Lanhydrock. The tour starts at Bodmin Parkway railway station at 2.00pm. Leaving luggage on the coach, walk for two miles along a track and an avenue of beech and sycamore which leads to Lanhydrock House. A fine Jacobean mansion surrounded by gardens, park and landscape, the opulent interiors display the entire spectrum of life in a top-end Victorian household. Drive to the little port of Fowey for the first of two nights.
Fowey, Eden Project. Topped and tailed with ferry crossings, the morning walk begins with views back across the estuary to Fowey and continues with a secluded wooded river valley, delightful undulating farmland, a soaring mediaeval church and the splendid cliffs of Lantic Bay (53/4 miles). Stay in Fowey for the afternoon – literary associations include Daphne du Maurier – or visit the Eden Project, a botanical paradise in a reclaimed claypit famous for its terraces and geodesic biospheres. Overnight Fowey.
St Mawes, Roseland. Walk around the Roseland Peninsula, one of Cornwall’s most delectable places: remote and rural, gently undulating pasture and mature trees, breathtaking coastal scenery and views across the Carrick Roads to Falmouth (4 miles). Visit St Mawes Castle, one of Henry VIII’s chain of coastal fortresses, small, beautifully designed and excellently preserved. The gardens at Trewithen are internationally known for rhododendrons and magnolias and other exotic and rare flowering shrubs. Overnight Fowey.
Falmouth, Helford. Walk through the lovely estuary scenery of Helford and Frenchman's Creek. Cross from Helford Passage on the passenger ferry to Helford and walk 2 1/2 miles along coastal paths and beside the mud flats at Frenchman's Creek - source of inspiration for Daphne du Maurier - to the delightful arts centre at Kestle Barton before returning to Helford. Falmouth was important for long-distance trade, the packet mail service and the Royal Navy. Its architecturally fascinating main axis cranks along the irregular line of the waterfront, with the striking new branch of the National Maritime Museum at one end and the Art Gallery at the other. Overnight Fowey.
Pencarrow, Pentire Point. Pencarrow has been the home of the Molesworth-St Auybn family for 500 years; the current house is Georgian, delightful inside and out and with fine gardens. The afternoon walk begins on the Rumps Point, continues to Pentire Point and descends to the beaches at Polzeath and Daymar Bay, developed as resorts in the early 20th-century. John Betjeman is buried in the tiny church at Trebetherick (6 miles). Then by ferry from Rock to Padstow and arrive at the hotel on foot. First of three nights in Padstow.
St Ives, Gurnard’s Head. A granite knot of narrow streets, the fishing village of St Ives became an important outpost of 20th-century British art. The Hepworth Museum, Barbara’s home and garden, packed with her sculptures, is superb; there is art at Tate St Ives (1993), the Leach Pottery, St Ives Society of Artists and many commercial galleries. In the mid afternoon drive to Zennor and walk 31 /2 miles from there to Gurnard’s Head, one of the most spectacular sections of the coastal path. Dinner here before the drive back to Padstow.
Padstow, Bodmin Moor churches. Sheltered in the benign Camel Estuary, the picturesque little fishing port of Padstow has for long attracted visitors, the allure recently enhanced by Rick Stein’s restaurants. Overlooking the town, Prideaux Place is a gorgeous manor house, Elizabethan and Strawberry-Hill Gothic, still a private home (visit subject to confirmation). There is an excursion across Bodmin Moor to visit churches at Altarnun (excellent late mediaeval furnishings), Blisland (Norman with a fine Victorian interior) and St Neot (set of stained glass windows). Overnight Padstow.
Boscastle. The fascinating geological formations and unfolding vistas over sea and farmland make the clifftop walk from Crackington Haven to Boscastle one of the most glorious in Cornwall (63/4 miles). It is also the toughest of this tour; an alternative is through fields and woods down the valley of the Valency, visiting the church of St Juliot which Thomas Hardy restored and where he married. The parties regroup at Boscastle, an enchanting tiny port. The coach returns to Bodmin Parkway by 3.00pm.