A Walk in the Cornish Countryside: Crumplehorn to Polyne

The road into Polperro is long and winding, passing by small roadside shops and field after field of countryside and farms. After the last bend, you pass the petrol station and suddenly you’re at the top of Polperro, with the town running down the main road ahead of you. Crumplehorn Inn is on the left and you’re strongly encouraged to park in the car park on the right for no cars are allowed in the town itself. We’d driven this route a couple of times in the week that we were in Polperro and by the Tuesday I was beginning to get rather antsy. I could see that there were footpaths in and out of the surrounding countryside and I was really keen to get out of the car, venture further than the town itself, and take a nice, long walk. The problem was that I really didn’t know where to start and I was wary of starting a country walk that could lead to a half marathon (which is a definite possibility in England). I searched online for “Walks in Polperro” and was lucky to find this gem of a site with two suitably long walks: Polperro Walks.

We chose the 5 mile circular walk from Polperro to Talland, returning to Polperro via the coastal path. Before we left, we traced the route on Google Maps and invited my parents to come along. We learned the hard way that you cannot detect contours on satellite views! Let’s just say that we’re lucky we ran into difficulties on the very first stretch when my parents could still turn back because it the route was pretty steep and arduous at times.

Of course, that is not what I remember; what I remember is that the weather was perfect for a long walk and we saw some spectacular scenery. I also remember walking backwards up one stretch of the coastal path because it was too steep and too lengthy to walk up normally!

The walk took us three hours in total but we weren't counting the minutes. We just took the time to open our eyes, be in the moment and really appreciate our natural surroundings.

Longcoombe Lane, Polperro

We began our walk in Longcoombe Lane and straight away we entered a leafy, single track road. There was barely enough space in parts for us to walk side by side so I’m not too sure how a car would fit! Luckily we only encountered one car on our journey and that one was hooting furiously down the road to warn us of its approach.

Longcoombe Mill, Polperro

We soon arrived at Longcoombe Mill and naturally I took a photograph, much to the bemusement of the owner. He probably rues the day that local websites included his home as an attraction!  Needless to say I quickly put my camera away once he spotted me.  According to a plaque on the wall, what we see now was rebuilt in 1970 but the mill itself was built in the 13thcentury. The original mill was built by monks as a fulling or tucking mill, one where you process wool.

In the forest in Polperro

After we passed the mill we began to walk deeper and deeper into the countryside and were soon we surrounded by abundant greenery.

Longcoombe Stream, Polperro

We crossed over a brook and spent a long time watching a mother duck and her flock of ducklings make their way downstream. It was an exercise of bravery and daring; which duckling would be willing to brave the unchartered rapids and who would be first to jump in after the intrepid explorers?

Longcoombe Marsh, Polperro

We walked ever deeper into the forest and were surrounded by ancient trees with their towering heights and gnarled barks. This is how trees should be - free to grow without interference, with branches shooting off in all directions.

Sclerder Fields, Looe

Our path took us into the valley and back up into the hills again. We began to pass fields and farmlands. We didn't get to see any sheep or cattle but we could hear their excited chorus from behind the hedgerows bordering the farms.

After a while, we arrived at the main road. We had walked two or three miles by then and I glanced longingly down the road leading back to Polperro. Alas, my evil husband insisted that I complete the full five mile walk as planned. He can be quite the taskmaster when he thinks it is for my own good.

Sclerder Abbey Entrance, Looe

before long, we arrived at the picturesque Sclerder Abbey. Sclerder is a 17th century Carmelite Monastery and home to an enclosed community of nuns.

Sclerder Abbey, Looe

As you can imagine, Sclerder is a place of private reflection and not too welcoming to a pair of day trippers exploring the Cornish countryside. Nevertheless, we took a walk around the outer buildings and were able to admire the foreboding architecture. I have to admit, if I were to conjure up images of a severe Catholic nunnery, this is exactly what I would imagine.

Sclerder Parish Cemetery, Looe

I was quite interested in exploring the Sclerder Parish Cemetery but Stephen was quick to nip that idea in the bud. "No sweetie", he said, "that's really dark". I was quite incredulous in my response, given that I was quite the coffin kid before I met him. He did warn me once that if I had dressed like that when we met, we would never have got together.

Polyne Farm, Looe

After dragging me away from the cemetery, we walked across the road and realised we had reached our half way point at Polyne Farm. Would we ever finish our walk? Would we reach the coast and see the sea before winding our way back along the coastal path to Polperro? We certainly would but I'll have to save that story for another day.

Time to Relax: A Day at Bridgewood Manor Spa

* I received a complimentary voucher from Wahanda for the purposes of this review

There is no doubt about it, the past couple of months have been especially hard for us. As Stephen and I come to terms with our loss, we’ve kept ourselves very busy and it has been a whirlwind of work, studies, Italian lessons and non-stop social events. As long as we didn’t keep still for one moment we were fine but as I’m sure you can guess, all we really achieved was a state of exhaustion. It was perfect timing when the team from Wahanda contacted me to ask whether I’d like to try out their website and book one of their spa days. It was definitely a ‘yes’ from me!

Wahanda provides a comprehensive listing of spas, salons and health centres across the UK. Signing up to the website is really easy and it takes just two minutes to register. All that was required was a username, email address and postcode and the mobile site worked really well on my iPhone too.

Spa days in Kent

Continuing with my determination to see more of my home county of Kent, I chose Bridgewood Manor Spa in Chatham, Kent because we found a fantastic special there. We were certainly not disappointed.

Our relaxation began the moment we arrived at the spa. We were provided with gowns and towels and immediately made our way to the pool area to take advantage of the sauna, steam room and rejuvenating cold showers. We spent sometime in the heated pool before lounging about beside the pool until lunch time.

Lunch was lovely and light. I enjoyed a jacket potato with cheese and salad while Stephen went for the healthier option of cheese and chutney on homemade bread with salad. Our special offer came with a glass of bubbly too.

After lunch we had another hour in which to lounge about both in and beside the pool and I spent more time alternating between the sauna and the showers too.

Our treatments were at 3pm and we split up to go into our respective treatment rooms. I was first treated to a full body massage which was simply blissful. Due to an old whiplash injury, I am used to much more painful deep tissue massages but on this occasion, it was just perfect to have a lighter, more relaxing touch. Perhaps the best thing about the massage was that I was able to not think about anything and simply be present in the moment as I became more and more relaxed.

I wish I could tell you more about the facial but the truth is that I found it so relaxing that I fell asleep less than 15 minutes into the treatment. I do know that they used Spa Find products which I was especially happy with as they are paraben-free and against animal testing. I emerged with soft, clear and glowing skin and was especially impressed with the eye mask used during the treatment.

As you can imagine, it took some convincing to get Stephen into a spa in the first place but he gave a glowing recommendation of his day saying that we “need to do this more often” and perhaps “we should look at spa breaks next time”. As I reclined with a cup of sweet tea at the end of our day I had to agree. We had a fantastic day and perhaps next time we come we can make use of the gym facilities or indulge in a full body scrub too.

Bridgewood Manor is a small spa and bookings are strictly limited so it is best to book ahead. We appreciated these intimate surroundings and did not feel the need to be self-conscious as you sometimes experience in larger venues.

We enjoyed a Q to Relax Together Spa Day for Two for a fantastic £138 (£69 each). Included in this price was lunch, robes and slippers and the full use of spa facilities for the day. It also included two full treatments from a choice of a full body exfoliation, full body massage, manicure, pedicure or 1 hour facial. (The fact that it included full treatments and not mini treatments was the deciding factor in why we chose this venue).

Have you been on a spa day in London or Kent? Tell me all about it!

Bridgewood Manor Hotel & Spa
Near Bluebell Hill
Walderslade Woods
T: 01634 201333
E: Stay@qhotels.co.uk