The 11-mile Coast to Coast Mineral Tramways Trail from Portreath to Devoran is one of the most pleasant and easy ways of crossing the Westcountry peninsula.
The Coast-to-Coast Tramway Trail is actually better suited to cycling than walking, but the easy going stroll makes for a pleasant day out nevertheless.
Along the way, through the Poldice Valley, you will see some of the most extensive ‘mine-scapes’ to be found anywhere in the country. The word ravaged doesn’t quite do the scenery justice, and yet there in an austere beauty which you will not witness anywhere else. The tramway begins near the inland end of Portreath harbour and continues parallel to the B3300 road out of town until it reaches the hamlet of Bridge. Here it climbs gently into the pleasant countryside around Cambrose before passing close to quaint little Mawla hamlet and on, higher and higher, to the main A30 road bridge at Scorrier.
This is the watershed – it’s all downhill to Devoran from here. And for a mile or two the landscape becomes almost shire-like, with graceful woodlands and dingly dells. But this doesn’t last for long – just north-east of St Day we arrive in the Poldice Valley – a place which boasts the sort of landscape that Dr Who was forever landing his Tardis in.
Eventually, past the tiny hamlet of Twelveheads, the trail goes by the corrugated iron fortress of Mount Wellington Mine and enters the slightly more agrarian acres of Bissoe – slightly, because a giant arsenic works still dominates the place. Anyway, it’s all most picturesque down under the giant Carnon rail viaduct – indeed it’s the sort of place where you’d expect to see kingfishers – if there were any fish in the stream. Which I doubt.
Careful when you get to the A39 Truro to Falmouth road, it’s a bit of a dangerous crossing. And then you are in Devoran – yet another old port that no longer deals with mercantile ships and the sea.
Strictly speaking, this is the south coast – but it’s all very silted and estuarine and the open sea is still several miles down the Fal. But never mind – having walked the 11 miles you really do feel like you’ve crossed the peninsula from coast to coast.