Beginning at Foundry Square, follow the B3302 past the White Hart Hotel. Opposite the former White Hart Stables, now a bakery, you will come to the walled Millpond Gardens. Bordered on one side by the employees cottages of Tremeadow Terrace and on the other by the grand managers’ villas of Millpond Avenue, the Millponds now provide a public garden, children’s play area and amphitheatre leading to the woodland setting of the old Rope Works, Ropewalk and Riverside Trail.
The trail follows the Penpol Leet, whose waters powered the waterwheels of the mills that serviced the original Penpol foundry. The present day quietude is in sharp contrast to its former 18th and 19th Century life as a Hammer and Grist (Corn) Mill and Ropeworks.
The Millponds provide a wealth of wildlife all year round, including some rare visitors as well as the resident ducks, swans, moorhens and a well-fed heron! Some 112 species of birds have been listed and over 250 plant species recorded here.
This is also a good place to see butterflies, dragon- and damsel-flies making a bright splash of colour among the lakeside vegetation.
One unusual alien resident is the West European pond turtle – a small colony has lived here since 1892. You may spy one sunbathing by the Millpond on a hot summer’s day.
For further exploration – opposite Millpond Avenue cross over into Foundry Lane and the entrance to Harvey’s Foundry. Up the road to your left follow signs to The Plantation, an Iron Age Hill Fort with wonderful views across the Estuary and the viaduct below.
At the highest point of The Plantation is an Information Panel pointing out the landmarks across the Estuary. Follow the path down the hill towards the main road. The path now turns to the right leading you back towards the town. This path continues to give views out across
the estuary with the sea sparkling in the distance. As you continue along the path you will discover an impressive Crimean War mortar with its canon balls.
This gun was one of many canons cast at Harveys Foundry.
The path now joins a lane taking you past Harvey’s Foundry Site, an area that has been sympathetically restored and developed with a mixture of studios, flats, small businesses, and educational facilities.