Two lakes, a wood and a meadow…a day out on Bodmin Moor

Earlier this week I was going a bit stir crazy cooped up working in the house. I love being freelance, but boundaries can get blurred between work and play, so I took myself off into the fresh air to clear away the dross and breathe deeply for a few hours.

Colliford Lake

For ages, I’ve been meaning to spend a bit more time on Bodmin Moor, so off I went with a few possible destinations in mind.

The River Fowey as it passes through Golitha Falls

The River Fowey as it passes through Golitha Falls (photo: Amanda Scott)

First of all, I went to Golitha Falls, a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the name of which alone is enough to stir the imagination. Park your car in the car park at SX 228692, and then step across the road to enter a delightful steep valley retreat that follows the path of the River Fowey as it drops in altitude, forming a gorge amidst the ancient oaks of the woodland. Golitha Falls is known in particular for bryophytes and lichens, but there are also dormice, otters and kingfishers here. I didn’t knowingly see any of the rare bryophytes, nor, unsurprisingly, the otters or the dormice, but I did see two kingfishers whizzing down the river in a flash of colour so fast I had to think twice about whether I had really seen what I thought I had just seen. Pretty amazing!

Golitha Falls

What is fantastic about Golitha Falls is that, even though there were a few cars parked, the place felt empty and peaceful. Although there is sort of a main path wending its way through the woods, there are many twists and side turnings, some ending in crumbling stone walls, some disappearing beyond the overhanging branches and going to who knows where…a place to come and explore again, I think…

I did pause as I walked through the woods (down one of those side turnings) to enjoy watching a couple of hoverflies doing their thing.

Episyrphus balteatus (photo

Episyrphus balteatus (photo Amanda Scott)

Sericomyia silentis (photo: Amanda Scott)

Sericomyia silentis (photo: Amanda Scott)

My next destination was Dozmary Pool, a bit further north. You can pull your car off the road at SX 190743, and follow a public right of way down to the pool…or, at least, you can if your way isn’t barred by a crowd of stern looking cows protecting their calves. Now, those who know me are well aware that, while I like cows in principle, I am actually quite scared of them. Don’t ask me why – I will happily deal with fierce-looking dogs and stare out buffalo – but that’s the way it is. So that day wasn’t the day I was going to squeeze past the cows in the narrow lane to get to the pool. But I took a few photos at a safe distance, and determined to visit again.

Dozmary Pool

Dozmary Pool is one of the sites reputed to be where Sir Bedivere threw King Arthur’s sword Excalibur to be reclaimed by the Lady of the Lake. Loe Pool is another contender for the honour, but I think I prefer Dozmary. This ancient place, the largest inland freshwater lake in Cornwall, carried an air of hush, of wistfulness, of patient expectancy. One could almost find oneself believing or, at least, wishing to believe, that somewhere close by the once and future King slept, waiting for his call.

Foal, Colliford Lake (photo: Amanda Scott)

Foal, Colliford Lake (photo: Amanda Scott)

From an ancient pool to a modern lake…next I headed off to Colliford Reservoir, owned by South West Water and managed for conservation by South West Lakes Trust. There are a few spots to park round this lake, but I stopped at SX 164730 and pottered about for a few minutes. I had been hoping to see a few birds on the water, but I wasn’t in luck. This will be a great place to come when our feathered visitors arrive to spend the cold winter months with us.

There were some horses grazing round the lake (I’m not scared of horses, so that was fine…), including this delightful foal. And here he is with his mum…

'Keep up, junior'. (Photo: Amanda Scott)

‘Keep up, junior’ (photo: Amanda Scott)

After that, I intended to head off home but, as I motored down the A30, I saw a sign to Blisland. ‘Ah, Blisland!’ I cried. Well, actually, my thought process was, ‘Hey, I’ve got time and I’ve heard it’s pretty, so let’s go!’ So I did, and very lovely it was, too. Blisland is a delightfully charming village, with a good pub and an interesting church.

Blisland Church

I found my feet drawn towards the churchyard, presumably because churchyards are often home to butterflies and bees and flowers. But, in hindsight, I wonder if I was subconsciously drawn by the lure of a footpath leading away beyond the old gravestones. I ignored it for a bit, and detoured into the church building itself. I love simple architecture, so I enjoyed this stone window framing the greenery beyond.

Blisland Church

When I left the church, I really meant to find my car and continue home, but that footpath would not let me go. Like the Secret Garden or Narnia, it pulled at my feet until I found myself descending some steps, walking down a slope and along a grassy path, until…

Flower meadow, Public footpath from Blisland Churchyard

…I found myself in the middle of the most wonderful meadow, full of knapweed, grasses, crickets chirping, bees buzzing, birds singing and butterflies bobbing about from flower to flower. I saw my first Small Copper of the year…

Small Copper, Public footpath from Blisland Churchyard

I also saw this Red Admiral…

Red Admiral, Public footpath from Blisland Churchyard

…and this Small White nectaring on the knapweed.

Small White, Public footpath from Blisland Churchyard

Magic! A perfect end to a lovely relaxing day.

6 responses to “Two lakes, a wood and a meadow…a day out on Bodmin Moor

  1. Golitha Falls is stunning, as is Bodmin Moor itself. However, as a keen sound recordist, there are far too many dog walkers there for my liking.

    • True, there were a few dog walkers there. I can see why that would be irritating if you were sound recording, though I did find a few quiet paths away from the main one. I haven’t been to Bodmin enough – I need to visit again!

      • I’ll have to search for those hidden away paths. It was rather odd as I’ve been there three times now and on different days and times and it felt like it was people and dogs galore. There’s always hidden corners if I look hard enough, I guess. Back to Cornwall for hols again soon.

      • I’ll be interested to hear if you find any hidden corners…

  2. It is lovely to read this and bring back memories of what it was like when we were younger and more energetic.

  3. Thank you, Joyce – it was a lovely day, and I still think about the beautiful meadow I discovered – such a delight!

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