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    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    From Milbrook to St Martin by Looe and Looe along the Cornish Coast

    Wonderful Looe, one of the most beatiful jewels of Cornwall, in England along the Cornish Way

    The path from Milbrook to St Martin by Looe runs mostly along the coast from Milbrook to St Martin by Looe and although it is certainly not the most famous section of the Cornish Path, I think it is worth the effort.

    What I like of this section is the fact that although it is quite long (around 12 miles), it is reasonably easy, flat and most important the landscape is very varied. Some more famous sections of the Cornish Way are more scenic, but they are also more tiring and less varied.  

    Milbrook is a very pretty village, just few miles away from Plymouth, in Cornwall, South West of England.

    Here the walk from Milbrook to St Martin by Looe:

    After walking through the village of Milbrook (here how to get to Milbrook) take the road to the left from the center of town (Radford Lane) and keep walking along the fields, turn left on Donkey Lane and you will finally reach the sea, appearing on the West side of the Rame Peninisula.

    The Rame Peninsula is a not very popular and busy part of the Cornish Way, but I believe it is also one of the less spoiled areas by the touristic invasion and the frenetic invasion of walkers and trekkers along the English Coast.

    From the end of Donkey Lane walk following the road along the sea (Military Road) keeping the sea at your left. Keep following the road until you will see a wonderful golden sandy beach on your left: this is Tintagel Beach. Here a military area with restrict access spoils totally your walk and forces you to a long diversion along the tarmac and busy road: you would hope that some illuminated mind would think to reduce the extension of the military area and allow the tourists to enjoy this section of the Cornish Coast!

    Where the military area finishes, the golf club starts but thankfully here the path crosses the green and makes actually this part of the walk more enjoyable.The path leads to Whitsand Bay, a small village that makes a wonderful spot for your lunch. Just few quite cottages, benches and a wonderful blue sea.

    From Whitsand Beach to Downderry the walk is quite enjoyable. Downderry doesn't have much to offer but from here starts probably the best part to the walk. First you will get to Seaton, with a beautiful and quiet beach and a nice bar to sit in the sun for a while.From Seaton is quite a climb all the way to the Monkey Sanctuary.

    The shade of blue at Looe beach is simly amazing and the bench at the top of the harbour entering at Looe makes a great stop along the Cornish Way

    The Monkey Sanctuary deserves a visit and a special mention in my blog. It is not a zoo or a safari park, at the opposite The Monkey Sanctuary in St Martin by Looe is a wonderful enviromental project that goes well further just protecting monkeys but it represent a fantastic mission in enviromental research and protection. It is absolutely worth a visit and even just reading The Monkey Sanctuary's website you will have an understanding of their wonderful work (to The Monkey Sanctuary: please know that I will delighted to further write on your projects!)

    And near the Monkey Sanctuary along the path a beautiful Celtic labyrinth is waiting the walker along its way. It is part of a private estate I had the pleasure to visit thanks to the hospitality of Caroline Petherick. Caroline is one of the most interesting and cultured person I ever met in my travels and she has created a wonderful place along the Cornish Coast! I loved to visit her Labyrinth at sunset and most of all I was impressed for the Old Coach House she built. It is a fantatsic day to spend a week, it is not just eco-living, it is a unique feature of architrecture and design and in front of a unique and fantatstic view: what an amazing place!

    The Labyrinth along the Cornish Way at St Martin by Looe

    From the Monkey Sanctuary and the Celtic Layrinth the walk continues for another 4 miles toward Looe.

    Looe is a picturesque Cornish village.  It has a beautiful estuary at the mouth of the river Looe. Looe has also a train station (just walk along the river and you will easily find it) and could be a nice starting point to walk the Cornish way if you want to skip the first section Plymouth - Milbrook - Looe.

    Spend at least half a day in Looe. Apart a beautiful beach and a nice walk along the river, Looe offers a beautiful and old town center with narrow lanes populated in these days by many (probably too many) touristic shops.

    The best way would be to arrive in Looe in the evening at the end of your walk from Milbrook, this will give you sufficient time to rest and enjoy the picturesque town. In the morning you can walk to Polperro for the next section of the Cornish Way.

    This post has been made possible thanks to the generous hospitality and friendship of Caroline Petherick of St Martin by Looe, thank you very much Caroline.


    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    The Black Prince Festival in Millbrook - How to get rid of the winter

    The Black Prince's Boat along the street of Cawsand

    How to get rid of the winter?

    There are hundreds of ways to get rid of winter. Few miles from Plymouth there is a very interesting way and a very interesting area that makes a perfect destination for a way away from Plymouth or for part your long walk along the Cornish Way...And if you visit the first week of May you will see a great popular festival to celebrate the end of the winter! (see below).

    In Millbrook the found a way to get rid of the winter!

    Millbrook is a very small village situated in front of Plymouth along the mouth of the river Tamar.

    If you are coming from Plymouth, the nicest way is to take a five minutes and super cheap ferry ride from Plymouth to Cremyll (If you want to read more about Plymouth,  read my post on Plymouth).

    Practically at the harbour at Cremyll is a magnificent palace that welcomes you on this side of the river Tamar: Mount Edgecumbe. Few miles from Edgecumbe the little village of Millbrook is a place to visit.

    Start your visit at Mount Edgecumbe.

    The name of this palace is Mount Edgcumbe.  Mount Edgcumbe is an 18th century manor with a wonderful garden and it is a fantastic place for a walk away from the noise and the traffic of Plymouth.

    Mount Edgcumbe  has wonderful gardens. Seating on one of the many benches infront of the old manor you will enjoy great views along the mouth of the river Tamar. You can walk in the quiet lanes, visit the manor or just enjoy a walk around it.

    Mount Edgecumbe

    The Black Prince Festival in Millbrook, sending away the winter on a floral boat!

    Around four miles from Cremyll and Mount Edgecumbe is the little village of Millbrock. The day of May bankholiday, usually the first Monday in May, starts here a procession that will give you the chance to get to know the most interesting traditions of the area.

    Followed by a large group of Morris Garden, the Boat of the Black Prince is paraded around the street of Millbrook.

    The Morris Dancers are probably the most interesting piece of folklore of the area.

    It is an old English tradition, particularly of the South. Dressed with colourful clothes and armed by sticks and handkerchiefs they dance in group in a traditional and very coreographic dance.

    It is said that the tradition of the Morris Dancers was imported from Spain by British soldiers who witnessed the dangerous and quick dances with long sabres of the Moorish soldiers (from them the name "Morris") and they replicated a more safe version with wooden sticks when they came back home.

    The Morris Men and the Criers keep the public entertained and they lead the procession of a black wooden boat adorned by flowers from Millbrook to the sea: the Black Prince Flowers Boat.

    The Morris Dancers at Cawsand

    Cawsand, where the Black Prince boat takes the sea and a nice destination for a day at the sea.

    The most scenic part of this special day is certainly when the procession reaches the beautiful beach at Cawsand.

    Cawsand is a very picturesque fishermen village that is certainly worth a visit at all times of the year.

    Cawsand, overlooked by its fortress, is probably the prettiest village of the Rame Pensinsula.

    With its narrow lanes running along the beach, Cawsand conserves the feeling of an old village, where now beautiful pubs and restaurants make a special place for a day along the Cornish coast.

    It is a nice walk from Millbrook to Cawsand and the best is approching the village from the top of the hill along the road that run down to the sea and to the beach.

    The beach at Cawsand

    At the end of the procession, the boat reaches finally the beautiful bay of Cawsand in front of the old harbour. 

    The criers sing the launching song and the Black Prince's Boat is finally launched in to the sea (and collected few meters after, behind the rock, to be preserved so that the same ritual could be performed the following year).

    People exhausted after a day of dances and music cheer at the boat floating on the waves of the English Channel.

    So, in the end, what you can visit in Millbrook and why should you visit?

    1. Millbrook and Cremyll are two beautiful villages in the Rame peninsula, the first Peninsula you are going to walk along its coast if you are walking the Cornish Way all the way from Plymouth to Landsend in the region of Cornwall, South - West of England.

    2. If you are visit for Spring Day (May Day) you will have the chance to assist to the amazing procession of the Black Prince Floreal Boat in Milbrook.

    3. Milbrook and Cawsand make for a wonderful base for visiting Plymouth and the River Tamar Mouth. Read my post about Plymouth

    4. Cawsand is a very nice place for a Sunday at the beach near nice pubs, restaurants and in a picturesque fishermen village.

    This post has being made thanks for the help and support of Jo Tatam of Millbrook! Many thanks for you hospitality and your kindness Jo!