Sunday 2 June 2019

Walking to Gribbin Head Cornwall - Daphne du Maurier Country

Green fields leading up to Gribbin Head, Cornwall

A visit we made - well, one we do often - to Gribbin Head with it's Gribbin tower. This is such a lovely stretch of coastline and one which inspired the writer Daphne du Maurier to write books such as Rebecca.

Polridmouth Beach

We parked the car at Menabilly and walked through the fields to Polridmouth - the beach above - and also the ornamental lake as below.

During the second world war Polridmouth was used as a decoy site. Lights were placed around the ornamental lake to lure enemy bombers away from nearby Fowey harbour, particularly during the build up to the D-Day invasion when 2,000 American troops were stationed in and around Fowey town.

Ornamental lake at Polridmouth, Cornwall

I digress! We were actually walking to Gribbin Head and to Gribbin tower - that's the tower in the photo below.

Looking up to Gribbin Head, Cornwall

It's a bit of a hill to climb but worth it for the views.

Walking to Gribbin Head

Gribbin Head has been an important lookout for many centuries. Iron Age people and medieval farmers settled on this viewpoint. 

In Elizabethan times the Gribbin was a beacon site which, in 1588, helped carry the news to London of the approaching Spanish Armada.

Since 1832 the Gribbin (tower)  has been an 84 ft. daymark to enable ships and other craft to pinpoint the approach to Fowey's harbour.

The detail below is over the door into the Gribbin.

Inscription on Gribbin Tower, Cornwall

There are lovely views and it's possible to continue walking along the coast path for many miles.

Cliffs on Gribbin Head, Cornwall

The photo below shows the entrance to the Fowey River and the harbour beyond. This is the entrance often missed by ships prior to the daymark being built.

View of Fowey River from Gribbin Head

Walking down the hill the views continue.

View from Gribbin Head

It's interesting that prior to 1988 the brow of the Gribbin was covered in dense scrub. Since then cattle grazing has been introduced and the grassland is now herb rich. In summer there is a variety of wild flowers and plants to be found.

Cows on Gribbin Head, Cornwall

I love this stretch of coast, such wonderful views and it's an essential place for any Daphne du Maurier fans to visit. The area brings her books alive.

See Also:
The Wonderful Coastline At Menabilly - Daphne du Maurier Country
Daphne Du Maurier Featured On Large Cornish Mural
Beyond The Beacon Near Du Maurier's Manderley / Menabilly


  1. Lovely views, one of my favourite places when we came to Cornwall was Fowey. Is the tower open to the public to view from the top?

    1. Hello David. I like Fowey too, one of the places we often visit - there is a lovely walk that takes in both sides of the river.

      As for Gribbin tower, it opens once a week in the summer for a few hours - though I have never been there at the right time unfortunately. I must make an effort as there are obviously great views from the top.

  2. No wonder it’s a favorite walk! There is such beautiful scenery and so much to see in any direction. And of course you are correct that it brings DuMaurier’s stories come alive. Lovely post, Mike. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Ann, it's definitely one of my favourite places to walk. The nice thing about Cornwall is that the coast varies so much from the rugged cliffs to the more gentle coast - something for everyone!



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