Archive for looe valley railway

The Beautiful Looe ValleyThe South East Cornwall Walking Festival 2013 taking place in September in and around Looe in Cornwall – what a brilliant programme of walks this year!

In the walking festival, alongside tried and tested favourites, such as a visit to the Duloe Beer & Cider Festival, this year’s week long programme of escorted walks from Sat 14-21 September, introduces some more eclectic interests such as foraging for edible plants along the South East Cornwall coast and seashore and a guided tour with archaeologists conducting the first archaeological dig to be carried out on the Hurlers Stone circle on Bodmin Moor since the 1930s.

The walks explore a truly diverse and beautiful rural landscape with a chance to appreciate some ‘off the beaten’ track gems. These idyllic locations are within an area of countryside in South East Cornwall along the coast from the popular fishing and seaside town of Looe to Polruan on the Fowey River, and inland across verdant pastures of the Looe River valleys running up to Bodmin Moor.

East Looe River ValleyWalking of course can be a solitary pursuit but to be escorted by local experts sharing their insight and specialist knowledge in local history, wildlife, conservation and archaeology is a real bonus. Although all these walks are free of charge, many are led by experts in their field and any donations will go towards local charities or the project running the walk eg Looe Marine Conservation Group or Mapping the Sun Project.

Accommodation for the South East Cornwall Walking Festival

If you need accommodation, Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley, is an ideal base for the Walking Festival. You can book bed and breakfast but with a fully licensed bar and restaurant service serving home-made dishes and blackboard specials – you have the convenience of optional evening dinner Wed- Sat. Some of the walks start from Sandplace Station on the scenic Looe Valley Train Line just 400 yards from Polraen so it is an ideal base to explore whether you come Trenant Bridge, Looe Valley, East Looe Riverwith or without the car.  Double rooms are priced from £80 per room per night including Full Breakfast, free parking and Wifi.  To book rooms at Polraen, check availability here

South East Cornwall Walking Festival Programme

For the South East Walking Festival, download the full list of walks here

Looe Music Festival – September 2013

And if music rather than walking is more your cup of tea, remember the Looe Music Festival takes place in September the weekend of 27-29 September.

 

 

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….

 

 

Crooning for Christmas in aid of Help for Heroes

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Crooning For Christmas in aid of Help for HeroesOnce again, our Sandplace community here in the Looe Valley in Cornwall felt it was time to foster some local community spirit. So we’re throwing the doors open at Polraen Country House on Friday December 7th for a Looe Valley community fundraising night in aid of Help for Heroes. Having raised over £440 for the Help for Heroes charity last year at a similar event, this year we fancied some live entertainment so we’ll be ‘Crooning for Christmas’ with all proceeds from the evening going to ‘Help for Heroes’once again.

Why Crooning for Christmas? Well on a recent visit down to Truro for the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival, I discovered a very talented guy called Andy Marshall singing some Frank Sinatra favourites and it occurred to me that he was just the ticket for an event at Polraen Country House. Talking of tickets, at just £12 per head, the night includes a Gourmet Bangers ‘n Mash meal, with live entertainment from 1940′s Crooner Andy Marshall and a prize draw for Sunday Lunch for 2 at Polraen. Raffle tickets will also be available on the night.  Tickets must be purchased in advance from Polraen (first come first served with only 40 available so please book soonest on 01503 263956).

And now to give credit where credit is due. The effort involved in organising this has been shared among a few Looe Valley residents including this brilliant poster by Adam Grundy. We don’t necessarily want it to be a ‘one off’, so along with Derek, Terry and Caroline, we’ve agreed that if it’s well supported by friends and neighbours, Martin and I are quite happy for our facilities at Polraen to be available for other such good community based causes. Sometimes just for fun and to socialise, perhaps on other occasions to discuss topics that affect our community and the Looe Valley.

We’re open to ideas. Oh and if you can’t come, please donate a raffle prize from the larder or wine rack or donate via our Help for Heroes Charity page. Hope to see you.

 

 

The annual Polperro Festival takes place Sat 16-24 June promising an action packed week of entertainment while the new Looe Food Festival provides a weekend (June 23 and 24) to tempt your tastebuds with produce from land and sea. (Scroll down to see the outline programme of events).

Accommodation with free bus links

If you want to visit the Polperro Festival and need somewhere to stay, accommodation in the small fishing village of Polperro may be in short supply or at a premium and parking (minimum £4 charge) can be an issue. So avoid the crowds and the seagull noise! and enjoy our quiet location leaving your car behind in our free car park at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley. Go green and catch the bus! We benefit from an hourly bus service No 573 which runs to Polperro from 07.42 until 17.49 while later bus services run from Looe. The last evening return from Polperro to Polraen leaves Polperro at 18.20 but much later services run between Polperro and Looe allowing you to enjoy the full range of evening entertainnment in Polperro’s pubs with the last service back to Looe at 23.20 from where you can catch a taxi.

Here you can download the No. 573 bus timetable

Bring your bus pass if you are a senior citizen, and you can enjoy the scenic ride to Looe and Polperro for free as concession passes are recognised by Western Greyhound buses in Cornwall.

At Polraen Country House, we currently have availability throughout the week of the festival from £87 per room per night including breakfast with optional dinner available. Call us direct for the best deals or book online via our website which will be up to 15% cheaper than online booking agents. But book soon as the end of the Polperro Festival coincides with the Looe Food Festival, taking place over the weekend of 23 and 24 June. And there’s no prettier journey into Looe than on the scenic Looe Valley Line where you can board the train at Sandplace for the 5 minute journey into Looe skirting the banks of the river while you watch the birds and wildlife from your carriage window. Here you can download the train timetable

So it really is a great time to visit, when you can enjoy two festivals in the same week! The Looe Food Festival will take place in a large marquee in the Millpool Car Park in Looe, where you can tempt your taste buds with an array of Cornish seafood and local produce from sea and land. There’ll be a host of leading Cornish food and drink suppliers, chef demos, brewery bar….and more over a fantastic weekend with FREE ENTRY TO THE FESTIVAL MARQUEE!

(Outline programme for the Polperro Festival is below with a full programme available via this link:  Polperro Programme of Events 2012 )

Friday 15th June – Day 0 – Festival Eve/ Arts Foundation evening
Saturday 16th June – Day 1 – Opening Day, Procession & Mayor Unveiling (Procession at 2pm)
Sunday 17th June – Day 2 – Music & Family Fun Dog Show
Monday 18th June – Day 3 – Arts Foundation Craft Fayre
Tuesday 19th June – Day 4 – Village Fete
Wednesday 20th June- Day 5 – Schools Day, Comedy Night
Thursday 21st June – Day 6 – All things Cornish, Comedy Night
Friday 22nd June – Day 7 – Foody Friday
Saturday 23rd June – Day 8 – Polperro Festival Carnival (procession at 2pm)
Sunday 24th June – Day 9 – Gig on the Green Finale

 

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.

A Looe Valley Walk in Spring, South East Cornwall

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Bluebells Looe Valley Walks

This roundtrip Looe Valley walk starting at Polraen Country House at Sandplace has been updated in March 2014 (see below).  The original blog was posted in Spring 2010:

“I set off  walking this morning from Polraen Hotel, up the Looe Valley to Sandplace Station with our black labrador May, and ended up having one of those walks that makes you happy to be alive! Continuing along the lane toward Tregarland Bridge, we veered off on a public footpath above the Looe Valley railway line, stumbled across two courting ducks and strolled along the track above the Looe River with wild garlic brushing our ankles.

After about half an hour walking along the track in the valley bottom next to the river, I intended to stop at Lower Wringworthy, but it was a lovely morning so I continued on a circular walk, finally emerging on the main road heading back through Morval. Then we headed down past Tregarland Farm back into the Looe Valley.  The views down onto the valley below are stunning, looking beyond inquisitive cows to fields of sheep grazing at Morval Barton Farm.  We continued past John and Val’s cottage (John grows flowers and soft fruits for our hotel), and we headed back down to the valley bottom to join the B3254 past Sandplace Station back to Polraen.

Looe Valley Walks with a dog

Looe Valley Walks with a dogAll in all, a one hour walk which lifted the spirits and made me so happy to be living in South East Cornwall. The dog thought it was a treat too! It’s not often I get the time to do what our guests can do from our doorstep at Polraen! But walking in the Looe Valley is good for the soul!!

Following recent storms, spring days are being warmed by lots of sunshine, and the hedgerows in the Looe Valley are stunning.  With an extended flowering season, the daffodils and primroses are vying for attention along the roadside while carpets of bluebells will soon be appearing on the wooded slopes. Pink and white campions and violets peep from the grassy banks and the first signs of cherry blossom are showing on the trees.

At Polraen, we like to help guests explore without the car lending them maps and providing public transport information for the bus and Looe Valley train. There’s a range of walks accessible from the stations along the railway line in a handy ‘Trails from the Track’ pack published by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership. Spring is one of the best times to visit.”

3 for 2 offer on Short Breaks in Looe

If you need accommodation, our 3 nights for the price of 2 offer at Polraen Country House at Sandplace in the Looe Valley, is valid until 5 April 2014 with a 3 night spring break from just £80 pp including breakfast. Click HERE to Call: 01503 263956

Book your room at Polraen online now

 

2014 update: Following recent storms, YOU MUST NOW WEAR WELLIES and be prepared to wade in shallow flowing water in two or three sections between Plashford and Lower Wringworthy where the stream has adopted the traditional footpath as its water course. There are lots of Looe Valley Walks but this one is off the beaten track and worth the effort!! Takes about 1 to 1 and a half hours depending on walking speed but it’s still a fantastic walk, particularly in spring. You can easily reach it by taking either the bus or train out of Looe along Sandplace Road and alighting at Sandplace Station on the Looe Valley Line. Timetables are available to download from our website.