down into the lower Tamar valley, the river becomes tidal and starts to open out into a wide estuary. There are many small boats on the river here, and if you wish, you can take the ferry down to Plymouth from Calstock. But don't miss the walk from Calstock to Cotehele, past the Danescombe valley. This part of the valley is spectacularly beautiful at most times of year, but perhaps at its very best in spring when all the flowers are blooming. First the daffodils and later the bluebell woods. A close contender for 'best time of year' is the autumn when the leaves are on the turn, and the late afternoon sun turns the whole woodland golden.
Holidays with your dog?
If you decide to bring Rover along to join you on your walking holiday, many of our accommodation providers welcome dogs. Your dog can have a great time exploring the woods and the country park at Kit Hill. Please be careful with your dog around the old mining areas, and be aware that there are many deer and rabbits in the valley.
Dog friendly B&B's in the Tamar valley where well-trained walkers are also welcome!
Hotels where walkers and dogs are welcome