Known to the Cornish as ‘Forth an Syns’, this 30 mile stretch connects two of Cornwall’s most beautiful harbour towns – Padstow on the north coast and Fowey on the south. The route lay forgotten until 1984 when ramblers noticed granite stiles, and it was revived.
Many believe that the route was once wandered by pilgrims and early traders who wanted to avoid the dangerous waters and pirates that loomed in Land’s End, and ancient standing stones and Cornish crosses along the way add to the idea of the pathways being trodden by travellers. Whatever its history, the route makes a lovely walk between Cornwall’s two coastlines, and most of the terrain is easy to navigate.
The Saint’s Way starts in Padstow’s fifteenth century church of St Petrock, and there are a few landmarks to keep an eye out for as you go. The church of St Brevita stands in Lanlivery, and although nothing is known about the figure the church boasts the second tallest tower in the county at over 100m high. You’ll see the Crown Inn nearby, a building extended to house the stonemasons working on the church – and much of this twelfth century building remains as it was back then.
Afterwards you’ll pass through Golant, a pretty village perched beside the River Fowey. Once here, you’ll be in the parish of St Sampson, an early saint who probably wandered the same route when he made his way to Cornwall. Most hikers break this scenic walk down into three stints of nine miles, so leave three days if you want to tackle it all and take your time.