Driving down the B3273 we got our first glimpse of the beautiful Pentewan valley, both sides of the road were flanked with trees, shades of green stretching as far as the eye could see. We saw the sign for Little Winnick caravan site and turned in and set about making our camp for the week. The grass was short and the ground level and we soon had the awning up and the kettle on.
One of the bonuses of the site apart from its location central to lots of great places to explore and its excellent facilities was that you could access the Pentewan trail directly from the site. So after settling in we decided to explore.
Turning right outside the gates of the campsite, we followed the signpost and took another right turn that led us across a bridge and onto the trail that runs along the St Austell (White) river which flows south to the village of Pentewan where it crosses the beach and flows gently into the sea The river is shallow and very clean and this part of the route (also a cycle trail) is flat and easy to walk.
So, with the river on one side, Kings Wood on the other, and the sun shining brightly, we set out to follow the trail to Pentewan beach. It wasn’t long before we started to appreciate our surroundings, the damselflies and the birdsong, the wildflowers beside the river and the soft rush of the water as it crossed the stones in its path. We saw dog walkers a plenty with many a pooch taking a paddle in the clear shallows of the river. Bike riders passed us by with a cheery hello and the relaxed pace and warm temperatures added to feel of being in a natural haven.
Following the signpost we turned left into the shadow of Kings Wood. Kings Wood is a relic of an ancient woodland dating back several hundred years and has a mix of broadleaf woodland and meandering streams. You can feel the age of the place as you follow the sun spattered track through the woodland and down to the village of Pentewan.
Pentewan itself is a pretty little village that was once a harbour used to export tin and china clay from the surrounding area, and also to receive shipments of coal, which in turn was used in local tin mines. The dock basin is now separated from the sea by the beach and is filled with fresh water, and despite not having welcomed a ship for over 60 years, evidence of its industrial past are still scattered around the village. We wander past the pub and across the village and head toward the beach.
We walk past the sign that says private beach and over a little bridge, and then all at once the half a mile of east-facing sandy beach opens up in front of us – it’s gorgeous. A stroll along the shoreline with our feet lapped with white tipped waves, then we sit on the beach and watch the ocean until we are ready to make our return journey.
Brushing off the sand we make our way back through the village. Luckily Pentewan village has public toilets (and café’s for sustenance and of course also the pub if you fancy something a bit stronger). We pass Pentewan cycle hire – perhaps something to consider for another day, but for now we keep walking, up through Kings Wood to the river, and then we take another gentle stroll in the sunshine back to our campsite.