Cornish Running Trails – St Just in Roseland and Messack Point

With another local race in Cornwall booked and in the diary, it’s time to notch up the miles. Today, I’m taking you around another running route on the Roseland Peninsula and it’s a beaut!

a creek with water and green fields in one side under a grey sky

I’ve grown rather fond of this 9 mile Messack Point and St Just in Roseland running route. Before I take you round, I must thank the local runners on Strava. I’m not sure who originally posted this route, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have embarked on it under my own volition.

Feel free to follow me on Strava here.

It’s a mixed and interesting running route, covering trails, road, tracks and public footpaths. Expect mud and puddles. Yes, you are likely have lovely soggy totsies all the way round. To compensate, we are hugging the St Just in Roseland Creek and enjoying the Cornish coast and countryside.

a cream house with 2 small round sections and a red door

Starting at Philleigh

When I embark on this looped course through St Just in Roseland, I always park on the road, at Philleigh. I’m clearly a creature of habit. There’s roadside parking here, just be careful not to block gates etc. There are working farms in the area and access is needed.

Alternatively, you can park at St Just in Roseland by the church, and pick up the route from there. While there are other options, these are the most accessible and easiest to find.

Starting this multi terrain run at Philleigh, there no obvious “right way” to run this loop. I’ve done it both ways and there are challenges of equal measures regardless. It’s weird how I sometimes have a preference though. I will take you round this route the way that’s most familiar to me. If you want to save it on Strava, you can find it here. Alternatively, you can follow/download this map:

a old white village pub on the roadside with trees and hedging

Heading to St Just in Roseland

The first stop, or area of interest, on this running route is St Just in Roseland, but there’s a few miles to cover first.

Heading out of Philleigh, you’ll run past Philleigh Way Cookery School and the Roseland Inn on your right. Keep going on the road. You’ll come to a sharp bend with a track leading off it. Take this track; it’s like you’re running straight on. You’ll pass some wonderful properties with Cornish names, like Trelissa. The first time I ran down here, I had to keep checking the map. I thought I was trespassing.

At the end of this track, turn left. You’re off road now and it’s here that the mud starts. I don’t know about you, but I always feel very satisfied when I return from a run, caked in mud. I know I’ve worked hard!

an expanse of fields overlooking Carrick Roads

There’s a great downhill section here too. The ground is uneven and rocky so watch your footing. This public footpath leads to the road (sorry, can’t avoid it). While you’re greeted with a lovely stretch of downhill road running, be warned, you won’t like what comes after!

This is a very generous incline. I have to walk stretches of this. I tried cycling it in the summer and it almost killed me 🚲 😄. When you (finally) reach the top, you may be questioning your sanity. Once that’s over, turn left and keep on trucking.

St Just in Roseland

You’ll be on the road a mile or 2 before you come to St Just in Roseland. Houses will gradually start to appear. It’s a sweet place and I can’t help but have a little peep in the windows as I run past.

You’ll eventually come to a junction. Take the first turning on your right for St Just in Roseland Church and Bar (no, not that kind of bar).

St Just in Roseland Church with the creek at low tide and blue sky

Run down the hill (yay) to the beautiful St Just in Roseland Church, claimed to be, “the most beautiful churchyard on earth” by English poet, John Betjeman. Take the path just below the car park. There’s quite a few paths around the church, but we’re heading along the St Just in Roseland Creek. The water should be on your left.

Running along this sheltered path, be sure to look back. Many a beautiful painting has been created of St Just in Roseland Church from this very spot. While it’s stunning all year round, I think it looks its best on a sunny day when the tide is high. Either way, it’s a good photo opportunity.

Anyway, back to the run…

St Just in Roseland creek with land on eaither side and a boat yard
St Just in Roseland creek and countryside

St Just in Roseland to Messack Point

Running away from St Just in Roseland Church, you’ll pass through some houses. All I can say here is stick to the creek! There’s more fantastic views here as you make your way across fields.

My memory is a little sketchy – I think there is a little wooden bridge. The path is easy to follow and well marked. A few more fields later, you’ll come to a track leading to a single house (very nice too). Go straight over. You’ll eventually find yourself on the brow of a hill, in a large open field. To get to Messack Point, head straight down the middle of this field. You’re running towards the water which is never a bad thing.

low rocks and blue water with land on the other side

Go through the little opening and delight in the fact that you are now standing at the water’s edge. I’ve grown fond of this little spot which offers panoramic views of St Just Pool, and on the other side, Mylor. How cool is that? It’s lovely and quiet. I always stop and ponder, and if you’re walking, you can definitely picnic here.

From here, it’s a pleasant tree lined trail path. Got to love that pine smell.

a path covering in pine needles with trees lining it and water

Heading back to Philleigh

My best advice is just follow the path. It’s well worn and pretty muddy but that’s all part of the fun. Slowly snaking your way upwards, you eventually meet the road. Just head straight and then turn left at the junction. We’re back on the main road that leads to St Just in Roseland, but this time, we’re going the other way.

Lots of green fields and countryside

Stay on this road and follow the signs for Philleigh. If you don’t you’ll end up queuing for the King Harry Ferry. While it’s probably not that far to Philleigh, by this point my legs are heavy, and tired and I usually curse myself for not doing more yoga.

Once you run down a hill, you’re on the home stretch. You should recognise where you are now. Philleigh is near, along with that great feeling of satisfaction and relief that another tough run is finally done!

Enjoy and let me know how you find it.

In the area and fancy a shorter distance? This 6 mile route starts at St Just in Roseland and goes through St Mawes.

Pinterest pin for st just in roseland run

Author: plbedford

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