SPRING NEWSLETTER 2017
Schedule for March
A ST PIRAN’S DAY CHARITY WALK AND BOOK
In Aid of Cornwall Hospice Care
Commencing at 10am from St Piran’s Church, Carharrack on Sunday 5th March.
All are welcome to join us on the 6 mile walk in honour of the Hospices. The entrance fee is £5 which will also entitle you to a St Piran’s Trail Guide. Books will also be on sale at local pubs and available from Redruth Library. We hope the local pubs will support our effort and we will be stopping for refreshment during the course of the walk.
For an insight into the route visit: Robin Moore’s Community Walks on Facebook.
AN INSIGHT INTO THE ST PIRAN’S WALK
Start and Finish: St Piran’s Church, Carharrack.
Pit Stops: The Star Inn, Vogue; The Mount Ambrose Inn.
Places of Interest: The Old St Day Church; Primrose Farm; Gwennap Pit; Mynheer Farm and Vogue Shute. The Former Redruth & Chacewater Railway Coal Yard and Iron Footbridge; Carharrack Methodist Church and Water Pump.
Distance: 5-7 Miles.
Route: Starting at St Piran’s Church, the initial phase of the walk takes in Chapel Terrace, St Day Hill and Vogue; leaving Vogue via Pink Moors the journey opens up into pastures as the trail leads to Treskerby Farm. From here a solid track continues to Mount Ambrose Cricket Club. (Note that we have a 2-mile extension/alternative which offers a chance to visit Gwennap Pit). Beyond the cricket boundary a bridleway forms the trail via Trefula Farm and after crossing the St Day/Redruth Road the footpath descends to a dirt track which joins the Gwennap Pit Road; a short blast of the cycle route takes in Vogue Shute and The Star Inn which is the main ‘pit stop’ for thirsty walkers. To complete the journey back to St Piran’s Church rejoin the cycle route opposite The Star Inn and walk to the next junction; bearing right here link up with the footpath via Wheal Damsel to walk the remaining half mile to Carharrack.
Leaving St Piran’s Church at Carharrack Village the route bears left along Fore Street for about 20 yards to a garden sign marked Carharrack Club. This points across the road to Chapel Terrace where the trail passes the old village pump opposite the Methodist Church and the club 200 yards later. Beyond here it ebbs away towards Little Carharrack where it joins a public footpath on the right. The stone path gently tumbles down a narrow escarpment to Vogue Road; also part of The Cornish Way Cycle Route (3). Crossing the road to School Hill opposite, the walk takes in the steepest section of its entirety to reach the old mining town of St Day. The gradient gets the lungs working and at the foot of the village there is a clear view of the old St Day Church. In bygone days it was the heartbeat of the community, but sadly met its demise through a prolonged onslaught of Death Watch Beetle in the previous century. The cost of repair may now be beyond the village coffers, yet it remains a prominent landmark throughout the Gwennap Region. A little further on is the Holy Trinity Church which serves the community today, and like St Piran’s in Carharrack is part of the Gwennap Parish. Passing through St Day allows a glimpse of the Town Clock and St Day Inn (The Top House). Nearby, village amenities include a park/outdoor gym, a post office, 2 mini markets, laundrette, butcher’s shop and a village hall hosting coffee/cake mornings.
Continuing along the thoroughfare the route passes The St Day Pine Workshop and then begins its descent into Vogue. Nestling in the valley between Gwennap Pit and St Day is one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets, the characterful 19th Century Star Inn. Having won various awards for ‘Pub of the Year’ it engages resourcefully with the community opening up access to library facilities, computer and hairdressing salon to run alongside the social entertainment. The fun starts with a meat draw and karaoke on Friday, followed by live entertainment throughout the weekend culminating with the Sunday Evening Quiz. The pub is also a meeting spot for local walks and we usually set off from here on allocated days around 11am after coffee.
Leaving The Star Inn backtrack 100 yards to Pink Moors Lane on the left; then head towards the paddocks at the bottom where a granite stile by a stream provides access to the footpath ahead. A short walk by the hedgerows leads to the first field which is usually occupied by horses, and after crossing into the second, one can look back at church top views of St Day and the expanse of Carharrack in the vista beyond. Continuing across the grass the route briefly enters a fenced enclosure; at the next stile it runs beneath an escarpment for a quarter of a mile to Treskerby Farm. To the right of the farm a sealed byway ascends to Treskerby Village passing other public footpaths that connect to Scorrier (these form part of our St Day Feast Trail). Following the St Piran’s markers keep bearing left along the road towards Mount Ambrose. The road through Mount Ambrose is the old Redruth Highway, and just beyond the cricket ground there is a short descent via New Lane (right turn) to the local inn. The Mount Ambrose Inn is now owned by Keltek Brewery, and as well as offering a good opportunity to enjoy some refreshment en route it also provides food for thought when contemplating the next stage of the journey. On returning to the cricket ground junction there is a choice of route; both interact well with the Cornish landscape along scenic off-road trails.
Option 1 – Long Version
Bypassing the cricket ground turn off allows this lovely section to continue along the present highway towards Sandy Lane. Walking straight ahead as if going to Lanner, cross the roundabout on the St Day Road and follow the paved outskirts of Redruth for 200 yards. Look for a footpath across the road on the left marked Grambler Farm; from here the walk takes in three quarters of a mile of green belt to Gwennap Pit. The journey provides panoramic views across open farmland exposing visitors to old mine stacks and native wildlife; in particular ‘birds of prey’. On the final section a muddy path winds downhill towards the diminutive Vogue/Gwennap byway. Nearing the bottom it joins a dirt track by a gate on the right which leads to a small paddock. Reaching a second stile marked Gwennap, there are haunting views of an old engine house at the bottom of the valley next to the byway. From here there are just 2 more fields crossing Primrose Farm, a rescue centre for Alpaca which are now a familiar face amid the Gwennap Landscape. Pigs are more common and frequent the land at the front of the farm. Beyond the residential buildings the trail runs along a drive to the Gwennap Road Junction. Gwennap Pit is a ‘must see’ for tourists though the visitor centre with refreshment and book shop is only open during the Spring/Summer months. Returning to the junction turn right onto Cycle Route 3 which continues downhill past a few houses interspersed along the way. After a half mile descent via Mynheer Farm and Vogue Shute this section of the walk reaches its conclusion at the Star Inn.
Methodism in Cornwall
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism preached here on 18 occasions during the 18th century. Despite the advent of the Industrial Revolution, it was a time when ordinary folk sought solace from the church which gave them a ‘meaning to life’; often endured through hardship and poverty.
The Alpaca has become a familiar face in the paddocks of the modern day Gwennap Region.
Contains an old Roman stone inscribed for Caesar dating from 238-244AD discovered in a field close by in 1942.
Originated in the 17th century, it was the natural water supply of St Day up until 1930’s and its granite stone structure remains intact today.
Option 2 – Short Version
The shorter option of The St Piran’s Trail bears left along the lane to Mount Ambrose Cricket Club. The slim access passes a row of houses, a barn and a workshop before bearing right at the bridleway adjacent to the cricket boundary. The bridleway is clearly defined and makes a good route for walkers and equestrians. Reaching the top of the first leg affords good views from the cricket ground to Treskerby Farm and Pink Moors; the gated field in front of the track contains show jumping obstacles as the remaining green belt falls away towards Gwennap Pit. Further on, the track passes Trefula Farm near to the local care home, crosses the Redruth Road and immediately rejoins the footpath in a field. Descending across the grassland, views of the gaunt mine-stack on the Vogue byway are again a dominant feature; once an important part of the Industrial Revolution this old relic now serves only the wildlife and resident birds which frequent its hollow shell. Beautifully preserved granite stones provide the exit from the field and then connect to a mud track on the left. You can take the road uphill to visit Mynheer Farm; otherwise follow the little path through an old farmyard where it joins Route 3. Linking with option 1 ensures a visit to Vogue Shute, formerly the water supply to the community in the early 20th Century. Although water still flows freely from the spring today, the majority of local folk prefer to quench their thirst across the road at The Star Inn.
The Iron Footbridge
Restored in the 1980’s this old bridge once spanned the Redruth & Chacewater Railway; it now makes a pleasant little excursion along Pennance Road and back to the coal yard via Foxes Row. There are remnants of the railway track a few metres along the mineral trail near the bridge.
The Coal Yard
Originated in 1850 to serve the railway and mining industry the coal yard and gates were sited on the Carharrack/Pennance Road Junction. The present day building was recently an animal feed store (now relocated to Upper Trevarth Farm) but thankfully there is a plaque on the stone front dedicated to the Redruth & Chacewater Railway.
Carharrack Wesleyan Chapel
Constructed in 1815 it replaced a former building where our friend John Wesley may have preached between 1743-1762. Today it houses a ‘Museum of Methodism’ inside the chapel, holds services on Sunday and hosts coffee mornings each month.
Once replenished, hikers resume their journey along Route 3 to Wheal Damsel. The first turn off on the right exits the cycle route (about 400 yards) and follows a lane up hill towards the Wheal Damsel Foot Path. This undulating section is steep in places and can be muddy around the time of St Piran’s Anniversary. It is a short stint with the gradient easing towards the end as it filters back to the Gwennap Pit By Way; finally sloping downhill towards Carharrack. On reaching the village thoroughfare the old coal yard and iron footbridge are ahead to the right at Pennance Road. ‘The dirt track at the bottom left of Wheal Damsel makes a pleasant conclusion via the village pump to
St Piran’s Church – a mere 100 yards away’.
St Piran’s Church, Carharrack
Built in the 1880’s with a unique wooden spire, it was a mission church to Gwennap Village Church and still holds regular services on Sunday Mornings.
Formed from natural erosion the amphitheatre was a well-known location used by John Wesley during the 18th century. It rarely holds services outdoors these days, though the visitor centre at the site shows valuable insight into its past and connections with the preacher.
Robin Moore is grateful for the support given by KELTEK who have evolved into a major brewery supplying beer throughout the kingdom of Cornwall. Pubs include our ‘Flag Ship’, The Coppice Inn and 5 others in the Redruth Region which make up a circular ‘Ale Trail’ of 15 miles.
Robin Moore and Charity/Discovery Walks
Having walked over 30,000 miles so far in expeditions/charity walks he intends to continue exploring the world. For more information follow Robin Moore on Facebook and visit his websites.
‘Building Support for local Charities’