If you are starting from Lansallos, begin the walk at number 4, by the church, continuing from number 1 when you reach Frogmore.
- From Frogmore car park follow the Lantivet Bay footpath to the junction, crossing the road to pick up the footpath along the lane almost opposite. Walk downhill towards the South West Coast Path.
- Fork right to descend to the Coast Path (or take the small path to the left for a less steep ascent and descent across this valley). On the Coast Path turn left to walk around above Palace Cove and Sandheap Point. There is an optional detour on the right here, to visit the tip of the point. Carry on along the Coast Path, descending the steps to the stream at West Coombe.
The 'Palace' in the cove name is nothing to do with enormous mansions: it comes from a Cornish word meaning 'place', and in the nineteenth century it was used for a shed above a beach or quay where women and children processed the catch brought in by the fishing fleet. Packing the fish in barrels between layers of salt, they would then squeeze the oil out of the fish to dry it out and preserve it.
The National Trust uses Dexter cattle and Dartmoor ponies to graze the path between Pencarrow Head and Lantivet as part of its management programme to restore the coastal grassland. This part of the Coast Path is rich in plant life as a result: in spring and summer there are banks of tumbling thorn blossom and fiery, coconut-scented gorse, and the grass is studded with primroses, dog violets, celandines and bluebells in spring, and stitchwort, dandelions and campions in summer. Look out for swathes of lichen in the thorn bushes: a sign of pure air.
- Cross the footbridge at West Coombe to carry on along the Coast Path for a short distance inland. Take the footpath on the left above Lansallos Cove, climbing gently through the fields, carrying on along the lane as it approaches Lansallos Church. For a shorter walk, take the footpath over the footbridge on the left when the main path follows the stream around to the right, and follow it up through the valley to rejoin the longer route at 5.
This was the old path from the village of Lansallos to the water mill in West Coombe. The babbling brook which used to power the water mill on the coast runs alongside the path for much of the way (turn left as the path crosses it for another shortcut to the main route at 5). In spring the stream's mossy banks are dotted with celandines and golden saxifrage. The path was also used by fishermen descending to the cove, and farmers taking donkey carts down to the beach to collect sand and seaweed to fertilise their fields.
- Carry on past the church to take the footpath over the stile on the left, by the gate, and follow it straight ahead, downhill through three fields, to the stream at the bottom.
Built in 1321, Lansallos Church has a wagon roof and a Norman font and was dedicated to St Idierna. It was rebuilt in the fifteenth century. There are human and animal heads carved into the bench ends, and some very old five-holed stocks. Only one cracked bell remains of the original three medieval bells, after drunken revellers destroyed the others in the nineteenth century. It is thought that in the tenth century Lansallos was a landowning church, and a recently-discovered charter from the reign of Athelstan suggests that it had a monastery attached. In the 1086 Domesday Book, however, 'Lansalwys' (from the Cornish meaning 'the holy site of Salwys') was recorded as a secular manor.
- Crossing the stream, continue ahead (or left, if you have joined from the shorter route), and climb steeply to the left-hand hedge. From here contour around the hill through two more fields, to the road.
Early in the nineteenth century, a copper mine operated in the valley for around 20 years. Known as Wheal Howell, or sometimes Wheal Providence, and the machinery put up for sale when it closed in 1832 included a 60-inch cylinder, which indicated that it must have been a mine of some size. The three shafts that are known about have all been filled in, but for your safety you are advised to stay on the path.
Live many another secluded cove on the South West Coast Path the area had a lively 'free trade'. One smuggling incident in 1825 resulted in a large quantity of liquor being washed up on the shoreline. One of the kegs of brandy was further smuggled, into one of the mineshafts at Wheal Howell, with disastrous consequences for the mine's output that day!
- Descending the steps in the hedge with care, turn left on the road and walk to the junction to return to the car park at Frogmore.
The flight of stone steps leading to the road are known locally as 'Kiss Me Arse Steps'. Although the origin of the name is unknown, if two people are climbing the steps at the same time it is not difficult to imagine how it came about!