Saints’ Way Cornwall: 30 Glorious Coast To Coast Miles
Saints’ Way Cornwall is a 30-mile trail in mid-Cornwall that goes from coast to coast across beautiful open countryside. It starts in the bustling harbour town of Padstow in the north and heads south to the coast at Fowey following an ancient pilgrimage route.
- How Long Does It Take To The Walk Saints Way?
- Do I Need A Saints’ Way Cornwall Map?
- Is There A GPX For The Trail?
- What Sights Can I See On Saints’ Way Cornwall?
Queen Victoria Obelisk
Helman Tor and Crift
Men Guthra, St Breock Downs
Churches, Celtic Crosses – and The Crown Inn, Lanlivery
- Wild Camping And Places To Stay
How Long Does It Take To Walk Saints’ Way Cornwall?
If you’re a fit, regular walker you’ll be able to walk the trail over 2 days without any trouble (the midway point is the village of Lanlivery). And if you love a good long-distance day-hike the easy terrain will make Saint’s Way Cornwall a memorable stomp.
When I hiked it in July 2019 I decided to walk it over two days with a mid-way wild camp. I’d loved to have walked it in a day but if like me, you plan to get to Padstow by public transport you might find you can’t get there early enough. You could always stay in Padstow for the night before a long day-hike of course, but if you split the hike itself into two days you’ll get to spend more time taking in the sights along the way.
Do I Need A Saints’ Way Cornwall Map?
The short answer is no. The Saints’ Way is incredibly well-signposted with black and gold finger-posts as well as wooden posts with a black arrow and Celtic cross logo. However, I really recommend a map and the best Saints’ Way map is from Yellow Publications’ Zigzag series The Saints’ Way: Padstow to Fowey.
The route is shown on one water-proof walking map and uses OS mapping – and it’s a really good price too. You’re unlikely to too get lost without one (unless any signs have gone missing…) but the map also shows a shorter 11-mile section that you might prefer.
Is There A GPX For The Trail?
You can download my fully waymarked GPX of Saint’s Way Cornwall from the OS Maps App – and it’s completely free. Waymarks include interesting sights along the way, amenities I used as well as indications of dangerous road crossings, etc.
What Sights Can I See On Saints’ Way Cornwall?
It goes without saying that The Saints’ Way has plenty of spectacular views along the way, as well as Padstow and Fowey to explore. But there’s lots of historical interest too. Here are a few places I stopped along the way.
Padstow, Where The Saints’ Way Begins
Padstow is a lovely town to explore, with its winding narrow streets that feel intimate as well as timeless. The harbour is beautiful on a sunny day and the harbour entrance has stunning views across the Camel Estuary. One thing I can never miss out on in Padstow though is a cream tea at Cherry Trees Coffee House – I guarantee it’ll set you up for a good walk!
Queen Victoria Obelisk
One of the first things you see as you climb out of Padstow is the Queen Victoria Obelisk. It was built in 1889 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 1887 Jubilee. The granite spire is at the top of Dennis Hill and can be seen for miles. There are spectacular views out over the Camel Estuary, so don’t forget to look behind you!
There’s a track to the top of the Tor off the main route that’s easy to spot as you pass by. It’s worth it for the far-reaching views out across to Brown Willy and Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor. Be prepared for a bit of a windy experience on this high point of the trail!
Summer Solstice On Helman Tor
If you happen to be passing the Tor at 2pm on Summer Soltice any year, listen out for the local church choir singing out from the top. It’s been “going for years”, according to a member of the Choir I met in the lane. And after the singing? Well, you head back to church for a cream tea, of course. Gotta love a local tradition!
When you come down off the Tor you take a track down to Crift, which is my favourite part of this walk in summer. The day I hiked the trail in 2019 the high Cornish hedges were full of tall foxgloves and red campions, and it felt like walking through a secret tunnel. It was just me, the birdsong, the sweet smell of honeysuckle and dog rose, and the blue sky above. And there were more meadow brown butterflies flitting about than I’ve ever seen in one place: an absolute joy.
Men Guthra (Stone Of Waiting) On St Breock Downs
St Breock Downs offers fantastic open views and the landscape is full of reminders of a long-lost history. As well as Men Guthra, Cornwall’s largest and heaviest standing stone, there are barrows, more standing stones, settlements, and a stone row in the area.
Churches, Celtic Crosses, And The Crown Inn At Lanlivery
On a pilgrimage route like this, you can, of course, expect to see plenty of medieval churches along the way, and I stopped in one or two to have a look around. But this route is also marked by lots of interesting Celtic crosses beside the tracks and lanes in various states of repair (and weathering). I wish I’d counted them – there seemed to be so many!
One of the other medieval treasures is the Crown Inn in Lanlivery, which is one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall and dates back to the 12th century. It’s an atmospheric place to shelter from the rain (as I did this time), but on a dry summer’s day, you can sit outside in the garden and enjoy a well-earned pint and meal.
Fowey, Where The Saints’ Way Cornwall Way Ends
Fowey is another pretty town that’s worth exploring, and if you need more time at the end of a day’s walk there are plenty of places to stay too. There are pubs and cafes where you can sit and watch the boats on the water, or take a ferry across to Polruan for a wander around the village. Check out this article An Afternoon In Charming Fowey from my friend Penny’s Cornwall lifestyle blog for more ideas.
Wild Camping And Places To Stay
I found a discreet place under some trees on the edge of a lane where I pitched up for the night. There were no views, but it was peaceful and I got a good night’s sleep and woke up to birdsong. It was about 11.5 miles into the hike.
I noticed a campsite at Lanlivery, Eden Valley Holiday Park, which I marked on my GPX file. No experience of it, but it looked good.
The midway point of the walk is at Lanivet where you’ll be able to find nearby b&bs. Lanivet also boasts the Lanivet Inn and a good convenience store. And you’re spoilt for choice if you want to stay in either Padstow or Fowey (links to visitor guides).
I hope you enjoy this fantastic walk, it’s something a bit different and a great way to enjoy the countryside rather than the Cornish coast. I’d love to know if you hiked it too, and feel free to leave a comment if you’ve got any more questions.
Looking For Another Walk?
Check out this page for my guide to Walking In Cornwall or this one for another coast-to-coast walk (that can be done in a day). This walk, however, is another multi-day hike that I really love: West Penwith: My Favourite Hike On The South West Coast Path In Cornwall! – 40 spectacular miles between St Ives and Penzance and highly recommend it!
You might also enjoy my South West Coast Path south Cornwall Journal, which includes Fowey:
- Day 1 Plymouth, Kingsand-Cawsand, Rame Head, Whitsand Bay (14.5 miles)
- Day 2 Portwrinkle, Looe, Polperro, Lantic Bay (20 miles)
- Day 3 Lantic Bay, Fowey, Charlestown, Pentewan (20 miles)