Truro comes into its own at this time of year. From the end of November onwards, it’s a hive of festive activity: Wednesday late-night shopping; Father Christmas in his grotto; panto at the Hall for Cornwall; food and gift markets at various locations, including Lemon Quay, Boscawen Street and Lemon Street Market; and of course, carol services and performances in the spectacular surroundings of Truro Cathedral.

Should you have an hour to kill, make like a Truronian and do this simple, easy walk. It’s only an hour and a half and mostly country lanes, meaning it shouldn’t be too muddy. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even download the Beryl app and hire an electric bike from one of the many green parking points around the city (find out more online at

As someone who lives and works in Truro, this is one of my personal favourite walks and was a regular go-to during those first months of lockdown, when the sun shone endlessly, the air was heady with the scent of bluebells and it was so quiet, you could hear a shrew sneeze.

Start at the cathedral, built at the behest of Archbishop Benson in 1880. Benson also devised and debuted the Nine Lessons and Carols service, now world-famous thanks to Kings College, Cambridge. You can hear this in its original (and superior) setting on December 23 and 24 but get there early for a good seat. For a more secular experience, try the Viennese Christmas Spectacular by candlelight, or the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball.

Next, you’ll pass Treseder Gardens, now residential but once a plant-growing nursery among the first to import Antipodean species. During the 1920s, some stick insects hitched a ride over from New Zealand and made their home here – keep your eyes peeled, and you might spot their descendants today, as Cornwall is about the only place in the UK where they breed in the wild (it’s true: I found two on my duvet a few months ago).

Great British Life: Truro BID organise fabulous festive lights every year. Image: Paul RichardsTruro BID organise fabulous festive lights every year. Image: Paul Richards

Daubuz Moor is a beautiful oasis of calm, abundant with bird and butterfly life, and popular with families and dog walkers. Lewis Charles Daubuz (1754 – 1839) was a local resident of French extraction whose family owned the tin smelters at Carvedras. Six hectares of former water meadows are managed for wildlife by Truro City Council, and the original viaduct you pass under carries the Paddington to Penzance mainline; it was built in 1904 to replace the 1859 original by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, of which only the pillars remain.

This walk follows the River Allen, one of the three that give Truro its name (the other two being the Kenwyn and the Glasteinan). It’s in rude health – you might even spot trout darting through its clear waters.

Idless (named from the Cornish Edhelys, meaning place of aspen trees) is a pretty hamlet with its Victorian school house and traditional red phone box (now a book swap). The Forestry England woodland nearby is worth a diversion and, with its plentiful parking, makes an alternative starting point for this walk.#

Great British Life: Discover the grade II listed gravestone of Joseph Antonio Emidy in Kenwyn Churchyard. Image: WikiCommonsDiscover the grade II listed gravestone of Joseph Antonio Emidy in Kenwyn Churchyard. Image: WikiCommons

The capacious graveyard at Kenwyn Churchyard is a beautiful place to while away some time. Look out for the Grade II listed gravestone of Joseph Antonio Emidy, the Guinean-born former slave who spent his final years in Cornwall and became a celebrated violinist and composer before his death in 1835. Today, he’s one of the most notable and inspiring examples of racial diversity in Cornwall.

Return to town through Victoria Gardens, created to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and the Leats, a drainage system originally designed to wash animal manure and urine down the city's streets (thankfully no longer necessary).

Great British Life: Enjoy the Nine Lessons and Carols service at Truro Catherdral. Image: LLE Photography Enjoy the Nine Lessons and Carols service at Truro Catherdral. Image: LLE Photography

The walk

1. Go down the left-hand side to Cathedral Green. Take note of the stone spire, which sat atop the original St Mary’s Church (now the oldest part of the cathedral and the parish church for the city centre).

2. Cross a small bridge over the river, and when you hit the main road, turn left past the brutalist multi-storey car park. Cross the road at the traffic island, and turn right at the junction into Moresk Road, passing the 6 Rifles Army Reserve Centre and a large charity shop on your right.

Great British Life: Explore Daubuz Moor from point 3. Image: Kirstie NewtonExplore Daubuz Moor from point 3. Image: Kirstie Newton

3. Cross the road, and where you see a gap in the wall, go through. You are now in Daubuz Moor, with a choice of paths: straight on along the top, or slightly longer and hugging the River Allen.

4. Exit at the far side, coming out onto a country lane. Turn left and follow this lane. Look out for snowdrops.

5. Cross the bridge over the River Allen. The lane turns sharp right and joins another at a T junction. Turn right here, towards Idless village.

6. If you want to visit Idless Woods, carry on further down this lane and you’ll find it on your right. Otherwise, retrace your steps and at the junction, head straight on down the right-hand side of the valley. Follow the lane until you meet a clear lane coming from the right. Turn right here.

7. Look out for a footpath sign on your left. Climb a flight of steps to Kenwyn Churchyard. Keep walking straight on through the churchyard to reach the front of the church.

8. Take the footpath directly opposite the main door to the church. It leads to Kenwyn Road. Turn left here and walk down to the zebra crossing. Cross, and turn right down Hendra Road. At Carew Road, turn left past Hendra Hall, and look out for the gate to Victoria Gardens on your right.

9. Work your way down through the gardens to exit at the bottom. Turn left and follow the Leats, crossing two roads to arrive behind the shops of Pydar Street. When you reach the end of the road, turn left down Tonkins Ope to find yourself back at High Cross.

Great British Life: The christmas market is a hive of activity. Image: Stewart Girvan/Truro Farmers Market The christmas market is a hive of activity. Image: Stewart Girvan/Truro Farmers Market


Start/finish: High Cross – directly in front of the cathedral’s main entrance.

Map: OS Explorer 105, Landranger 204

Distance: 3 miles

Time: 3 hours

Terrain: Flat, mostly country lanes. One set of steps up to Kenwyn Church.

Refreshments: Choice of cafes/pubs/restaurants/street food in Truro city centre.