Cornwall: Cotehele Quay and Mill (circular) 3.5 miles - O/S Explorer 108
A short walk that packs a lot in.
The view down to Calstock, with its tall and elegant railway viaduct spanning the Tamar are a delight. A different sort of lovely are the gardens of Cotehele and the preserved mill. This walk takes them all in.
Start at Cotehele Quay, a busy little stopping point in the 19th century. Here stuff was loaded and taken down to Plymouth, and necessities for the good life (lots of wine from France I'm guessing) brought back for the famous Edgecombe family. Cotehele House, just above the Quay, was where they slummed it when not at their Edgecombe Estate near Kingsands.
They came by the house through marriage in the 14th century and hung onto to it until death duties forced them to hand it to the Government in 1947. We can thank the National Trust for preserving the Quay and the house for our pleasure.
Parking at the Quay (there’s a café if you’re thirsty… and a loo if your desperate) admire the old buildings and boats before heading north toward Calstock, taking the lower of two paths.
After about a third of a mile, as you begin to climb above the river to your right, there’s a bench and excellent viewing point to the viaduct. This multi-arched lovely was built in 1908.
Imagine if you can railway wagons being hoisted and lowered from that giant to the riverbank. Well, it happened up to 1934. A dizzying sight it must have been.
Now look to your left, to a gate into Cotehele’s lower gardens. Not to be missed. There’s a magical dovecote by a pond and lots of lovely plants to admire. It's the sort of place that gets you believing in pixies.
After finishing that little detour, continue along the path. Soon after, it joins another path. Left here will take you to Cotehele House. Well worth a tour if you’re in the mood, or you want a coffee (some excellent artwork in the café). If not, continue ahead a little way until you see a path into woodland on your left. Take this.
After about a third of a mile, you'll see a path to a gate on your left. Go through into a field, heading right toward the far hedge and following this to a farmers gate. On your left there’s a tower, constructed in the 18th century to commemorate an Edgecombe’s rise from Viscount to Earl, or so some believe.
Your path comes out at a lane, with a narrower lane straight ahead. Take this to Newton, going left and left again as you enter the hamlet until the lane ends at a fine old house. To your right there’s a farm gate and path through an avenue of apple trees. It ends at a gate and leads to a woodland track. Follow this, ignoring a track on the right.
Ending at a farm gate, go through to a lane and turn left.
A short way along, at a T junction, go straight ahead onto what seems to be the driveway of Orchard Cottage (so lovely it earns a picture here). The track in fact continues past and follows a tributary to the Tamar.
Keep an eye to your right for the wonderfully preserved Cotehele Mill. There’s a wooden bridge over to it. Cross here to have a closer look.
Having explored the mill, make your way to the lane above (admiring a smiling stone trough on your way with a sign about breeding newts).
At the lane, go right for a few yards to a path on your left. Following this, keeping left as it joins another. After that, follow the red waymarker arrows. Soon enough, Cotehele quay comes back into view on your left and you emerge onto a lane (would have taken a picture but it was pouring rain at this point). Go left here, then right over a bridge and right again to where you started.
Told you in packed a lot in.