If you're staying in the coach house, you have the freedom of nearly all of the fields and the woodland, the coastal slope and the seashore. Our land is a rectangle half a mile long by a quarter mile wide, and is bounded by:
So however far you go, you never need worry about intruding on someone else’s land.
Whether you're staying in our Old Coach House, or Just Visiting, you're welcome to explore our dog-friendly beach. We own half a mile of it - ! – a fascinating mixture of rock, sand and shingle – bordering on the Looe Marine Conservation Zone, itself a nature reserve. You can get there by a 15-min walk down a steep path through our woodlands, ending up in an interesting scree-run / bumslide, with a thick knotted rope to cling onto. Exciting for children of all ages!
At the heart of our reserve is Defra’s Higher Land Stewardship (HLS) management plan aimed primarily at encouraging two rare butterfly species, the Pearl Bordered Fritillary and the Dingy Skipper. Also included in the plan are measures which promote a wide variety and huge amount of wildlife, with special notes for other rare species.
So we’re developing wildflower-rich meadows – stunningly beautiful in spring and summer, and pretty good the rest of the year, too. The general idea is that along with the national trust areas on either side, we will be creating a good-sized chunk of land along the coast that will help keep this part of the country green, beautiful and productive for generations to come.
The HLS plan involves keeping grazing animals to help keep the pastures in good order. We give our animals a home for life – a life that’s as long as the animal’s normal lifespan (some are about 20 years old and thriving!). We currently have some re-homed goats and chickens, and we keep rare breeds of sheep. Some horses and ponies graze here, too.
Our labyrinth is in a spectacular location on the hillsides surrounding Looe Bay, with breathtaking sea and coastal views, about 200 yards from the Old Coach House; if you're staying there you can access it at any time.
It was originally created to enhance the challenging Coast Path walk between Looe and Seaton, with free entry any time, any day. But the path that runs past the labyrinth has now been officially closed, due to landslips further east. Nevertheless, if you want to visit the labyrinth for the day, leave your car on the roadside at National Trust Bodigga Cliff, and climb the gate to access our Permissive Path that takes you, up and down, as far as the labyrinth, with a branch path dropping down to the seashore (see above).
The labyrinth in itself has changed a lot since we first made it. At first it was smartly picked out in white granite gravel against the turf, but now the pathway isn’t so neatly defined. But it’s still clear to follow, and the appeal of the labyrinth is timeless.
A long-distance coast path is an extraordinary concept, very special to Britain. Our South West Coast Path extends for over 600 miles, and if you walk its full length you will have ascended the equivalent of Mount Everest nearly four times over!
It originated from the many small paths worn by the coast guards. In those days, their main job was to patrol the coastline on foot, to catch smugglers red-handed when coming ashore in small boats, often under cover of darkness; so the guards needed to see into every small cranny of every small cove, and have sweeping overviews of the longer stretches of sand … lucky us! The views are often spectacular.
As a young child I would often set off on the path from Porthpean to Charlestown, every time with a leap in my heart; who knew where this path might lead? Now, when joining the path at any point, you can recreate this excitement in your own children, and indeed yourself – the potential is out there!
NB if you’re long-distance walking the Coast Path, and would like to stay in our Old Coach House we’ll give you a 5% discount.