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Golitha Falls

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.

Golitha Falls Sign
At the entrance to Golitha Falls nature reserve

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.

Draynes Bridge
Looking back at Draynes Bridge, built in 1876, just above the old ford

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.

Golitha Falls Beech Avenue
The path further along the beech avenue

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.

Golitha up towards bend
Looking back up towards the bend in the river where it enters the gorge

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.

Looking down upper Golitha Falls
Looking down the start of the upper falls

View down Golitha Falls
View down the Upper Falls

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.

Wheelpit at Golitha Falls
One of the old wheel pits associated with the old Wheal Victoria Copper Mine

Lower Golitha falls
Part of the Lower Falls

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.

Enchanted pools at Golitha
Looking down towards more enchanted pools

Beach at Golitha Falls
"The Beach" at the bottom of Golitha Falls, just above the Lower Falls

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!

Fisherman at Golitha
Fishing the falls ~ a keen fisherman on the opposite bank

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.

Winter's evening at Golitha
A Winter's evening

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.

Path in Golitha Woods (or Draynes Woods)
The path at the top of Golitha Woods (Draynes Woods)

Golitha Bluebells
Sunlight on the Bluebells in the Spring in Golitha Woods

More bluebells at Golitha
More Bluebells!

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...

Golitha - The Old Man in the Woods
The Old Man of the Woods

Golitha Falls painting by Gary Cedeira
A lovely painting of Golitha Falls by Gary Cedeira, in who's words:
"the painting is very large and weighs a lot due to the way in which I work... I add natural materials into my art from
the landscape so my Golitha painting has real blue bells in it as a signification of the time that I painted it".
Spot the Bluebells!
See Gary's Landscape Gallery for more of his work. Commissions undertaken.

Check out Golitha Falls in January for more images of Golitha Falls themselves.

See Golitha Falls in the Snow!

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.
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