Sunday 1st May, 2016 – dipping into the delights of the Luxulyan Valley; the wonders of the Treffry Viaduct; bluebells and ransoms; CTC plaques; power line protection; and Par Station (don’t go there on a Sunday if you are hoping for a loo, a waiting room or a cup of tea); and a brush with a herring gull for Ian

For our route and ride stats click here  Approx 80 km (50 miles); 1484m climbed.

With  bluebells, ransoms and primroses showing off our Cornish countryside to its very best (and with Dave Ball improving the appearance of our group with a new and posh bicycle), we glided down to Respryn Bridge; up through the Lanhydrock estate; along past Lanivet and up to the Costa at Victoria Services.  Here, once we had persuaded a large group of Lanhydrock Wheelers to vacate their chairs, we enjoyed our cheese toasties, cakes and drinks before heading into countryside completely new to me.

Along the road to Roche and left at the Church (the highest part of our trip); down the road to Bugle.  Pretty villages with everywhere significant evidence of mining heritage.  As we descended towards the coast we passed by for the second time in the day a huge block of scaffolding supporting netting underneath major power lines where they crossed the highway – presumably to protect road users from possible falling cables in the recent poor weather?

At Bowling Green we paused to look at a building (the second we had passed) which comprised part of a railway carriage – all now painted a very bright lime green.

Then we turned into the beautiful Luxulyan Valley – known in the nineteenth century for its tramway, canal and mining but now very picturesque woodland, waterways; multi use tracks and passing under the amazing Treffry Viaduct.

The Treffry Viaduct was built by Joseph Treffry,  opened in 1844 (15 years before the Great Western Railway) and at the time was the most advanced engineering project in the South West.  In 1829 Treffry  built a new artificial harbour,  at Par, a canal up the valley to Ponts Mill and an inclined plane railway to the Fowey Consols mine on Penpillick Hill. To bring water power to the mine he built a leat from Luxulyan along the west side of the valley. He also acquired part of the port of Newquay and land and mines in the area of Goss Moor, and planned to link them by a railway system.

The viaduct carried both rails and a water channel to bring more water for the Fowey Consols, and this is where the quality of the design and construction becomes apparent because the level of a waterway must be precisely correct, or the water will not flow.  As David explained, you can walk the route of the tramway, now the Par Newquay branch line and then along the top of the viaduct itself.  An incredible engineering feat and well worth a visit.

A little further on as we passed through St. Blazey, David stopped to point out a big iron logo on the side of what is now a Travis Perkins Building but carrying the words “Repairer to CTC” so presumably used to be a cycle repair shop. David mentioned we could see a similar plaque on a building in Lostwithiel.

A quick check with Dave Ball told us that we had now done 30 miles.  Probably enough for Geoff and me and so we said goodbye to the group at Par Station.  In my mind time for a cup of tea and quick loo break before getting the train home.  No such luck at Par Station – not even a waiting room open.  However, the Royal Inn across the road did oblige with all three and we were able to wait in comfort for the train.

David continues narrative:

After Ann and Geoff left to catch the train home from Par (missing one by about 2 minutes) David, Dave and Ian continued to Fowey taking the easier, less congested road through Tywardreath  and Castle Dore.

The damp weather became thick mist by the time we reached the hill summit. In Fowey we were glad to find somewhere warm and dry for our late lunch amongst the milling tourists where we could park up and get a window seat to keep an eye on the bikes.
Expecting to get something hot to eat was quickly dispelled as the menu and cook pointed out that they did not do hot stuff after 2.30 which was strange since a couple of us opted for the BLT sandwich which turned up with hot bacon!?
Suitably recharged it is just a short distance along the main street to the Bodinnick ferry. I think the tariff is a little dear for the short crossing however we got better value today as the tide was in.
Onward to Looe via Trefrawl, Cartole and Ashen Cross. West Looe Quay is grey and murky but there is a hive of activity with a choir drawing a good crowd. We pause a while to eat our snacks. As Ian chats, arm slightly outstretched, a gull swoops down and snatches his biscuit bar out of his hand kindly leaving him with just the wrapper. Indignantly he threatens to run down the quay after it as we can see the bird eating it’s ill-gotten gains.
Homeward is along the flat valley road through Sandplace and then up the steep hill to Trewidland where we go our separate ways.


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