Last year Gail Muller, from Falmouth, who had suffered years of chronic pain, wanted to inspire others in her situation that anything is possible, by tackling the southbound route of the Appalachian Trail – all 2,180 miles of it. She followed that up this year by hiking the South West Coast Path, chronicling her journey for the Packet along the way - and is now sharing some of her favourite walks in Cornwall.

Do you ever realise that you might have taken something lovely for granted? I feel this way sometimes about Cornwall, writes Gail Muller.

Having been born and raised in Falmouth, I become a little inured to the beauty on my own doorstep and it can take a trip away from it, listening to others talk about their hometowns, to make me realise just how good I’ve got it.

The wild sea, gentle creeks, steep cliffs, or meandering paths through fields here in Kernow; we seem to have it all. In the first lockdown I spent more time on local paths, which led me to explore further afield as you know; the South West Coast Path.

So, this week I wanted to raise up those more local hiking routes that might be on our doorstep, but that we may not have been on recently because they seem ‘too familiar’ in our minds. If you’re anything like me then getting back out on them again will be a great reminder of all the glorious details you may have forgotten. If you’re already regularly out on amazing routes, then please do send me your own suggestions! I’d love to hear more.

One of my tried and tested favourite routes for a day hike or a good trail run is from Falmouth along to the Ferryboat Inn at Helford Passage. It’s a little long for a nice afternoon interlude, so when I’m short on time I pick one of the nicest parts - a four-mile circuit around Rosemullion Head.

One easy way to pick this up is to park at Mawnan Church and drop onto the coast path just below. Turn right through glorious tall woods and you’ll pop out atop a green rolling hill with stunning views down the Helford River.

From here you cross beaches and little coves, with boathouses and WW2 pillboxes along the way. Behind the boathouse on Porth Saxon beach there’s a path that takes you away from the creekside and up into the woods of Carwinion Valley, eventually meeting the road at the end of the village of Mawnan Smith.

Here there’s a little road-walking before you jump back on the path past Nansidwell Manor, which leads you down to the coast again. Making sure you turn right; the coast path will take you out around Rosemullion Head where I like to stop to soak up the views. This piece of coastline all along to Porth Saxon is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its herb-rich grasslands, spring marshes and broadleaved woodlands - the bathing in special nature that we all need right now!

Moving away from the coast path proper, the second of my favourite short Sunday afternoon strolls is to Scott’s Quay at Goongilling’s Farm, also on the Helford River. Parking in Constantine by the village church, you walk out of the village past the doctors' surgery which leads down to a road crossing. Crossing over, join the farm track and keep walking over a couple of beautiful open fields; one containing a stunning oak tree, all the way down to the creek and Scott’s Quay.

The Quay was built in the early 1800’s by Charles Scott, a wealthy landowner who made his money in the heavy industries of mining and quarrying. The quay was his ingenious way of moving mineral hauls out of the creek by boat. The quay was later neglected after railways took off but was brought back to its former glory in the 1930’s when Mrs Hext, a wealthy magistrate and philanthropist who owned Trebah Manor and gardens, rebuilt the quay and established a public right of way so that everyone could enjoy it, putting covenants in place against any inappropriate future development.

Now it’s one of the few ways the public can have access to the Helford river along these creeks and it’s far from industry, with just the birds to keep you company. You can cut back up to your car the same way, or add a little more distance and interest by turning right as you come back off the quay; walking through woods to get back on to the road before you return to the village.

My third recommendation is a walk that’s a little drive inland, away from the coast, but that gives breath-taking views of both the north and south coast at its peak at the top of Godolphin Hill. To get there take a drive out towards Helston, heading inland after the town and towards the grand National Trust property of Godolphin House, a 15th century Manor House belonging to the Godolphin family who made their fortune in tin mining and became an influential local family for many generations.

The family extended and developed the property over time, and by 1680 it had close to 100 rooms and was swathed in finery, but had reached its peak ‘grandness’, being later downsized over the following centuries into the relatively simpler building you will see today as you drive into the estate, sold by the Duke of Leeds in 1929 to a new owner, and then moving into the hands of the National Trust in 2007.

To start your walk, park in the NT car park (paying if necessary, of course!), walk past the ticket office and across a field to find the signposted pathway to “Godolphin Hill’. At the peak of the hill you’ll be able to see some of the best possible views of West Cornwall, with St Ives and Marazion both visible on a clear day. Looking down around your feet rather than further afield you might also notice remnants of an enclosure and hut circles, believed to be a settlement from the Bronze Age. You then follow a little loop around the top of the hill and back to the Manor House.

I hope you get out and explore some of these or other routes this week! I am discovering and exploring new walks and parts of my home turf all the time; continuously learning to find new ways to love and explore what we have on our doorstep.

I’d love to hear your favourite routes, and especially if you’d like to share some great local history information too. To share, please get in touch on or come and find me on Instagram/Facebook @thegailmuller or at I look forward to sharing your recommendations on here.