Penrose Estate, Helston

Penrose Estate, Helston

Nestled between the pretty market town of Helston and the south coast, this lovely estate, beautifully maintained by the National Trust, offers a pretty woodland walk that follows the impressive Loe Pool out to sea – a wonderful combination of coast and county – marked by a great tea room on route! This is a firm favourite with the Boutique Retreats’ team, as it’s just five minutes from our HQ.

There are two places to start your walk – for a longer stroll, head to the boating lake in Helston and you’ll find the car park, and the start of Penrose, opposite. Shorter walks can be had from the Penrose Estate car park which is on the Helston to Porthleven road and is clearly signposted.

If you start from the car park at Helston, which I always do, you join the path that runs through ancient woodland. To the left, you’ll notice parts are very marshy and dotted with gnarled trees – a glimmer of times past when the sea flowed all the way up to Helston’s boating lake.

The path here is wide and tarmacked, making it a popular walk for families with prams and wheelchairs or those on bicycles. Of course, it’s a paradise for dogs with plenty of woodland to sniff at, and bogs to explore (be warned – your pup will get muddy!).

As you walk, you’ll come to a gatehouse and the trees will give way to Loe Pool on your left. This magnificent lake is the largest in Cornwall and is a stunning location for plenty of wildlife. It’s also rife with myth and legend and is thought by many to be the home of the Lady of the Lake and where King Arthur died.

Follow the path around the glistening lake and you’ll soon come to The Stables Café, which is open every day between Easter and the end of October, and at weekends throughout the winter. This is a fab spot for a cuppa and a cake (or an ice cream or two), though be aware most of the seating is outside with just one table available inside.

Whilst you’re here, make time to visit the impressive walled garden – it’s a hidden-away, peaceful spot with benches at the top. I usually sit here with my tea and gaze at the trees and the buzzards that glide by.

At this point you can either retrace your steps or carry on for a longer walk. From here on, the path is less maintained and more of a track that follows the edge of the lake through woodland. You’ll also start climbing higher up – the views here are particularly impressive, glimpsed between the trees. There’s the odd bench or two thoughtfully laid on at viewing points, if you need a break.

Eventually, the path leads to the sea and to the ‘bar’ – the sandy bank that separates the lake from the sea. This stretch of coastline is particularly dangerous and has witnessed quite a few shipwrecks. The water may look tempting, but in no way should you swim here due to the treacherous waters. It’s an incredibly beautiful, unique spot and you can walk down onto the sand across to the other side.

From this point, you have several choices – either cross the Bar and follow the path around the rest of the lake (it’s much quieter this side and untouched) or turn right and follow the coastline to pretty Porthleven – a gorgeous seaside village with a plethora of fabulous places to eat and some interesting shops to explore, plus a great beach, part of which is dog friendly all year around. Alternatively, you can turn around and go back the way you came.

It’s worth noting that if you do walk to Porthleven and you don’t fancy the walk back, there are regular buses from the harbour which stop by the boating lake in Helston.

Check out the National Trust website for more information on walks and for maps.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in West Cornwall here.

Penrose, Helston, Cornwall TR13 0RD | 01326 554 082 |


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