College Reservoir lies on the outskirts of Penryn, an old market town around a mile from Falmouth. Poorly maintained footpaths meant the reservoir was inaccessible to the public for years. However, in 2012 it reopened and is now managed by South West Lakes. It’s now possible to walk around the entire reservoir, just don’t forget your wellies as it can get pretty muddy in places!
Storm is our newest foster dog. He’s a 7 year old happy-go-lucky springer spaniel who is thoroughly enjoying his extended holiday in Cornwall. He loves exploring new walks with us, as well as swimming, playing fetch and following me absolutely everywhere. Woody and I showed him around College Reservoir the day before his first meet and greet (which went really well by the way!) and he loved it so much we took his prospective new owners here the following day. Paws crossed Storm has found his forever home and will be starting his new life very soon!
There are plenty of ways to access College Reservoir. Most people park at nearby Argal Reservoir (parking is only a few pounds for the day) before crossing the road and following the main footpath around College Reservoir. Woody and I however, like to do things a little differently! We enjoy extending our walk up from Penryn Nature Trail. As you approach from this direction, you’ll notice two possible routes. The main, well maintained path is on the right but Woody and I way prefer exploring the left hand trail.
The right hand path is predominantly gravel and takes you the anti-clockwise route around College Reservoir. I’m not a fan of this route purely because it’s close to the Penryn bypass. For most dogs, this isn’t a problem, however Woody loves running off and exploring ahead of me. I cannot risk him walking off lead there and I don’t think I could ever forgive myself if he got injured, caused an accident or worse.
Fortunately, the clockwise path is equally, if not even more stunning. The pathways are far less maintained and in places it does turn into an obstacle course. It’s not pushchair or family friendly I’m afraid. There’s a certain charm in having to clamber through trees and hop over pools to continue on the route. If you’re exploring this half of the river, wellies are a necessity, even in summer. Don’t make the same mistake I did and try walking round in flip flops, as it definitely doesn’t end well!
Continuing past the muddy sections, you’ll find a beautiful secluded woodland. It’s blanketed in bluebells in spring and is really quite enchanting. Woody and Storm enjoyed sprinting through the flowers, while I stuck meandered along the well-trodden trails. Continue further and you’ll eventually join the main path around College Reservoir. If you fancy extending your walk further, cross the road to Argal Reservoir. Though due to angling, dogs have to be kept on lead at all times.
It’s no secret that spaniels enjoy getting as muddy as possible. It’s safe to say both Woody and Storm found their inner mud monsters on this walk! The pair loved ducking and diving into the deepest of bogs, which easily suck you in half way on your wellies. The path is most unreliable along these sections, often disappearing into mere planks of wood or rocks in the bog. In places you have to revert to a nearby wall to walk past without getting caked in mud. Of course, this section is unavoidable, as it’s slap bang in the middle of the walk.
Woody, Storm and I don’t mind though, as the water’s edge is nearby. The dogs got as muddy as they liked and simply washed themselves off as we walked. There are a pair of resident swans and a flock of Canadian geese, who can get aggressive if your dog approaches their nest. It’s best to keep your distance! It’s also worth noting that blue-green algae is known to be present in both Argal and College Reservoirs in the summer. South West Lakes regularly put out signs at this time of year to warn owners of the risk. Nevertheless the dogs had a fantastic time walking around College Reservoir and getting as mucky as possible along the way!
Have you visited College Reservoir before? Where do your dogs enjoy walking in Penryn?
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