Ride 65 (walk and lead): (TAG) 4: Into China Clay Country

Sunday, 16th August, Lockengate to Grampound Road, 22 miles.

With every day that passes now, we are getting closer to home.  I know this to be so because the signal on my phone is getting pretty good.  I’ve sent a text message to Catherine to say Mark is coming sometime this morning to drop off our kit.

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Our route today has been a challenging one to navigate on the map let alone take in reality.  It spans three maps and the added weight on my map holder has bust a clip which means I have to carry it under my arm for the rest of the day.  Our journey takes us right through the mining towns of Cornwall’s China Clay country such as Bugle, Roche and Treviscoe which amounts to the very heart of Cornwall’s modern mining industry.

A hinterland where – except for the Eden Project – few tourist venture and if they do, find themselves in a strange and unfamiliar landscape of quarries, clay pits and spoil heaps where even the roads and the vegetation are coated in a layer of fine white dust.

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From Lockengate, we skirt around the top of the clay pits, keeping Goonbarrow China Clay Works to our left.   I am beginning to notice the road side verges are full of litter.

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Heading down the lanes above Bugle, we come across fields full of wild gypsy horses all calling out to each other.  We go to say hello to a couple at a gate and a fight breaks out between them in front of us.  Turning the corner we walk down a long avenue packed full with static homes of every size and description, some with cottage gardens and picket fences in front of them, others transformed into all manner of bling and row upon row of caravan enclaves arranged in the form of individual closes.  I have never come across anything quite like it before.

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Through Roche, we touch the edge of Goss Moor at Dyehouse and glimpse the traffic on the A 30 in the distance at India Queens.

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We pause a while below the spoil heap at Brewers Hill for a bit of a break before cracking on.

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St Dennis and past the clay pits at Treviscoe where I try to get a look at the Mica Dam with its green turquoise water.  Lots of dragon flies and even beauty in some of these abandoned industrial buildings.image

The entrance to Trethosa China Clay Works

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Before St Stephen, we branch off the road just before the charmingly named junction at Stepaside to cross the River Fal on the A 3058 and take the back lanes towards Grampound Road, our destination today.  It is with some relief, we begin to leave the industrial landscape behind us and head into the pretty Roseland Peninsula countryside.

Catherine, who has done some natural horsemanship with us, seems surprised to see us, expecting us much later, but I’m pleased to hear she got my message about the kit which is now stored in the trailer.

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After turning Tommy out with the geese, I am grateful to take a break in the chalet and put my feet up.  Somehow Catherine has managed to find some fresh pasties, on a Sunday, which is very impressive and is very much appreciated.  I tell her about my plan to long rein Tommy on the way home and she kindly lends me a couple of lead ropes which I attach some leather thongs to.  Before the sun goes down, we try them out on Tommy in the field and Catherine gives me some useful tips for long reining him.  Tonight I’m not taking any chances of frostbite and sleep with all my clothes on and wake to another stunning morning.

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