Cadsonbury is a great Tamar Valley walk to have up your sleeve, especially in spring and summer.
In spring a multitude of wildflowers, birdsong and trees emerging from dormancy make for some heartening scenes. Come summer, when the weather is at its hottest, shaded woods alongside a cooling stretch of the River Lynher offer a little respite, making this a popular spot for dog walkers and families during such times.
Regardless of season, if you’re looking for something a little more energetic a trek up the steep hill to the fort will oblige you with some heart healthy exercise and reward you with some stunning views.
The car park is located about 2.1 km South West (as the crow flies) of the town of Callington in South East Cornwall. It is accessed from the A390 (which links Liskeard and Callington) by turning south on the immediate Liskeard (west) side of Callington Newbridge and the River Lynher.
The car park can be found on Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 108, grid reference of SX 347,678. This is National Trust owned and managed land, easily discernible on the Landranger Map by virtue of the purple boundary.
From the car park walk through the kissing gate into the woods. Here you will find signage denoting way marked trails but be aware there are few way markers. No matter, follow this simple route and you’re unlikely to go wrong.
- From the car park walk into the woods alongside the river. Follow the path (keeping the river on your left) until it leads you to the tarmac road.
- Turn left onto the tarmac road and continue for a short distance until you see another path leading into the woods on your left (there is a sign denoting private fishing rights here). Take this path and head back towards the river.
- Follow the path alongside the river until it bears right and comes to an end. Upon returning to the tarmac road, turn right and continue until you see a kissing gate with advisory signs for walking uphill through the field towards the fort on your left (pictured).
- Stay alongside of the fence and make your way up to the fort. You can enter and explore within the ramparts if you wish.
- Continue along the narrow worn track (keeping the hill fort on your left) and it will wend it’s way into woodland before beginning a descent. Keep going until you return to the tarmac road.
- Upon reaching the road, turn left and continue the last short distance to return to the car park
This route is just over 2 miles long, however don’t underestimate the incline to the fort. You will need good walking footwear and for part of the route be prepared for narrow, uneven and unsurfaced tracks. The descent (point 5) includes a large number of steps.
To access the routes to the hill fort you need to navigate a kissing gate on one side and a stile with a raising/lowering bar on the other. This is doable for dog walkers but may take some negotiating for larger dogs and if you are loaded with kit for families (or in my case photography) it can take a little thought and care.
Why walk here?
In the weeks of spring the woods, fields and ground surrounding (and inside) the fort become awash with successive wildflower blooms including common dog violets and swathes of bluebells.
The hawthorn blooms in May to June put on an amazing show and the springtime coming to life of riverside trees see beech buds falling like confetti in a celebration of the new growing year.
As mentioned, this makes for a cooling summer walk and the views from the fort can be enjoyed in clear weather throughout the year. Time it right and the interior of the fort is also awash with wildflower colour.
Although there is an interpretation panel about the fort near to the car park, there isn’t any inside the fort itself. You may want to have a screenshot or web page to hand on your smartphone for when you get there and that means doing some research before you set off.
There is a wikipedia entry for the fort and even if you don’t like to rely on wikipedia for accuracy (academics/undergraduates and post graduates are warned never to use wikipedia as a point of reference) there are external reference links which can be accessed from the page.