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Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn

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Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn
Author: Claire, Published: 16 Jul 2018 Walk Rating:star0  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guidestar0  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guidestar0  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guidestar0  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guidestar0  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide
Cornwall, Port Isaac
Walk Type: Coastal
Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn
Length: 1 miles,  Difficulty: boot  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide boot  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide
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A circular walk of just over 1 mile around the pretty fishing village of Port Isaac in Cornwall. This idyllic coastal village is worth a visit in its own right, with superb cliffside views, but fans of the TV Series Doc Martin will also immediately recognise Port Isaac as the real-life setting for the fictional village of Portwenn. Fans will have chance to see plenty of exterior landmarks including Bert’s restaurant, the harbour, Louisa’s school, Mrs Tishall’s chemist and the home and surgery of Doctor Ellingham himself.

The walk follows a mixture of tarmac paths and lanes through the village, with chance to enjoy the small beach (which is dog-friendly all year round) if you visit during low tide. There are several climbs and descents throughout. You will need to negotiate a few steps (although these can be avoided using a roadside slope if necessary), and there are no gates, stiles or livestock on route. Allow at least one hour to explore properly.

Port Isaac is a very popular tourist destination, so arrive early (or much later in the day) to make sure you are able to park. The walk starts and finishes at the long-stay, pay-and-display village car park on New Road. Fees are payable 9am to 6pm every day, with 3 hours costing £3.30 (correct Summer 2018). Approximate post code PL29 3AB.

Walk Sections

Start to The Old School
Start to The Old School

Start point: 50.5944 lat, -4.8281 long
End point: 50.5934 lat, -4.8321 long

From the New Road car park, head down the two flights of stone steps to reach the lowest car park level, then turn left to join the tarmac private access road, signed as part of the Coast Path. On your right you will have beautiful coastal views across to the next village of Port Gaverne (where the police station scenes are filmed for Doc Martin) and on to the next headland.

Follow the track as it swings left and leads you uphill, and then keep right at the fork to follow the narrower tarmac Coast Path. This path soon leads you downhill, swinging left and left again, at which point you will have your first views of the fishing harbour of Port Isaac on your right. Port Isaac is the real-life setting for the ITV television series, Doc Martin. The series first aired in 2004 and follows the adventures of Dr Martin Ellingham (played by Martin Clunes) as a brilliant surgeon who develops a phobia to blood and so takes up the role of GP in the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn (close to his Aunt Joan and later Aunt Ruth).

At the end of the path, keep ahead along a short stretch of tarmac track to reach a T-junction with the village road in Port Isaac. Turn right, heading down the hill. Immediately on your right is a small row of painted cottages. The middle of these, Number 27 Sea Cove Cottage, stars as the Louisa’s cottage in the TV series. (Louisa, played by Caroline Catz, is the local primary school teacher and Martin’s love interest).

Just a few metres further ahead on the right, you will find the Old School House. This houses a restaurant, but during filming it is used as the primary school where Louisa works.

The Old School to Aunt Ruth's House
The Old School to Aunt Ruth's House

Start point: 50.5934 lat, -4.8321 long
End point: 50.5919 lat, -4.8313 long

Continue ahead, down the hill. On your right you will see a triangular tarmac viewing area – it is worth pausing here to enjoy the views across the harbour. On the far side you will be able to see the large white building, with a side veranda. This house is transformed into Bert Large’s Restaurant during filming of Doc Martin.

Continue down the hill to pass The Golden Lion on your right, which unsurprisingly is used as the village pub in Portwenn. After passing The Golden Lion, do NOT follow the main lane which swings right, instead go straight ahead on the narrow alleyway (which has a single bollard at its entrance).

This is known as Squeeze-ee Belly Alley (for good reason) – it becomes progressively narrower before passing under the arch of a cottage. You will emerge to a pedestrian residential street. This is known as Dolphin Street. Glance up to your left to see the white-washed end cottage (Number 26) which you may recognise as belonging to Aunt Ruth, Martin’s Aunt.

Aunt Ruth's House to Beach
Aunt Ruth's House to Beach

Start point: 50.5919 lat, -4.8313 long
End point: 50.5924 lat, -4.8327 long

Turn right to follow the narrow Dolphin Street leading you downhill. At the bottom turn right and, as you emerge to the main street, cross over to take the cobbled slipway leading down to the harbour and beach. If the tide is out, take time to enjoy the small beach (where dogs are welcome throughout the year). If you look up to your left you will have a good view of Bert’s Restaurant, whilst on your right you will be able to see both the school (with its small spire and arched windows) and the pub. Many medical emergencies have played out in this harbour, when Doc Martin and PC Joe Penhale put their invaluable skills and training to good use!

Beach to Fern Cottage
Beach to Fern Cottage

Start point: 50.5924 lat, -4.8327 long
End point: 50.5923 lat, -4.8336 long

When you have finished on the beach, head back up the slipway to reach the road (with the Lifeboat Station directly ahead). Turn right for just a few paces to reach the small square. Directly ahead you will see a small double-bay-fronted shop, Buttermilk Confectionery, with a ship's figurehead of a captain mounted in the centre. This building plays host to Mrs Tishall’s chemist shop in Portwenn and both the exterior and interior are used for filming.

Turn right into Roscarrock Hill and follow this leading you uphill. Almost immediately you will pass the 1836 old chapel on your left (now converted to a pottery and gallery) and the public toilets on your right. Keep ahead and, behind the wall on your right is Bert Large’s Restaurant. You will also have good views across to the school on the opposite side of the harbour.

Just a few paces further up, you will reach Fern Cottage on your left. This cottage plays host to Doc Martin’s house and surgery in Portwenn, although in real life it is a holiday cottage.

Fern Cottage to End
Fern Cottage to End

Start point: 50.5923 lat, -4.8336 long
End point: 50.5945 lat, -4.828 long

It is worth continuing just a short way further up the hill, where a lay-by on your right provides a good viewing point across Port Isaac. (There are footpath signs opposite the lay-by for the continuation of the Coast Path, should you wish to extend the walk a little). When you are ready to continue, head back down Roscarrock Hill to reach the small square, then turn left to pass between the Lifeboat Station (on your right) and the harbour slipway (on your left).

Follow the lane leading you ahead and swinging left to pass The Golden Lion (on your left). Continue up the hill to pass the Old School House (on your left) to reach the junction with the Coast Path (from where you emerged earlier). This time, stay with the lane which bends right and right again, leading you steeply uphill. Towards the top, you will pass a cottage on your right called Morwenna, perhaps the inspiration for the name of Doc Martin’s receptionist, Morwenna Newcross.

At the top of the hill you will reach a T-junction. Turn left and follow the road, now leading you steadily downhill. Pass the small village garage and you will reach the car park on your left, where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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6 gallery images for "Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn"

11167_0Richard1531722434  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 16 Jul 2018
Number 27 Sea Cove Cottage - Louisa’s cottage
11167_1Richard1531722435  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 16 Jul 2018
Across the harbour from nearby the school
11167_2Richard1531722435  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 16 Jul 2018
Bobbie enjoying Poty Isaac's dog friendly beach
11167_3Richard1531722435  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 16 Jul 2018
Bert Large’s Restaurant
11167_4Richard1531722435  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 16 Jul 2018
Mrs Tishall’s chemist shop
11167_0Richard1531722533  Port Isaac: Discovering Portwenn - Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 16 Jul 2018
Doc Martin’s house and surgery

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