Day 4;- The Rain it Raineth Every Day
It’s the last day of walking the Copper Trail and this final leg of nearly sixteen miles covers the section from St Neot to Bodmin. No bus runs to St Neot from the Bodmin direction and so I have to get the bus which runs along the A38 towards Liskeard and alight at Trago Mills.
It is a smart start and like the past few days the rain starts as I don walking boots and make my way down to catch the bus in Bodmin. I leave the bus at Trago Mills where I find a shelter to don full waterproof gear as it’s going to be another exceedingly wet day.
I am glad to get off the short section of the busy A38 I have to walk as it has no pavements and I soon take a narrow lane running uphill. Little traffic uses this road but it’s ironic that two vehicles meet at the point where I am walking. I trudge on via the empty hamlet of Ley then skirt Goonzion Downs towards St Neot.
The rain is easing off but the wind whistles through the telegraph wires. Is this really August in Cornwall or is it November? At least at St Neot the rain has gone off, and for now the day is looking more promising. In the bus shelter I shed my waterproofs and whilst I’m there the little daily bus turns up empty and then leaves picking up no one for its journey back to Liskeard. How much longer will these rural services continue?
I am aiming for Colliford Lake next which means ascending on a series of narrow lanes via Hilltown Farm, Tremaddock Farm and later north to Whitebarrow Downs. Where is everyone today? Every house I pass seems empty despite cars on the drive. Does anyone ever go out? Even the fields are deserted of any human activity. Nearing Colliford Lake the weather doesn’t look so good and around here there is very little shelter. I stop to put on my waterproof coat and with umbrella up and head down I head for a clump of trees at the eastern end of the reservoir dam. It is time for my morning break at this exposed spot but at least I have limited shelter.
Pressing on across the dam the rain continues, backed by a brisk and cold north westerly. The day is turning quite foul but for awhile the rain is easing. I have some road walking now but I have to battle into a head wind. A left turn takes me across the southern edge of Redhill Down but I have to run for cover at the entrance drive to Mannabroom Farm. It’s now time to don full waterproof gear as this wet weather was setting in. I decide to press on using my umbrella to keep the worse of the rain off and for awhile follow a lane until the rain turns into a deluge. A thick tree offers shelter but I need somewhere to study the map and route text without getting it wet. I do manage it to a degree then continue to memorise the route but this isn’t easy beyond Tor House.
I cross open moor with much bracken but can’t remember which way to go afterwards however I know the rough direction. It’s just too wet and windy to read the map. I know I have to go through Whitewalls Farm and I here I feel that I take the wrong route by going through the garden instead of around the farm buildings. By now it is raining so hard that I think it doesn’t really matter. I take the farm drive south and find a large oak tree with some shelter. It is time for lunch and having found a place to sit, it isn’t long before the rain is coming through the tree and so I end up eating lunch stood up under my umbrella.
I continue south across Warleggan Down then right to Treveddoe Farm. Again it is too wet to manage any serious map reading but from memory I just skirt the farm and luckily gates appeared where I guessed they should be. I now drop down to a wooded valley but take a wrong path through woodland and over very wet ground. Back on route I continue along the valley into some woods with tall stands of beech trees which give limited shelter. With the rain easing off, I stop for a break by some felled logs. I am still on my intended route and carefully plan and memorised the next mile and a half of my walk which is mostly lane walking.
I head south towards the small village of Mount and for awhile the weather improves and I have thoughts of removing my waterproofs when I get to Mount but before I get there, the heavens open again. At least at the crossroads in the hamlet there is a good shelter and time to plan my next leg of the walk. Leaving Mount I head west before taking a minor lane southwest to Little Downs and meanwhile the rain is becoming lighter before fizzling out. I later veered right at a village green and cross a road en route to Cardinham Castle not that there was anything there to see. Castle Farm presents some navigation problems and with the rain returning I find a tree to get under and to sort out the instructions in my guide. The photocopied sheets of paper showing my marked up route for the trail are now in a sorry state but have been invaluable up to now.
I do find the right path which drops down to a valley and through a garden with a gate which opens out onto a parked car which prevents me from squeezing through. Failing to open it that way, I have to excavate part of the drive to force the gate the other way. I now opted to take a small diversion to visit the historic Cardinham Church and its ancient crosses. One cross is said to be the best preserved Saxon Cross in England and stands immediately outside the south porch. I remember being here with John Goodman on our walk from Tiverton to Bodmin a few years earlier in much better weather.
Back tracking, I follow the lane south then west to the hidden hamlet of Milltown. A track west leads into Deviock Wood which is full of well signed trails for walkers and cyclists. A good forest track leads west to Ladyvale Bridge. Here I turn right onto a quieter track which leads up the Lidcutt Valley. I later leave the wood and follow a field path and now it is time to remove those waterproofs as the sun is making an appearance. A left turn takes me up an enclosed path but it was time to get those secateurs out again. Beyond, I cross yet another field with cows and a bull and I have no real option but to walk past them.
I continue with an overgrown track beyond and now the rain returns once more. A right turn at Callybarrett Cottage takes me onto another track to reach a road before crossing the A30 once more and a walk down into Bodmin. It rains once more before I reach the car after and what has been a fairly wet walk I was still surprisingly dry however a pulled muscle in my right leg and this is causing some concern.
Well I have completed the Copper Trail and overall it has been quite an enjoyable walk. The downside has been the weather and I had certainly chosen the wrong week. It is fairly apparent that few people walk this trail as I had not seen any other serious walker the whole time. Today’s walk has been the wettest which did mar it a bit. Despite paths being signed, many were rather overgrown with a lack of usage. Well this is inland Cornwall.
Details of the route can be found on the following web link however the route has change slightly in places since I walked the trail in 2014;-