Muddy pub walks: Rilla Mill to Stara Bridge (and back)
I know I’m lucky to live in this part of the world, but when its a toss up between 70 mile an hour winds and driving rain or my delicious sofa, I need a bit of incentivizing to get out and see it. Pub at the end you say? Pass me me boots says I.
The village of Rilla Mill is a popular meet-up for walkers as it sits just on the edge of Bodmin Moor in the Lynher Valley. It’s also just a 2 minute drive from the fabulous Sterts Theatre at Upton Cross and a number of pubs (there’s the carrot!).
The circular route should take no more than an hour. The route starts at the footpath above the park beside the River Lynher. A good place to park if you’re driving is the Manor House pub car park – because that’s where you’ll end up. A series of clear pathways, small lanes and tracks then lead to Starabridge – just follow the way markers.
Stara woodland (Colquite, Broadwoods and Trevois) was purchased from the Duchy estate by an individual in 2004 and continues to be managed by them for the benefit of the community. There are a number of permissive paths that includes disabled access along the river.
Clearly Mr MC had slipped the kids some sugar, as they had bags of energy and wanted to stop and explore the woods at Stara before heading back.
Rather excitingly there are a number of daring crossing points – such as the Indiana Jones style rope and slat bridge and the big old fallen down Chestnut, for extra peril.
The return route is over Starabridge (by the Gunfire! sign), keeping to the left of the field until you hit the road back to the village, turn left at the post box, and the pub is just over the bridge on your right.
So I promised a pub at the end didn’t I?
The Manor House is not a styled-within-an-inch-of-its-life gastropub, which makes a refreshing change – there’s no pretension here. It’s a beautifully traditional Cornish pub with cosy comfort food (think unbeatable Sunday roasts, pub brass and roaring fires).
There’s a huge carpark, gardens, separate dining area and traditional bar. The day we visited for a late lunch there were lots of families and couples, and a large table of about 10 walkers at the back enjoying a well earned roast. The pub is really popular with local groups and the Sunday Carvery gets booked up quick.
It has a really lovely atmosphere, which is down to the fact that owners John and Sandy (‘the crinklies’) who ran the pub years ago returned to the helm following a succession of tenants. They’ve invested heavily in the last 12 months, and in the right places – the food (fantastic local suppliers) and the kitchen (rekitted back in January). The meat comes from Phillip Warren in Launceston, and John makes regular trips to the Barbican in Plymouth for fish (crab, scallops and cod are often on the menu).
When ever we have family down on Sunday, we head to The Manor for lunch. Personally, I’m put of by the word ‘carvery’ – it conjures up ‘chain pub’ in my head. But trust me, people, The Manor carvery is as far from that as you can get. According to the kids – these are ledge roast dinners – proper pile your plate high with a choice of two meats, appropriate accompaniments and seven veg – some grown by John in his garden. I’m a total convert.
Despite the huge plate load, we managed dessert – don’t judge! What Sundays were made for.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: locals, families, casual diners, drop-ins (the area is REALLY popular with walkers), anyone looking for unpretentious old-school local pub grub. Access for buggies and wheelchairs. Dog walkers – well-behaved pooches are welcome in the bar area.
Not for: fans of Farrow and Ball neutrals, gourmands, stylised gastropub lovers.
£££: The Manor House provides exceptional value – you are unlikely to find quality for this price in the area. Sunday carvery roasts – adults £8.95, kids £5.95.
Try it for yourself and see. Food served Monday 6pm – 9pm, Tues – Sat: 12pm – 2pm & 6pm – 9pm, Sunday carvery 12 – 3 pm