If you are looking for somewhere to walk off those mince pies after Christmas or in my case before Christmas then take a walk around Kennall Vale.
Situated between Redruth and Falmouth in the village of Ponsanooth, Kennall Vale is part of Cornwall’s rich heritage from the Tin mining era. Gunpowder was produced here with production starting around 1812. By 1860 some 50 men were employed in the gunpowder ‘factory’ until its closure in the early 1900s when alternative and more sophisticated methods of explosives were used in the Cornish mines.
Kennall Vale is now a tranquil and serene place to have a quiet walk and is very popular with dog walkers. The valley has a river (The Kennall!) running through it which would have provided the power to work the machines within the gunpowder mills. Now, just lies the ruins of the old granite buildings and parts of the cast iron wheels which once turned.
A walk around Kennel Vale is not for the faint hearted, it starts off with a nice wide even path with a slight gradient going under the canopy of large beech trees, as you walk along you can hear the water running in the nearby river but it’s not until about half a mile before you experience the whole drama of this amazing place. As you pass some old buildings and the old quarry on you left hand side (from where the granite was taken to build all the mills) now filled with water you will turn a corner and the footpath then crosses the river (via a bridge). Take time to stop on the bridge and watch and listen to the incredible power of the water beneath you. As you walk across you will see many waterfalls in front from where the water was channelled down to drive other parts of the mills workings. Take care now along this path as you walk back along the river from the other side. This path is narrow, muddy, slippery, and everything you didn’t want to hear! But it all adds to a fantastic experience, as you wonder back imagining what it must have been like to work in such a place – producing gunpowder too!
And yes finally, for those who are interested in any gunpowder incidents which happened at Kennall Vale click on the worldheritagecornwall.com.
It’s a great walk, will take an average able-bodied person around 45 minutes – 1 hour to do the circuit and it certainly burn off a few mince pies. – Just remember to leave those cigarettes in the car!