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The Saints Way

The Saint's Way, or Forth an Syns, is a 30-mile cross country trail from Padstow on the north Cornwall coast to Fowey on the south coast. In medieval times travellers from Wales and Ireland heading for Brittany in France were faced with the arduous and dangerous passage around Land's End. To obviate this, a trail was developed between the small ports of Padstow and Fowey. The route connects many footbridges, granite stiles, standing stones, Neolithic forts, tumulii and churches and was almost certainly used by Cornish saints such as St. Petroc.

The route begins in Padstow at the 15th century Parish Church of St. Petroc, and follows the Camel Estuary to Mellingey and on to St. Breock Downs. St. Breock Downs is noted for its large burial barrows and the 16-foot high "Longstone" dating from the Bronze Age, which is the heaviest standing stone in Cornwall. The panoramic vista from this point comprises of the Camel Estuary to the north, Bodmin Moor to the east, the China Clay workings of St. Austell to the south and the distinctive outline of Castle-an-Dinas prehistoric fort to the west. The route makes its way to Withiel and on to Lanivet, which is said to be the "dead-center" of Cornwall and marks the half way point.

Continuing south the route heads up to Helman Tor, a nature reserve overlooking the marshy ground of Red Moor. From here the trail heads south-east towards Lanlivery, where the church of St. Brevita is situated. The church has one of the highest church towers in Cornwall at 97 feet. Just in front of the church is the 12th century Crown Inn, which was extended to house the stonemasons who built the church . There has been an inn on this site since the 12th century and much of the present building dates back to this time, and was the last stop for drovers taking their stock to Fowey. St. Brevita's Holy Well is situated in woods to the rear of The Crown Inn.

The route continues south to Milltown and Golant, before following the creek into Fowey.

Lanivet is half way and means walking two 15-mile sections. As I wished to explore various historic points along the way and wanted more time, I chose to do it in three sections over three days, braking the walk at Withiel and Lanlivery.

 

 

  Anyone contemplating the walk is recommended to buy a copy of "The Saints' Way Guide" by Heulyn & Ginny Lewis of The Pelican Studio, Trenant Point, Looe, Cornwall PL13 2AA (Email: pelicanstudio@gmail.com). This comprises 13 full colour laminated cards, 8 describing the route and 5 feature cards giving facts about pilgrimages, wildlife, churches etc and is superbly researched and presented.