Golitha Falls, Cornwall


Cascade along the River Fowey
Boulders in the River Fowey

Series of cascades and small waterfalls along the River Fowey, flowing through some narrow channels, surrounded by ancient oak woodland (Draynes Wood)
2.5 miles north of the A38 at Dobwalls, along an unnamed road; PL14 6RX
0.5 miles
Along the south edge of Bodmin Moor, Golitha Falls is a sequence of cascades and pools on the River Fowey, extending for several hundred feet - so not a single large fall, and not especially spectacular, but pretty, and surrounded by the ancient oak woodland of Draynes Wood, also photogenic.

The river flows over rocky ground - most of the bedrock is granite, with some slate and sandstone (from the Brendon Formation), towards the south. The falls are a popular attraction, easily accessed via a short walk through the trees, and are near several other scenic places including King Doniert's Stone, Hurlers Stone Circles and the rocks of the Cheesewring. Parking for the walk is shared with a well known eaterie, Inkies Steakhouse, serving wood-smoked barbecue meats.

Draynes Wood is a site of special scientific interest, primarily for the many species of mosses, liverworts and lichens found here - well over 150. The English oaks that make up the majority of the trees are mixed with lesser numbers of ash and sessile oak. The wood, including the falls, is also part of a national nature reserve, while all the area is within the Cornwall Natural Landscape, formerly the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Walk to Golitha Falls

The parking place for the walk to Golitha Falls is at Draynes Bridge, along a minor road 4 miles northwest of Liskeard. The path starts on the opposite side of the road, entering the woods, soon bearing left at a junction, then continuing through the trees, descending slightly to the riverside, staying generally a little way above, though lesser paths approach closer. The cascades are easy enough to view, with care, since the rocks are slippery, and the river can be quite treacherous at times of high water levels. Beside the falls are several relics from an old copper mine, Wheal Victoria, which was in operation during the 1840s and 1850s. The most obvious structures are a pair of wheelpits - parallel masonry walls, once supporting a water wheel, used for pumping, and supplied by leats that are also still visible. Elsewhere in the wood are shafts, adits, mine tracks and spoil heaps.

Trees and ferns in Draynes Wood
Trees and ferns in Draynes Wood

Grotto in Draynes Wood
Grotto in Draynes Wood