Sunday, 25 June 2017

The St Dominica Heritage Trail

Over the past couple of years or so, the neighbouring parish of St Dominick has been working on developing a network of footpaths throughout the parish. Collectively they've been called the St Dominica Heritage Trail and we recently walked the longest one of these - the Cotehele Mill, Bohetherick and Halton Quay Circular. Ideal conditions for a walk and another opportunity to become familiar with places more or less on our doorstep.
Our route began and ended in the church car park in St Dominick and took us down to Cotehele Mill, up to Bohetherick, down to Halton Quay on the Tamar and then back up to return to St Dominick. An up and downy 7 miles and, for me at least, unexpectedly tiring.
The medieval church in St Dominick was dedicated to St Dominica in 1259. She was a Celtic saint who, with her brother St. Indract, sailed up the river Tamar from Ireland and landed near what is now Halton Quay to found a religious settlement nearby. For many years the name of the Patron Saint was confused with St. Dominic the Founder of the Dominican Friars. By a Special Decree, in 1963, his name was added as a second Patron.
Can you spot what is a little odd about this church tower? No? The top part is slightly wider than the bottom part and rests on the line of corbels. Why? It was added to the original 13th century shorter tower in the 15th or 16th century and was made wide to accommodate the newly acquired bells. Those with keen eyes will see that the 'windows' are, in fact, pierced pieces of slate.
A shady wood on the path down towards Cotehele Mill.
Peace and Kindness. Not a bad sentiment to have on display, particularly in these troubled times. It's sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that there are more good people in the world than bad.
Looking up (and it's steeper than it looks) the green lane that connects Cotehele Mill/Quay/House with the hamlet of Bohetherick, once very important as a centre for market gardens. There's still some horticultural activity evident in the area but not as much as there used to be. 
Nothing unusual about seeing a Red Admiral, one of our strongest flying butterflies. It took a lot of stalking in the undergrowth before this one deigned to settle long enough for me to take its photograph.
The Red Admiral is an immigrant to the UK and comes over here in the Spring from the Mediterranean region. A generation later and they fly back to whence they came. I find it pretty amazing that this little thing could have been sunning itself in the South of France just a few months ago.
The present tranquillity of the River Tamar down at Halton Quay is a total contrast to how busy it would have been up until the early 20th century. For centuries it was a major transport route for all manner of industrial, agricultural and social activities. Would you believe that, at one time, it was probably possible to buy a ticket here that would get you the USA or the Antipodes? All that and a house near the quay that has associations with Sir Francis Drake.
This combination of banks and hedgerows is probably the highest I've seen in Cornwall. The figures at the bottom give an idea of scale and I'd estimate that the sides of the lane must be close on 20 foot high. It's like driving in a tunnel.
Quite a lot of Common Valerian in the hedgerows. The flower heads are a magnet for insects and, if you look closely at this one, you might be able to make out at least five different species.
Looking back towards Kit Hill, the wrong side to see our house.
I think this plaque in the church reads "Here lyes the right worsp (worthshipful?) Ambrose Rous, sonne and heyre of Sir Anthony Rous, who maryed with Maudlin, the daughtar of the right wors Peter Osborne Esq by whom he fifteene children". Poor Maudlin.

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