Following a gentle stretch of the well-trodden South West Coast Path and inland country routes, the 3-mile Padstow to Prideaux Place walk leads amblers on a picturesque journey, combining natural beauty with rich culture and history.
To get started on the 3-mile Padstow to Prideaux Place walk, leave the town just beyond Greens of Padstow and pick up the South West Coast Path. With views of the harbour and town behind you, you will keep your shoulder to the River Camel and march onwards past St Saviour’s Point.
If you have plenty of time on your hands, you can draw out your walk by dropping down one of the many paths leading to the coves and huge sandy swathes that hug the river. Press your toes into the sand and watch the activity along the shore. For birdwatchers, this is a great walk throughout the year, with summer thermals offering the perfect ride for seabirds gliding lazily on the breeze and the bare fields of autumn providing ideal scouring grounds for migrant birds.
For history buffs, keep your eyes peeled for St George’s Well, meant to be just off the path above St George’s Cove. One of Cornwall’s many holy wells, St George’s Well’s natural waters provided travellers of long-gone eras with mineral-rich waters, quenching their thirst on long journeys. So beneficial these wells’ waters were believed to be, the Celts and Roman said they had healing powers. As well as St George’s Well, another well, St John’s Well, is believed to be located near the daymark tower on Stepper Point.
Passing St George’s Cove, you will continue past Gun Point (the home of a Napoleonic gun emplacement), and on towards Harbour Cove. Another great spot to head down to the beach for a while, Harbour Cove boasts a golden-sand beach and views across the estuary. Four-legged friends will be particularly partial to this beach, along with Hawker’s Cove, as they are both on the list of Padstow’s year-round dog-friendly beaches.
Picking up the coast path once more, enjoy the amazing views of the estuary, the coast and the infamous Doom Bar (created, some say, by a heartbroken mermaid) before making your way inland. Just on the edge of Harbour Cove after Gun Point, a separate track leads away from the coast – take this path and follow it through the countryside past Tregirls Farm. Heading in the direction of the town, keep going straight and get ready for the magnificent sight of Prideaux Place.
With roots traced all the way back to the 11th century, the Prideaux family is believed to be descended from William the Conqueror, King Edward I and Queen Eleanor of Castile and has a mind-boggling array of famous connections, including Jane Austen. Built in the 16th century, the house itself has enjoyed a fascinating history, welcoming a vibrant array of royalty, soldiers and artists for hundreds of years. Take a tour of the house or wander its peaceful grounds overlooking the ancient deer park, before continuing on your way.
Past Prideaux Place, you can follow Tregirls Lane before it merges with Church Street and leads you into the heart of the town. Take a pew by the harbour, head to a local restaurant for a meal or gather up some of the best tastes of Padstow to take back to your luxury cottage and toast to the day.