Polruan to Bodinnick, retrace Daphne du Maurier's footsteps through a historic part of Cornwall on the Hall Walk from Polruan to Bodinnick. Polruan, in Cornwall, is imbued with a lingering, romantic atmosphere, for the history round these waters is truly ancient and whispers as you pass by.
One of the most interesting walks in this area is the Hall Walk, a three-mile excursion for which, if you are to enjoy it to the full, you should set aside a day. The original walk was designed as the promenade for Hall Manor, which was built just above Bodinnick for an influential Cornish family in the 13th century.
It is probable that the walk would then have included only the stretch of land round Penleath Point, but it was extended in later years to its present length.
1. Start off at Polruan, where the seagulls create a cacophony of cries. From the blockhouse - a dramatic starting-point - walk along West Street, across Fore Street and up East Street. You can only walk so far along East Street, before coming to a gate, beyond which you cannot go. Turn right here and you will see a sign that reads - in the manner of all good adventure stories - 'To the hills'.
2. Follow the steps up, past a big, pink house, until turning left onto a woodland path. Soon, there are fine views, over shingled roofs and seagull nests, out across the harbour and its swaying, clinking boats. It is no wonder that Mabel Lucie Attwell, doyenne of the English postcard, painted fairies and elves for children's books here.
3. If you keep to the main track you will eventually come to a small, clear brook, full of coppery stones. As you leave the woodland, you will see the estuary, Pont Pill, to your left. This is most definitely a place to stop and contemplate the wildlife. With the roots of trees clawing at the mud in the basin, you could almost be in Africa or some far-off swamp land.
4. Follow the signs and the main track to Pont, where you will be taken in by the beauty of the tiny harbour. A number of writers lived and wrote at Pont Creek - Kenneth Grahame for one was inspired by its unique peace.
5. Cross the Pont footbridge and walk to the edge of the woods, veer to your right to find the path again and then take a sharp left to walk on the other side of the creek. Follow the woodland path until you come to a gate and a field.
6. Walk along the bottom of the field and you will soon discover breathtaking vistas. You are approaching Penleath Point, which is marked by the 'Q' memorial, in memory of the writer Sir Arthur QuillerCouch - otherwise known as 'Q'.
7. As you look across the water from here, towards Fowey, there is a fine view of Place, a turreted building which towers like some fantastical castle above the town. Continue along the path, past the war memorial to your left and down towards a tiny gateway.
8. This is the entrance to Bodinnick. The village has hardly changed since it was first visited by Daphne du Maurier. The house by the water at the bottom of the hill was her first Cornish home - the Swiss Cottage, which she renamed Ferryside.
9. Take the passenger ferry to return to Polruan.