Monday 19 November 2012

On the Clay Trail

The area around our Cornish holiday home in St Austell is where much of the county's china clay has been mined. Most of the clay works have closed down, but there is a network of trails that were originally used to transport the clay from the mines. In 2005 the first of them opened for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders and more have been developed since.

We took one of them that goes from the town of St Austell and runs parallel to the road going north towards Bodmin. It's a very easy route once you find the start. The local map didn't help, and we must have walked an extra mile trying to find it. We asked several locals who sent us round in circles until we finally found someone who knew what he was talking about.

Almost immediately we met a rather belligerent dog, who scared Jade witless. His owner got him under control and apologised, saying he was a rescue and he wasn't sure about his early history. He made us think how lucky we are to have our own rescue dog with a really sweet temperament, who is eager to make friends with everyone we meet.

So we walked on along the clay trail high above the road and found ourselves almost on a level with the great viaduct that carries the trains over it.

Soon we came to some old works buildings partially overgrown; we found it fascinating to imagine them when they were busy in their heyday. In the next photo, Jade was scrutinising them as we approached.

We passed other dog walkers who had stopped to chat with a cyclist coming from the opposite direction We were to meet and chat with him on our return journey, when he was taking his shopping home further up the valley.

Our destination was Wheal Martyn Clay Museum, some two miles from the start of the trail. It is on the far side of the road, and we were directed towards it at a junction. Here the trail divided and our section took us over the road on a footbridge.

If we had continued we would eventually have arrived at the Eden Project, but we were warned that it was quite an arduous trek with steep inclines and too far for us oldies to walk. I'd been to the Eden project before and we didn't go again this time because of having Jade with us

However, it was only another half mile to Wheal Martyn where dogs are allowed and encouraged, and we could recharge our batteries with a genuine Cornish pasty lunch before hiking back. At Ruddlemoor village, close to the museum, the old chins clay railway siding had been turned into the village green with welcome seats for weary walkers.

These larger than life china clay figures welcomed us at the museum entrance a few hundred yards further on.

We ate our lunch at on of the tables in the entrance hall specifically placed just outside the cafe for people with dogs. Then we retraced our steps along the trail to St Austell. We'd decided to return by car so we'd have plenty of energy for the country park that surrounded the outdoor exhibits. It was a few days before we were able to do that and I plan to post about that soon.

I hope you've enjoyed travelling the clay trail with me. If so, please let me know via a comment.


jeanlivingsimple said...

Jean, Thanks for the tour. Nice photo!

Unknown said...

Hi Jean. Good to see you around again. I'm following you now.

aw said...

We visited Wheel Martyn soon after it opened andfound it a fascianting museum. One of the earlier attempts at making industrial history a tourist attraction. It sounds as if the whole area has really embraced the idea now with this trail. The Eden Project needs a full day, doesn't it. Even arriving soon after it opens you only scratch the surface on a day's visit.

Paola said...

Lovely pictures, Jean...and empty lanes! What bliss!

Writing Tip

Add this to your site