Mousehole is best when entered on foot, or bus, or bike. Cars are not the way to see Mousehole and best left at home. If you have to bring a car, there’s a big car park on the Penzance side of the village, close to The Old Coastguard Hotel.
There’s no doubt that walking into Mousehole is the best way to discover this village which nestles at the base of steep cliffs. You get a true sense of the topography, the constant proximity of the sea in all its moods, the cottages hanging onto the cliffs, the frailty of the encircling arms of the quay. The reality of the place. But of course, all these walks can be taken out of Mousehole too.
Walking to Mousehole from Penzance
You can walk from Penzance. Follow the promenade and keep to the sea across Newlyn Green, walk past The Tolcarne Inn, cross the little granite bridge and turn left past the working harbour: the heart of Newlyn. You’ll see trawlers, the fish market, the ice-works, the chandlers. Keep left up Fore Street past The Red Lion. You’ll see the old pier down on your left. After this brief hill; it’s a reasonably flat walk out of Newlyn and on to Mousehole. On the right, you’ll pass the stark walls of the old granite Quarry at Penlee which closed in 1992. You follow the coast all the way with St. Michael’s Mount at your back. There are always boats, coming in and leaving on the tide. Sometimes you might see a tall ship in the bay; or tankers etched on the horizon on their way in and out of Falmouth Docks. There’s always something to see. As you come round Penlee Point, St. Clement’s Isle is before you; and shags fishing off the rocks. The Old Coastguard Hotel stands on the edge of Mousehole. It has a restaurant, bar, and beer garden overlooking the sea. Walk on from the The Old Coastguard and it’s a few steps round the corner to Mousehole Harbour. The best thing to do now is to wander around the village. It’s only small. Take a voyage of discovery and find The Ship Inn, the galleries, cafes, Keigwin House, and The SolomonBrowne Memorial Hall on Duck Street. (walk approx 1hr each way)
Newlyn is worth a visit on its own account. There is a wonderful Newlyn Trail which you can follow, taking you to parts of the village you might not otherwise see. William Lovett, the great Chartist leader was born in Newlyn. You should also find out about the Newlyn Riots of 1896 when the Cornish fishermen fought the Lowestoft men for breaking the Sabbath by fishing on Saturday night and Sunday. There is Newlyn Gallery, St. Peter’s Church, The Newlyn Centre at the bottom of Chywoone Hill (a lively community centre which also hosts theatre and music gigs as part of the Carn to Cove Rural Touring Scheme). The Newlyn School was a famous movement of plen-air painting (you can visit Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance to see the collection). Visit Newlyn’s pubs, shops, eating places and Jelbert’s Ice Cream (only in summer) You must have a Jelbert’s! They are delicious.
Walk to Mousehole from Paul
You can walk down from Paul, a lovely neighbouring village on the hill above Mousehole. You can drive to Paul from Penzance, out of Newlyn up Chywoone Hill. Or you can catch a bus. The 300, the open-top, passes by in summer. You can get on and off the open-top anywhere. There are other buses on this route too. You might even want to give your lungs a good airing and walk up! Beware Chywoone hill is very, very steep! (It’s a great view of Penzance and Mount’s Bay when you stop to catch your breath and look back.) At the top of the hill and round a bend is the turning left to Paul.
From Paul you walk down into Mousehole past little fields and houses. (approx.15 mins) You walk through trees, catching glimpses of the sea through gaps in the leaves; and then suddenly you are there. Walking into the village past the school gates on your left. Remember though, that you have to walk back up to Paul, which is steep. Still, there’s always The King’s Arms waiting for you at the top! (opposite Paul Church)
Walk in to Mousehole on The North Coast Path
Coming in from the coast path, you come down Raginnis Hill. (approx.15 mins from top of hill) This is steep, but unlike walking from Paul, it is open. St. Michael’s Mount and the bay lie before you. You will pass the famous Mousehole Bird Hospital on your left. This was founded in 1928 by Dorothy and Phyllis Yglesias. You might want to walk the coast path from Lamorna to Mousehole. (approx.1hr15 mins) (Lamorna village is well worth a visit.)
The Good Friday Walk from Mousehole to Lamorna
To walk over to Lamorna for Good Friday has been a tradition in living memory. Certainly grandparents and great-grandparents remember descending on The Wink at Lamorna Cove. The Ramblers Association reckon the round trip to be 7 miles, 4.5 hrs and ‘wear good boots and take food and drink’; and they’re about right. They have a website with details and they go out via the coastal path and back across country: the route being Mousehole, Lamorna, The Kemyals, Paul.
Some people go to Lamorna via the field path and come back on the coast path. Some people go coastal path both ways, others do field path both ways. There is rough terrain and steep bits either way. It’s a beautiful walk though and Lamorna has a café (and public toilets). You can sit against the harbour wall and watch the waves while you eat your packed lunch, amble up to The Wink, the local pub, for a drink before the return walk. You’ll be sure to meet friends, it’s a real ‘locals’ day out.
On the coastal path there is a very very friendly Robin. Yes, a Robin Redbreast, he joins you for a while, hopping so tamely beside you. For two years he has been seen and the best thing to do is to say ‘Hello’ to him and walk on.
If you choose to be independent then you’ll be needing O/S Pathfinder Land’s End & Newlyn or O/S Explorer 7 Land’s End or equivalent.
Update: After the storms of winter 2013, walkers are advised to be extra vigilant on the coastal path and not to proceed if there are any signs of land-slip or cracking in the pathway.
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