Tucked away in the Glasney Valley, a stone’s throw from the busy market town, lies the Penryn Nature Trail. An eclectic mix of wildlife, bridges, ancient woodland and streams, the trail is a dog friendly walk through a secret garden brimming with Cornish history. We are fortunate to live so close to this enchanting place, walking here most mornings. We can see the College Wood Viaduct from our window and enjoy watching the trains fly by.
Penryn is famous for being a bit of a maze, with alleyways and annexes where you’d least expect them. The Penryn Nature Trail starts off on College Ope, which is accessible between two houses on St. Thomas Street. A short walk over the old wooden bridge and you’re ready to begin. The walk centres around Glasney Creek, which you’ll follow on your left hand side.
Woody enjoys running between the ivy covered walls, remnants of Glasney College, and swimming in the stream. Watching him paddle and explore the makes me proud, as when he came to us he didn’t like water at all. Glasney College was built in the 13th Century and stood proudly in Penryn until its demolition in 1548. In its prime, Glasney was the largest collegiate church in Cornwall, though no monks lived here.
Glasney Creek (also known as College Stream) runs along the Penryn Nature Trail. It was much larger in the Medieval times, a popular place for trout fishing. Penryn Nature trail is home to a host of wildlife, from dragonflies to blackbirds and even a resident Heron. Woody enjoys antagonising the Heron whenever he sees it, thinking he can outrun its flight. He never does but his determination is admirable.
After following the creek up the path, you’ll soon arrive at College Wood Viaduct, a Grade II listed building, which is still in use today. It was the last timber viaduct in Cornwall to be replaced with stone and forms a vital part of the Maritime Line, connecting Falmouth and Truro by rail. The two carriage Sprinter trains zoom by every quarter of an hour or so, the only noise to interrupt the woodland.
Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming Glasney College, along with the old Mill by the viaduct. As you make your way uphill you’ll see remains of dry stone walls, archways and old towers. The woodland itself is ancient and eery, with crooked trees growing from every angle. It’s the sort of place that transports you back in time, like you’re walking in the setting of a classic novel.
The Penryn Nature Trail is a very dog friendly walk, Glasney Valley is secluded and quiet, away from the main roads. The gravel pathways withstand all weathers (even the torrential winter rain!) It takes around twenty minutes to complete the walk and local amenities are close by in Penryn market town.
The walk continues up to College Reservoir, which we attempted in the video below. Unfortunately the recent rain has washed out many of the pathways, making them impassable. I’m hoping to return there in the future to complete the walk, as soon as the soil starts to dry!
What I’ve seen so far has definitely left me wanting more!
Have you explored Penryn Nature Trail? What did you think?
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