With its ancient harbour, narrow streets and the endorsement of Dylan Thomas, the village of Mousehole in Mounts Bay is reason enough alone to visit the far west of Cornwall. But to walk to Lamorna Cove from what, for Thomas, was “the best village in England” is to experience exhilarating views, maritime history aplenty and a decent physical workout.
Park in the car park outside the village and walk past the Old Coastguard Hotel. After idling in Mousehole the serious business of walking begins with a steep climb up Raginnis Hill. Go past the Wild Bird Hospital and continue to the South West Coast Path. After a short distance on the path, turn right at a post signed “Lamorna Inland Route”.
Climb over a granite stile and bear diagonally right across a field. Climb another stile and pick up the path over fields to reach a farm. Squeeze between two cow sheds and, on the other side of a track, bear south-west to houses at Kemyel Crease. The route is well signposted and leads across another field before reaching a collection of houses. After the last house, turn left and descend into the lush valley of Lamorna.
Granite from Lamorna Cove’s old quarries abounds, and was used to build the Wolf Rock and Bishop Rock lighthouses. The path on the return leg hugs the coast, but it is often steep and uneven, especially as you ascend the headland of Carn Du. Breathtaking views of Mounts Bay open up before the walk returns to open ground, rising to pass an old coastguard lookout. Below is Point Spaniard. Here, at 8am on July 23 1595, a Spanish raiding party landed. History records that they ransacked Mousehole, but not whether they learned the correct pronunciation of the hapless village: “Mouzul.”
A scenic coastal walk steeped in history
Mousehole car park
OS Ref: SW470263
Length of walk
The Old Coastguard Hotel; www.oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk