Sunday, 19 October 2008

Two pleasing walks close to home

The weather forecast suggests some fairly dire weather is in the offing for Devon and Cornwall tomorrow but at least the weekend has been largely dry in the Tamar Valley. Taking advantage then of the pleasant October weather of the past two days we have enjoyed a couple of walks close to home which avoided having to take the car anywhere. First up on Saturday morning was a stroll in the Calstock - Cotehele - Bohetherick area. I have to admit that we cheated by getting the 09.13 bus to Calstock first; we gain being in Cornwall in that we are able to use our senior citizens free bus pass at that early hour whereas our neighbours in Devon have to wait until 9.30 before using theirs! My friend had spotted details of a self guided walk in the latest edition of the Tamar Valley AONB newsletter. In essence this started and finished at Cotehele Quay, a circular walk taking in the lovely National Trust hamlet of Bohetherick. The NT and the AONB I know are keen to make this area a little more accessible to the walker and it incorporated a path that I hadn't done before. A wonderfully peaceful ramble it proved to be with that special quietness of weather which seems to be unique to this season. A word of warning to those who would like to follow in our footsteps - although most of the walk is easy going that part descending the north facing slope of the Morden Stream valley was surprisingly steep in places and, no doubt partly because of the lack of sunlight, tends to be pretty wet. With less rain than usual in the last week or two walking boots proved adequate but after a really wet spell I would think about wellingtons! To seasoned walkers such as ourselves conditions underfoot weren't particularly concerning but to others, less confident about going off the beaten track, it might be a bit of a problem. In fairness though the directions supplied did permit a shorter version of the walk and some of the difficulties I've mentioned could be avoided using this option.

This afternoon saw us follow the path on the west bank of the Tamar upstream past Gunnislake Clitters Mine site and then tend left up the mossy walled lane to North Dimson. From there one follows a quite sharp descent back to the river path just north of Gunnislake New Bridge and then it was just a case of following the very familiar track back home. The mix of green, orange and brown in the foliage of the trees at the moment is quite something to behold, all the more so as we lucky to have a rich diversity of species.

One point I should mention here is that in our area the sweet chestnuts that have fallen have been disappointing in size and ripeness. Now this is no great problem for me because with nuts it's a matter of "I can take them or leave them". For my friend though, very much a nut fanatic, it's been a disappointing crop of chestnuts so far this year.

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