Back in May 2012, the Official Photographer supplied a picture of the
Tamar at Gunnislake and prompted a sufficient rash of luvviness to resolve the question of what to do with
that May Bank Holiday Monday. And, as it happens, quite a few May Bank Holidays since.
At the obscure northern end of Plymouth's suburban rail network - the fifth
"West of Plymouth" passenger-carrying branchline, which attracts little interest from the tourist trade and oozes "social railway" - the
rural "conurbation" of Gunnislake consists of several villages and hamlets condensed around the west end of New
Bridge and the railway station. Back lanes and a few footpaths head off in various directions through the former
mining country, offering splendid views of the river, nearby hulking Kit Hill and lightning-blasted chimneys. There
can be a disconcerting tendency towards rain, but amongst the lush flower-strewn hedgerows nice days are Nice.
Away from the views are some gorgeous side valleys, scattered with more industrial
ruins left as museum pieces or turned into houses. This is one of them - secluded Danescoombe, which tumbles into
the Tamar about halfway between the village of Calstock and the National Trust manor house at Cotehele. It makes a
slightly different way of getting from the train to Cotehele by getting off the train at Gunnislake and strolling around the hill
instead of getting off short of the terminus at Calstock (missing the most eccentric bit) and walking along the riverbank under Calstock's viaduct.
Much as Calstock Viaduct somehow seems to bring 2,000 years of viaduct building into the
perfect situation and is worth taking the opportunity to stop and gaze at...