Heading over to my childhood playground for todays Where’s Wilding Walking. A breath-taking 4 ½ mile double-loop wander around Carne and Nare Head, immersed in history from the Second World War going all the way back to the Bronze Ages.
Starting at Kiberick Cove National Trust Car Park we head through the gate and walk steeply down towards the Cove before joining the South West Coast Path. Clambering over the wooden stile we are greeted with the most beautiful cliff-top meadow where the boys take some time to have a run around, throw a ball and our very puffed out dogs are rehydrated! From this high vantage point we enjoy the spectacular, far-reaching views of jutting headlands, rolling hills and turquoise blue seas.
Moseying on we come across an old bunker used in the Second World War as a decoy to protect the port of Falmouth. Special effects designed by British film studios were used to simulate lights from docks, trains and stations, as the enemy bombers approached four Royal Navy crewman manning the bunker, would switch the lights on to fool the bombers into thinking they had reached Falmouth and as they dropped their bombs the bunker crew would trigger bombs and fires on the headland to give the impression of a successful bomb strike. Slightly further on from this there is another bunker with its ventilation shaft protruding from the ground, which was built during the height of the Cold War when the threat of a nuclear attack on Britain was a real possibility! Needless to say, this was all right up the boy’s street!
Following the waymarkers we ‘head’ on over to Nare Head, an iconic headland to anyone that has visited this part of the Roseland and from the beach resembles a Rhinoceros head (to the Wildthings anyway!) but now being atop this rocky pinnacle we feel literally on top of the world, in the distance we can just make out Falmouth and back across land we can even see the tell tail white tips of the St. Austell China Clay hills, otherwise known as The Cornish Alps.
Carefully picking our way back down off the rocky headland, we continue down the path, only to discover a quaint stone and cob fisherman’s cottage known as Mallet’s Cottage. This tiny, ruined dwelling was originally built by a fisherman called Mallet, who married a girl from Veryan, but shortly after left her to pursue his trade from this cottage in the cliffs, only returning to Veryan at weekends with his catch. In the 1840’s he emigrated to Australia leaving his wife behind. Roughly 120 years later, and by the most extraordinary coincidence, a farmer from the Veryan area picked up two Australian hitchhikers just east of Bristol. One of which being Tina Mallet, the great granddaughter of Fisherman Mallet, travelling to Cornwall to explore her roots!
We move on down the valley steps, crossing a little wooden bridge over a stream at the bottom and make our way up the other side as the massive expanse of Carne and Pendower Beach appear before us. Crossing along the bottom of the fields, keeping an eye out still for Cornish Choughs, who we know habitat this stretch of cliff face, we reach the road that leads into Carne Beach Car Park to re-join the footpath at the rear but meet an obstacle in our path. A rather large herd of Highland Cows block the kissing gate we need to go through, so after a while and with lots of hand clapping we manage to coax them to one side, enough for us to proceed on, tentatively watching our back as we go, as they have very long horns!
After hauling our way up possibly the steepest hill in Cornwall, loosing a mobile phone half way up so having to retrace our steps, find the phone and rescale the mountainous beast for a second time, we cross a stone stile, another kissing gate (and yes I do make the boys come through one by one and give me a kiss each time, much to their disgust!!) and join the road for a short while before heading into another field to climb Carne Beacon. Thought to be 4000 years old, Carne Beacon is Cornwall’s largest surviving Bronze Age burial ground and one of the largest in Britain, and according to local legend, King Geraint of Cornwall was burred here in the sixth century, brought here in a golden boat with silver oars.
We leave the Beacon and walk through the incredibly pretty village of Carne to rejoin the footpath making our way back across Nare Head, getting that ‘Rhino’ shot on the way and returning to Kiberick Cove.