Lerryn to Fowey Cornwall
I have already spoken about Lerryn's fine bridge, but Lerryn has another notable crossing, its famous stepping stones. These stepping stones are thought to be on the site of the original ford crossing before the bridge was built. The pattern of the roads approaching this crossing point suggests that the ford provided the earlier crossing on a direct line to the Parish Church of St Veep, now St Cyricius and St Julietta's. Still used by the locals today, tourists are expected to cross them, which can only be done at low water. Luckily for us, we have the opportunity, but a word of warning, they are a little slippery when wet, but it's great fun nether the less.
Eddie takes the lead on this lovely trail, still muttering about Dan's snoring, he crosses the Ethy stream and we thought it best if we let him go out in front to calm down. :) Ethy stream has the remains of a boathouse and quay which was used to transport goods to and from Ethy House just like Toad Hall, so maybe there's something in the Kenneth Grahame connection here or in the rumour that the house was involved in the smuggling trade.
This part of the bridleway looks ancient, over the centuries it was probably made by cattle being led to gracing in the fields and by cattle being droved to market in Lostwithiel. It's a straight route from St Winnow via this route and stone being quarried close by may have also been hauled along this old route.
Entering the town of Lostwithiel.
The origin of the name Lostwithiel is the subject of much debate. Founded by Norman Lords who built Restormel castle in the late 13th Century, it was developed into a port for seagoing ships and for exporting tin to Europe. In Old Cornish Lost Gwydhyel means "tail-end of the woodland" and in the 17th century popular opinion was that the name came from a translation of Lost (a tail) and Withiel (a lion), the lion in question being the lord who lived in the castle. One thing we do know was in the 14th Century it was known as the "Port of Fawi" and was the capital of Cornwall, administrating affairs of both Cornwall and its Stannary Parliament from the Great Hall (Stannary Palace) until the parliament was discontinued in 1752.
After a brief stop for a well earned cream tea and a look around this charming town, it was time to carry on. However following beside the River Fowey and not actually on the main foot path, we eventually get stuck near Pill Farm on a dead end nature trail beside the railway line. With no way of crossing the raised railway line to get to our path, this means another embarrassing u-turn back toward Lostwithiel. However lucky for us, we didn't have to go that far back, after we spot a cess pool tanker truck driver opening a private level crossing gate and with his permission, we crossed the railway and were soon back on the correct path, heading in the direction of Golant.
The Saints Way runs from Padstow, North Cornwall to Fowey in the south. It is said to follow the probable walking route of early Christians travelling from Ireland to the Continent. It was opened in 1986, after the discovery of a section of an abandoned pathway, surfaced with cobbles and featuring a series of granite stiles, near the village of Luxulyan. It is thought that travellers would have picked this route to Fowey for the boat crossing, rather than risk the difficult passage around the treacherous Lizard Point, Land's End.
St Sampson's Church Golant is dedicated to St Sampson of Doi. St Samson was a well travelled man and helped spread the monastic movement in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Born in Wales he was the son of the daughter of Meurig ap Tewdrig, King of Wales. He travelled to Golant to found a monastic community before travelling to the Scilly Isles, where the island of Samson is named after him, to Guernsey where he is the Patron Saint and then to Brittany where he founded the Monastery of Doi.
The Reading Room Golant (now the Village Hall). Originally reading rooms were imposed on the working classes, by the upper classes, mainly by the church or rich landowners, to encourage adults and local children to learn literacy. Many reading rooms provided newspapers, which were expensive, rare, and usually well out of date by the time they reached remoter places. So the local reading room would provide one for everybody to share, or to have read aloud to them. They could also be like a reference library or as a place to study.
The single line Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway which opened in 1869, linking the port of Fowey to the mainline at Lostwithiel. After financial difficulties it closed in 1880, but was purchased by the Cornwall Minerals Railway in 1895. It's main traffic was china clay, but a passenger service did operate from 1876 until 1965 when the service was withdrawn. During World War 2, the line was used for the loading of ammunition at Fowey for the US 29th Infantry Division, which landed at Omaha Beach on D Day. Today it remains open only for china clay traffic at Carne Point, but in 2014 a plan was proposed to reinstate a passenger service.
Eddie letting me know he's feeling exhausted :) as he removes this rusty exhaust pipe from the road. He's also standing on a bridge which would have crossed the old St Blazey (Par) to Fowey railway branch line which closed in 1968. This line connected with the Lostwithiel to Fowey line and was once part of the same Cornwall Mineral Railway, which had an extensive network crossing the county, transporting the products of Cornish mining. It has now been converted to a private haulage road for Imerys china clay lorries from St Blazey to Fowey Docks. If followed, the line goes through Pinnock Tunnel which was cut in the 1870's and at 1,073 metre is Cornwall's longest tunnel.
The "Rook With A Book", a sculpture at Berril's Yard, Fowey, was designed by sculptors Thrussells of Liskeard and is here to celebrate the life of famous writer Daphne du Maurier. The Rook named Isla is inspired by one of Daphne's most popular books, a short story called the Birds, this book was famously adapted for film by Alfred Hitchcock.