above: Chapel Point
Duration / Distance: 2+ hours / 4 miles
Terrain: Stiles at Cotna Eco Retreat; muddy when wet in Portmellon valley.
Overview: Quiet peaceful woods; riverside and fields downhill to Portmellon; coast path above cliffs to architectural gem Chapel Point, secluded deserted small circular sandy beach at Colonna; wide open valley up to Old Walls cottage garden; through the historic farmstead of Bodrugan Barton
Leave Cotna Eco Retreat through entrance way then immediately right up along the hedge of the oval field. Over the stile on the right, cross 2 horse fields on the path, then over the 3rd stile into the Woodland Trust’s Sanctuary Wood. Turn left along the top, then first right down to the bottom of the hill, rather than the direct downhill near vertical slippery footpath.
Turn right at bottom through gate, follow path over stream, across wilding field, over stile into West Bodrugan Wood nature reserve. Keep to the level path, cross the small lane from Galowras Mill and keep on the level wooded path, over the wooden step stile then through the last field to Portmellon boatyard. Dogs need to be on a lead if sheep are in the field. At the harbour see to the left the Rising Sun Inn, The Shack café (seasonal; great coffee, vegan options) and the Paddle Shed (kayak and SUP paddle board hire) with the coast road to Mevagissey.
Turn right uphill, then soon turn left onto Chapel Point Lane (south west coast path). Keep walking past all the houses and the unwelcoming signs; take the coast path down to the left (watch out for steep drop to rocks on the left), then across fields towards Chapel Point (no public access) and down to Colonna Beach.
Over the stile/kissing gate and turn right to head up the valley with the stream on your left. Luxuriant watercress down to the sea but not for eating raw! Liver fluke from animal droppings could be present on the leaves. Follow the path along the valley and through the streamside garden of Old Walls cottage.
Follow the farm track to the right up to Bodrugan Barton; walk the footpath through the farm, now mainly used as holiday cottages, emerge onto the road above Portmellon. Turn left along the road until you reach a lane turning to the right with a metal gate (usually open for public access anyway). Follow the lane down towards Galowras Mill; near the bottom take a left on the footpath through the gate back into the woods of West Bodrugan nature reserve.
Follow the path keeping to the right where the path splits, then out of the woods, across the wild field and back to the gate at the bottom of Sanctuary Wood. Turn left up the steep climb of Cotna Hill, or take the second left on the easier but slightly longer route back to the top, then over the stile at the top back into the neighbouring horse fields. Watch for the tower of Gorran church appearing over the skyline as the path slightly changes direction.