Cornwall LivingIssue #110
With miles of glorious cliff paths, endless golden sand beaches, and glorious sub-tropical gardens, Cornwall is the perfect place to explore with your pooch.
We are all familiar with the National Trust’s houses and parklands but did you know that a large part of Cornwall’s coastline and countryside is owned and managed by the National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk)? From the rugged cliffs of west Cornwall, where majestic, UNESCO-protected engine houses rise from the rocks, to the more gentle nature of Loe Pool and the Penrose Estate, the National Trust prides itself in being welcoming to all; especially dogs. With that in mind, we would love to share with you some our favourite National Trust places and areas to visit with your hound this summer.
For opening times, bookings and further information on all National Trust locations, and detailed trails of the walks featured here visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk
There are two stunning gardens that are great for exploring with dogs. Furthest west is Trengwainton, near Penzance. This sheltered garden bursts with trees and shrubs at every turn. Dogs on leads are very welcome and there is plenty to sniff out in the 25-acre garden. Water bowls are available at the tea rooms where you are welcome to sit in the garden and enjoy a cuppa or a light lunch. Head inland towards Helston and you’ll discover Godolphin; an ancient and atmospheric estate at the bottom of Godolphin Hill. Here you can wander happily through the gardens for a days-gone-by feel or for the more adventurous, a walk to the top of the hill on a clear day affords the most amazing 360-degree view. Dogs are very welcome but should be kept on a lead in the garden as well as when exploring the wider countryside due to grazing livestock.
Although dogs are restricted at the other Cornish National Trust properties and gardens, there are still miles of coastline and countryside to explore. Just a stone’s throw from Cornwall Living HQ, you’ll find the Penrose Estate, where a lovely level path meanders along the side of the Loe Pool. You can either do an out-and-return walk from either Helston or the National Trust car park on Penrose Hill to Loe Bar and back, stopping off at The Stables café for refreshment or, for a longer walk circular walk, you can cross the sandy Loe Bar and return via Degibna woods. In spring, expect carpets of bluebells to light up the woodland floor, explore the Victorian bath house or simply sit a while to admire what was once a late 18th century deer park backed by Penrose House, home to the Rogers family, who gave the estate to the National Trust in 1974 – the largest single gift to the Trust in Cornwall.
Cornwall’s most southerly peninsula, with its iconic lighthouse and craggy cliffs jutting out into the Atlantic, is a wonderful area to explore with your hound. The South West Coast Path runs along the edge of the peninsula joining up the beaches of Gunwalloe and Poldhu, on to Mullion Cove, past Kynance with its famous rock stacks and turquoise sea before finally bringing you out at Lizard Point. There are cafés at all these points along the way, so plenty of opportunity for a cream tea or a Cornish ice cream. Whether you choose to walk the whole route or just some of it, keep your eyes peeled for seals and seabirds. You never know, you might be rewarded with a Cornish chough sighting. The birds returned to Cornwall in 2001 after an absence of 30 years and have been here ever since.
Head over to the north coast and you’ll find Cornwall wears a different cloak. Mining heritage dominates the landscape, with engine houses rising up from the cliff edge, giving the landscape around Chapel Porth and St Agnes a more rugged feel. Along this Heritage Coast are endless miles of cliff walks, backed by heathland offering a veritable dog’s playground. However, care should always be taken when walking with your pup if the footpath passes close to the cliff edge. Always best to have the lead at the ready to navigate these stretches. The seaside towns of Portreath and Perranporth mark either end of the St Agnes Heritage Coast, with the village of St Agnes in the middle. All have plenty of spots for refreshment and St Agnes even has its own brewery, The Driftwood Spars.
Cross the county and the Roseland peninsula is one of those places where time seems to have stood still. This unspoilt area of Cornwall is excellent walking country. From St Anthony Head there are panoramic views from across the Carrick Roads. The sister castles of St Mawes and Pendennis keep watch over the water, and on a clear day you can see as far as the Helford passage, with the Lizard just beyond. Carne, Towan and Porthcurnick beaches are free from dog restrictions so you can play on the sand with your pooch to your heart’s content. And if you’ve worked up a thirst, Carne has a pop-up horsebox in high season serving drinks and ice-cream while Porth Farm café with its sunny courtyard, just yards from Towan, offers lunch, drinks and sweet treats.
Did you know?
In association with Forthglade (forthglade.com) the National Trust has created a canine code.
- Take the lead: please keep your dog on a short lead at all times while visiting the gardens
- Scoop that poop: bag it and bin it to keep the places beautiful.
- Paws for thought: plant diseases can be present in leaf litter and spread on the bottoms of shoes and paws, so keeping to paths helps prevent this.
- Be on the ball: not everyone loves dogs, so keep them close by and donít allow them to approach other visitors without their consent.
Travel up the coast and you’ll reach the Fowey Estuary. This is Daphne Du Maurier country, the setting for many of her books, with Menabilly her own Cornwall home. Nestled in the heart of old Fowey, you’ll find Readymoney Cove which allows dogs outside of the two peak months of July and August. This sheltered, sandy cove has St Catherine’s Castle on one side and medieval Fowey on the other. From here experienced walkers will enjoy taking the South West Coast Path towards Polridmouth (dog-friendly all year round) and on to Gribbin Head and its daymark with glorious views out across the sea.
For an inland wander with your hound, a walk through the semi-natural ancient woodland of Higginsmoor Wood on the National Trust’s Lanhydrock estate, from Respryn Bridge will take you along the meander of the River Fowey. Admire magnificent veteran and ancient oak trees, while looking out for dippers, wagtails and the more elusive kingfishers and otters enjoying the water. This woodland area was previously used for tin streaming, with the old water channels still visible.
Whether it be coast or country, north, south, east or west, with so many amazing places in Cornwall under the stewardship of the National Trust you can be sure of a great day out with your dog. As a charity, the National Trust relies on donations to help protect and care for these locations and support from visitors and membership helps them to help nature and ultimately protect our county’s beauty for ever.
OUR DOG-FRIENDLY DIRECTORY
Cornwall has some great dog-friendly businesses, places to stay and gardens to visit ñ here are just a few of our favourites:
Slickers Doghouse, Padstow
A dedicated pet shop for dogs full of quality dog products, accessories and gifts to get tails wagging.
Paws in Padstow
This dog boutique has a carefully selected range of best products for your best friend.
This dog-friendly, award-winning fish and chip shop in Falmouth comes highly recommended and even has treats for your furry friend!
Boscastle Farm Shop
Enjoy an al fresco lunch or a cream tea with your pooch in the pretty tea garden overlooking the sea.
A free, family day out here with your dog will see you exploring the mining landscape and buildings, gardens, adventure playground and art exhibits followed by a visit to the Red River Café
This 32-acre estate offers 13 dog-friendly, self-catering cottages, seven of which have private hot tubs.
Dogs on leads are welcome at this stunning sub-tropical garden on the Helford River, and its private beach, all year round. Turn to page 59 for more details.
Rosemullion is a RCVS accredited, small animal practice with a fully equipped veterinary hospital in Falmouth and branch surgeries in Helston and Penryn.