The beautiful Golitha Falls are just down the lane from Redgate and across the Draynes Bridge, and are set in the lovely wooded valley of the River Fowey. They are a peaceful and mysterious place; there is history here, and legend... a King of Cornwall died here. In amongst the lichen covered trees you can also find all that now remains of what was a nineteenth century industrial mining complex - the old Wheal Victoria Copper Mine, and its various wheel-pits, shafts and adits.
To get to the Falls, which are part of a National Nature Reserve, it is a very short walk down the lane from Redgate, and then left over Draynes Bridge. Alternatively, there is a large car park opposite the reserve for those driving from further afield. The reserve is just over the bridge in the old Draynes Wood, and there is a bi-lingual (Cornish) welcome plaque near the entrance, giving details of walks, and the wildlife to be seen.
The path then continues into the reserve, down an old planted beech avenue, now looking a little more knarled than perhaps it was in its heyday! The path is well made here and easy walking, including disabled access, although the paths get a little rougher further on.
The path eventually leads down into the wooded gorge, with many ways to climb around and explore, or if you wish, you can follow the way-marked paths. In fine weather, access for disabled and wheelchair users continues for a little further, to gain views down onto the river and the upper falls.
As you find your way further down the river, the lichen covered trees close in, disguising all that has gone on here before, and hiding all that is left of the old copper mine. After wet days on the moor, the River Fowey swells its flow, and the Falls further down its course become very full; and the noise and the visual effect of sitting next to them can become quite entrancing. After a lot of rain, the roaring of the Falls can clearly be heard in our garden.
By the side of the upper falls you will find the old wheel pits of the old Wheal Victoria copper mine, and further down by the lower Falls, near where King Doniert supposedly met his doom, you will also find hidden away at the water's edge an old mine adit that is now only home to bats.
Beyond the lower Falls, there is even more to explore for the adventurous; where there are further wooded and steep valley sides, that come down either side of more enchanted pools and waterfalls.
The Falls are also good for fishing (with a licence!), and the adventurous can find some good spots, and know where the fish will be. Even without a rod, looking carefully, you may be surprised what you see!
During the winter, the falls still have a special magic of their own, and all through the seasons you can see the changes as the year renews itself, and the valley brings forth its greenery once again.
Above the Falls on the hill, in Golitha Woods (or more correctly, Draynes Woods) and on the higher wooded slopes where the shafts of the mine can be found, the bluebells in Spring-time create a carpet of blue among the trees.
And if that's not all, hidden in the depths of the woods by the river, if you search carefully in the right light with the moon full, you may just catch a glimpse of old Golitha, the mysterious Old Man of the Woods...
Check out Golitha Falls in January for more images of Golitha Falls themselves.
See the old mine workings on the Wheal Victoria Copper Mine PhotoFile page.
© All photographs are copyright of Clive ffitch; please contact PhotoFile
Cornwall if you wish to use them.
Redgate Smithy Bed and Breakfast