DISTANCE/DURATION: 3.7 miles (6.0 km) 2 hours.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Service bus at Canaston Bridge via 1 km woodland walk 322/381/385.
CHARACTER: Woods, river and fields, can be wet and muddy in places, 0.4 miles (0.7 km) minor road walking.
LOOK OUT FOR: Ruins of Sisters’ House (not open to public), Minwear Church, woodland birds, flowers and pockets of native trees eg. oak, ash hazel plus coniferous trees.
Just below Canaston Bridge, Blackpool Mill stands on a picturesque reach of the Eastern Cleddau. Before the mill was built in 1813 there was an iron forge on the riverside site that had been there for more than two centuries.
Blackpool Mill was built with four huge millstones to grind grain and the waterwheel completed almost a century of milling before being replaced in 1901.
After World War Two the mill fell into disuse, but was restored in 1968 to become a museum but is currently closed.
Much of the route passes through Minwear Wood, a large mixed wood of conifers and broad-leaved trees. It is a great place to see woodland birds, including tiny long-tailed tits, great spotted woodpeckers and treecreepers.
In early spring the woodland paths are edged with the bright yellow flowers of lesser celandine and delicate white wood anemones.
Below the wood, the Eastern Cleddau snakes its way between muddy banks. At the mill the river reaches its tidal limit, finally leaving the influence of salt sea-water. Keep a watch for waterside birds, including herons and kingfishers.
The area has many links with the Middle Ages. Close to the route are the ruins known as Sisters’ House, which date from the medieval period and may have been a hostel for women pilgrims.
Close by, next to Minwear Farm, is the 12th century Minwear Church, which was once in the control of the Knights of St John, the religious and military order founded in Jerusalem.
The Knights’ local headquarter was at Slebech, over the Eastern Cleddau, and the ruins of their 14th century church is just across the river from this route.
As you walk, look back across the Cleddau where you can see Slebech Park and neighouring Picton Park. Picton Castle is still occupied by descendants of Sir John Wogan, who built the original castle as a border fortress in the 13th century.
Find this Walk
Grid ref: SN046135
- Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
- Guard against all risk of fire
- Leave gates and property as you find them
- Keep your dogs under close control
- Keep to public paths across farmland
- Take your litter home
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