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Walking Cornwall on Rainy Days: A Guide.

We love Cornwall. We love walking. I love the rain (and I hope you do too). So why not do all three! Walking around Cornwall when it’s raining gives me energy, awakens my senses and connects me to nature - like a big wet hug.

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GIC - Rainy Walk Portreath Cliffs
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Foggy & Wet Conditions Walking West Cornwall
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Kedinjack Valley Walk - On off rain

I fully appreciate it’s not the same for everyone because the majority of us are taught that a rainy day = a bad day. I’m here to convince you there is no need to connect negative emotions with a grey, wet day, afterall, those water droplets bring life & movement to our natural world.

The key to exploring in the rain is to open your mind, be prepared and have a plan. Hopefully I can encourage and persuade you to grab your boots and seek out a quick wet adventure and walk about Cornwall when it’s raining.

As much as I love walking in Cornwall on rainy days, even I have to agree there is a limit. It is true there is little enjoyment in getting soaked through for hours on end as you could end up with a chill. So the harder and more persistent the rain is, the shorter the time you are walking will be.

Why walk in Cornwall when it’s raining?!

I know I need to do some convincing but there are genuinely so many reasons to get yourself outdoors in Cornwall despite the wet weather. It is all about embracing the many positives walking in rain offers.

Experience Cornwall in a different light.

Cornish coastlines, woodlands and villages have a unique ambiance on rainy days. Did you know rain alters light through a process called scattering: the dispersion of light particles by raindrops in the atmosphere.

Meaning only when it rains, you will be able to witness novel scenes such as prisms, rainbows, the intensified colours of nature, soft glows and even hazy visuals. Rain-altering light has inspired countless artists in Cornwall and gives a fresh perspective on the environment.

Speaking about visuals, the next reason is rain’s sensory experience.

Awaken your senses.

Raindrops falling on your skin. The rhythmic patter on your hood. A distinct fresh, earthy scent. The mesmerising ripples on a glassy pond. Catching droplets on your tongue.

Rain invites us to be fully present and connect with the natural world by giving us endless sensory experiences to tune into. It can remind us of both the power and beauty of nature and even evoke feelings: for me it’s calmness, fondness and excitement! The only thing that you have to do is stop for one moment and take notice.

Have you heard of Petrichor? It’s the name given to that earthy aroma when dry soil gets wet. The term comes from Greek words meaning “rock” and “ethereal fluid of the gods.” The smell is most pronounced after a period of warm, dry weather and is associated with the freshness and renewal that rain brings.

This word alone explores connecting with nature through the senses and finding meaning in the rain.

Connect to Nature.

Rain is nature. Have you ever seen how beautiful and bright a single droplet of water is on a branch or leaf? Or how the ducks splashing and washing their feathers in the pond puts a smile on your face. Perhaps the accomplishment of storing rainwater for your home, land and community.

Contact, beauty, emotion, compassion and meaning are the five pathways to nature connection. If you let yourself embrace rain, you may connect with it in a new way. Here are 5 questions you could ask yourself when trying to appreciate nature when it’s a little wet outside:

  1. How does the rain taste, smell, feel on your skin, sound and really look like? (contact)
  2. Does anything draw you in? (beauty)
  3. What emotions can you recognise when it rains? Sadness is a popular one, but joy, surprise, calmness and many other feelings can emerge from experiencing rain too. (emotion)
  4. Do you care nature even when it rains? (compassion)
  5. What’s the significance of rain to you, what does it represent? (meaning)

If there is anything Cornwall is good at is delivering a tonne of NATURE. So go experience it!

A Fresh Cornish Outdoor Experience.

You might just enjoy a brisk walk on your favourite part of the Cornish coast path in the rain! Tom Lehrer said that bad weather looks worse through a window and he was right. So pull over your waterproofs, pack a warm drink and go play in the puddles and embrace the rainy weather. You can go wherever you like, the rain will not stop you. You never know until you try!

But what parts of Cornwall are best to walk in the rain?

Where to walk when it’s raining in Cornwall?

Depending if you are walking in drizzle or downpour, generally finding a sheltered spot in the Cornish countryside is the best idea when planning a walk in the rain. Trees make for a great natural umbrella, so opt for a short walk in your local or large woodlands. Otherwise, there are some naturally protected riverside walks in Cornwall too.

Look for a local Cornish woodland to plan a walk when its raining.

Before I give you a finite list – it’s important to understand there is a patch of woodland round in every area of Cornwall (apart from down West!). If you don’t want to travel very far for a short rainy walk in here is how you plan and find your local woodland in Cornwall.

1. ‘Find Woods in Your Area’ Tools - top tip for finding rainy walks.
The Woodland Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust & Forestry England all have internal search engines that help you find woods to walk in Cornwall. These have information such as parking, cafe’s, opening times (if any), length of trails and even who owns them. You can plan for your rainy walk no problem at all.
2. Google Maps - Search ‘Woods’

Get nifty with Google Maps and simply type ‘woods’ in the search bar – you’ll be surprised how many patches of woodland pop up! Choose one and explore the area. Next you need to figure out if it is a public/private woodland you can visit. You can do this a few ways:

  • Stay on google maps and zoom in to the woods so it’s central on the screen and in the maps search bar type in ‘car park’ and enter. This will bring up any local, public car parks that indicate if a wood is public.
  • Use The ‘Find Woods in Your Area’ tool and it will let you know if it’s private or public with designated ROW.
  • Google it! Many woodland areas are down to local conservation groups to look after and many have a small website for volunteers and community events.
3. Go there to explore and take a look!

If it’s within walking distance from your house or a nearby car park, no harm in exploring and finding a walk on the move. It’s difficult to know when looking at woodlands online because many are not mapped out as a public right of way and satellites can’t see the paths through the trees so maps cannot easily be drawn up.

That’s how you can locate some woodlands yourself for a wet day but let’s give you some of my favourite places to walk in the rain in Cornwall.

8 Cornwall Woods to Explore on a Rainy Day

As well as finding your local woods, here are some firm favourite woodlands in Cornwall to walk in the rain.

Tehidy Country Park Woods - Portreath

One of the largest woodlands in Cornwall, it is a great place to explore in the rain with 14.5 km of paths connecting different areas. From the pine walk to the rose garden, oak wood and beech tree walk – you won’t have a problem seeking shelter areas under the peaceful trees.

Cardinham Woods - Bodmin

With clear five-waymarked walking trails and many more in-between this valley of rolling mixed woodland is great for walking in the rain. Shared with bikes, and dog walkers alike there are many streams running through and plenty of parking.

Idless Woods / St Clements Woods - Truro

On the outskirts of Truro, the 113 Hectares is a combination of three woods: Lady’s Wood, Lord’s Woods and Bishop’s Wood. Classed as an ancient woodland, there is a protected iron age fort and old gunpowder works along the River Allen. Has a cafe and free parking too!

Ladock Woods - Mid Cornwall

A beautiful mid-Cornwall woodland where once a Cornish gold nugget was found big enough to craft a necklace – now in the RCM. With a small car park, these woods get muddy and when it rains so pack your wellies. Also, there is a beaver enclosure just round the corner!

Unity Woods - Redruth

Just off the mineral trails and coast to coast route by Bissoe, Unity is popular with downhill trail biking, runners and walkers alike. Boasting Bluebells in Spring and a mix of broadleaf and conifer trees on its steep banks, I love this hidden woodland in the heart of Cornwall.

Cober Valley Woods - Helston

Nestled in the valley by Helston, Cober Valley is home to an iconic set of granite river stones used as a crossing. A picturesque broadleaf woodland with The River Cober running through to The Penrose Estate nearby – you have shelter from the rain for miles!

Lanhydrock Woods - Bodmin

There are many varied public footpaths and woodland between Respryn and Lanhydrock House. With steep valleys, streams and a mixture of accessible and biking trail paths, it is a great area to explore and walk on a rainy day in Cornwall.

Polwheveral & Bosahan Woods - North Helford

Bosahan has an upper and lower path that leads to further sheltered woodland areas for a rainy day. The granite boulders along the fast flowing stream are covered in moss and it has fairytale glen feels. It’s one of my favourite places with an amazing eatery called Slice.

Naturally Protected Riverside Walks in Cornwall for when it’s raining.

If you prefer some waterside river views on your rainy walk in Cornwall, note down these sheltered creekside to visit.

Lamouth Creek and Trelissick Woods

The River Fal is framed by woodland on both sides. Nestled next to the King Harry Ferry crossing is a series of wonderful public footpaths leading through the North and South Trelissick Wood as well as Namphillows and Carcaddon Wood up to Roundwood Quay.

Helford - Frenchman’s Creek

If you want a sheltered yet classic walk in the rain that has romance written on the paths by Daphne du Maurier herself, take yourself for a stroll around Frenchman’s Creek. A beautiful river path that hugs the veins of Helford Rivers south side.

Saint Clement

Just beyond Truro where its river splits to Tresillian waters, there is a quaint hamlet called St Clement, or as we called it as children – The Broccoli Trees. A great walk for watching wading birds on a mizzley day and a nice circular route to Malpas, the village upstream.

Penrose Estate Grounds

The Penrose Estate hosts ancient woodland that surrounds Cornwall’s largest natural freshwater lake. With the Loe Bar coastline enroute and features of open managed parkland, it is a wonderful place to explore and walk on a rainy day out in Cornwall.

The Roseland Creeks

North of the Carrick Roads a series of creeks split into the land and the shores are thick with conifer and broadleaf woodland paths from Cellar’s beach at Place to Percuil Creek and Porth Creek too. With a NT car park and cafe at Porth you are never far from refreshments!

Hopefully you have marked on your map some rainy day walking routes to explore in Cornwall.

For more exposed areas like towns and open coast paths, you can still make a day of exploring and plan a short walk with your waterproofs with an indoor stop off en-route!

Who to visit in Cornwall en-route a wet weather walk or hike?

If you are looking to explore a more exposed area of Cornwall on a rainy day it’s a good idea to keep the route short and break it up with a visit to somewhere dry. Cornwall (and all places) can struggle with visitor footfall when the skies open due to people getting put off by the weather, however, they are great to visit and cosy up in when it’s wet out.

Museums & Heritage Centres

Did you know Cornwall has over 80 museums? Walking round a town or village and then exploring its unique history can be done rain or shine. Railway, maritime, mining, smuggling, art, industry, houses and more – there are so many stories to discover about Cornwall’s past.

Art Galleries

Cornwall is a land that inspires art in all forms – canvas, print, music, spoken word, literature, architecture, sculpture, modern and more. Many artists have captured rain as a subject – from its beauty to melancholy. Add a visit to a Cornish gallery while walking in your waterproofs.

Pubs

You can’t go wrong with a wet walk partnered with a hearty pub lunch mid-way. There are countless eateries nestled away on Cornwall’s countryside footpaths. On an OS most pubs are marked with a blue beer tankard, so if you are planning a route, look out for that icon.

Libraries & Research Centres

Cosy in at a local library or research centre corner in your local Cornish town and listen to the pitter patter of rain on the window. From modern worldwide novels to Cornish records and writings about the people of Cornwall. An invigorating stroll to a library will be worth it.

Cafés

Hot mocha with extra marshmallows and cream please! Most coastal villages and popular walking trails have a cafe open enroute in the high season. Be it a small snack shack or a full on sandwich sit down lunch. You are never far from a cuppa when taking a walk in the rain.

Independent Shops

Does exploring a Cornish town’s network of small alleyways hopping from shop to shop on a rainy day count as a walk? You bet it does! Cornwall has a brilliant and thriving independent shops scene which are open and ready for browsing – always support local shopkeepers.

For those rain walkers with a stop halfway those ideas should keep you busy. Next up, knowing what kit to take when walking in the rain can be taken for granted – lets run through it. 

What to wear on wet walking days in Cornwall?

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes. You’ve heard it before, but it is true.

I will also add that you need to know that it’s going to rain in the first place! Don’t forget to check the forecast before you head out. Either on a simple MET office app or a more in depth weather guide such as Windy.com.

Supportive & Waterproof Footwear

Rain creates slippery and muddy conditions as well as pooling water on footpaths and increased river flows. So whether you need to cross a stream or squelch your way along the Cornish coast path, make sure your walking footwear is fit for purpose and will support your ankles if you slip.

Waterproof Coat & Jacket

For dryness and warmth, don’t forget to pack a waterproof in all seasons to keep showers, mizzle and downpours off from soaking your clothes. Cornwall’s weather can be unpredictable so pack a jacket on any day. Remember to take good care of your waterproof clothing by washing them semi-regularly in re-waterproofing cycles.

Lightweight Mid-Layers

Just in case some water does get through it’s a great idea to wear a moisture-wicking base layer. It can help keep you dry if you do get a bit damp from the rain or a leak in your jacket. Layers are a great way to keep your core temperature warm too on those longer rainy walks in Cornwall.

Waterproof Accessories

Umbrellas, bag covers, gaiters, phone cases and waterproof trousers. There are endless other bits of outdoor weatherproofing kit on the market that can help you keep the rain off. It’s up to you what you bring – as long as it encourages you to experience walking in the rain in Cornwall!

Rainy Day Quotes from Me to You:

There is definitely not enough love for rain in the quotes I’ve been researching so I created my own!

  • Freedom is loving the raindrops.
  • It takes courage to love the rain.
  • Only adults take issue with rain. Children see through the illusion.
  • Connect with nature by feeling the rain.
  • Just stop for a moment and embrace the rain on your skin.
  • Remember, rain is life.
  • Set yourself free by finding the beauty in rain.
  • Stop blaming the rain for your misery.
  • Rain = Joy.
  • Why let the rain make you feel blue when it is not to blame?
  • Your skin is waterproof so pull yourself together and go play in the rain.
  • Rain gives you energy, simply open the tap and feel it flow.
  • Rain has a bad reputation but you can change that.
  • Does the sky cry or does she dance to a rhythmic tune? pitter patter, pitter patter.
  • It’s in our nature to love the rain.

Thanks for reading “WALKING CORNWALL ON RAINY DAYS: A LOCAL’S GUIDE: ” I hope I have convinced you that rain isn’t all bad and you will plan a walk amongst the raindrops soon! Please feel free to share and link this article – copywriting is prohibited – please give me credit if you use my words. If you would like to work together on a writing feature for your or my own blog please email me at kate@cornishexplorer.co.uk.

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