Restormel Castle is the archetypical castle of one’s imagination. Perched atop a hill on the northern outskirts of the town of Lostwithiel, it is easy to get to and offers fabulous views over the surrounding countryside from its ramparts.
It is a Norman castle with a motte and bailey, built around 1100AD and the site was chosen as it overlooked the primary crossing point of the River Fowey. Now looked after by English Heritage, it is well worth a visit to appreciate its sylvan setting and its wonderful location.
Lostwithiel is also steeped in history, as an ancient stannary town of Cornwall, dating back to the 12th century and situated at the tidal reach of the River Fowey. Established by the Normans for the export of tin to Europe, it was a bustling port – the second busiest on the south coast of England. Unfortunately tin mining eventually caused its decline, as rubble from the mines up on Bodmin moor silted up the river, restricting the size of vessels that could use the quay.
The narrow streets in the centre of town are lined with historic buildings and I really enjoyed just pottering about, weaving my way in and out of the alleyways, finding a magic about the old streets and the atmosphere.
Lostwithiel is famous for the large number of antique shops selling furniture, collectables and ceramics and regular antique auctions at Jeffrey’s sale rooms in the town. There is a range of other interesting shops and cafes, pubs and restaurants. I particularly enjoyed browsing in Watts trading, a quirky little shop selling environmentally friendly finely crafted everyday goods. Denise, who owns the store is a champion lacemaker.
I also took a walk along the River Fowey, through Coulson Park on a good hard surface track to the Shirehall Moor nature reserve. It is a wonderful spot for bird watching and you can walk right out into the salt marsh, it’s about a 2 mile walk there and back. For those who love gardens and lovely food, there is also a new woodland walk to Duchy of Cornwall Nursery. Click here to find out more about this 35 minute walk.
There is a mainline station or free parking in Lostwithiel, a really good Tourist Information office in the Community centre and guided walks are on offer on Wednesday afternoons throughout the summer to the end of September. Find out more here.
You can find out more about Restormel Castle English Heritage website