Inspired by our encounter with Steve Bloor and the Godolphin House Barefoot Trail on our Barefoot adventure with the National Trust, we decided to try out our own walk with naked feet, so we hot-footed it over to nearby Tregonning Hill. Not the namesake of the Classic Cottages family (Tregonning Hill has two ‘n’s’, Simon points out) this granite mound is just up the road from Godolphin House, around four miles outside of Helston.
The barefoot beginners
We cheated and drove to the base (we had to, we swear, for the sake of our already overworked soles). From a sweet little triangle of grass in the village of Balwest, upon which sat a bench occupied by two smugly perched sunbathers, a single track leads to the summit. Should we take our shoes off now? Or check out the terrain ahead. We opted for the latter in the name of health and safety - the indigenous flora threatened prickles and thorns…
It turned out this location was a good barefoot choice for beginners. Though it started out a little rocky, the old stone path soon smoothed out from obvious years of use, cushioned by greenery, and so shoes became hand luggage. In the hot July sun, the slope seemed steeper than reality but as the views opened up across hazy fields of green to the sparkling vista of Mount’s Bay we soon had a spring in our step. Still wary of the prickly potential from the coconut-scented gorse and being careful not to step on any rare rustwort (for which the area is designated a SSSI) we made our way to the china clay quarry and preacher’s pit.
This is not a place to venture after dark. It’s easy to imagine that many a leadless dog running free from its owner has had the floor disappear from beneath it. The boundaries are indistinct in places, thanks to the morphing of a sea of green, so we recommend sticking to the path (particularly if you’re not wearing shoes). The ground is now a grassy delight, perfect to wait a moment while deliberating the history of china clay scribed on an informative boulder.
The preacher’s pit, a concave in the hill with a handy mound for preaching from, resulted in our taking turns to dictate to the local shrubs and bushes, once another handy boulder had explained the past orations that had taken place there.
Our explorations didn’t end there; we had still to reach the high point. Simon, already confident in his barefoot ways, ran ahead and commandeered a waymarker, a white beacon poking out of the lush green swathed in brushstrokes of vibrant pink foxgloves. The view from the top is breathtaking.
A panorama of everything this area has to offer, a patchwork of fields and stonewalling, dotted with farmsteads and quaint little cottage drawing the eye out to the hand drawn edge of coastline and the twinkling sea of Mount’s Bay. A single punctuation marks the top of the hill - Germoe war memorial perched over the remains of a Celtic settlement has the best view of all.
We sat a while and pondered internal musings, toes tingly from their new-found freedom and sun-kissed shoulders cooled by a slight breeze, before meandering our way back down to the car with quiet satisfaction. Maybe there is something in this barefoot behaviour after all?
Stay in a holiday cottage near Tregonning Hill>