Sam started school this week so was just the girls – Jasmine and I – to share the adventure today. Recently we have been listening to The Wind in the Willows in the car and I thought it would be nice to go and visit the places that may have been the setting for the story.
Kenneth Grahame never actually lived in Cornwall, but he spent many holidays here and got married in Fowey. It’s claimed that he made a boat trip along a stretch of the Fowey River, from Fowey to Lerryn, with some friends and it became an inspiration for the first chapter of the The Wind in the Willows, where Ratty and Mole make a boat trip along the river to go for a picnic.
Lerryn, near Lostwithiel, has always been a favourite spot of mine. It is a delightfully peaceful little village, straddling the banks of the tidal River Fowey and is still unspoilt. There are numerous walks around Lerryn but my favourite is the five-mile circular walk on the north bank on the creek edge, which takes you through Ethy Woods to St Winnow and back across the fields.
We didn’t attempt a long walk today as I can’t carry Jasmine that far so we took the pushchair and contented ourselves with the riverside walks on either side which are hard surfaced and level (approx one mile long). Parking is easy in a public car park in Lerryn alongside the village shop which sells great coffee, cakes and hot pasties. The tide was high when we started so we fed the ducks and crossed the river by the ancient narrow bridge and headed downstream.
We entertained ourselves picking and eating blackberries. We talked about finding signs of autumn, and of the creatures who might live on and around the riverbank. Jas found a hazelnut case which fascinated her. A mouse had obviously been nibbling on it, as you could see the indentations made by its teeth. By the time we had meandered back, the tide had fallen to expose the stepping stones across the river, so we took a leap of faith and came back that way.
There were a couple of options for lunch. The Ship Inn offers a bar menu, but we settled for a warm sausage roll from the shop and had a picnic on the tables on the village green. Opposite the pub is the ‘Little Shop’. It’s a real treasure trove that’s full of bric-a-brac. It’s unmanned and run on trust, which is so refreshing and so Cornwall – it gladdened my heart! We had a browse and found a little something to buy.
We then drove around to St Winnow and parked by the beautiful riverside church. Surprisingly I discovered Angie’s Kiosk, which is open every day except Monday, from 12 til 6pm. It’s in the middle of nowhere but busy with locals and visitors in the know. They’ll cook up a bacon bap or serve cakes and cream teas to suit your fancy. There is also a farm museum and the lovely old church is well worth venturing into.
When we popped down to the riverside it was low tide and full of mud and wading birds. It was so peaceful there – we could just imagine Ratty and Mole paddling down to meet us. Aren’t we lucky to live in such a beautiful place?
You can find more inspiration for toddler friendly days out in Cornwall in our ebook, Nanny Pat’s Adventures.
If you’ve got any suggestions for a child friendly day out in Cornwall we’d love to hear your thoughts. You can share your recommendations below, post on our Facebook page or tweet @Bosinver.