Wild places: Looe

Picture of the river drained with boats beached on the riverbed, with Looe in the background.

One of our favourite ways to spend time in the wild is to visit somewhere new – or introduce someone else to a place we love. Nanny Pat took grandson Sam on a day out to Looe, where they spent several happy hours exploring, bird watching and building sandcastles.

The branch line to Looe is another of my favourite rail journeys. It runs every hour or so during the day and is a great way of avoiding the car parks and enjoying a memorable, scenic ride from Liskeard along the East Looe river, which is mostly tidal.


There are a number of tiny halts along the route and it is perfectly possible to walk some of the way – there are both linear and circular walks in the area.

Sam was really excited to be going on a train as it’s not something we often do. He was glued to the window spotting farm animals and wildlife. We saw Canada geese with goslings, herons and egrets. I also caught a glimpse of iridescent blue which could only have been a kingfisher.


The valley opened out into a wide expanse of tidal mud flats. It was low tide on the way out so the river bed was exposed and full of wading birds searching out worms and small crustaceans. Looe soon comes into view with its houses clinging to the hillsides either side of the East and West Looe rivers and Kiliminorth Woods with its dense woodland running right down to the high water mark, typical of the many drowned river valleys along the south coast of Cornwall.

We wandered along the main road into Looe keeping well to the banks of the river and keeping an eye out for any fishing boats landing their catch on the fish market on the quay. We saw some empty boats and fishermen mending their nets but we were too late for the market and had to content ourselves by looking at the array of fish and seafood on display in the fishmonger’s nearby.


There are many cafes and coffee shops in Looe so there’s no real need to take a picnic (unless you prefer to do so).

Next we popped in to the lifeboat station and examined the boats at close quarters and marvelled at how big they are.

A visit to Looe is not complete without a trip along the Banjo pier to enjoy the views out to sea and marvel at the seafaring skills needed to navigate the narrow entrance from the sea. We spent a very happy hour building sandcastles using the knowledge we gathered from a recent visit to Restormel castle near Lostwithiel – ours had a moat, ramparts, a bridge to guard and a flag on the top.


Looe has many interesting shops to pop in to if that is your interest, but I managed to steer clear and rewarded Sam with a delicious Roskilly’s ice cream to lick on the way home.

Another ride back along the track to look forward to. A brilliant day out for all the family!

Getting there

The nearest station to Bosinver is St Austell, just a few minutes away by bus, car or taxi.

A return ticket to Looe on the train costs £7.90 for adults (off peak), children 5-15 pay 50% of the full fare and under 5s travel free. Discounts are also available for railcard holders and groups travelling together. Visit First Great Western to find out more or buy tickets.

Are you ready to go wild this June?

Head over to the 30 Days Wild website to find out how to get involved, and follow #30DaysWild on Twitter for more inspiration for random acts of wildness.


We’ll be sharing our wild adventures on Facebook, Twitter and our blog, so please come and join us and share your ideas for outdoor adventures in Cornwall and beyond.

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Action Nan and the rest of the team are always busy writing posts that we think you’ll like – from top tips on where to take the kids, to what’s likely to be going on in the local area when you stay – we’ve got it all in our blog!