Following on from yesterday’s post, and because at the moment I’m trying to post everyday and therefore up for playing around a little bit with what I do with this blog, I thought that today I’d post some photos. They’re all my photos, taken today while I was out in the pleasant Cornish spring sunshine, walking a route that is fast becoming a favourite (I look forward to having a dog so that I’m required to do it even more often!).
As you walk down the lane from Saltash into Forder this is the view that greets you, with Trematon Castle towering above you. The castle is on private Duchy of Cornwall land, and sadly not open to the public. As you can see, Forder is a leafy hamlet. With the woods around it, and the windy nature of the approaching lane, you wouldn’t know the edge of a busy town is just a 5-10 minute walk away!
At Forder there is a small creek that runs down and then widens out. When you first encounter it it runs in a little channel by the road, then it disappears under the road and reappears, running over pebbles as a little, yet active, stream.
The stream rapidly widens out, however, so that by the time you are leaving Forder it is, when the tide is in, an area of water significant enough to be a mooring area for local sailing, rowing and motor dinghies.
A little further along the lane, and the creek (and its valley) is wide enough to require a significant viaduct for the Great Western railway to cross it. When Brunel originally brought the railway down to this part of the South West he built a wooden viaduct here, which was replaced by stone in the early 20th Century.
Long before the railway came, however, there was a mill. Unusually, it is a tidal mill, with the constant rising and falling of the river level being forced through a small break in the wall of the millpond to work the mill’s machinery. The mill no longer works, and the most noticeable thing about the millpond is the old boat sat permanently in its middle.
The demise of the mill, and of the local quarry, are an indication that the local use of the river is now mainly leisure, whether for recreational fishing, for easy access to the sailing routes of the English Channel, or for simply “messing about on the river”.
The view at Antony Passage, which has its own little private harbour for the use of those who either live or rent property in the tiny riverside hamlet where the Forder creek flows into the St Germans or Lynher River, does however indicate another use for the local waterways river – training by the Royal Navy. The vessel visible is the former HMS Brecon, now permanently fixed to the riverbed and used as a seamanship training centre.
The view of a still working, if decomissioned, warship might seem a little out of place in this quaint and quiet little place, but it is still in keeping with the waterside feel of the place. However, following the footpath which replaces the road at its end you are quickly taken into an environment with a different feel.
The footpath stays right against the river for a short while, but then it turns and ascends, via an almost mystical feeling set of steps, into a woodland area.
The river is never gone from sight, but now it is obscured by the branches of old and wizened trees. The path runs alongside where Brunel’s original railway line ran. At one point you can scramble over the bank from the official footpath and come down onto the old railway path, where a far more mystical sight than a set of steps meets you – a telephone box! It is as incongruent with its surroundings as the lamppost in the wood near Mr Tumnus’ home in Narnia, or the TARDIS on one of the many non-earth worlds Doctor Who visits.
After wandering through the woods for a little while you come out into yet another rural environment. Having done creek-side hamlets, rambling country lanes, riverside terraces, engineering ingenuity, military hardware, and wild woods (oh, and one bizarrely placed telecommunications device!), you now entered farmland. If the wind is up, like it is today, this where you get to feel it, and any cobwebs you might have picked up in your life will be rapidly blown away up on the open expanse of the sheep fields you’ve now entered. I have to say that I am most jealous of the sheep who reside here. As one who loves looking out upon water, whether the sea or the river, their year-round views of the Forder creek and the St Germans/Lynher River is one I certainly envy!
Up here you also get a better close-up of Trematon Castle, with its classical square and round keeps. It is originally a Norman construction, reckoned to have been built on the location of a Roman fort. As mentioned, it is now part of the estate of the Duchy of Cornwall and not open to the public – a shame, but not one I can do anything about.
Eventually the route takes you back, via a drop down into Forder, into the town of Saltash, which has remained invisible for much of the walk, apart from some of the time spent with the sheep on the top of the Trematon fields. All of this is just a few miles walk. If you walk it briskly, with no stops, I’m sure you could do it in not much more than an hour. Even ambling with the camera, as I did earlier, it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours.
All this variety of rural environments, all within just a short walk of where we live. So far I’ve not had the opportunity to really share it with my family and friends, but I hope this post has given folk a flavour, and I look forward to sharing it properly with people as and when they manage to make visits.
Whatever your local scenery, travel well.