Archive for liskeard

Cornwall by Car, Bus and Train

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Printed on the back of our breakfast menus, our Top Ten Day Trips from Looe have proved so popular with guests staying at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley that we thought we’d share our recommendations so you can plan ahead.

Cornwall With and Without a Car

Explore Cornwall by trainBe adventurous!  Why not explore Cornwall by car, bus and train.  It’s rare to find hotel accommodation in Cornwall in such an idyllic rural location enjoying the convenience of both bus and train services.  Our suggestions include days out from Looe with and without the car using Polraen Country House near Looe as a touring base for Cornwall and Devon. At Sandplace in the Looe Valley, Polraen Country House benefits from Western Greyhound No 573 hourly bus service and the scenic Looe Valley Line train giving easy access to Looe, Polperro, Liskeard and beyond.

Touring By Car

Whitsand Day out from LooeWithout negotiating any narrow back lanes, it’s a direct route from Polraen’s car park to the A38 via Morval on the A387. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll be on a fast road heading east to fantastic beaches at Whitsand, the Rame Peninsula and Devon or west into deeper Cornwall.

Exploring By Looe Valley Line Train

Just a 2 minute stroll to Sandplace Station, guests really appreciate our proximity to the scenic Looe Valley Line. 5 minutes to Looe or use it to connect with the mainline at Liskeard. It’s perfect for day trips by train to St Ives, Falmouth, Truro and Plymouth. Cheap day returns and group/family discounts make the journey easier, faster, and far more relaxing than by car. It’s less costly too (no fuel or parking charges).  A year round service Mon-Sat and from May 18, a Sunday service too.

 

Travelling By Western Greyhound Bus 573

Polperro Harbour Explore Cornwall by busWestern Greyhound bus number 573 runs from Polperro via Looe and Sandplace through the Looe Valley to Liskeard and beyond to Pensilva up on Bodmin Moor. It stops on request right outside the hotel and honours senior citizen bus passes so if you qualify, enjoy ‘free’ trips too. We’re happy to assist with directions, timetables & loan Ordnance Survey maps.

Top Ten Day Trips from Looe

  1. Looe to Polperro Cliff top walk (on foot and by bus)
  2. Eden Project via Bodinnick Ferry and Fowey (by car)
  3. Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Victorian port of Charlestown (by car)
  4. Lanhydrock – a gem in the National Trust portfolio of historic houses (by car)
  5. Days out by train to St Ives, Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Plymouth (by train)
  6. Whitsand Bay & the Rame Peninsular – the beaches & villages of Cornwall’s ‘forgotten corner’ (by car)
  7. North Coast to King Arthur’s Tintagel, Boscastle and Rick Stein’s Padstow (by car)
  8. The contrast that is Bodmin Moor, granite formations, ghosts and Bodmin Jail (by car or by bus)
  9. Discover grey seals and amazing wildlife on  visit to Looe Island (by bus/train and boat)
  10. Go on a mackerel or deep sea fishing trip from Looe (by bus/train and boat)

Full details and a print friendly download available here.  At Polraen, we know that a little bit of local knowledge can go a long way in making the difference between a good holiday and a great one. We are more than happy to assist you during your stay, with suggestions on things to do, places to visit and how to get there. Why not book your holiday in Looe now?

Help for Heroes Lifting Spirits in the Looe Valley

Monday, December 10th, 2012

At our charity fundraising night at Sandplace in the Looe Valley, we raised £454.50 for Help for Heroes – the British charity providing direct, practical support to wounded, injured and sick service personnel, veterans, and their families. 1940′s crooner Andy Marshall entertained local residents during a Gourmet Bangers and Mash meal at a community based fundraising event ‘Crooning for Christmas’.

Help for Heroes Crooning for Christmas Event at Polraen, Looe, CornwallThrowing the doors open in aid of Help for Heroes, we decided to support this worthy cause  for the second year running. Our hotel, Polraen Country House Hotel at Sandplace, is an ideal venue to host a community party, and we were supported by fellow Sandplace residents including Adam Grundy and Caroline Foster, (seen here with 1940s Crooner Andy Marshall, dressed as a Land Army Girl).

Planned some time ago to foster community spirit, the event brought out the best of British in the face of adversity as it couldn’t have taken place at a better time to help lift the spirits of local residents. The previous two weeks had been a frustrating time for everyone in the Looe Valley.  An unprecedented combination of scheduled roadworks and a landslide in Looe following recent heavy rains had isolated communities severing bus routes and creating traffic chaos on the back lanes as we were  forced to cope with ‘rat run’ detours. We’re pleased the scheduled roadworks on the A387 are now complete and the road is now fully open between Widegates and Sandplace. Not only was this event for a really worthy cause, it helped us to send out a strong message that businesses in the Looe Valley are open for business as usual, including Sunday roast lunch. We’re particularly relieved the public transport is back on track. The Looe Valley train is running and the 573 bus has resumed a service from Looe, detouring via Widegates and Morval to reach Sandplace, Duloe, St Keyne and Liskeard.

We owe a lot of thanks to Andy Marshall, 1940′s crooner, a brilliant talent with an amazing voice, who generously travelled up from St Columb Major near Newquay to Croon for Christmas at Polraen. Thanks Andy!

 

Steam trains on the Looe Valley Line

Monday, November 19th, 2012

For the last two Sundays, 11th and 18th November, the Looe Valley has reverberated to the sound of steam hissing, engine pistons clacking and whistles blowing as a steam engine (Great Western Society’s 104-year-old Steam Railmotor 93) has plied the journey from Liskeard to Looe and back. Walking our dog May, up past Sandplace Station, Tregarland Bridge and Plashford on Sunday morning before the rush of Sunday lunch at Polraen, the smell of sulphur from the burning coal filled my nostrils as the steam hovered above the track as the little engine disappeared down the single track toward Looe leaving a plume of white as its signature.

Fortunately, both Sundays were blessed with lovely sunny weather.  The Looe Valley was a picture, dressed in its autumn glory with its tree lined banks saluting the passing of the little train . This little video captures a day in the life of the little train from all angles and from most stations along the route. Enjoy….

 

 

Olympic Torch Route – Liskeard

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

The Olympic Torch is being carried through Cornwall today and will be coming through Liskeard at 18.35 after passing through Bodmin. It will then go to Saltash, across the Tamar and into Plymouth - the final destination for today Saturday 19 May – the first leg of its round the UK journey.

Here are two PDF downloads to gain quick access to what’s going on in Liskeard (lots of fun and games of a sporty nature taking place all day from 10 am in the morning in the build up to the arrival of the Olympic Torch.

There will inevitably be some delays on the A38 which will be closed eastbound to allow the torch to cross the Tamar Bridges circa round about 6.30 pm.

And a couple of hours later here are the photos I took:

 

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Cornwall by Gill

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Cornwall

Finally, I did it! Flew over our beautiful county of Cornwall on the evening of Tuesday  24th May in a hot air balloon reaching three and a half thousand feet!  It was a birthday present from my husband Martin (big birthday 2 years ago - not telling!) but after about 6 or 7 attempted flights which were cancelled due to bad weather, the forecast was OK as long as the wind calmed down below 12 mph. It’s been a very windy May and nothing was necessarily guaranteed. And even at 7.45 pm, we were still studying the tree tops! Thankfully our Virgin Hot Air Balloon pilot Mandy was taking nothing for granted.

All 12 passengers + pilot and ground crew had met at 6pm outside the Butchers Arms pub at St Ive between Liskeard and Callington, near one of Virgin’s hot air balloon launch sites, but take off from that location in the prevailing wind conditions would have meant a short flight, most probably ending up wet in Plymouth Sound! So we drove with balloon and kit north across Bodmin Moor and took off from a farmer’s field at Lewannick, near Launceston. Spreading out and attaching the red ‘envelope’/balloon to the wicker basket  - we then helped inflate it – a noisy affair with two huge fans blowing cold air into the balloon (250k cubic feet I think) then noisy blasts of butane fuelled hot flames to lift the envelope. A quick practice on bracing yourself in the landing position – and thankfully no discussion at all about what to do if things go wrong!!

Hot Air Balloon take offAnd then take off!! An amazingly fast ascent and, (according to my video which you can see on Facebook)  I appear to find God, “Oh my God!” appearing to be the only words I could utter to describe both the serene experience, the breath taking excitement tinged with fear and the awe inspired by the overwhelming beauty of the countryside fanning out like a patchwork quilt below. Cornwall must be one of England’s most verdant counties.

I was alone, most passengers were with a partner, yet few words were said, especially at the start. The sense of the moment is so intoxicating. A feeling of vulnerability and the need to hold on to the internal ropes did not pass easily. But after 7 or 8 minutes into the flight, you acclimatise to the strange oddness of being above the world in a wicker basket, able to touch the air with nothing to separate you from the ground below. Its calm, serene, exhilarating. Other than the occasional roar of the butane flames to keep us up, the silence was permeated by the occasional barking of dogs and the bleating of sheep. Slightly alarmed horses fled across fields and children appeared in back gardens to wave. As we were swept eastwards, we could see Roadford Lake to our north, Plymouth to the south east and Colliford Lake or Siblyback behind us. We flew over Stoke Climsland and skimmed the treetops of the Tamar Valley as we made our descent after an hour’s flight, with the sun setting on the horizon.

Driving in hot pursuit, and seen by me on the chase, was my husband Martin and daughter Amelia, keeping up with the Virgin crew to meet us as we landed near the pretty village of Horsebridge with its 15th century bridge spanning the Tamar River. We had an OK ‘two -bump’ landing in a recently mown field, but not before the pilot decided to avert and jump the hedgerow to avoid a bull in full panic mode in the chosen field. I’m left wondering whether Virgin have ever given it a second thought that maybe RED was not the choice of corporate colour on certain occasions!!

The whole experience was completed with a glass of champagne and a certificate to prove it! So if you ever get the chance do it, it’s well worth it. Virgin are currently offering morning balloon flights in the South West from £89 or £109 for a Weekday Anytime flight.  You have to get up VERY early for a morning flight and given the number of times they get cancelled in Cornwall (slim peninsular, surrounded by sea!), it’s probably worth the extra £20 for the convenience of an evening flight. If you want to know more information or book, visit Virgin Hot Air Balloons.

Steam trains on the Looe Valley Line in September

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Victorian Railway Fayre at Polraen in the Looe ValleySteam trains return to the Looe Valley Line on 19th and 26th September, commemorating 150 years of the Looe Branch Line and the 175th Anniversary of the Great Western Railway. We’re thrilled to have chance to see them passing Polraen Country House four times each Sunday. It will be the first time since 1961 that steam trains have travelled on the line between Liskeard and Looe .

The Looe Valley Explorer trains will feature steam locomotive GWR designed Hawksworth Pannier Tank No. 9466 hauling in one direction and a classic  1960′s English electric Type 3 (Class 37)  diesel in the other. The four departures on the two consecutive Sundays 19th and 26th September, will leave Liskeard at 10.50, 12.55, 14.55 and 17.10 stopping at Looe for approximately 10 minutes. Return tickets are £25 each with further details available from Vintage Trains including booking information. 

Victorian GirlsCelebrations to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Looe Valley Line will also be centred around the weekend of 11 and 12 September when a variety of events get underway with a Victorian fare, organized walks, a real ale trail and much, much more. It reminds me fondly of the time about 7 or 8 years ago when we held a Victorian Fayre in our garden to celebrate one of the railway centenary events.

If you are looking for accommodation, B&B rates at Polraen are from £82 per room per night.