Cornwall Coast Path/photo courtesy of

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Godolphin Barefoot Trail – sneak preview

Posted by: Julie Tags: , , , , Posted date: March 21, 2012 | No comment

We haven’t told anyone about this yet – you’re the first!! But we can’t keep it in any longer, we’re just chuckling with excitement…..

Yep – the countryside team has been working on the first National Trust dedicated barefoot trail around the grounds at Godolphin; and it’s only 4 weeks to the opening on 22 April.

What’s a Barefoot Trail?

You’ve guessed – it’s a trail for barefooters – but it’s also much more than that. Barefooters can go just about anywhere, but dedicated trails are designed to provide a smorgasbord of different textures to stimulate bare soles. At Godolphin we’ve been able to use lots of the existing historic textures – slate, granite, and cobbles for example – and then enhance the woodland experience by bringing in a selection of delightful natural materials – which we’re keeping secret so you’ll have a surprise when you visit. Germany has been proud of its Barfuss parks for a while, and eastern countries offer reflexology paths – but there is only one other barefoot trail in the UK- at Trentham near Stoke-on -Trent (not NT). This might be the start of something!

Who’s it for?

Anyone can enjoy the feeling of walking barefoot (although a very few folk with related medical conditions might need to check with their Dr first). All visitors to Godolphin will be welcome to try the trail – and there is no extra charge. In fact – you can wander around the whole site without your shoes – the trail is simply a suggested route. Have a look at our barefoot leaflet – available at Godolphin from 22 April. (Shoes may be suggested for hard hat areas when building repairs are in progress).

Why bare feet?

The benefits to most people of living and walking barefoot are being reported more and more regularly in the national and international media. Barefooters generally don’t suffer from bunions, athletes’ foot, arch pain, weak ankles, toenail fungus or a bunch of other nasty things. Our local barefoot podiatrist Steve Bloor from Natural Feet in Helston has been instrumental in the NT barefoot journey; he supported our first barefoot event at Trenow last year (see earlier post October 2011), and has agreed to open the trail at Godolphin on 22 April. Come and hear what he has to say about the negative effects of wearing shoes.

Treading lightly on the Earth

As well as encouraging people to Get Outside and Closer to Nature, the National Trust is keen to promote reusing and recycling. It’s all about minimising our so-called ‘footprint’ – so we’re very proud to have used mostly recycled or left over materials for our trail. Even our specially-designed shoe bags (for sale at reception) have been made by volunteers using upcycled fabrics, and the foot-rinsing water will be directed to the gardens for the trees and plants. Plus – we’ve managed to create the path without damaging underlying archaeology – very important at Godolphin. Hats off to the team!

What now?

Make a note of the open day – 22 April, keep an eye out for further updates and mentions in the local press – then come and visit and tell us what you think. If you’d like to read more about the healthy barefoot lifestyle have a look at The Barefoot Book, Natural Feet, and The Society for Barefoot Living.

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