A Car Free Day Out around St Austell EA13
5.5 miles (approximately 2 ½ hours)
This spectacular walk takes you to one of Cornwall’s most charming villages, Polkerris, the walk then loops round onto the Saints Way to reveal the stunning views across Par and the ‘Clay Country’ in the distance.
Par can be reached by both rail, which takes approximately 10 minutes from St Austell, or by bus taking the number 25; ‘St Austell to Fowey’ route that will travel via Eastcliffe Road, near the train station in Par.
From the train station turn right onto Eastcliffe Road and follow it past the library to reach a junction, here you need to look for public footpath signs that will lead you all the way down to the beach.
However, once you have walked through Par Sands Holiday Park you will reach a private road just before you see the sand dunes, once you have reached the road you need to turn left and walk towards the car park to find the coast path to the Gribbin Head.
Join the coast path enjoying the views across the beach and scenery of Mevagissey in the distance to right. Follow the path for some time to eventually reach the picturesque village of Polkerris, where you will find toilets and refreshments.
The RNLI lifeboat was once stationed at Polkerris (1859-1922) and served the Fowey area, crewed by men from Plokerris, Fowey and Par. For over 60 years the boathouse (now a restaurant ‘Sam’s on the Beach’), was at the heart of the community.
For more information and an artist’s impression of the boathouse in action, see the interpretation board found on the rear exterior wall of the restaurant.
Once you have finished exploring Polkerris, from the beach with the sea behind you, you will see public toilets signs to the far right leading you along the coast path. This is a steep and strenuous climb, which continues up hill and winds round to eventually reach the top. When you have reached the top ignore signs to the right and continue forward to cross the field, ensuring you stick to the footpath that leads to a gate.
At the gate turn right and continue forward (you are now on the Saints Way), passing the signs for Polkerris Beach until you reach a T-junction, here you need to turn left taking extra care as there is a particularly nasty bend. Follow the path down the hill until you reach the end of it, although very difficult to see just a short distance on the left hand side there is a gap in the hedge that leads into a field to continue along the Saints Way. Take extra care when crossing the road!
Cross over the stile and straight on over the field to reach a private road and gap / style in the hedge, which you need to cross and continue walking straight on and down the field to reveal the stunning views across Par and Clay Country in the distance. There is a faint path that you can follow down to the bottom of the field with the lake in the distance directly in front of you.
Follow the path until it folks and follow the signs to the left for the coast path that will lead you to where you started from the beach car park. Once have reached the car park turn left and make your way to the beach.
After enjoying a well earned rest at the beach, and for a more scenic return journey, find the boardwalk that is situated in the centre of the beach and follow it until you reach the road. Here turn left and continue forward until you see the huge granite boulder that points to the clay trails (Eden 3.5 miles & St Blazey 1.75 miles.)
This well made path leads you over further board walks to reach a small pine tree woodland. Where the road folks turn right and then immediately left, cross the road to follow the clay trails/cycle routes that will eventually lead you to the train station. There are a couple of spots where it can be a little confusing but try to look out for either a public footpath sign or the blue cycle signs, that will lead through the Par Recreation Ground Track & Park.
Keeping the running track on your right as you walk though the park, continue forward until you reach the train station.