Starting point: Free parking at PenroseAmenity Area opposite Helston’s Coronation Park
Length and time: Seven mile walk around the Penrose Estate, moderate difficulty, takes about three to four hours. A shorter version is an hour long two to three mile walk to the Stables Café by Loe Pool and back.
Facilities: Toilets and refreshments are available at Lakeside Café Coronation Park and also at the National Trust Stables Café on the Penrose estate. Both are dog friendly. Cycle hire available at Coronation Park.
Once upon a time, the estuary of the River Cober rose up the valley and reached almost to the part of Helston where you now find Coinage Hall Street. The experts argue about exactly when the river fells, but, over centuries, the sea swept sand across the mouth of this river estuary just south of Porthleven and a bank of golden sand formed a low wall between the sea and the River Cober.
Behind this bank, Loe Pool formed and the upper reaches of the valley silted up forming solid land where the river once was. Today, you find Coronation Park here, with its pretty boating lake, popular skate park and children’s play area and café.
You can also find a very beautiful, flat, walking trail, around the Penrose Estate, which is located between Helston and Loe Bar.
Where to start: If you follow signs from Helston to Porthleven you soon come to the Penrose Amenity car park, a large free car park opposite the Coronation Park boating lake. Standing with your back to the main road, walk to the right hand edge of the car park. Here you find little trails that take you to a small wooden bridge which crosses the River Cober.
- There is a wide open field here beside the stream, which is popular with dog walkers and families (there’s another small play area in the trees). At this point, you can choose to turn left and walk along the narrower path which edges banks of the river. Or, if you prefer, you can turn right and follow the path across the field to the beginning of the main trail, which is wider and tarmacked and which takes you through a tunnel of tall oak and sweet chestnut trees which line the edge of the river valley.
- Follow the path by the riverbank, the continue through to the right through a marshy area, this section is just a short stroll before you arrive at the wider main trail down the valley.
- Turn left along the main path and this is a lovely stroll of about a mile until you come to Helston Lodge, actually a National Trust holiday cottage. Here you finally see Loe Pool and begin to walk around it.
- Following the path as it veers to the right the vista opens up onto the parkland of the Penrose Estate main house, set in a beautifully landscaped area of parkland which sweeps down into the valley. A signpost directs you either to the Penrose Estate car park situated on the road from Helston to Porthleven), or towards Loe Bar and Porthleven.
- At this point you reach the National Trust Stables Café with its outdoor seating, Baker Tom rolls and home-made cakes.
- Turn right out of the café towards Loe Bar. The trail becomes a little more hilly here, but it is still fairly easy and another mile or so brings you out to the coast path and small house looking over the ocean.
- You can turn right here and walk another two miles to Porthleven with it’s wonderful array of fabulous restaurants and shops. There is also a bus service back to Coronation Park in Helston.
- For the circular walk, turn left down the slope to the fascinating Loe Bar. Here, you find beautiful fragile orchids here as well as sea holly, and tiny yellow flowers at some times of the year.
- Keep dogs out of the sea here, Loe Pool is polluted and the ocean side beach is very steep and currents are strong. Many dogs have gone into the water here and failed to make it safely back to shore.
- Once safely across the bar, follow the sandy track which edges the pool back inland.
- From here, the path takes you slightly right along Carminow Creek and once here, you can follow signs to Lower Nansloe and Helston back across the boardwalk up towards fields which edge the pool.
- Follow the path back along a lane past a small holiday cottage, and through two fields and you will come to the woodland at the edge of Loe Pool. From here there is a very pretty woodland trail which leads you back around the banks to the upper reaches of the valley.
- Eventually the path will take you back up to the concreted path. Follow this left up a gentle slope and past the old mine workings where copper was once mined on the estate.
- From here it is less than one mile back to the car park, and the Lakeside Café at Coronation park for very well deserved coffee and cake. The cafe is very dog friendly and there is a playpark for children.