A gentle walk along a river bank, taking in the scenery, fauna and flora has to be a relaxing and rewarding leisure activity. Fancy a stroll? Well you’re in luck, because Lostwithiel is not only a great place to visit explore and relax in, but it also has the lovely river Fowey flowing through it. Although there are many places from which to start your walk, Mellingey is the obvious choice if that’s where you’re staying. Otherwise use the cattle market car park next to the community centre by King George’s playing field.
From Mellingey, walk down the drive, turn left at the bottom towards Restormel Castle then within 100m go through the gate on the right into the community field, follow the footpath along the river walking towards the main road bridge to the South. At the hedge exit the field cross the road and into King George’s playing field, you can now follow along the river bank and head in direction of the ancient town Bridge.
The town bridge area is lovely, a large green area alongside the bridge has picnic benches and built in BBQ’s, always a lovely spot to sit and dream especially at high tide!
The Medieval Bridge stands at the site of the original crossing of the River Fowey. The river was first bridged by the Normans. The bridge was rebuilt in the 13th-14th centuries and has been repaired and kept in use ever since. It has been the scene of many notable and emotional occasions, including the arrival of the Black Prince and his retinue to hold Court at Restormel Castle in 1354, and the dispatch of the defeated Parliamentary army by the angry citizens in 1644.
The foundations of four western arches are buried under North Street. The eastern arches were added as the river changed course. From the bridge its pretty straightforward, just follow the river downstream. Walking along the pavement with the town Parade on your left
From here leave the river side and walk along the parade footpath towards the Duchy palace, one of many lovely artisan, & antique shops within Lostwithiel all well worth a visit. The Duchy palace boasts trading its unique design furnishings and luxury living business within the oldest secular medieval building in the country.
The Duchy Palace, also referred to as the Stannary Palace, was built circa 1265–1300, and part of a large complex of buildings for the Duchy of Cornwall relating to the taxation of the Tin industry. Keep the Palace on your right and head once again towards the river and Coulson park. On your right you will now pass the lovely archway where under the large granite slabs flows the river Cober, which flows beneath Lostwithiel before entering the river Fowey.
Looking to your left you will see you have now rejoined the river Fowey, follow the granite wall as it curves around to the left where some small craft are moored before you pass under the railway bridges for both the china clay trucks taking their cargo to the docks at Fowey and the main line London to Penzance passenger line. The buildings you can see across the river are the Brunel quays houses, homes developed from part of the original carriage works for the Cornwall railway. Thought to be designed by Brunel around 1859 when the railway came through the town and remained in business for over 100 years.
After passing under the relatively low iron bridges you will enter Coulson park, a lovely green open space with some splendid old and well established trees, the park is named after an American property magnate who gave money for the park to be created seemingly as a thank you for the upbringing he received at Lostwithiel in the 1850’s.
The river now meanders through the park towards Pill walk, where it runs alongside the footpath and railway line for some 200 metres, as the river and path enter Shirehall Moor and nature reserve.
At Shirehall Moor the valley floor opens out to reveal a wide salt marsh moor. The Moor is an absolute haven for much wildlife especially, Swan’s, Mallard ducks Egret and Heron’s, if you’re really lucky you may see the beautiful Kingfisher and during winter Canadian geese are regular visitors.