From: Roche, Cornwall

To: Truro, Cornwall

Distance: 22 miles / 35 km

Total distance so far: 1,057.2 miles / 1,701 km

Date: 25 June 2021

Roche Rock

I travelled through two very different parts of Cornwall today before finally arriving in Truro, the ‘county town’ that is also its only city. For the first half of my walk, I was in Clay Country, an area also known as the Cornish Alps. Full of china clay (kaolin) quarries, which produce an essential ingredient for porcelain, paper, rubber and paint, the Financial Times owes its distinctive pink colouring to the clay that was produced at the former Bodelva Pit (now the famous Eden Project). Clay Country doesn’t have the picture postcard prettiness you may associate with Cornwall’s coastal towns. I passed through some clearly deprived areas, and although I was walking on largely quiet country lanes, a lot of the passing traffic was lorries, serving the few remaining quarries and mines that are still open in the area. Much like the former mining areas in Wales and the northeast of England, it feels like an area that has had the heart ripped out of it by economic circumstance.

A peaceful street in Ladock

I made a trip to Roche Rock on my way out of town this morning, an outcrop (with the remains of a chapel atop it) made famous for its appearance in the 1980 horror film Omen 3. It was a suitably bleak looking morning to photograph this moody looking place, but by lunchtime the sun was out and I found myself wandering along hedgerow lined, virtually traffic-free byways and through the pretty villages of Ladock and St Erme before taking the main Forest track in Idless Woods into nearby Truro. It was the nicest walking I’ve done in days, and bodes well for my final 50 miles to Land’s End.

Wandering the lanes

I swear I passed more garages and funeral homes than I did people today, but an encounter with an elderly farmer stands out: as I was walking up a hill by his farm he drove alongside me on his quad bike. When I told him the walk that I was on, he kept repeating the phrase ‘Hells Bells!’, and observed, correctly in my case, ‘Well, you in’t married then’ – although I rather doubt marital status would entirely negate the opportunity of being able to walk across ones own country. That said, with three days left to go, ‘Hells Bells’ does seem a pretty good way of summing up the extraordinary journey I’ve been on!

Idless Woods