Oliver's Cornish Coast Path
The Cornish Coast Path Complete 
from Welcombe Mouth to Cremyll
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This is the (almost) complete guide to the Cornish Coast Path.  It carries Descriptions of each of 36 suggested stages, Oliver's Diary, Notes on Interest on and off the Coast Path, GPS Data and Useful Information on parking, transport, refreshments and more.  Where possible I have included features on places of interest along the way. 
CORNWALL FROM THE COAST PATH:   This is not just a guide to the Coast Path,  but also to Cornwall from the Coast Path.  Each stage includes information on Interest along the path and within easy reach of it.  This includes towns, villages, harbours, homes, gardens, churches, antiquities and more.  And you will find that, as with my other pages, there are many photographs - around 100 in all. 
THE STAGES:   The complete Cornish Coast Path runs for 312 miles according to my GPS.  I have divided it into 36 stages - each between 4¼ and 13½ miles - for the convenience of those for whom, like me, age precludes the distances we could once manage.  Younger and fitter walkers will, I am sure, wish to link my stages to provide a challenge more in keeping with their abilities.   Index to Stages
GPS DATA:    For each stage I have included GPS data for distance, total ascent and biggest climbs.  I have also included cumulative data.  The actual distance covered may be more than the GPS figure and could vary by a few hundred yards for each stage.  On occasion I may have strayed off the strict coast path to take in headlands or go down to coves, adding to the recorded distance.   Index to Stages

INDEX TO STAGES
01 Welcombe Mouth to Bude 02 Bude to Crackington Haven 03 Crackington to Boscastle 04 Boscastle to Tintagel
05 Tintagel to Port Isaac 06 Port Isaac to Padstow 07 Padstow to Porthcothan 08 Porthcothan to Newquay
09 Newquay to Holywell Bay 10 Holywell Bay to St. Agnes 11 St. Agnes to Portreath 12 Portreath to Hayle
13 Hayle to St. Ives 14 St. Ives to Zennor 15 Zennor to Pendeen Watch 16 Pendeen to Cape Cornwall
17 Cape Cornwall to Sennen Cove 18 Sennen Cove to Penberth Cove 19 Penberth Cove to Mousehole 20 Mousehole to Marazion
21Marazion to Porthleven 22 Porthleven to Mullion Cove 23 Mullion Cove to Cadgwith 24 Cadgwith to Coverack
25 Coverack to Porthallow 26 Porthallow to Helford 27 Helford Passage to Falmouth 28 St. Mawes to Portscatho
29 Portscatho to Portloe 30 Portloe to Gorran Haven 31 Gorran Haven to Charlestown 32 Charlestown to Fowey
33 Polruan to Polperro 34 Polperro to Seaton 35 Seaton to Freathy 36 Freathy to Cremyll

CORNWALL REVIEWS INDEX and SITE CONTENTS

Introductory Guide
What's New?
Oliver's Cornwall Walking Pages
Homes
Gardens
Museums & Galleries
Countryside
Holy Sites & Churches
Antiquities
Castles
Towns & Villages
Miscellanea
Home Page
Contact Me
©Copyright Oliver Howes 2014
Page updated 01 January 2014


Stage 01 - Welcombe Mouth to Bude - 10¼ miles
This first stage of the Cornish Coast Path needs to start just over the border in Devon. There is parking at Welcome Mouth, none at Marsland Mouth.  This is one of the most strenuous stages.  In the first 7 miles to Sandy Mouth there are 10 ascents, 8 of 240 feet or more.  With another 500 feet after Sandy Mouth, and many undulations, total ascent to Bude is the equivalent of Helvellyn.  There are a lot of steps, too, some 220 up and 500 down.  After Stowe Cliffs, just before Sandy Mouth, the walking becomes easy all the way to Bude.  It’s all well worth it for the great views, north to Hartland Point and Lundy Island, south to Pentire Point, and for the impressively jagged cliffs, some particularly colourful around Greenaway Beach, some of folded Crackington Shale – you will see more on the next stage - as at Gull Rock below Marsland Cliff.  Along the way, look out for Ronald Duncan’s Hut above Marsland Mouth, built by the poet and playwright for his work and restored by his daughter;  for the ‘door’ in Gull Rock, below Marsland Cliff;  for Hawker’s Hut on Vicarage Cliff at Morwenstow, built of driftwood by Parson Hawker, best known for writing The Song of the Western Men (the Cornish anthem “and shall Trelawney die”);  for the vast GCHQ spy station on Steeple Point;  and for superb sandy beaches approaching Bude.
A Coastal Round Walk from Bude and a Canal Round Walk
Marsland Mouth, the beginning of Cornwall
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and interest
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Stage 01 - Welcombe Mouth to Bude - Oliver's Diary
I walked this in October 2009 with my friend and neighbour Bob.  It was a gloriously sunny early autumn day, ideal for photography.  I was first here between 2003 and 2006 when a series of round walks covered this stage.  This is one of those walks that works out just perfectly:  the harsh coast and the tough walking are at the beginning, the gentler terrain and the easy walking towards the end.  I was pleased to find that, since I first walked this section, the path up to Warren Point from Duckpool is no longer precarious;  I remember there being no path up, as there is now, instead a scramble up a steep grassy slope;  perhaps we actually missed the path at the time.  I was pleased, too, that the National Trust’s Sandy Mouth car park now has a café; as I enjoy my breaks.  I have unhappy memories of Northcott Mouth.  Jane and I did a round walk from there in 2003;  we arrived in thick fog and returned to discover that I had left the lights on and the battery was flat.  Despite that, I have done that round walk – to Stowe Barton, Coombe and Duckpool – many times.  And it now features on my Round Walks page.  Bude continues to improve.  Our first impression of it was that, apart from the superb beaches, it was quite a dire place.  It is much improved and is now one of our favourite coastal towns. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and interest
The beach at Sandy Mouth
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Stage 01 - Welcombe Mouth to Bude - GPS Data
Distance:  GPS 10.2 miles.   Cumulative:  GPS 10.2 miles. Intermediate:  Sandy Mouth 7.00 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 3000 feet.   Highest Point:  Henna Cliff 450 feet. Biggest climb:  310 feet up to Steeple Point.  5 other climbs of over 240 feet.   Steps:  Up 220, longest flight 110 steps to Vicarage Cliff.  Down 500, longest flight 170 steps to Marsland Mouth.   Stiles:  Very few. Difficulty:  Strenuous to Steeple Point, moderate to Menachurch Point, easy to Bude. Maps:  OS Explorer 126 Clovelly and Hartland.  OS Explorer 111 Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel
Stage 01 - Useful Information
Parking:  Small free CP at Welcombe Mouth.   Intermediate:  CP at Duckpool, NT pay CP at Sandy Mouth, and CP at Northcott Mouth. Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 519 links Bude and Welcome Cross on A39.  520 links Bude and Morwenstow.   Refreshments:  NT café at Sandy Mouth car park.  Seasonal shack at Northcott Mouth.  Pubs, cafés, restaurants in Bude.   Toilets:  Duckpool (seasonal), Sandy Mouth and Bude.   Accommodation:  Welcombe village, Morwenstow, Bude.
Stage 01 - Interest along the Coast Path
Feature - Bude
Marsland Mouth: Welcombe and Marsland Valleys Nature Reserve.   Hawker's Hut:  Built from driftwood by the famed Parson Hawker of Morwenstow.  The coast path passes right by.    Tidna Shute:  'Waterfall' on  OS map, impressive when the little river is in spate. Steeple Point:  Radomes and dishes of GCHQ listening post. Bude:  TIC with Bude Canal exhibition.  Bude Castle, museum, exhibitions, excellent restaurant.   Bude Canal:  The sea lock was restored after storm damage.  It leads to a tranquil harbourside, from which there is a pleasant level 2 mile towpath walk to Helebridge and the excellent Weir café/bistro.  A Bude round walk includes the canal and a stretch of coast.
Stage 01 - Interest off the Coast Path
Features - Morwenstow and Coombe
Morwenstow:  1.5 mile out-and-back detour from Vicarage Cliff to the two hamlets:  Churchtown, Parson Hawker's church and vicarage;  Crosstown, excellent The Bush Inn.  Coombe:  Delightful hamlet, ford and thatched cottages restored by Landmark Trust.   Stowe Barton: (NT) The great house of the Grenville's was demolished in 1739;  what remains is an attractive farmhouse and impressive farm buildings.
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Morwenstow
Rather inaccessible but well worth going out of one's way for, Morwenstow is Cornwall's most northerly parish, the 'holy place of St. Morwenna'.  There are two tiny hamlets.  Crosstown is a collection of farms around a large village green, one incorporating a small pub, the Bush.  When I first knew it, two tiny bars had half-a-dozen tables and lunch was soup and a roll.  Now there is a restaurant extension, all-day food, and accommodation.  Nearer the coast is Churchtown.  Here are just church, former rectory, Rectory Farm (teas in summer), and a holy well.  In the churchyard are a Cornish cross, the figurehead of the 'Caledonia', wrecked off Higher Sharpnose Point, masses of daffodils in spring and St. John's Well, accessed separately.  A Norman doorway leads into a church with Norman arcading, a medieval fresco and handsome Tudor bench ends, a carved Last Supper and a replica of the Caledonia figurehead.  Most famous incumbent was Robert Stephen Hawker, rector for 40 years from 1834.  Colourful, independent and charitable, his relaxations were the cliff-top and poetry.  The two were combined in a driftwood shack he built into a cliff.  Known to all as Parson Hawker, his best known poem is 'Song of the Western Men', its oft-quoted line "And shall Trelawney die?" a Cornish anthem.  Other works include an Arthurian saga 'Quest of the Sangraal'.  He is credited with introducing Harvest Festival.
Late sun on Morwenstow church
Coombe  -  Bude
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Coombe
A detour of just ½ mile each way on a quiet lane from Duckpool is extremely rewarding.  Once part of the Stowe estate the tiny village (more of a hamlet) of Coombe is now owned by the Landmark Trust, which specialises in restoring interesting historic buildings and letting them as up-market holiday rentals.  The surrounding land is part of the National Trust’s Stowe Barton estate.  The hamlet itself consists of a tall watermill, once known as Stowe Mill, the mill house, two semi-detatched cottages and a converted barn.  All, apart from  the mill, are rentable.  The mill is intact, including all its machinery and a large waterwheel, but a large colony of bats prevents its conversion at present;  how typical of wildlife conservation, which assumes bats can't find another roost.  However, the Landmark Trust hopes to use the mill to provide Coombe’s electricity.  The hamlet is divided by a small river with a shallow paved ford and a footbridge.  Cottages are thatched and whitewashed, all are quite charming and easy to photograph.  One pair of cottages is known as Hawker’s Cottages.  For a while Rev. Stephen Hawker, rector of Morwenstow, lived in the left-hand one   Don’t try to park here, there is no space.  The car park at Duckpool is free and there are toilets there. 
Morwenstow  -  Bude
The old Mill House at Coombe
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Bude
Like Portreath and Hayle, encountered later, Bude is a run-down but interesting town.  When the railway arrived in 1898 it developed as a resort, with hotels and villas with sea views.  After World War II it went downhill and now caters to the lower end of the tourist trade.  However, it has many saving graces, not the least its superb Summerleaze Beach.  A sea lock there is the start of the Bude Canal, of which 2 miles has been restored, that once carried sand inland to improve the soil.  A Visitor Centre in the main car park acts as a Canal Heritage Centre.  The canalside has been much attractively improved in recent years.  Behind the beach, and not far from the canal, look out for the Castle, once the home of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney who built a steam road vehicle in 1829 and devised a complex system of arc lights and mirrors which lighted Parliament for 60 years before electricity.  The Castle now has exhibitions about the town as port, resort and surfing centre.  There is a Gurney exhibition; research centre; art gallery; shop and excellent restaurant.   In front of the Castle, a sculpture, the Bude Light, commemorates Gurney’s achievements.   Above the beach, to the south side, the octagonal Pepper Pot stands high on Efford Down, its sides marked with the points of the compass.  Moved after cliff falls, it is now some 7 degrees out of true;  views from it,over Bude’s beaches, are superb.
Winter surf crashes in at Bude
Morwenstow  -  Coombe
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Stage 02 - Bude to Crackington Haven -  9¾ miles
Unlike Stage 01, this stage starts easy and finishes tough.  From the sea-lock in Bude a path gently climbs Efford Down to the Pepper Pot and Beacon at 215 feet.  The route on to Widemouth Bay is grassy and undulating with views north to Hartland Point, south to Cambeak and Tintagel Island.  At Upton Cross it comes close to the road but stays off it.  The high point of the first part of the stage is before Widemouth Bay at 220 feet.  At Widemouth, unless the tide is right in, you will do best to walk on the beach to Black Rock.  Soon after Black Rock, at Wanson Mouth, the more difficult section begins.  Here you join the road for a steep ascent to Penhalt Cliff at 335 feet.  Happily you soon leave the road to follow the cliffs down to Millook.  The going really gets tough from here with a total of seven ascents to a maximum of 552 feet at the trig point above Dizzard Point.  There are a lot of steps along the way, many of them quite high and steep, the biggest flights 133 steps up to above Mot’s Hole and 190 down to above Cleave Strand.  There is a little road, up to Penhalt cliff and up again after Millook.  Views disappoint a little.  Although you can look back to Hartland Point and Lundy Island, looking forward you see no further than Tintagel Island.  From Cancleave to Crackington Haven you are always on National Trust land.
A Coastal Round Walk from Bude and a Canal Round Walk
Folded strata of Crackington Shale at Millook
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 02 - Bude to Crackington Haven - Oliver's Diary
I first walked this with my sister Mary in March 2005.  I found it tough then.  This time, walked from Bude to Crackington Haven in October 2009, it was tougher.  This way the easy bits come first, the hard bits after Millook.  Despite the challenge, I find this stage a little disappointing.  Compared with most others, views are quite restricted, unless you keep looking back.  Walking with Bob, we halted on Penhalt Cliff (round walk from here) where the view, north across Bude Bay to Steeple Point, Hartland Point and Lundy Island, is well worth lingering over.  Looking south, the best view is from Chipman Point (welcome seat) where you see ahead a series of uneven headlands, ominous in dull weather.  What I found toughest were the several steep descents with flights of high steps;  not too bad going up but knee jarring on the way down, particularly the 190 steps down towards Cleave Strand.  The strange woodland around Dizzard Point is of  Sessile oaks, so stunted by Atlantic gales that few are more than 6 feet tall.  After Millook there are few places where you can get down to the shore – really only at Cancleave Strand – a pity because there are impressive shutes (cliff waterfalls) along here.  Looking at the map, you would expect the next stage to be tougher but the climbs, to High Cliff at 731 feet and Rusey Cliff at 680 feet, turn out to be much gentler than you might expect. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
The Coombe Barton Inn at Crackington Haven
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Stage 02 - Bude to Crackington Haven - GPSData
Distance:   GPS  9.74 miles.   Cumulative:  GPS 19.76 miles. Intermediate:  Widemouth Bay 3.00 miles, Millook 5.05 miles, Dizzard Trig Point 6.65 miles. Ascent:  Estimated  2800 feet.   Cumulative: Estimated 5800 feet.  Highest Point: Trig Point above Dizzard Point 550 feet. Biggest climb:  363 feet up to Pencannow Point before Crackington Haven. Steps:  Up 255, longest flight 133 steps up to Chipman Point.  Down 383, longest 200 down to Cleave Strand.   Stiles:  16.  Map:  OS Explorer 111 Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel. Difficulty:   Easy to Wanson Mouth then strenuous with some moderate to Crackington Haven.  Some road.
Stage 02 - Useful Information
Parking:   Ample public pay CP in both Bude and Crackington Haven.   Intermediate parking:  Widemouth Bay, Black Rock and small CP on Penhalt Cliff before Millook.   Transport:    Western Greyhound  bus 595 links Bude and Crackington Haven.   Refreshments:  Bay View Inn Widemouth Bay, seasonal cafés Widemouth Bay, pub and cafés at Crackington Haven.   Toilets:  In Bude, Widemouth Bay, Black Rock and Crackington Haven.   Accommodation:  Bude, Widemouth Bay, Dizzard, Crackington Haven
Stage 02 - Interest along the Coast Path
Pepper Pot:  On Efford Down, above Bude, this distinctive monument was erected as a daymark.  Its 8 sides are marked with points of the compass.  When the cliff eroded it was moved to its present position but is now 7 degrees out of true.   Widemouth Bay:  A long sandy beach with good surfing.  Otherwise it is a pretty dire place. Crackington Shale:  The cliffs along this stage, and along much of the next, are of Crackington Shale and much subject to landslip.  The strata are often folded, a strange effect best seen at Millook and at Cambeak on Stage 03.   Millook:  A tiny haven from which sea bass is fished.  One of the few cottages was once a mill and still has its wheel.   The Dizzard:  Strange vegetation, a ‘bonsai’ forest of dwarf sessile oaks, stunted by Atlantic gales.  Also rare service trees.   Crackington Haven:  Small haven, once a busy port, surrounded by high cliffs.  Now popular with day visitors, the beach is sandy in the inter-tidal part.  The Coombe Barton Inn has accommodation and there are two cafés and a beach shop. 
Stage 02 - Interest off the Coast Path
St. Gennys:  You can detour from the Coast Path, a little before Castle Point, to see one of Cornwall’s tiniest villages.  The church, tucked into a hollow, is named for St. Genesius.  It is partly Norman, partly 15th century.  A Holy Well is almost hidden below the graveyard;  its water has been used for baptism since the 7th century.
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Stage 03 - Crackington Haven to Boscastle - 7½ miles
At Crackington Haven the sign says ‘Boscastle 6½ miles’.  It is actually about 7½ miles but feels like more thanks to the ascents and descents and the large number of steps, some of them with high risers.  Longest ascent flight is 187, after Pentargon Shute, longest descent 165, coming down from High Cliff.  Some inclines are rocky and could be slippery in wet weather, many are stony and need care.  Highest point is High Cliff at 731 feet but Rusey Cliff at 681 feet is more challenging.  In good weather this is a very scenic stretch.  In bad weather it can seem isolated and threatening even though rarely more than half-a-mile from habitation.  The stage starts with a stiff climb up to Cambeak at 330 feet, with great views back to Crackington Haven.  It is then relatively moderate until the ascent of High Cliff.  After a steep descent from High Cliff - all those steps – it is again fairly moderate across Strangles with its tortured rock strata and landslips.  The climb up to Rusey Cliff is the stiffest of the stage.  By now views have opened out to the south to Tintagel and Trevose Head.  You might expect it to be easy from here but still to come is Pentargon – look out for the 175 foot waterfall – with 167 steps up in a 150 foot climb.  From here on it is easy going.  Distance is calculated to the road at Boscastle but those continuing to Tintagel can cross the new steel and concrete bridge.
Pentargon Shute blows back in high winds
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 03 - Crackington Haven to Boscastle - Oliver's Diary
When I walked this in 2004 I did it the easy way as two round walks to High Cliff, returning by an inland route each time.  I found it all fairly easy at the time.  Five years on, walking from Crackington Haven to Boscastle with Bob in November 2009, my 71 year old joints found it tougher than expected.  Part of the reason was the weather.  A day of sunshine and showers, the showers were heavy and sometimes of hail.  The wind on the cliffs was gusting to 50 mph, fortunately onshore, and several times we had to stop and lean on our poles to stay upright.  It made for an  exhilarating, if rather tiring, walk.  What I found toughest was the two long flights of steps, particularly the long flight down from High Cliff.  To old joints the high risers can be quite jarring.  At Pentargon, even though relatively sheltered down by the footbridge, the wind was still so strong that spray from the waterfall was being carried in a sheet high in the air.  I found the best views along the way to be those back into Crackington Haven from Cambeak and those from Fire Beacon Point onwards, looking south-west across a series of high headlands.  And, as in 2004, I was much taken by the remarkable folded strata of Crackington Shale (see Stage 02) at Cambeak and along Strangles.  After Cambeak do look out for Northern Door and Samphire Rock.  Click here for a Boscastle and Valency Valley round walk.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Boscastle Harbour at High Tide
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Stage 03 - Crackington Haven to Boscastle - GPS Data
Distance:  GPS 7.43 miles.   Cumulative:  GPS 27.19 miles. Intermediate:  High Cliff 3.16 miles, Fire Beacon Point 5.18 miles, Hillsborough 6.14 miles.   Ascent:   Estimated 2500 feet. Cumulative:  Estimated  8300 feet.   Highest Point:  High Cliff 731 feet. Biggest climb:  335 feet up to High Cliff.  Plus 3 others over 200 feet, including 300 feet up to Rusey Cliff. Steps:  Up 245 includes flight of 187 up to Hillsborough.  Down 440 includes flight of 165 down from High Cliff.   Stiles:  15, includes a few tall slate stiles.   Maps:  OS Explorer 111 Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel.   Difficulty:  Overall strenuous with some moderate, some gentle
Stage 03 - Useful Information
Parking:  Ample public pay CP in both Crackington Haven and Boscastle.  Intermediate Parking:  May be intermediate parking at National Trust’s Trevigue. Transport:  Western Greyhound  bus 595 links Crackington Haven and Boscastle. Refreshments:  In Crackington Haven (see Stage 02) and many pubs, cafés and restaurants in Boscastle. Toilets:  In Crackington Haven and Boscastle. Accommodation:  Crackington Haven, Trevigue, Boscastle 
Stage 03 - Interest along the Coast Path
Cambeak:  A positively reptilian-looking headland with remarkable folded formations of Crackington Shale rock.   Northern Door:  Storm-worn cleft in a rock jutting out near Cambeak, not one of the largest or most impressive.   High Cliff:  At 731 feet, you expect the cliffs here to be more impressive but landslip means that the sloping undercliff changes your perspective to reduce the feeling of height you get with other vertical cliffs like Penkenna above Crackington.  Pentargon Shute:  An impressive waterfall, if you have the courage to get in position to view it properly.   Boscastle:  An attractive harbour village, well worth exploring.  Because of the winding entrance, the little harbour is only in water for part of each tide.  There are still a few working boats.  The village itself, on the little River Valency, has been well restored since the dreadful 2004 flood.  There is a visitor centre and National Trust shop and café in the former pilchard palace and there are plenty of cafés, pubs and restaurants.  Also a vast car park.  Full Boscastle feature below.
Stage 03 - Interest off the Coast Path
Trevigue:  National Trust owned farm, attractive 16th century house and farm buildings tucked into a hollow.  Diversified activities include B&B, self-catering, evening restaurant, a wildlife information centre, even civil marriages.  You may see their South Devon cattle grazing and their Dartmoor ponies and feral goats grazing the cliffs.  Worth the ½ mile detour. St. Juliot:  Follow the north bank of the River Valency through woodland to Newmills and continue across fields to St. Juliot’s church.  Thomas Hardy associations, Lawrence Whistler engraved glass window, Hardy drawings, Cornish crosses in the churchyard.  5 miles return walk, worth adding to the next short Stage 04 to Tintagel.   Smugglers Way:  A 37 mile walking trail from Boscastle Harbour to Looe on the south coast.  The trail was devised by veteran walker Frank Squibb and has the great advantage of climbing the heights of Bodmin Moor - including Roughtor, Brown Willy and little visited Brown Gelly – and passing Dozmary Pool, the mythical Arthurian site. 
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Feature - Boscastle
When I started this web site I didn't like Boscastle very much.  I was about ready to post a critical item when the dreadful flood of August 2004 happened.  That was no time for criticism so I decided to leave it until repair and restoration were complete.  I am glad I did because, before and after a walk up the Valency Valley in June 2008, I took time to explore the village.  Now not only am I most impressed by the way Boscastle has recovered but I also find that I now like it.  It may be very tourist oriented - Visitor Centre, National Trust shop, Witchcraft Museum, art and craft galleries, gift shops, restaurants, cafés - but it looks terrific.  Scenically it is hard to beat thanks to its setting in a steep valley, the River Valency winding down to a small harbour (dry at low tide) with a few fishing boats, beyond it two high headlands, both on the coast path, and the sea.  In the photo a lime kiln stands in front of the former 'pilchard palace';  this latter  houses the TIC, a National Trust shop and café and a Witchcraft Museum.  And don't miss walking up Old Road, a narrow no-entry street, to admire its charming cottages.  I can't comment on eating places as I have only had coffee here, but for sociability the Wellington Hotel bar is probably top;  other pubs are the Cobweb opposite the car park and the Napoleon at the top of the village.
River Valency and the former Pilchard Palace
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Stage 04 -Boscastle to Tintagel -  4½ miles
This is a very short stage and those who are looking for distance will prefer to add Stage 5 and continue to Port Isaac.  Those looking for interest may well find this mere 5 miles quite adequate.  The villages at each end are both worth exploring – despite some views of them as tourist traps – and there is intermediate interest off the path which could add several miles to the day’s walk.  Degree of difficulty is only moderate, ascending only around 1200 feet and none of the ascents are particularly steep with a mere 160 steps up and down.  For interest, use the north side of the River Valency at the start and cross the new footbridge to start the ascent to Boscastle’s Willapark, looking back down to the tiny harbour.  If you detour up Willapark to the Coastwatch station, there are fine views.  After Willapark, note the long thin fields, Forrabury stitches, and Forrabury church to your left.  Above Grower Gut there is a beautifully made sheep stile and views open out to the north to Cambeak and Hartland Point.  After Trevalga Manor, Ladies Window seems lost to rockfall.  Soon after, views open out to Tintagel.  Steepest ascent of the day is up from Rocky Valley, thereafter going is pretty easy and views over Benoath Cove and Bossinney Haven are grand.  As you approach Tintagel Haven you get a view of the castle on The Island.
The Coastwatch lookout on Boscastle's Willapark
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Stage 04 - Boscastle to Tintagel - Oliver's Diary
After fairly tough going on the first three stages, I was glad of a short, fairly easy stage, done in October 2009.  Despite their reputations as tourist traps, I was happy to linger a while in Boscastle and Tintagel, both of which I enjoy.  Scenically, I find this a less interesting stretch.  Looking forward, views never extend beyond Tintagel so you need to look back from time to time.  It was a fine warm and sunny day so, when I got to Tintagel, after a snack at the Castle Café, now very greatly improved as are castle visitor facilities, I headed on to Trebarwith Strand and back across the fields into Tintagel village, lingering on the way for another look at the Fontevreux Chapel and the Dovecote in the Old Vicarage garden.  Along the way, the path crosses a very strange little smallholding.  From all the signs, you get the distinct impression that the owners live in fear of walkers (or perhaps local hooligans);  it seems a shame that the path has to go this way.  I also enjoyed the coastal slate quarries, described in the next stage.  And one of my favourite places is St. Materiana’s church, standing on a site that was almost certainly occupied from the late iron age.  Glebe Cliff nearby has superb views of Tintagel Castle.  As with Boscastle, described in Stage 03, my views on Tintagel have changed with time, as has the village itself.  Brief description below.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Benoath Cove and Bosinney Haven
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Stage 04 - Boscastle to Tintagel - GPS Data
Distance:  Boscastle Bridge to Tintagel Castle 4.6 miles.   Cumulative:  31.97 miles.   Intermediate:  Rocky Valley 2.8 miles. Ascent:  Estimated 1200 feet.   Cumulative: Estimated 9500 feet. Highest Point:  Above Short Island 295 feet.    Biggest climb:  290 feet up out of Boscastle.  Only one other over 200 feet, 205 feet up from Rocky Valley. Steps:  Up 160, including flight of 75 up from Bossiney Haven   Down 160, including 60 down to Grower Gut.   Stiles:  None.  Maps:  OS Explorer 111 Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel.  Difficulty:  Overall moderate but with a little strenuous and a lot of easy.
Stage 04 - Useful Information
Parking:  Good public CP in Boscastle.  Ample public CPs in Tintagel.   Intermediate Parking:  No intermediate parking.   Transport: Western Greyhound bus 584 links Boscastle and Tintagel 2 hourly.   Refreshments: Ample restaurants, cafés, pubs in both Boscastle and Tintagel.    Toilets:  Only at Boscastle and Tintagel.   Accommodation:  Boscastle, Trevalga, Bossiney, Tintagel.
Stage 04 - Interest along the Coast Path
Boscastle:  An attractive harbour village, well worth exploring.  Because of the winding entrance, the little harbour is only in water for part of each tide.  There are still a few working boats.  The village itself, on the little River Valency, has been well restored since the dreadful 2004 flood.  There is a visitor centre and National Trust shop and café in the former pilchard palace and there are plenty of cafés, pubs and restaurants.  See Stage 03 for a Thomas Hardy walk up the Valency Valley and Coastal Round Walks for a related circuit.   Forrabury Stitches:  Landward of Willapark, and owned by the National Trust, as is much of the land around Boscastle, the Stitches are a rare survival of Celtic farming.  There are 42 stitches (plots), narrow and separated by low balks.  They were used as arable in summer, grazing in winter.   Bossiney Haven:  A sandy cove is covered at high tide;  access is by steep steps.  A rock with a 'door' in it is known as Elephant Rock.  Adjacent are the golden sands of Benoath Cove.   Tintagel:  Very much a tourist village, Tintagel used to be a very down-market, scruffy place but, following a £2.4 million makeover, is now much improved.  Inevitably the emphasis is on King Arthur but there is more to Tintagel than just that.   Full Tintagel feature below.   Full Boscastle feature in Stage 3
Stage 04 - Interest off the Coast Path
Rocky Valley:   Spectacular narrow valley, carved by the little River Trevillet, which tumbles down the narrow defile into the sea at an equally spectacular cove.  The valley continues inland as St. Nectan’s Glen but you have to walk a section of road to approach that from Trethevy.   Trethevy:  For a village totally ignorable from the road, a surprising amount of interest -  St. Piran’s Well, a Roman milestone in a private garden and a massive flat rock by the road, known as King Arthur’s Quoit;  is he buried under it? Trevalga:  A charming hamlet, its last Lord of the Manor, Gerald Curgenven, left it in 1959 to a trust managed by his old school, Marlborough College.  Leave the coast path on a track just before Trevelga Manor.  In 2010 the hamlet's fate is in doubt as the college has put the complete package on the market.
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Tintagel

Most come to seek King Arthur and Tintagel Castle.  For that, park in the designated car park, walk to the Island, climb it, enjoy the views and drink your fill of history, real or mythical.  Dedicated Arthurians will also look almost opposite the National Trust's Old Post Office for King Arthur's Halls, an odd mix of Pre-Raphaelite mythology and modern audio-visual.  The Old Post Office is really a small 14th century manor house, used in Victorian times as the local mail receiving office.  Away from the village, high on cliffs to the west, St. Materiana's church is worth seeing in its own right;  close by are ravishing coastal views and an impressive view of Tintagel Castle from Glebe Cliff.  On the way to the church, look out for the Vicarage;  enter its ancient gatehouse to find a simple chapel, once a 13th century cottage;  look over its garden wall for a medieval dovecote.  Inside the church, a simple Norman granite font stands on a most unusual plinth of small upright slates set in a checker pattern, almost as if Sir Edwin Lutyens had designed it as part of one of his garden paths.  Wood work in the church is unusual;  the reredos appears to be made of old bench ends which carry carvings of the Passion and of local coats of arms.  The village has improved greatly (it cost £2.4 million) but shops, cafés and restaurants are still mostly aimed at the tourist trade and almost all rely on the Arthurian connection. 
The Old Post Office, really a 14th century manor
Description - Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Stage 05 - Tintagel to Port Isaac - 9 miles
This is the toughest stage so far with 11 ascents, mostly steep, of 100 feet or more, the greatest of 330 feet.  It is genuinely strenuous with one potentially dangerous section.  There are several flights of steps, most of them up.  You reach Trebarwith Strand down 120 steps and leave it by a flight of 203.  There are more stiles than before, probably the National Trust influence since most are of the English wooden variety.   Surprisingly there are four part-granite sheep stiles, again probably National Trust since their character is not local.  View are not extensive but the view forward over Port Isaac Bay to the Rumps is always splendid.  After a fairly stiff climb up from Tintagel Haven the first two miles to Trebarwith Strand is easy.  It is at Trebarwith that the serious stuff starts with a 330 foot climb up to Start Point.  From there towards Port Gaverne there are half-a-dozen serious descents and ascents.  The potentially dangerous spot lies between grid references 025/815 and 023/812.  Here the steep descent is covered in loose stone and the steep ascent is potentially very muddy.  In poor weather this section may require great care.  From about a mile before Port Gaverne the stage becomes easy and the last 2 miles may, despite the steep road up to Port Isaac car park, come as something of a relief.  Overall a very challenging stage but a most rewarding one. 
Tintagel Castle seen from Glebe Cliff
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 05 - Tintagel to Port Isaac - Oliver's Diary
I walked this stage with Bob and his wife Pam in November 2009.  I had first done it from Trebarwith Strand to Port Isaac in January 2005 and found it fairly tough going then.  Five years on I found it the toughest stage so far and one I was pleased to complete without mishap.  What appeals to me most about this stage is the almost continuous glorious view across Port Isaac Bay.  It may not be a long view but it ends at one of my favourite spots, the Rumps with its great promontory fort or cliff castle.  And, much of the time, you can see your destination Port Isaac – though sometimes it seems not to get any closer.  I also enjoy the evidence of slate quarrying, most of the way from Tintagel to Delabole Point.  In 2005 I saw a pair of choughs at Jackett's Cove, sadly not this time.  I was very wary of the potentially dangerous section (location above) and slipped on the way down a couple of times.  I was delighted to learn about some new interest, thanks to Pam’s local knowledge:  Dannon Chapel, just off the path and, at Delabole Point, a feature shown on OS109 as ‘cave’ but probably a tunnel hewn by slate quarrymen through a small headland to a cove – there is another further on.  If your timing is right, and the Port Gaverne Hotel is open when you get there, I recommend the local crab sandwiches – Port Isaac is famed for its crabs.  Having cracked this one I am looking forward to Port Isaac to Rock, the crossing point for Padstow. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Backways Quarry Cove and Gull Rock
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Stage 05 - Tintagel to Port Isaac - GPS Data
Distance: Tintagel Castle to Port Isaac Harbour 9.04 miles.   Cumulative:  40.83 miles.   Intermediate:  Trebarwith Strand 2 miles, Jackett’s Cove 5.24 miles, Bounds Cliff 6.77 miles.  Ascent:   Estimated 2500 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 12000 feet.   Highest Point:  Sheep stile at grid ref: 023/812 at 419 feet.   Biggest climb:  310 feet up from Tintagel Haven.  Also 295 feet up to Bounds Cliff.  Steps:  Up 472, includes flight of 203 out of Trebarwith Strand.  Down 170, includes flight of 120 down to Trebarwith Strand.   Stiles:  18, includes 4 unexpected granite sheep stiles. Maps: OS Explorer 111 Bude Boscastle & Tintagel, 109 Bodmin Moor and 106 Newquay and Padstow.   Difficulty:  Moderate start for 2 miles then strenuous for next 5, with one potentially dangerous section in bad weather.
Stage 05 - Useful Information
Parking:  Ample public pay CP in both Tintagel and Port Isaac.   Intermediate parking:  Pay CP at Trebarwith Strand and a very little at Port Gaverne.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 595 links Tintagel and Port Isaac.   Refreshments:  In Tintagel (inc. Castle), Port William pub and cafés Trebarwith Strand, Port Gaverne Hotel, Port Isaac.   Toilets:  In Tintagel (including Castle), Trebarwith Strand and Port Isaac by harbour. Accommodation:  Tintagel, Trebarwith Strand, Tregardock, Port Gaverne, Port Isaac 
Stage 05 - Interest along the Coast Path
Tintagel: See Stage 04.   Slate Quarries:  This part of the coast has been much changed by coastal slate quarrying.  The cliffs have been worked almost all the way from Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand, the quarrymen hanging by ropes down the cliff-face, their slates raised to the top, later to be lowered at high tide by winch to awaiting vessels.  There is more further south, notably at Backways Cove, above which blocked shafts suggest former cliff-top mines, and at Delabole Point. Trebarwith Strand:  An odd little place.  The Strand is popular with surfers but not easy to access.  You may wonder how slate was exported from here.  If you walk up past the Port William Inn – OK to eat but horrendously expensive coffee – you will find the rocky inlet where the slate boats loaded.   Delabole Point:  Marked on OS 109 as ‘adit’, this is another slate quarry tunnel.  Sheep stiles:  Between Barratt’s Zawn and Tresungers Point there are four sheep stiles which I don’t remember seeing before.  Set in slate hedges are the granite steps of a typical sheep stile – but they are too closely spaced to deter sheep;  must be the work of the National Trust.  Vaccary Wall:  I have seen these fences of thin upright stones wired together in Lancashire and at Kelmscott on the Thames.  You don’t really expect them in Cornwall but there is a superb cliff-top one about a mile before Port Gaverne.  Port Isaac:  Now known to all through the Doc Martin TV series, Port Isaac has become much gentrified and second-homed over the years.  Retains a working harbour and superb crabs and lobsters are sold in the former fish cellars.  See full Port Isaac feature.
Stage 05 - Interest off the Coast Path
Dannon Chapel:   Waymarked from near Crookmoyle Rock, an abandoned hamlet going to rack and ruin.
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Port Isaac
Jane remembers Port Isaac, from her early childhood, as a quiet remote small harbour village with little activity other than the busy fish harbour.  It is very different these days, having been discovered not only by the holiday trade but also by the second homers from the big city.  It may now be far busier than she remembers but it is also, thanks to the influx of money, more colourfully attractive.  The old part of Port Isaac is crammed into a tight steep valley leading down to a tiny fishing harbour where crab and lobster are landed.  Do not try to drive down to the harbour;  you will be unable to park there.  You should park in the official car park at the top of the hill and walk down, enjoying the delightful views;  the narrow streets can be very difficult to negotiate in a car, even away from school vacation times.  Small cottages, closely packed together, have white washed or tile hung walls.  There are still fish cellars on the west side of the harbour where you can buy fresh fish and shellfish but the crab and lobster, the main catch, mostly leave the harbour and head uphill for immediate distribution.  Even so, we can strongly recommend the crab.  Since 2004 Port Isaac has become best known as the location for  'Doc Martin', a TV series shot in and around the village;  an odd show, first comedy, later melodrama and packed with great location shots.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Port Isaac harbour and village from the coast path
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Stage 06 - Port Isaac to Rock for Padstow - 11½ miles
This is one of the most scenic stages of the Coast Path.  Views are never particularly long but they are superb.  To the north the view is restricted to Tintagel though, on a clear day, you might just see north Devon and Lundy Island.  Forward you look across Port Isaac Bay to the Rumps and Mouls though, once you reach them, you see Pentire Point and from there you have lovely views across the Camel Estuary to Stepper Point and Trevose Head.  The going starts quite strenuous but eases after Port Quin and from Pentire Point it is easy going all the way.  Approaching Polzeath, you may well find that you can use the beach - the tide goes out a long way - to cut out most (or all) of the village.  Alternatives are suggested below for the final section from Daymer Bay to Rock.  The total ascent of 2350 feet, with 9 climbs of 100 feet or more, is less than on Stages 01 and 02 but the 511 steps up and 379 down are quite steep in places with some high risers.  Under foot is a mixture of grass and stony path with only occasional rocky parts.  New Polzeath to the ferry at Rock is very easy going.  Rock is an expensive place so best to arrive in good time to take the ferry to Padstow for a better choice of eating places and accommodation.   It is worth making an early start on this stage for the considerable amount of interest along the way both on and off the path. 
Port Isaac harbour
Alternatives - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
PORT ISAAC to PORT QUIN:  This is a fairly tough stage.  Those who might like to omit the toughest part can take an alternative inland route between Port Isaac and Port Quin.   As you climb up out of Port Isaac, look out for a stile and footpath sign on your left.  The path goes fairly directly to Port Quin.  There is one steep valley, the Pine Haven valley, but the path goes obliquely, both down and up, so it is easy.  If you want to take a look at Roscarrock (see Interest off the Coast Path below) it is easily accessed soon after this valley.
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Stage 06 - Polzeath, Daymer Bay and Rock - The Alternatives
There are alternative routes.
1.  Polzeath:  At low tide, if you wish and if you enjoy beach walking, you can get down to the beach at Pentireglaze Haven or at New Polzeath and cross the sands of Hayle Bay to an easy cliff ascent to the grassy car park at Tristram.
2.  Daymer Bay to Rock:  (a)  Tides permitting, when you reach Daymer Bay, you can walk on the beach all the way to Rock and the ferry.
(b)  At any time you can take an inland alternative.  Leave Daymer Bay up Daymer Lane and take a track on the right leading to St. Enodoc golf course.  A line of white stones leads you first to fascinating St. Enodoc church and then to the dunes on the coast path to Rock. 
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Stage 06 - Port Isaac to Rock for Padstow - Oliver's Diary
I walked this with Bob on a fine November 2009 day.  Despite its familiarity I always get great pleasure from it, not least because of my history with it.  Back in 2003 my (younger) sisters told me I shouldn’t try it as it would be too much for me.  They were probably right at the time but, since then, I must have walked it a dozen times.  On a long day I love to make detours for all the interest.  On a short day I may take the easy inland alternative from Port Isaac to Port Quin.  Poldark fans will find Port Isaac, Port Quin and Doyden Castle familiar, the former also from Doc Martin.  The more adventurous Poldark devotees may also like to detour to Roscarrock, something I have only done using the alternative easy inland route from Port Isaac to Port Quin, worth using for the time - and energy - it saves if you are in a real hurry.  In summer I liked to take a coffee break at Atlantic House (sadly closed now) in New Polzeath for the view of Hayle Bay and its multitude of surfers.  Sometimes, at low tide, I will cross the beach from there to the bottom of Tristram car park;  the little river is easily fordable;  you can also cross from the earlier Pentire Haven or Pentireglaze Haven at really low tide.  Sometimes, too, I will take the variations above on my way from Daymer Bay to Rock.  This is a wonderful walk and even better for a fine day. 
Description - Alternatives - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
The Rumps from the Lawrence Binyon memorial
POLZEATH REFRESHMENTS:  Looking for somewhere to get a coffee in winter in Polzeath, we happened upon Tubestation.  Open Tuesday to Saturday throughout the year, it's in the former Methodist chapel.  It's dog friendly, child friendly (complete with a small skateboard ramp), serves good soups and sandwiches and great coffee.  The welcome is genuine, the place feels comfortable and the prices are very reasonable.
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Stage 06 - Port Isaac to Rock for Padstow - GPSData
Distance:  Port Isaac Harbour to Rock Ferry 11.47 miles.   Cumulative:  52.30 miles.  Intermediate:  Port Quin 3.16 miles, Pentire Point 6.94 miles, Polzeath 8.71 miles, Daymer Bay 10.03 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 2350 feet. Cumulative:  Estimated 14350 feet.   Highest Point:  Between Rumps and Pentire Point at grid ref: 930/807 267 feet.  Biggest climb: 222 feet up from Lundy Bay.  4 other climbs of over 150 feet. Steps:  Up 511, includes 176 up from Pinehaven, 145 up to Reedy Cliff.  Down 379, 3 flights of more than 50. Stiles:  None but a number of gates and kissing gates. Maps:  OS Explorer 106 Newquay and Padstow.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate but strenuous in places, especially to Port Quin.  Easy from Pentire Point to Rock.
Stage 06 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Ample public CP at Port Isaac and at Rock (busy high summer).    Intermediate Parking:  NT (free to members) Port Quin, NT (free) Lead Mines Pentireglaze Farm, New Polzeath (some free) Polzeath, Daymer Bay.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 584 links Port Isaac with Polzeath and Rock. Refreshments:  Ample in Port Isaac.  Mostly seasonal in Polzeath.  Pubs and seasonal in Rock.  Toilets:  Port Isaac, Polzeath, Daymer Bay, Rock.   Accommodation:  Port Isaac, Polzeath, Daymer Bay, Rock, Padstow.
Stage 06 - Interest along the Coast Path - See feature on the Camel Estuary, Polzeath and Rock
Port Quin:  Picturesque and very photo-worthy tiny former fishing village, now mostly owned by National Trust. Doyden:  Just after Port Quin, Doyden Castle, an unusual small folly, is now rented out by Landmark Trust.  It featured in the Poldark TV series as the home of Dwight Ennis.  Mineshafts nearby have unusual slate fence posts.   Lundy Bay:  Look out for the blow-hole as you leave Lundy Bay and try to catch it on a stormy day with a high tide. The Rumps:  Major iron age promontory fort or cliff castle, several ramparts are still clearly defined.  Worth the detour.   A little after the Rumps a memorial to poet Lawrence Binyon makes a superb viewpoint.   Polzeath:  Along with Rock and Trebetherick, Polzeath is at the heart of second home territory of Kensington-on-sea.  There are several cafés (mostly seasonal and all too expensive) and several surf schools – surfing is safe.   Brea Hill:  Several bronze age cairns stand on the summit.  Worth the detour for these and views, including that down to tiny St. Enodoc church.  Rock:  Cornwall's most expensive homes include apartments costing millions.  The sailing club members range from dingy to cruiser owners and there is a water ski school.  Golfers are catered for by the exclusive St. Enodoc Golf Club.  St. Enodoc Hotel boasts Nathan Outlaw's Michelin starred restaurant.  Tiny St. Michael Porthilly church stands just above the beach at the eastern end of Rock.   Ferry:  A landing craft type of ferry carries pedestrians and cyclists between Rock and Padstow.  At night a separate service carries foodies across to Padstow.   Padstow:  Once only a fishing village, with harbours for inshore boats and seagoing trawlers, Padstow has become a major visitor destination and is unbearably busy in the season but almost deserted in winter.  See full feature on Padstow
Stage 06 - Interest off the Coast Path
Roscarrock:  If you take the shorter inland route from Port Isaac to Port Quin you can bear off SW to see the ancient house and farmyard that featured in Poldark, the house as Ross’s Trenwith home, the farmyard in other rural scenes.  St. Enodoc Church:  The tiny ancient church, with its stone spire, was once almost completely covered by the shifting dunes.  To maintain his living the vicar had to climb in through the roof once a year to hold a service for a congregation consisting of himself.  Buried in the churchyard are poet laureate John Betjeman and Fleur Lombard, the first female fire-fighter to die doing her job in peacetime.  Half-a-mile across the golf course from here is the Jesus Well.
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The Camel Estuary, Polzeath and Rock
If Newquay is Cornwall's down-market playground, the Camel Estuary is its up-market counterpart.  This is where the rich gather; the permanent rich all year, the vacationing rich in season.  In summer you might be in 'Kensington-on-Sea', an impression especially strong a few years ago when the royal princes would holiday here.  Rock’s main activity is sailing and the estuary is often crowded with small boats.  Windsurfers congregate at Daymer Bay - though not in summer as it's a family beach then - surfers at Polzeath.  Social life centres around Rock sailing club, St. Enodoc Hotel and - for the drinkers - the Mariners and Rock Inn by the water.  Golfers enjoy St. Enodoc Golf Club, one of Cornwall's best - and most expensive!  During the day coast path walkers cross the water from Rock, by ferry to and from Padstow.  In the evening foodies cross from Rock to Padstow for Rick Stein's famed Seafood Restaurant and other top spots.  Polzeath’s raison d’être is surfing with hire shops and stalls, surf schools, and cafés priced for well-heeled surfers.  At least there is a reasonably priced seasonal snack wagon, Mr. Surfy’s on Atlantic Terrace in New Polzeath, and Tubestation in Polzeath is recommended.  The surfing is among the safest, best and busiest in Cornwall and I have counted 200 in the water on occasions.  Spring tides go out for the best part of half-a-mile.  Car parking is on the beach but beware high spring tide, you might return to find your car awash. 
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Boats on the Camel estuary at Rock
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Feature - Padstow
To first-time visitors this will seem like unchanging Cornwall.  But for those who remember Padstow from the 1940s, things have changed greatly.  The railway has gone - it's now a cycle trail, the Camel; Trail.  Most restaurants and shops concentrate on tourists;  foodies have arrived, enticed by Rick Stein's famed seafood empire.  Fishing boats do still land their catches (much of it is exported ) and many restaurants specialise in seafood.  Views across the Camel estuary are to the village of Rock and a little ferry carries hikers and holiday makers.  Cream teas are all you expect; we prefer to take ours in the lounge of the Metropole.  Some of the Cornish pasties are good, too, especially at the Chough bakery close by the harbour and at Rick Stein’s patisserie.  Wander around narrow, steep streets;  walk up the hill behind the town to visit the 'great house', Prideaux Place.  For all this, Padstow is no longer very likeable.  In the season it heaves with people and cars; out of season it seems deserted, cafés and restaurants closed, many shops deserted.  Thanks to second homers, housing is very expensive so less and less native Padstonians actually live there.  It should be a lovely small harbour town but now it disappoints us.  The Camel Trail starts here, offering cyclists an 18 mile trail to Wenford Bridge, by way of  Wadebridge and Bodmin, on level hard surfaces. 
Padstow's Inner Harbour
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 07 - Padstow to Porthcothan - 13½ miles
Looking across the Camel estuary from the heights of Pentire Point on the previous stage, you see two major headlands, Stepper Point and Trevose Head.  You might, therefore, expect this to be a tough stage but the ascents of those headlands are only moderate while the rest of the route is easy.  The path, starting on tarmac, is soon clear of Padstow and, at the War Memorial, delightful views begin - over the Camel estuary to Daymer Bay, Polzeath and Pentire Point.  A stony track soon becomes a regular path undulating gently until you pass the Coastguard Cottages at Hawker’s Cove.  The climb to the Pepper Pot on Stepper Point starts easy and becomes moderate.  Once there, forward views are to Trevose Head and its lighthouse.  Here the path becomes mostly grassy and walking is easy all the way to Trevose Head, again only a moderate ascent.  After steep steps down to Dinas Quarry, and a short ascent, the path is again grassy all the way to Booby’s Bay.  Long views open out south-west across Constantine Bay, taking in Kelsey Head, St. Agnes Head and St. Ives.  The path crosses the half-mile beach at Constantine Bay, heavy going sometimes.  Going is then easy to Porthothan;  nowhere climbing above 130 feet, and the path is grassy most of the way.  At Porthcothan you are briefly on the road but soon back on the cliffs. 
The buildings cluster around Padstow's inner harbour
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
2012:   Good news for those who like to stop for a snack in lovely surroundings. A couple of miles out of Padstow, towards Stepper Point, Rest-a-While is in the garden of 7 Coastguard Cottages at Hawker's Cove.  Open daily in summer, weekends in winter, it serves soup, sandwiches, cakes, cream teas and hot and cold drinks.  Seating is on a terrace with glorious views over the Camel Estuary.  We have tried it a couple of times - good food, good coffee, good value.
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Stage 07 - Padstow to Porthcothan - Oliver's Diary
I probably know this bit of the Cornish Coast better than almost any other.  It was my first real introduction to the Coast Path back in the 1990s.  Then it was just doing Padstow to Trevone with an inland return route, a total of about 7½ miles.  It is a walk I often return to when I fancy an easy Saturday walk.  I also like to take the bus to Harlyn Bay or Constantine Stores and walk back to Padstow, sometimes using the inland route from Trevone.  Although I can think of many more striking parts of Cornwall’s coast, especially between Marsland Mouth and Pentire Point, and round West Penwith, I never tire of this part, partly because of my love of the Camel Estuary and its lovely ever changing views.  Another reason I (and Jane) particularly like these parts is Food for Thought, the excellent seasonal snack shack at Harlyn Bay, where you can enjoy superb hot filled baps while watching the surfers disporting themselves along the lovely gently curving bay.  I also like to walk out to Dinas Head, not on the Coast Path, and to try to catch the surf crashing into Round Hole nearby.  I find this stage very pleasant, relatively easy walking.  The only disappointments are Porthcothan, an uninspiring place, and the pubs along the way.  Both the Harlyn Inn and the Tredrea Inn at Porthcothan are rather 'urban roadhouse', not my style at all.
DescriptionGPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Surf rolls in at Harlyn Bay
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Stage 07 - Padstow to Porthcothan - GPS Data
Distance:  13.50 miles.   Cumulative:  65.80 miles.   Intermediate:  Pepper Pot 3.05 miles, Trevone 5.57 miles, Trevose Light 9.28 miles, Treyarnon 10.46 miles. Ascent:  Estimated 1400 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 15750 feet.   Highest Point:  Pepper Pot on Stepper Point 255 feet.   Biggest climb: 185 feet from Mother Ivey Cottage to Trevose Head.  Also 153 feet up from Hawker’s Cove.  Steps:  Maximum 30 steps anywhere, except 43 down to Constantine beach.  A few rock-cut steps in places.   Stiles:  12 or so. Maps:  OS Explorer 106 Newquay and Padstow.  Difficulty:  Never more than moderate but with a lot of easy.
Stage 07 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Ample public pay CP in Padstow and Porthcothan.   Intermediate parking:  Trevose Head, Trevone, Harlyn Bay, Constantine Bay, Treyarnon Bay.  Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 556 links Padstow and Porthcothan.  Refreshments:  All year:  Padstow, Treglos Hotel Constantine Bay, Harlyn Inn, Tredrea Inn Porthcothan.   Seasonal:  Trevone café, Harlyn Food-for-Thought snack wagon, Constantine Bay coffee van, Treyarnon YHA café and car park snack shack.  Toilets:  Padstow, Trevone, Harlyn Bay, Constantine Bay, Treyarnon, Porthcothan.  Accommodation:  Padstow, Trevone, Harlyn Bay, Constantine Bay, Treyarnon, Porthcothan
Stage 07 - Interest along the Coast Path
Padstow: see Stage 06.   Good beaches:  There is a succession of good, safe beaches along this stage - at Tregirls on the Camel Estuary and at Trevone, Harlyn, Constantine, Treyarnon and Porthcothan.  There are Surf Schools at Harlyn and Constantine.  Cornish Surfing:  Cornwall, along with a stretch of the North Devon coast from Woollacombe to Westward Ho, is Britain’s surfing Mecca, thanks to the generally west facing aspect and the swells that run in off the Atlantic.  Major Cornish surfing beaches are at Bude, Widemouth Bay, Polzeath at the mouth of the Camel estuary, Harlyn Bay, Constantine Bay, Watergate Bay and Newquay, Perranporth, Porthtowan, Gwithian, St. Ives, Whitesand Bay by Sennen Cove, and Praa Sands near Porthleven on the south coast.  Of all these the true Mecca is the superb five mile stretch of the north coast around Newquay, taking in Watergate Bay, Newquay Bay and Fistral Bay.  Finest is Fistral at Newquay, home to regular international surfing competitions.  Its great attraction is the Cribbar, an occasional 30 foot wave created by the eponymous reef.  Most surf beaches have surf schools and equipment hire.  Watergate Bay has the widest range of activities including wind-surfing, kite-surfing, kite-buggying and paddle-surfing.  All have beach cafés, some seasonal.  Best food is probably at Headland Hotel in Newquay, best value the seasonal Food For Thought at Harlyn Bay.  All have parking, some of it very expensive, particularly around Newquay.  All have webcams so you can check the surf before travelling.  Cornish Hedges:  To the English a hedge is formed from small trees.  To the Cornish that is a hedgerow.  A Cornish hedge is an earthen bank, faced with field stone and packed with earth.  It serves three main purposes.  It clears a field of rocks, it creates a barrier and boundary, and it allows plantlife to flourish on it.  Especially along the north coast they may be covered with wildflowers.  Hedgers all have their own styles.  Some lay their stones flat, some lay them vertical, some in elaborate curzeyway (herringbone) pattern.  Character tends to differ depending on whether slate or granite is used.
Stage 07 - Interest off the Coast Path
Trails:  Two major trails leave Padstow.  The Camel Trail is an 18 mile multi-use trail following a former railway line along the River Camel to the edge of Bodmin, then continuing to Wenford Bridge on the course of former quarry lines.  A branch from Dunmere Bridge heads to the centre of Bodmin.  Walkers should avoid the Camel Trail in high summer when it gets inundated with cyclists.  The Saint’s Way is a 30 mile walking trail linking Padstow with Fowey on the south coast.  Interesting enough but too much road along the way. 
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Stage 08 - Porthcothan to Newquay Harbour - 12 miles
This must be one of the easiest sections of the Coast Path.  In a total ascent of around 1500 feet, nowhere do you climb above 300 and no climb is more than steepish.  Even the steps are relatively moderate, the longest ascent flight only 92 steps.  Although views are never long, only back to Trevose Head and forward to Kelsey Head, this manages to be a very scenic stage in good weather with the wonderful sweep of Watergate Bay so often ahead of you.  And, for those who like their coffee – or beer – stops, there are more than enough opportunities for a break.  The stage starts with an easy ascent from Porthcothan and an easy descent to Porth Mear.  Once you have climbed from Porth Mear towards Park Head, the walking is gentle and grassy to Bedruthan Steps and views forward have opened out.  No waymarks along this part;  just stick to the top of the cliffs.  The moderate descent to Mawgan Porth offers great views over the bay and the path crosses the back of the beach.  The nearest thing to a serious climb is from the footbridge below Griffin’s Point.  After Watergate Bay walking is easy, though at Porth the sand is difficult and you may prefer the road.   After Porth, tides permitting, you can choose beach or greensward and road.  Away from the beach, Newquay is uninteresting so the firm sand may well be preferred. 
Route from Porth to Newquay harbour
Bedruthan Steps at High Tide
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 08 - The route from Porth to Newquay Harbour
My recommendation is to take the beach route, tides permitting.  At the very lowest spring tides you can set out on the beach from Porth and walk all the way to Towan Beach just before the harbour.  On other low tides you can use the steps at Lusty Glaze to continue on sand.  If you are walking through the town, stay on the greensward along the cliff through Barrowfields as long as you can.  Once past the station you can taken a traffic-free lane, once a tramway down to the harbour, that will taken you down to Towan Beach but you will have to head up again before dropping down to the Harbour.  The only way down to the Harbour is South Quay Hill (steps lead off it).  If you just stick to the road, follow East Street into pedestrianised Bank Street, then bear right into Fore Street to find South Quay Hill just after a small car park. 
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Stage 08 - Porthcothan to Newquay Harbour - Oliver's Diary
This stage, walked in November 2009, is one with which I am very familiar.  I have walked it as a single stage and many times as out-and-backs and also with parts of it incorporated in round walks.  This time I took the bus to Porthcothan, walked to Newquay and got the bus home from there to Wadebridge.  I commend the bus company, Western Greyhound who, with a little help from First Bus, link the start and finish of most stages.  The walk suits me well as its overall moderate grading includes a lot of easy and many opportunities for refreshments.  Best two stops are the café in the National Trust car park at Bedruthan Steps, although that comes a little early, and the excellent value Merrymoor Inn at Mawgan Porth..  Watergate Bay can be rather expensive.  If walking this stage in spring, do look out for the colourful wildflower hedges after Park Head.  And, if the steps are open, do go down to the beach at Bedruthan Steps;  at beach level the rocks, that look small from the cliffs, seem gigantic.  Later, although the coast path is not signed all the way out to Trevelgue Head, it is well worth the detour.  When you get to Porth, if the tide is right, I suggest using the beach almost all the way to Newquay Harbour.  At Great Western beach, look out for the gated tunnel.  At Towan beach, note the house on ‘The Island’, connected by a bridge. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Newquay harbour with the beaches beyond
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Stage 08 - Porthcothan to Newquay Harbour - GPS Data
Distance:  11.88 miles.   Cumulative:  77.68 miles.  Intermediate:  Bedruthan NT 3.57 miles, Mawgan Porth 5.11 miles, Watergate Bay 7.44 miles, Porth 9.58 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated  1500 feet.    Cumulative:  Estimated 17250 feet. Highest Point:  Carnewas, above Carnewas Island 283 feet. Biggest climb:  218 feet up from Mawgan Porth.  2 other climbs of over 150 feet. Steps:  Up 225, longest flight 96 steps up from Mawgan Porth.  Down 259, longest 56 down to Mawgan Porth.  Stiles:  3 only.  Maps:  OS Explorer 106 Newquay and Padstow. Difficulty:  Overall moderate but with a lot of easy and a little steepish.
Stage 08 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Ample public parking at Porthcothan and in Newquay, both fairly expensive.   Intermediate Parking:  NT Pentire Farm, NT Carnewas (Bedruthan), Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay (expensive), Porth.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 556 links Newquay and Porthcothan.   Refreshments:  Tredrea Inn and snacks in shop at Porthcothan;  NT Carnewas café at Bedruthan Steps;  Merrymoor Inn, cafés and bistro at Mawgan Porth;  Watergate Bay Hotel, Fifteen and cafés at Watergate Bay;  pub and café/bar at Porth.  Multiple posibilities in Newquay.   Toilets:  Porthcothan, Carnewas, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay, Porth, Newquay.   Accommodation:  Porthcothan, Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay, Porth, Newquay.
Interest along the Coast Path
Cornish Hedges:  In spring, don’t miss the colourful wildflower hedges between Park Head and Bedruthan Steps. Bedruthan Steps:  This landscape became famous when Victorian holiday-makers came to admire the 300 foot cliffs and gave names to the rock islands that project above the long sandy beach at Carnewas, names like Samaritan Island and Queen Bess Rock, although the latter has since lost her head. Steps down to the beach are open in summer;  otherwise it's.a scramble down ancient and rather difficult paths at the Pentire Cove end.  Large NT car park, NT shop, good café.  Mawgan Porth:  Popular resort with several holiday parks, lovely sands and acceptable surfing.  The village is a bit tatty looking but there are shops, cafés and an excellent pub, the Merrymoor Inn, where fresh coffee is still (2010) only £1 and hot baguettes vast. Griffin’s Point:  Remains of an iron age promontory fort or cliff castle, more striking from a distance than close-up.  The coastline must have receded here because if is difficult to see how fortifications can have enclosed much of a settlement. Watergate Bay:  Top surfing resort with 3 miles of golden sands, stretching to Newquay harbour.  Good family friendly hotel.  Jamie Oliver Fifteen restaurant, café/bar, seasonal snacks.  Extreme Academy has water and land sports tuition and hire.  Bronze Age Barrows:  You pass several bronze age burial mounds on this stage.  A pair stand prominently above Fruitful Cove before Porth.  On Barrowfields, at the start of Newquay, there were once dozens but farmers robbed them for stone for hedges. Trevelgue Head:  Prominent low headland, north side of Porth beach, split in two and joined by footbridge.  Signs of neolithic occupation but prominent features are a large bronze age barrow and the ramparts of an iron age cliff castle.   Newquay:  Superb beaches, tatty town, popular with youthful clubbers, sometimes troublesome at night.  Full of cafés, restaurants, bars.  One hundred and fifty years ago just a mining and fishing village, the railway then brought wealthy visitors and grand hotels like the still excellent Headland and the Atlantic.  Lapsing to down-market in the 20th century, Newquay's discovery as a surfers paradise has seen some improvement.   Fistral is the major surfing beach, with the occasional 30 foot Cribbar wave.  The small harbour still has its inshore fishing fleet.  The eight-man pilot gig is now raced; once the gigs competed to get their pilot to incoming ships first.  A Huer's Hut was once the look-out for pilchard shoals. 
Interest off the Coast Path
St. Mawgan:  If you have the time, it is well worth making the detour, just a couple of miles each way, from Mawgan Porth to the village of St. Mawgan or, to give it its full name, Mawgan-in-Pydar.  An attractive village with charming cottages, an impressive church and a big house, Lanherne, once a seat of the wealthy Arundells, now a convent.  The small Japanese Garden is worth visiting.  The Falcon Inn has good food and ample garden tables but can get very busy in summer.  A tearooms nearby, open all year, also has good food.  The walk is up a quiet wooded valley and is waymarked.
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Stage 09 - Newquay Harbour to Holywell Bay - A Choice of Routes
Looking at the OS map, you really would expect this stage to be perfectly straightforward.  It isn’t.  Many Coast Path guides suggest that Newquay Harbour to Holywell Bay is about 6 miles.  If you are able to follow the route shown on OS104 the distance is actually 8 miles.  If you are able to take Crantock Ferry in summer it is only about 7 miles.  Walkers who would prefer these routes (season and tides permitting) may well choose to continue to Perranporth (+ 4½ miles), or even St. Agnes (+ 12 miles) since the walking is easy.  For this guide, I have chosen to assume a winter walk and a high tide, making the distance 10½ miles, to which I have added, since I feel that the coast path really should follow the coast, routes round both Towan Head and Pentire Point East.  This adds another 1½ miles, making the full route described a little under 12 miles.  However, at some tide states you may not be able to get along the south side of the Gannel.  In that case, from the upper footbridge (OS FB), you will need to take the bridleway to Trevemper and the path from there, through Little Trevithick, to pick up the route at Penpol.  This makes the total distance about 13¼ miles.  In extremis, if the upper footbridge is impassable, follow the road to the A3075 and go right and right from Trevemper, about 14 miles in all. 
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The Huer's Hut an Newquay
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 Stage 09 - Newquay Harbour to Holywell Bay - the High Tide Route - 11¾ miles
From Newquay Harbour you can usually cross the beach to steps.  Failing that, go up South Quay Hill and take two rights for a lane and a Coast Path sign to pass the Huer’s Hut to the Towan Head Old Lifeboat Station .  Here the official path goes left but my route circles Towan Head before continuing to Fistral Beach, crossing dunes or beach to Pentire.  Now the official path goes left on roads to the ferry and lower Gannel bridge but my route circles Pentire Point East and follows quiet streets past the Fern Pit Café and Crantock Ferry.  Soon it takes a permissive path by the Hotel California to follow the Gannel past the lower bridge and Gannel Boatyard to the higher bridge.  Here it is signed as a bridleway which follows the south shore to Penpol Creek, where the lower footbridge crosses.  This route can be very difficult and you may prefer a bridleway to Trevemper and a path to Penpol.  From here on the route appears straightforward but two small problems loom.  Behind Crantock Beach the dunes are not waymarked;  head roughly for West Pentire village to find a gap into a field.  The waymarks across the Holywell Bay dunes tend to get buried by the shifting sands.  As of November 2012 they are clearly visible and the route is in the box below.  Should you get completely lost, from 76739/59579, follow steps on the right down to the beach, follow the beach to its southern end and cross a stream to get to road and car park. 
The lower Gannel bridge, impassable at high tide
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Holywell Dunes - November 2012:  Waymark posts, yellow topped, have been replaced and are currently easy to spot.  They lead you (correctly) round the left side of the top of the highest small dune, after which there are less, but still visible, posts.  You head eventually down to a small wooden footbridge over a stream, at which point the left track goes to village, shops and toilets, or bear right of that to the back of St. Piran's Inn. 
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Stage 09 - Newquay Harbour to Holywell Bay - Oliver's Diary
I walked this stage in November 2009 on a blustery day with stinging showers.  I had decided that, since two of the crossings of the Gannel are either seasonal (Crantock ferry) or tide dependent (Penpol footbridge), I would walk the full route that one might have to take on a winter high tide.  I also decided that Towan Head and Pentire Point East are too good for an enthusiast to miss and added another 1½ miles.  So I transformed what is officially an 8 mile walk into one of 12 miles.  In theory this was going to be a simple walk as I already knew much of the ground.  It turned out rather differently.  I had seen horses ridden along the south shore of the Gannel and had walked it from Crantock beach to the lower footbridge.  My route took me from the upper bridge to Penpol Creek.  Unfortunately stormy weather and low pressure meant that a 6 metre tide was nearer 8 metres and progress might have been easy for horses but not for walkers.  In several places I had to wade through inches of water, in others I had to scramble along slippery rocks.  When I reached Penpol Creek I had to wait an hour for the water to subside before rounding the corner.  It may have been tough going but I enjoyed the challenge.  Mind you, I might as well have filled my boots because, when I got to Holywell Bay, I crossed the beach in twilight and waded through a foot deep stream at the southern end.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Holywell Bay and Gull Rocks from the north
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Stage 09 - Newquay Harbour to Holywell Bay - GPS Data
Distance:  11.70 miles.   Cumulative:  89.38 miles.   Intermediate:  Pentire Point East 3.13 miles, Upper Gannel FB 5.40 miles, Crantock Bay Hotel 8.45 miles. Ascent:  Estimated 1100 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 18350 feet.   Highest Point:  Pentire Point East 168 feet. Biggest climb:  120 feet up to Kelsey Head.  No others of more than 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 141, longest flights 55 and 59 leaving Newquay Harbour.  Down 100 but none are steep or difficult.   Stiles:  None. Maps:  OS Explorer 104 Redruth and St. Agnes.  Difficulty:  Overall easy but with a possible wet rocky scramble along the Gannel River
Stage 09 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Plentiful parking in Newquay but very expensive.  Winter park free at Towan Head and possibly Harbour.   Intermediate Parking: Towan Head, Pentire Point East, behind Crantock Beach, 2 car parks at West Pentire. Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 587 links Newquay with Holywell Bay and Perranporth. Refreshments:  Newquay Harbour, Fistral, Lewinnick Lodge East Pentire, Bowgie Inn West Pentire, 2 pubs Holywell Bay.   Toilets:  Newquay Harbour, Towan Head, Crantock Beach, West Pentire, Holywell Bay. Accommodation:  Newquay, Crantock, West Pentire, Holywell.
Stage 09 - Interest along the Coast Path
Newquay Harbour:  Look out for the doors where J T Treffry’s tunnel carrying the tramway from his mines and quarries emerged to link with the now stranded central quay.  The Newquay Lifeboat operates from here and gig races start from here, too.   Huer’s Hut:   Soon after the start, a white stone building from which the Huer spotted pilchard shoals and directed the boats.   Fistral Bay:  A major surfing venue with the occasional famous 30 foot ‘Cribbar’ wave.  Best place to eat is the excellent Headland Hotel above the beach.   Crantock Ferry:  Operates from Fern Pit Café, cuts 1 mile off official route, operates May-Sep, possible 10 day extension.   West Pentire:  Bowgie (cowshed) Inn pricey but OK.  Use cheaper upper car park, beware clampers in lower pricey one.   Polly Joke:  Real name Porth Joke.  Lovely quiet, protected beach, usually empty because access means a walk.   Kelsey Head:  A cliff castle is clearly identifiable and a burial cairn is nearby.  Lovely views from here, over Porth Joke and along the coast to Towan Head and Trevose Head.   Holywell Bay:  Superb beach, impressive Gull Rocks offshore.  Cave in the cliff with spring and amazing calcified rock steps, ask  in the NT car park for location.
Stage 09 - Interest off the Coast Path
Holywell:  A Holy Well on the golf course may be off the coast path but is well restored and worth the detour.
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Stage 10 - Holywell Bay to St. Agnes, Trevaunance Cove - 12 miles
There is little difficult about this stage but tides may complicate matters.  There are fine views, both along the coast, sometimes as far as St. Ives, and over superb beaches at Holywell Bay and at Perran Beach.  All the way to Trevaunance Cove below St. Agnes village no part is more than moderate.  Indeed, to Perranporth it is all distinctly easy.  Leaving Holywell Bay, do look back over the superb sweep of the bay.  And, once up to Penhale Point, the view ahead to St. Ives is grand.  For much of the way from Holywell Bay to Perranporth freedom of movement is restricted by fences along the military land of Penhale Camp.  After a steepish final descent to Perran Beach the official path goes along the beach to a path up towards Perran Sands holiday park.  It then continues over the dunes of Perran Sands and Reen Sands to the beach at Perranporth.  At low tide, you should be able to use the beach all the way to Perranporth.  At very high tides, you may need to take an alternative, wholly inland route. See below for this.  After Perranporth there are two moderate ascents, one out of Perranporth, one out of Trevellas Cove.  Much of the way you are among, and walking on, mining spoil and at Hanover Cove there are vast quarrying remains.  If staying in St. Agnes, it is a fair walk to the village from the coast path, with a steep climb up charming Stippy Stappy.
Millennium Sundial above Perranporth beach
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 10 - Holywell Bay to St. Agnes, Trevaunance Cove - The Perran Beach High Tide Alternative
At normal high tides, Perran Beach may not be completely passable.  At very high spring tides, it could be necessary to avoid the beach entirely.  In which case, you will need to follow a route which undulates between about 100 and 230 feet, adding around 300 feet to the total ascent but the distance is virtually identical.  Just before Perran Beach at a WM post at 76462/57505 at 2.11 miles, the coast path goes R;  ignore this and follow a green permissive path WM L to 76501/57362 at 2.20 miles at a MOD sign at a concrete track up into Penhale Camp training area.  Cross the track and follow green permissive WMs on a clear path into Penhale Sands dunes, keeping R of the red and white poles.  The path meanders and undulates, mostly through marram grass, to a fork (WM).  Here fork R  to a kissing gate at 76372/56440 at 2.82 miles.  Continue down to 76380/56395 at 2.85 miles to cross a clear path up from Perran Beach.  At 76388/56388 at 2.88 miles at 195 feet, at the main path up from Perran Beach, continue forward uphill on a sandy path.  The route is now waymarked with yellow Coast Path WMs but is not always clear.  That doesn’t matter since, as long as you stay roughly parallel to the beach, you will get there.  In due course, you come to the concrete track down from Perran Sands holiday park and pass two paths down to the beach.  When you reach the beach at Perranporth, by a Perran Sands storyboard, cross it to a wooden footbridge over a river, then cross another footbridge to the main beach car park.  If the tide is exceptionally high, you might have to follow the dunes at the back of the beach to continue through the town.
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Stage 10 - Holywell Bay to St. Agnes, Trevaunance Cove - Oliver's Diary
Walked solo in November 2009, I have always found this stage uninteresting.  The fenced off land along Penhale Camp makes me feel a bit restricted but my spirits lift when I come to Perran Beach, more than two miles of extremely photogenic firm golden sand, walkable at most tides.   This time I used the permissive path over the dunes here (see above) and, as I am interested in early Cornish Christian history, I made the detour to  St. Piran’s Oratory, Church and Cross.  Perranporth is a dire place but with some good value food;  I particularly like the superb butcher’s pasties (right opposite the Tywarnhale Inn).   I find much of the route, on mining spoil, from Perranporth to St. Agnes depressing;  that view changes in later stages amongst engine houses and chimneys.  However, in late summer and early autumn this part is blessed with a carpet of purple heather which relieves the tedium on the eye.  Notable around here is the pair of coves at Hanover Cove where the cliff face has been deeply quarried and where the Hanover was wrecked in 1938 with £50m of gold on board.  At Trevellas Porth the path heads inland a little way, through Blue Hills mine site.  You may be tempted however, as I was, to cross the little bridge below the car park and scale the opposite hill to cut a corner.  It is very steep, stony and slippery;  definitely not for bad weather. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Info and InterestThe St. Piran Detour
Trevaunance Cove at St. Agnes
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Stage 10 - The St. Piran Detour - adds about 2½ miles
Just before Perran Beach at WM post at 76462/57505 at 2.11 miles, coast path goes R, ignore it and follow a green permissive path WM L to 76501/57362 at 2.20 miles at a MOD sign at a concrete track into Penhale Camp training area, Perran Beach below to R.  Cross track and follow green permissive WMs on a clear path into Penhale Sands dunes, keeping R of red and white poles.  The path meanders and undulates, leaving marram grass into an open area.  After marram grass begins again, at a fork (WM) go R to a kissing gate at 76372/56440 at 2.82 miles.  Continue down to 76380/56395 at 2.85 miles, and cross a clear path up from Perran Beach.  At 76376/56349 at 2.88 miles, go L on main path up from Perran Beach.  Follow this uphill until modern ‘stone cross’ visible.  Continue to stone cross and climb up to it.  From here you can see storyboard by St. Piran’s Oratory.  Head NNE to storyboard at 76874/56402 at 3.27 miles.  Go L up to the Oratory at 76861/56406 at 3.28 miles.  Now take a path uphill just N of E.  At the top you can see St. Piran’s Cross.  A path heads down SE to a wooden FB over a dry watercourse at 76988/56347 at 3.38 miles.  Go roughly NE uphill until you see Church story board.  Continue to the Church at 77197/56467 at 3.55 miles and St. Piran's Cross at 77222/56454.  You can now either head right down to the beach or turn L at 76380/56395 to find a coast path WM and follow a dune route.
St. Piran's Cross on the dunes of Penhale Sands
Photo taken during 2007 dig, hence the stones by the church site
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Stage 10 - Holywell Bay to St. Agnes, Trevaunance Cove -GPS Data
Distance:  11.88 miles.   Cumulative:  101.26 miles.  Intermediate:  Perran Beach 2.17 miles, Perranporth 4.5 miles, Cligga Head 6.5 miles. Ascent:  Estimated 1250 feet.  Cumulative:  Estimated 19600 feet. Highest Point:  After Pen a Grader, at grid ref: 732/526, 326 feet.   Biggest climb:  257 feet up from Trevellas Porth.  Also 200 feet up from Holywell Bay, 179 feet up from Perranporth.   Steps:  Up none.  Down 120, longest flights 67 steps down to Trevellas Porth, 53 down to Trevaunance Cove.   Stiles:  None.   Maps:  OS Explorer 104 Redruth and St. Agnes. Difficulty:   Moderate with a lot of easy once up on top and a possible 2.3 mile sandy beach walk along Perran Beach at lower tides.
Stage 10 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Large NT CP Holywell Bay.  CP Trevaunance Cove and top of town in St. Agnes.   Intermediate Parking:  Perranporth beach and Droskyn Field (free winter) on coast path S end of Perranporth. Transport:  Bus Western Greyhound 587 links Holywell Bay and Perranporth.   Bus Summercourt 403 (M-F), Western Greyhound 501, First 85A, Hopleys 315, link Perranporth & St Agnes.   Refreshments:  St. Piran’s Inn and Treguth Inn, Holywell Bay.  Wide choice Perranporth.  Pub and seasonal cafés, Trevaunance Cove.   Toilets:  Holywell Bay, Perranporth and Trevaunance Cove.   Accommodation:  Holywell Bay, Perranporth, Trevaunance Cove, St. Agnes village (1 mile)
Stage 10 - Interest along the Coast Path
Penhale Camp:  Military training area, not in much use these days.  There is talk it may be closed and the area opened to the public.   Rock Doors:  On the way you will notice several doors, natural gaps in the lower part of projecting cliffs;  one on Penhale Point, one in Hoblyn’s Cove, another at the southern end of Perran Beach.  Not to be confused with man-made mine adits which occur along the coast. Towans:  The Cornish word for sand dunes. You will already have encountered considerable stretches of towan along the Camel Estuary and at Holywell Bay.  Those behind Perran Beach are extensive.  There are more to come before Hayle.   Perranporth:  A fairly dire down-market holiday resort made bearable by the superb beach and by plenty of good value food.  The Watering Place on the sand looks like a beach café but is more of a beer joint.  Leaving Perranporth, stick to the clifftop to see the Millennium Sundial and a rock with a vast door in it. Trevellas Porth:  Tin workings at Blue Hills Sett, above Trevellas Porth, have been restored.  Once tin was mined in this valley; the mine closed in 1897 but the Wills family have continued tin streaming.  A tour of the works demonstrates processes - panning, vanning and jigging. 
Stage 10 - Interest off the Coast Path
St. Piran: Patron saint of Cornish tin miners, said to have arived from Ireland floating on a millstone.  As well as his Oratory, Church and Cross on Penhale Sands, the name Piran (or Perran) also occurs at Rose, 1½ mile SSE.  This was an iron age farmstead, later used as a Plen-a-Gwary, a 'Playing Place' where religious plays were performed.  And see feature above.   St. Agnes:  Once a busy mining village, went downhill badly when the mines closed, but now it is considerably revitalised, bright and colourful.  Shops seem to flourish - local stores as well as art and craft galleries.  For a small but seriously steep hill, walk up into St. Agnes from Trevaunance Cove.  The route goes up almost vertiginous Stippy Stappy, a charming row of former miners cottages, now sadly second homes.
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Stage 11 - St. Agnes to Portreath - 8½ miles
The statistics – 1600 feet of ascent with 267 steps up (with some high risers) and 278 steps down – suggest a relatively difficult stage.  That isn’t borne out on the ground where it never really seems more than moderate.  Perhaps that is because for much of the way you are up between 200 and 300 feet, undulating gently from one headland to another.  This is the first stage that has substantial mine remains, including many capped mine shafts and a number of engine houses and chimneys.  It also has another stretch of MOD property, the former Nancecuke weapons base, now know as Portreath Airfield.  And, if you enjoy a colourful walk, try to do this in late summer or early autumn when the mass of heather is in bloom.  The stage starts with a little road and lane but, after an initial steepish climb, is soon up on the heights where it remains before descending to the famous Towanroath engine house and Chapel Porth.  A long climb follows up to Mulgram Hill (don’t try the path up the cliff) and again it is easy going along the top before the descent to Porthtowan.  The last section, on to Portreath, includes a couple of steep parts.  Shortly before Portreath a landslip has closed the path and you have to follow the road down to the village.  There, just follow round the harbour as far as you can then go behind the Waterfront Inn to cross some sand to the beach car park.
Towanroath Engine House, near Chapel Porth
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Stage 11 - St. Agnes to Porthreath - Oliver's Diary
I walked this stage with Bob on a sunny late November day.  Sunny maybe but a wind in our faces, gusting to 50 mph, made 8½ miles seem more like 12.  A high sea was running, impressive waves crashing into the rocks below us, so we got some good surf photos.  We enjoyed the intermittent long views, back to Penhale Point and Gull Rocks, forward to St. Ives.  My particular enjoyment was the mining remains, now beginning to take a prominent place in the landscape with engine houses and chimneys here and there.  On the way to Chapel Porth are some of my favourite remains, of Wheal Coates mine and of romantically situated Towanroath engine house.  Chapel Porth makes a great seasonal watering-hole with its excellent café.  Beyond Chapel Porth there are a couple of mine shafts with unusual square cappings.  Near the second are remains of the wartime defences of Nancecuke about which rumours remain rife:  was it really a chemical weapons dump?  At Porthtowan look out for Blue;  at Portreath, the greasy spoon between car park and beach is good value.  If you have a spare half-day in St. Agnes, you may enjoy one of my earliest round walks.  From Chapel Porth follow Chapel Combe inland till a path bears off left to climb St. Agnes Beacon (great views).  Then drop down to Trevaunance Cove and follow the coast back to Chapel Porth. Click here for full detail. 
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Portreath Harbour at high tide
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Stage 11 - St. Agnes to Portreath - GPS Data
Distance:   8.57 miles.   Cumulative:  109.83 miles.  Intermediate:   Chapel Porth 3.25 miles, Porthtowan 4.49 miles, Sally’s Bottom Footbridge 6.12 miles.   Ascent:   Estimated 1600 feet. Cumulative:  Estimated 21200 feet.   Highest Point:  After Carn Gowla, 325 feet at grid ref: 698/511. Biggest climb:  282 feet up from Porthtowan.  271 feet up from Chapel Porth.  223 feet up from Trevaunance Cove.   Steps:  Up 267, longest flight 110 up from Trevaunance Cove.  Down 278, longest 70 down before Portreath.   Stiles:  None.  Maps:  OS Explorer 104 Redruth and St. Agnes. Difficulty:   Moderate with a lot of easy once up on top and just one steep descent and ascent.
Stage 11 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Small CP at Trevaunance Cove also large CP in St. Agnes.  Large CP above beach at Portreath. Intermediate Parking:  NT Chapel Porth, large CP Porthtowan, parking  by cliffs before Portreath.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 501 links St. Agnes and Portreath, April to October only. Refreshments:  Driftwood Spars and seasonal café Trevaunance Cove;  seasonal café Chapel Porth;  Blue and several pubs and seasonal cafés Porthtowan;  greasy spoon above beach, pubs and cafés Portreath. Toilets:  Trevaunance Cove, Chapel Porth (seasonal), Porthtowan, Portreath.  Accommodation:  St. Agnes, Trevaunance Cove, Porthtowan, Portreath.
Stage 11 - Interest along the Coast Path
Bat Cones:  Along the coast here you will see several inverted conical metal frames.  These cap mineshafts and allow bats in and out.   Wheal Coates:  Major mine remains shortly before Chapel Porth.  The impressive remains date mostly from the 1870s and include winding engine house, stamps engine house, arsenic calciner and, below on the Coast Path, Towanroath pumping engine house, probably the most photographed in Cornwall.   Chapel Porth:  A popular, if sometimes difficult, surfing cove.  Its great attraction is as a seasonal watering-hole, the café does superb hot baguettes, fresh coffee and hedgehog ice cream – not real hedgehog but dressed a little like one.   Porthtowan:  A busy surf resort, its beach backed by small dunes.  Porthtowan has several pubs and seasonal cafés.  Best refreshments here are at Blue (passed on the path) which is the parent of Falmouth’s defunct Blue South.   Portreath:  Now a very ordinary down-market little resort, blessed by a safe sandy family beach, in the 18th and 19th centuries it was an important port, a major player in the tin and copper trade, serving mines around Redruth and Camborne.  An important tramway ran from Redruth and is now part of the Coast-to-Coast Mineral Tramways Trail.  A steep inclined plane on the western side brought the Portreath Branchline of the Hayle Railway down to the port.  The port declined in the 20th century and the harbour is now used by a small fishing fleet and pleasure boats.  In World War II the military took over, clearing away warehouses, and the area served as a top secret airfield and weapons storage facility high on the east side at Nancekuke.  The warehousing area now has late 20th century housing on it, most of it frankly quite unattractive, while chalets line the cliffs. 
Stage 11 - Interest off the Coast Path
Mining Trails:  Formerly known as the Mineral Tramways, many have been turned into multi-use trails, creating almost 40 miles of easy walking, cycling and horse riding.   Linear Trails are the Coast-to-Coast, the Portreath Branchline, the Redruth and Chacewater, the Tehidy Trail and the Tresavean Trail.  The Great Flat Lode is a circular trail around Carn Brea.  A Tolgus Trail was planned but the money ran out too soon for it to be constructed.   Coast-to-Coast Trail:  Runs 12 miles from Portreath to Devoran on the south coast, through some mining countryside.  Of all the mining trails, this is the busiest so, if walking it, avoid high summer.   Portreath Branchline Trail:  This runs from Portreath to Brea Village, where it links with the Great Flat Lode Trail.  Sadly the Portreath Incline Plane was not able to be restored so the trail starts with a path up the wooded Feadon valley.   The Tehidy Trail, not really a  mining trail, leaves the Portreath Branchline and runs through Tehidy Park.
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Stage 12 - Portreath to Hayle - 11¾ miles
At the beginning, for the first mile-and-a-half, you feel that this is going to be a fairly tough stage.  However, once on the downs after the Carvannel Valley, you soon discover that the rest of the route is very easy going.  The only problem comes once you leave the main National Trust Godrevy car park for the chalet shanty town at Hayle (see below).  From Portreath you start uphill on a tarmac lane but, after dropping down to some holiday homes at the western end of the beach, you are soon on open ground.  After a kissing gate, waymarks offer a choice of routes up Western Hill, the right fork has 59 steep steps.  It is then easy going to the Carvannel Valley where there are two steep descents and ascents, each with steps.  You then stay up on the top at around 200 feet, along Reskajeague Downs and North Cliffs, all the way to Hell’s Mouth where there is a handy seasonal café.  The climbs up to Navax Point and Godrevy Point are both very easy and it is then a very gentle descent above surfing beaches to the main National Trust Godrevy car park.  From here waymarks lead across the dunes to the harbourside at Hayle.  Many may prefer to take to the moist sand here and follow the superb four mile arc of beach to Hayle.  Views along the way are not extensive – back to Penhale Point, forward to St. Ives and later the hills of West Penwith – but are always pleasant.  The final section from Godrevy to Hayle - Dunes or Beach?
Surfers on Gwithian Beach, Godrevy Light behind
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Stage 12 - Portreath to Hayle - Godrevy to Hayle - Dunes or Beach?
From the main NT Godrevy car park follow the waymark down to the Red River.  Once across the footbridge, slate waymarks (difficult to read) take you left and right and past former sand pits to start the trek across the dunes – Gwithian, Upton or Dynamite, Phillack, Mexico and Riviere Towans – to Hayle.  Once on Gwithian Towans regular Coast Path waymarking is good and, initially, from each waymark you can see the next.  Further on you need to continue a little way to spot the next waymark.  Unfortunately, at about halfway, waymark posts peter out sometimes.  You should be OK if you keep to a rough south-west heading and keep away from the cliffs and the high dunes further inland.  At the Hayle end, on Riviere Towans, is an entertaining shanty town of privately owned holiday chalets.  If you prefer to take the beach route you will have no trouble at low tides.  If the tide comes in you can head up onto the dunes at several points – look out for the lifeguard huts – and at high tide you will certainly not get round Black Cliff at the Hayle end of the beach. 
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Stage 12 - Portreath to Hayle - Oliver's Diary
I walked this one with Bob and Pam at the very end of November 2009.  A powerful following wind had the odd effect of making breathing difficult at times and occasionally had us running to stay upright.  Wind had been forecast but not the stinging cold showers.  We separated soon after Hell’s Mouth and I continued round Navax Point and Godrevy Point.  At the main NT Godrevy car park the café was closed on account of the weather but I was grateful for the shelter of the upper terrace which allowed me to eat my sandwiches in the dry.  We all opted for the official Coast Path route across the dunes and all kept to the route, despite missing waymarks.  You could get lost here and I well remember an early expedition to find the old National Explosive works on Upton Towans, when compassless I got almost totally lost amongst high wild sandhills.  I had walked the beach route with Jane previously and found that most pleasurable in good weather.  On this occasion I was glad of the shelter from the weather that the dunes offered.  Below the chalet shanty town as you approach Hayle I spotted work on the beach, preparing for the Wave Hub.  Drilling work was under way in the old coal yard by the former power station.  I met up again with Bob and Pam at the convenient free car park at the west end of Copperhouse Pool.  A good walk, albeit wet and windy. 
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South Quay, Hayle Harbour
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Stage 12 - Portreath to Hayle - GPSData
Distance:  11.80 miles.   Cumulative:  121.63 miles.  Intermediate:  NT North Cliffs CP 3.24 miles, Hell’s Mouth 4.4 miles, Godrevy Café 7.09 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 1300 feet. Cumulative:  Estimated 22500 feet.   Highest Point:  At second North Cliffs car park at grid ref: 623/430, 278 feet.  Biggest climb:  228 feet up from Portreath.  Only two other ascents of more than 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 124, longest flight 59 steps up to Western Hill.  Down 120, longest 46 down after Carvannel Valley.  Stiles:  4 and several kissing gates. Maps:  OS Explorer 104 Redruth and St. Agnes, 102 Land's End. Difficulty:  Moderate with a lot of easy once up on top and just two steep descents and three steep ascents.
Stage 12 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Portreath CP above beach and free on road.  Hayle several public CPs, small free CP W end of Copperhouse Pool.   Intermediate Parking:  Tehidy CP at SE end of Carvannel Valley.  Several on North Cliff.  NT CPs at Godrevy.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 501 links Portreath and Hayle, April to October only.   Refreshments:  Portreath greasy spoon above beach, pubs and cafés.  Cafés at Hell’s Mouth and Godrevy.  Pubs and cafés in Hayle.   Toilets:  Porthreath, Godrevy, Hayle. Accommodation:  Portreath, Gwithian, Hayle.
Stage 12 - Interest along the Coast Path
Hell’s Mouth:  A cove best seen in violent weather.  Said to be a paranormal place where a man once leaped to his death after finding his home burned to the ground.  At certain times his ghostly body can be seen falling and his screams heard.   Godrevy Light:  Probably Cornwall’s most photographed lighthouse stands on a rock off Godrevy Point.  Said to be the inspiration of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse; she could see it from her holiday home in St. Ives.   The Towans:  This must be Cornwall’s most extensive dune system, stretching along the coast for 3 miles or more from Godrevy to Hayle and about a mile inland.  In order they are named Gwithian, Upton (or Dynamite), Phillack, Mexico and Riviere Towans.  Much of the area, some 250 acres, is a nature reserve, managed by Cornwall Wildlife Trust.  It includes the old sand pits south of the Red River at Gwithian.   Hayle:  Despite proximity to colourful, lively St. Ives, Hayle is a run-down former industrial town.  It takes its name from the estuary (heyl) on which it stands.  From prehistoric days of tin and copper trading it was a trans-shipment point, providing safe passage for men and materials across the peninsula to the port of Ictis at St. Michael’s Mount, avoiding the perils of Land's End. In early Christian times missionaries travelled through on their way from Ireland and Wales to Brittany.  There was no town until the 18th century when copper smelting and heavy engineering created a boom town.  The Cornish Copper Company is long gone but there are still remnants of Harveys great foundry that built the massive beam engines for the mines, built Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotives and later built ships.  Harvey's remained in business well into the 20th century and Hayle continued as a port until the 1970s when the power station closed.  The National Explosive Works operated on Upton Towans in the 19th century;  remains may still be found.  The former Harvey’s foundry buildings (see stage 13) are now the centrepiece of a vast regeneration project.  In addition to the foundry, financial multi-national ING plans to regenerate the harbour area.  King George V Memorial Walk, on the north side of Copperhouse Pool, has been colourfully restored.  Even the old power station has its modern uses;  the experimental Wave Hub brings electricity ashore there to link to the National Grid. 
Stage 12 - Interest off the Coast Path
Tehidy Country Park:  The Bassets, later Lords de Dunstanville, owned the manor of Tehidy from Norman times.  At the height of Cornwall’s mining boom in the 17th to 19th centuries they owned vast lands and were leading mine owners and bankers.  Their handsome Georgian home was built in 1734 to a Robert Adam-like design.  The last of the Tehidy Bassets, an unpopular man, lost the family fortune betting on horse racing and the estate was sold in 1916.  The house became a hospital but burned down shortly after opening and was rebuilt.  Cornwall County Council acquired the grounds in 1983 and redeveloped the estate with a golf club, timeshare homes and multi-use trails.   National Explosive Works:  The works, which gave Upton Towans their alternative name of 'Dynamite Towans', opened in 1888 to make dynamite for the Cornish mines. It continued in operation until around 1920, latterly producing explosives for the First World War.   Explosives were still stored on the site until the 1960s.  Extensive remains include shells of buildings and vast sand enclosures in which dangerous work was carried out.   Gwithian:  Attractive small village with some impressive buildings, including handsome Churchtown House, the attractive Gwithian Farm,  Churchtown Farm and the rather ugly Red River Inn.  The charming church has a Cornish cross in the graveyard.  A thatched Methodist Chapel has been restored.
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Stage 13 - Hayle to St. Ives, Smeaton's Pier - 6½ miles
A short and mostly uninteresting stage with 5 miles on tarmac.  Many may prefer to add it to Stage 12, covering an easy 18½ miles from Portreath to St. Ives.  This has the advantage that accommodation in Hayle is sparse while that in St. Ives is extensive, varied and good.  Views are few as paths, although close to the sea, are often obscured from it.  Nonetheless, the few short views are lovely, back across the bay to Godrevy Light and forward to St. Ives, and there are superb beaches to admire.  Leaving Hayle the way is unsigned.  Follow South Quay, turn right before the railway viaduct to the St. Ives road, use the pedestrian crossing and follow a cycleway to its end at a lane.  Here go left and right into the RSPB Nature Reserve and clockwise to the main road.  (Or a path opposite leads to the road)  When you come to the Old Quay House Inn, cross to it to follow the St. Ives road then go right through Saltings Reach to the Park-and-Ride.  Here Coast Path waymarks lead you left and right to a quiet lane to St. Uny church, Lelant.  Now, at last, you get off tarmac to cross a golf course and Lelant Towans to Carbis Bay. You might think that, once across the golf course, you could use the beach to Carbis Bay;  if so only at very low tides.  From Carbis Bay the way is obvious but is all tarmac. 
St. Uny's Church, Lelant
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Stage 13 - Hayle to St. Ives, Smeaton's Pier - Oliver's Diary
I walked this alone in December 2009.  I haven’t enjoyed it much previously and I didn’t enjoy it much this time.  Were it not for views first over the Hayle Estuary, later over St. Ives Bay, I could be tempted to take the bus.  I can only think of one section with as much hard tarmac:  from Mousehole to Marazion, redeemed by views of St. Michael’s Mount and by busy Newlyn Harbour.  If you expect to be hungry en route I strongly recommend the supreme value traditional pasties from Hampson’s Butchers, almost underneath the railway viaduct in Hayle.  I was able to use the route through the RSPB Nature Reserve;  this should be OK as a means of omitting some busy road.  Considering the long urban sprawl of St. Ives, it always surprises how rural the coast path route is and how much up and down – and mud – there is each side of Carbis Bay. At Porthminster Point look out for the former Huer’s House from which pilchard shoals were spotted.  And finally, a bit more on food.  In addition to the pasties there are great refreshment opportunities .  Jane and I have enjoyed great salads and fish and chips at the Old Quay House at Griggs Quay, relaxing morning coffee and afternoon tea on the terrace at Carbis Bay Hotel and good lunches at Pedn Olva Hotel and Porthminster Beach Café.  Perhaps view this stage as a gourmet stroll.
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St. Ives harbour, from Smeaton's Pier
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Stage 13 - Hayle to St. Ives, Smeaton's Pier - GPS Data
Distance:   6.40 miles.   Cumulative:  128.03 miles.   Intermediate:  Old Quay House Inn 1.82 miles, St. Uny church 2.94 miles, Carbis Bay 4.77 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated  750 feet.   Cumulative:   Estimated 23250 feet. Highest Point:  At Baulking House (Huer’s Hut) at Porthminster Point 158 feet.   Biggest climb:  130 feet up after Carbis Bay.   Steps:  Up 89, no significant flights.  Down 82, no significant flights.   Stiles:  None. Map:  OS 102 Land’s End.   Difficulty:   Easy but mostly on tarmac except for a few sometimes muddy paths.
Stage 13 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Hayle public CPs, small free CP W of Copperhouse Pool.  St. Ives, most convenient at the station, on Smeaton’s Pier or Barnoon behind the Tate (all expensive).   Intermediate Parking:  Lelant Saltings Park-and-Ride, St. Uny Lelant church, Carbis Bay.  Transport:  First bus 14 links Hayle and St Ives.  Refreshments:  Pubs and cafés in Hayle.  Old Quay House Inn, Griggs Quay.  Tea rooms Lelant Station.  Carbis Bay hotel and café.  A multitude of pubs, cafés and restaurants in St. Ives.  Try Porthmnster Beach Café or Pedn Olva hotel on the path.  Toilets:  Hayle, Carbis Bay, St Ives Porthminster Beach, several in St. Ives. Accommodation: Hayle, Lelant, Carbis Bay. St. Ives.
Stage 13 - Interest along the Coast Path
Foundry, Hayle:  In 1779 Gwinear blacksmith John Harvey started a small works to make hand tools and pumps for mines.  Three generations of Harveys built the country's greatest engineering company, employing geniuses like Richard Trevithick to build beam engines, locomotives and packet ships.  Beam engines were the company's best known product and included the largest ever built, draining a polder at Cruquis in Holland and still in working order 150 years later.  Cornish examples can be seen at Levant Mine and at Taylor's Shaft in Pool.  Most remarkable ship that Harveys built was the Cornubia, an iron-built paddle steamer, originally operating as a Bristol packet boat, then bought by the Confederacy as an American Civil War blockade runner, captured by the Union and used by them to blockade Gulf ports.  Harveys final throw was to build 2nd World War landing craft.  Some of the former Foundry has been converted for housing and craft studios.   Hayle Estuary:  The Cornish word heyl simply means estuary.  The river rises only 12 miles from its tidal limit at St. Erth, while the estuary is relatively vast.  Since around 2000 BC it was vital as a trans-shipment point, for both people and goods, allowing vessels to avoid the incredibly dangerous waters off Land’s End.  The great estuary, far less silted up than now, was the reason why Harveys flourished.  Nowadays, with Harveys and the Cornish Copper Company long gone, the navigable channel is so narrow and shallow that only small fishing boats use the harbour.  The inland part of the estuary is now a nature reserve where widgeon, teal, shelduck, dunlin, curlew and grey plover over-winter.   St. Ives Railway:  A happily preserved (despite Beeching) and very popular branch line which runs from St. Erth to St. Ives.  A small 2 car unit runs a half-hourly service.  The coast path passes through Lelant Saltings station car park.   Beaches:  Cornwall’s finest group of beaches runs, with some brief interruptions, from Godrevy to the far western end of St. Ives.  Hayle Sands extend for 4 miles from Godrevy to the Hayle estuary.  On the other side are Porth Kidney Sands, little used and accessed only from Lelant Church.  Then comes Carbis Bay followed by St. Ives succession of beaches - Porthminster, The Harbour, Porthgwidden and Porthmeor, the main surfing beach.   St. Ives:  Cornwall's best known harbour town is just a dozen miles from Land's End.  On its north side is Porthmeor, the surfers beach, above it a good beach café and the Tate Gallery.  On  its south side, Porthminster is a bathing beach of golden sand with a rather classy beach café.  Between is The Island, topped by St. Nicholas Chapel and with Porthgwidden beach below, and the tidal fishing and boating harbour, also with a popular beach.  Behind the harbour are steep narrow streets crammed with tiny picturesque cottages and many art and craft studios, galleries and shops.  The artistic connection continues with a Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and galleries with changing exhibitions in the former Mariners Church.  Near the latter is the Sloop Craft Market.  Towards the edge of town, the former Bernard Leach Pottery is now a Pottery Museum.  The harbour front is full of cafes and restaurants - and Cornish pasty shops and cream teas.  Touristy but enjoyable for its artistic side - and just wandering.
Stage 13 - Interest off the Coast Path
Paradise Park:  Started in 1973.  Extensive collections of exotic birds set in sub-tropical walled gardens with.  As the home of the World Parrot Trust, the emphasis is not surprisingly on parrots.   St. Michael’s Way:  Short 12 mile coast-to-coast walking trail from St. Ives to St. Michael’s Mount   The trail leaves the Coast Path at Lelant and goes by way of the heights of Trencrom Hill to Marazion, a pleasant and fairly easy walk.  Cross on foot or by ferry to the Mount, depending on tides. 
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Stage 14 - St. Ives to Zennor - 7 miles
First impressions of this stage, as you leave St. Ives, suggest that it will be pretty easy going.  Don’t be fooled.  After a very easy first mile-and-a-half to Clodgy Point, the path becomes quite strenuous.  Indeed, mile for mile, it may well be the most difficult section of the whole Cornish Coast Path.  It is not so much the height of the ascents and descents, the biggest ascent is no more than 250 feet and the highest point on the route is Zennor village at 360 feet.  Rather it is the nature of the path itself.  For long stretches after River Cove you find yourself clambering over large rocks with no clear path direction.  These sections should be treated with care.  But it is all well worth it for the spectacular coastline, the rugged cliffs and the rocks and reefs pounded by heavy seas.  In bad weather, as Atlantic gales howl in, you can feel isolated  and threatened and the only sign of civilisation is a sign for a Farm Trail at Trevalgan.  In good weather the coast is glorious and, once you get to the trig point above Trevega Cliff, views begin to open out to include Gurnard’s Head and Pendeen New Cliff on the coast and Carn Galver and (I think) Chapel Carn Brea inland.  I have ended this stage in Zennor village but, should you wish to continue to Pendeen Watch, a mile from Pendeen village, you will cut about a mile from my stages and have a really tough walk of about 14 miles.
St. NIcholas Chapel on The Island at St. Ives
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Stage 14 - St. Ives to Zennor - Oliver's Diary
I last walked this, or rather part of it, back in September 2004 with my sister Mary.  Then we did a 9 mile round walk from Zennor, taking the Coast Path as far as Hor Point then heading inland to take a path known to some as the Tinners Way, to others as the Coffin Path, through farms and fields back to Zennor.  I noted at the time that this was “tough coast path with several steep ascents and descents and a fair amount of rock scrambling.”  This time, walking from St. Ives to Zennor with Bob and Pam in December 2009, I really felt the difference between being 66 and 72.  We took one car to Zennor and got the bus back to St. Ives.  We should have got the earlier 0903 bus because the 1103 meant a 1145 start from Smeaton’s Pier and the last mile walked in twilight.  I tend to go slowly, not just age but also data recording and photos do cut down my pace considerably.  In April this year there were dreadful floods – and tragic loss of young lives – when bridges got washed away near Treveal.  In December the footbridge above River Cove was still missing, and a detour signed for times of heavy rainfall.  However, we found the replacement stepping stones perfectly passable despite the stream tumbling fast over them.   On the next stage to Pendeen Watch, some footbridges are still missing (2009) but stepping stones should now be in place. 
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The welcoming Tinners Arms at Zennor
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Stage 14 - St. Ives to Zennor - GPS Data
Distance:   6.98 miles.   Cumulative:  135.01 miles.  Intermediate:  Hor Point 2.19 miles, Carn Porth 5 miles.  Ascent:  Estimated 2000 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 25250 feet. Highest Point:  Zennor village 360 feet.   Biggest climb:  202 feet up Man’s Head to Hor Point.  197 feet up to Zennor Head & Zennor.  But it's really up and down all way with little let up. Steps:  Up 145, includes 70 rough rock steps up after Economy Cove.  Down 78, no long flights. Stiles:  5 and several kissing gates. Map:  OS 102 Land’s End.  Difficulty:   Short but strenuous with very rocky sections that need to be negotiated with care.
Stage 14 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Many public car parks in St. Ives - Station and Smeaton’s Pier on Coast Path.  Ample cheap parking in Zennor.   Intermediate Parking:  St. Ives, above Porthmeor beach.   Transport:  Open top bus 300 operates all along this route in summer.   Refreshments:  Many in St. Ives, last Porthmeor Beach Café.  Tinners Arms and Backpackers Hostel (seasonal) in Zennor.   Toilets:  Many in St. Ives, last after Porthmeor beach.   Seasonal in Zennor. Accommodation:  St. Ives, Zennor 
Stage 14 - Interest along the Coast Path
St. Ives:  See Stage 13.   West Penwith:  This is that magical part of Cornwall beyond St. Ives and Penzance.  Cornwall is a peninsula in itself.  West Penwith is the final peninsula, only four miles of land between Hayle and Marazion joining it to the rest of Cornwall.  It looks and feels like a different world thanks to its strange juxtaposition of the relics of three widely separated historical periods.  The prehistoric age has left behind stone circles, ancient graves, standing stones and village remains.  The early Christian era is represented by Cornish crosses, chapel remains and many holy wells.  The early industrial period has left the most obvious relics: the engine houses and mine chimneys of the age of tin and copper, at its height in the 18th and 19th centuries when the north coast of West Penwith was a hive of profitable industrial activity.  Inland the land only rises to around 700 feet yet, for its remoteness, feels higher.  Below, tiny fields with stone walls are grazed by cattle and sheep. Along the coast rugged cliffs rise to some 300 feet.  There are sheltered fishing coves in the south, few in the north.  The coast path is some of the most enjoyable but also some of the most difficult in places.  The path is not always clear and you may find yourself scrambling over great rocks.  Don't let that deter you, the scenery is fantastic.   Zennor:  A tiny charming village, too easily passed by those on their way west towards Lands End.  It consists of just an essentially Norman church, a cattle farm, the Tinners Arms Pub, a backpackers hostel with tea rooms, a group of holiday cottages known as Post Office Row, and the Wayside Folk Museum, excellent and surprisingly comprehensive for such a tiny village.  Legends attach to the church.  One concerns its founder St. Senara, accused of infidelity to her Breton King husband, cast afloat in Brittany in a barrel and washed ashore in Ireland, returning with her son, Budoc, who was born in the barrel at sea, via Cornwall where she founded the church.  Another concerns The 'Mermaid seat' which has a bench end on which is carved a mermaid holding a comb and mirror.  Legend has it that the mermaid entranced Matthew Trewhella and lured him to Pendour Cove where he drowned. It is said that on quiet nights the two can be heard singing beneath the waves.  A memorial stone in the south wall of the church remembers John Davey, apparently the last person to speak Old Cornish, if only as an academic exercise.  The Tinners Arms is open all day and does cream teas in the afternoon.  If you like the idea of a serious challenge, try struggling up Zennor Hill, through rampant furze, to find a logan stone at The Carne and Zennor Quoit further on. 
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Stage 15 -Zennor to Pendeen Watch - 7¼ miles
It is difficult to say which is tougher, Stage 14 or 15.  Both are very rocky and hard going underfoot.  Stage 14 has more ascent and descent but there is a lot of boggy ground on 15.  Anyone combining Stages 14 and 15 will find it a tough 14 miles, particularly in poor weather.  All footbridges on this stage were washed away in the April 2009 floods.  All have now been replaced.  Leaving Zennor village, the path is soon reached and a steep descent with 118 steps leads to the first new footbridge.  Climbing from it there are great views over Pendour and Zennor Coves.  Soon the view ahead reaches to aptly named Gurnard’s Head.  After Carnelloe Cliff the first mine remains appear, an abandoned wheelpit.   Views over Treen Cove to the headland are lovely and more mine remains appear above the cove.  After Gurnard’s Head views forward are across a series of headlands to Pendeen Watch.  Now the going gets difficult. Parts are rocky, others have rough stepping stones over boggy areas and often the way is unclear.   At Porthmeor Cove the massive clapper bridge has been repaired.  Further on is impressive iron age Bosigran Castle, worth lingering on.  Beyond that, on Morvah Cliff grazing cattle may churn the path up very badly.  After that the going becomes easier and the climb from Portheras Cove up to Pendeen Watch is a gentle one. 
Wheelpit on Carnelloe Cliff, view to Gurnard's Head
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Stage 15 - Zennor to Pendeen Watch - Oliver's Diary
Much as I enjoy the challenge of the more difficult stages, I am quite glad that these last two stages are behind me.  What is to come will seem relatively easy, particularly on the feet.  I last did this section in late 2005 with my sister Mary.  This time, walking with Bob and Pam, it was December 2009 and, after a particularly wet November, much of the ground was very sodden and muddy:  at least I now know that my new Brasher boots really are waterproof.  I think the really wet parts must always be that way as stepping stones have been laid along the path in many places.  I knew about the April floods and the damage done to bridges but had no idea how many had been washed away.  However, seeing the way the streams were tumbling over their rocks after two dry weeks, you can see how they could turn into raging torrents.  Clearly the Coast Path had been effectively closed between St. Ives and Pendeen Watch.  In the two stages I saw three new wooden footbridges, a repaired clapper bridge above Porthmeor Cove, and three streams crossed by stepping stones which will presumably be replaced by bridges eventually.  I enjoyed seeing Bosigran Castle again, an impressively sited promontory fort above 337 foot cliffs, the remains of Bosigran Mill below.  Happily for my joints and feet, the last mile was easy going and coffee at the car was very welcome.
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The lighthouse at Pendeen Watch
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Stage 15 - Zennor to Pendeen Watch - GPS Data
Distance:   7.27 miles.    Cumulative:  142.28 miles. Intermediate:  Gurnard’s Head 2.52 miles, Bosigran Castle 5.12 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 1750 feet.  Cumulative:  Estimated 27000 feet. Highest Point:  Trevowhan Cliff 375 feet.   Biggest climb: 180 feet up to Carn Gloose.  Plus 6 more ascents of more than 100 feet.  Steps:  Up 87.  Down 203, includes rock steps, longest flight 111 steps down to Pendour Cove.  Stiles:  16, of which 12 granite.  Plus a few gates and kissing gates.   Map:  OS 102 Land’s End.  Difficulty:  Short but strenuous.  Many rocky sections are hard on the feet and may need to be negotiated with care.
Stage 15 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Ample cheap parking Zennor.  Moderate amount of free parking at Pendeen Watch.    Intermediate Parking:  Some road parking either side of Rosemergy.  Transport:  Open top bus 300 operates all along this route in summer.   Refreshments:  Tinners Arms and Backpackers Hostel (seasonal) Zennor.   Toilets:  Seasonal in Zennor.   None along the way or at Pendeen Watch. Accommodation:  Zennor, Gurnards Head, Morvah, Pendeen.
Stage 15 - Interest along the Coast Path
Gurnard’s Head:  An impressive headland with a striking resemblance to the ugly fish for which it is named.   Bosigran Castle:  A simple, probably iron age, promontory fort atop 337 foot cliffs overlooking Porthmoina Cove. Walls are massive but, apparently, no sign of occupation has been found.  Below are the remains of Bosigran Mill, apparently connected with Galver Mine, whose engine houses can be seen by the road above.  A well-paved track starts heading for Galver Mine. The cliffs here are popular with rock climbers;  their hostel is near the engine houses.   Portheras Cove:  Delightful secluded beach, adjacent to a quiet fishing cove, above which are several ramshackle net huts.   Pendeen Watch:  Gurnard’s Head and the Wra near Portheras Cove had been the sites of many wrecks as Longships and Trevose Lights were both unable to cover them.  Pendeen Watch was completed in 1900, removing this blindspot.  The light has a 16 nautical mile range and there is a foghorn with automatic fog detector.  May be possible to take a tour. 
Stage 15 - Interest off the Coast Path
Zennor Quoit:  One of Cornwall’s finest portal dolmens, high on Zennor Hill, accessible from the village, 1 mile. Carn Galver:  Two mine engine houses stand by the St. Ives to St. Just road, just ¼ mile from Coast Path.  Well worth the climb up Carn Galver itself for tremendous views of moorland and coastline. Gurnard’s Head Inn:  Treen, signed, ½ mile from the Coast Path, classy welcoming hostelry, good accommodation and good but rather gastro-pub food. Lower Porthmeor:  Along a ¼ mile path, a standing stone, two charming old farms, and remains of a small mine and of an early homestead.  Just ¼ mile from Coast Path.   Pendeen Manor:  This farmhouse was once the home of 18th century Cornish antiquarian Dr. William Borlase.  In the 20th century it was used for some shots of Trenwith, Ross Poldark’s home in the TV series.  In the farmyard (ask permission) is an impressive fogou, an iron age underground chamber, purpose unknown.  Usefully, the manor does bed and breakfast.  Pendeen village:  Nearest other accommodation to Pendeen Watch is here, 1 mile away.  There are three pubs, the North Inn and the Radjel Inn have accommodation.
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Stage 16 - Pendeen Watch to Cape Cornwall - 4¼ miles (to St. Just 5¾)
This is so short a stage that most choose to continue to Sennen Cove, still only 10 miles.  This, however, is the writer’s favourite section of the whole Coast Path, not only for scenery but also for industrial archaeology.  Along the path are remains of a dozen mines and a small mine museum, all worth exploring.  Off the path is an important mine museum, a fogou, a holy well and a Poldark location.  There are also Cape Cornwall and Priest’s Cove to explore and, if you stay in St. Just, 1½ miles walk to the village.  This must be one of the easiest stages.  The first ¼ mile is gently uphill on road before the path proper starts with an easy descent to Trewellard Bottoms.  After a footbridge, the route follows well made mine tracks through East Levant, Levant, Botallack and Wheal Edward mines to Kenidjack Head, never climbing to more than 325 feet.  All this is open ground so the route may not be clear.  If just walking, stay towards the cliffs, if exploring the mines wander at will.  The only real descent and ascent is through the Kenidjack Valley;  even that is only moderate.  Views are worth lingering over:  leaving Pendeen Watch look back to the lighthouse;  at Botallack Mine be sure to spot the Crown Engine Houses perched on the cliff below; after Wheal Edward superb views forward to Cape Cornwall begin. 
Why not try this as a round walk, an extension of my Coastal Round Walk 11.
Levant Mine (NT) with its working beam engine
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Stge 16 - Pendeen Watch to Cape Cornwall - Oliver's Diary
I have walked this part of the Coast Path so many times that it surprised me to realise that I had only once walked it in its entirety.  What I really like to do here is walk from Pendeen Watch to Kenidjack Head, perhaps with a detour to Geevor Mine for coffee, then turn inland to Botallack village for lunch at the Queens Arms.  Then I take an inland route back to Pendeen Watch passing Botallack Manor Farm, a Poldark location, then over fields to stop at Geevor for a cup of tea.  From Geevor I head for Lower Boscaswell for the holy well and fogou.  Then it’s on through more mine remains to cross the lane to Pendeen Manor Farm, another Poldark location with an impressive fogou.  I love to wander among the mine buildings, ruined at East Levant, intact at Levant, substantial at Botallack, and to see the beam engine and electric winding gear in operation at Levant Mine.  Just off this round walk, I also enjoy exploring the Kenidjack Valley from top to bottom;  there are some impressive remains here including a couple of large wheelpits, one close to the sea at Porthledden Cove.  There are no clear paths here, except the Coast Path and one on each side of the valley heading for Tregeseal, but you can easily find your way around.  When you get to Cape Cornwall do climb the Cape itself, for views to Land’s End, and go down to charming Priest’s Cove with its fisherman's huts built into the cliff. 
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Cap Cornwall and The Brisons rocks from Edge o'Beyond
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Stage 16 - Pendeen Watch to Cape Cornwall - GPS Data
Distance:  4.09 miles.  5.60 into St. Just.   Cumulative:  146.37 miles.   Intermediate:  Roscommon Trig Point 2 miles, Kenidjack Head 3.13 miles.   Ascent:   Estimated 400 feet.   Cumulative:   Estimated 27400 feet    Highest Point:  Roscommon Trig Point 325 feet.   Biggest climb:  147 feet up from Kenidjack Valley.  Only 1 other over 100 feet, easy 108 feet up through East Levant Mine.   Steps:  Up 59, includes 50 rock steps up from Kenidjack Valley.   Stiles:  1 granite sheep stile.   Map:  OS 102 Land’s End.  Difficulty:  Easy going almost all the way but with steep descent and moderate ascent at Kenidjack Valley.
Stage 16 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Moderate amount of free parking at Pendeen Watch.  NT (seasonal) pay car park at Cape Cornwall. Intermediate Parking:  Levant Mine.  Transport:  First bus 17A and 17B link Pendeen with St. Just.  Open top bus 300 operates all along this route in summer.   Refreshments:  None on the path.  Queen’s Arms at Botallack, Cape Cornwall Golf Club, several pubs in St. Just.   Toilets:  NT car park, Cape Cornwall.   Accommodation:  Pendeen, Botallack, Cape Cornwall, St. Just.
Stage 16 - Interest along the Coast Path
East Levant Mine:  Around Trewellard Bottoms, this area was worked from the early 1700s but superseded by the newer Geevor workings further inland.  Substantial, but very ruinous, remains include stamps buildings.   Levant Mine:  Opened in 1820 and closed in 1930, Levant Mine was famous for its copper and tin and infamous for the disaster of 1919 when the man-engine failed, killing 31 miners.  The deepest shaft was 2100 feet and ran for half-a-mile below the sea.  Geevor reopened the mine in 1960 but it closed again in 1991 after a tin price collapse.  Levant is now a fascinating small mine museum, owned by the National Trust.   Its working beam engine, the oldest in Cornwall, operated from 1840 to 1930 and was restored by members of the Trevithick Society.  There is also an electric winding engine. Crown Engine Houses:  Restored by the Carn Brea Mining Society, this pair of engine houses perch precariously on the cliff below Botallack Mine, of which they later became part.  A path leads down to them – but take care at the site.   Botallack Mine:  There was almost certainly mining activity here long before the first official grant of 1721.  It was at its most prosperous from 1835 to 1890 and in 1865 some 500 men worked here and eleven steam engines operated.  Remains are extensive and include engine houses, stamps houses, buddles, dressing floors, an arsenic calciner, modern headgear and the handsome Count House.  To explore the Botallack area fully, National Trust leaflet 11, West Penwith, would be helpful.   Wheal Edward:  The mine produced tin and copper from 1776 to 1893.  There are two impressive engine houses.   Kenidjack Head:  Terrific views forward over Porthledden Cove to Cape Cornwall.  Remains of an iron age cliff castle.   Kenidjack Valley:  Scenic now but once a hive of mining industry.  Substantial remains include an arsenic calciner near the Coast Path, parts of Wheal Call near Porthledden Cove, including the wheelpit once housing a 65 foot waterwheel.  Amazingly, the little Tregeseal River once powered dozens of waterwheels.  Mining ceased in 1893 when the river burst its banks and destroyed many mine buildings . Cape Cornwall:  England’s only cape was once believed to be its most westerly point.  National Trust car park placed conveniently for both the Cape and Priest’s Cove.  Surprising to find mine remains (the chimney stack) in such a location.  The mine opened in 1863 and finally closed in 1883.  Views from the top of the cape – to Land’s End, to Botallack Head and up the Kenidjack Valley are superb.  Francis Oats:  Born in St. Just, worked as a miner there, educated himself by walking after work to Penzance to attend evening classes.  Emigrated to South Africa, rose to become chairman of diamond mining company De Beers.  Returned to St. Just and built Porthledden House.  Remains of his garden, running all the way down to Cape Cornwall and Priest’s Cove, can still be seen, including walled gardens above Priest’s Cove. Priest’s Cove:  Tucked away from easy public view below the south flank of Cape Cornwall, is, along with Penberth Cove, one of West Penwith’s remarkable survivals, a tiny cove from which fishermen still harvest crab and lobster and occasional hand-line mackerel and sea bass.  Small boats are drawn up on a slippery ramp, tiny huts slot into the cliffs and mesembryanthemum grows rampant on walls and even over the huts.  A very photogenic spot. 
Stage 16 - Interest off the Coast Path
Geevor Mine:  Operating under various names since around 1700, the present Geevor Mine was effectively started in 1911 by Cornish miners returned from South Africa during the Boer War.  As a modern mine, it was a success all the while the tin price stayed high but, after the price collapse of 1985, Geevor closed in 1990.  It re-opened in 1993 as a fascinating museum.  Buildings range from the 18th to 20th century, many attractive.  Production processes demonstrated;  good museum and galleries;  underground tours by former miners.  Decent café, well stocked shop.  Open all year daily except Saturdays, Christmas and New Year.    Lower Boscaswell Fogou:  Now owned by the National Trust.  Not much to see at present.   Lower Boscaswell Holy Well:  Also known as Hesken Well, steps lead down to the well, said to have healing properties. Botallack:  Attractive village with good food and accommodation at the Queen’s Arms.  Close by, on the northern edge of the village, is Botallack Manor Farm, used as a Poldark location.   St. Just:  Spoken of as a village but really a small town with a parish population of around 5000.  Once the centre of vast mining operations, now attractively (and expensively) regenerated.  On one side of the triangular ‘square’ is a ‘round’ (plen-a-gwary or playing place), on the other an attractive church dating partly from 1334.   Inside are ancient carved stones, remains of rood stairs and 15th century frescoes.  There is an artists colony with several studios and galleries.  There are also several pubs and teashops and a decent amount of accommodation.
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Stage 17 -Cape Cornwall to Sennen Cove - 5½ miles
A very short stage but extremely scenic with ample interest, particularly for those with an interest in mining, in geology and in antiquities.  Those who prefer to stride out could easily add Stages 16 and 18 to make a moderate walk of no more than 20 miles.  The very moderate amount of ascent, only around 1200 feet, is mostly easy going but there are a couple of patches with a bit of rock scrambling.  Once again, views are relatively short but are quite superb.  Much of the time you are looking ahead to Land’s End but you should also pause to look back to Cape Cornwall.  Almost always you have the Brisons rocks in view, some ¾ mile off Cape Cornwall.  And, on a clear day, you can see the Isles of Scilly.  Much of the way you pass mine remains:  capped shafts and adits in the cliffs.  Leaving Cape Cornwall, you drop down towards Priest’s Cove before a long but moderate ascent to Carn Gloose.  Do detour slightly here to see Ballowall Barrow before the descent to Porth Nanven, where you should also linger for the remarkable beach.  From here to Gwynver beach the path undulates, mostly through scrub but with plenty of heather in summer.  It is fairly rocky in places.  From Gwynver beach the Coast Path detours somewhat inland, mostly over dunes.  However, you may prefer, tides permitting, to drop down to the beach and walk on the sand for the last mile or so to Sennen Cove. 
Bollowal Barrow, vast prehistoric burial site
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Stage 17 - Cape Cornwall to Sennen Cove - Oliver's Diary
I walked this, with Bob and Pam, on a glorious sunny and warm day in January 2010.  I last walked it in November 2004 with my sister Mary in very different conditions.  Then, as we progressed towards Sennen Cove, the fog rolled in.  Our intended there-and-back walk had to be terminated and we thought we might have to get a taxi back.  We popped into the Old Success for refreshment and discovered that a small bus left in 20 minutes for St. Just.  We got off there and were on our way to the Cape on foot when the bus pulled up beside us.  “Are you going to Cape Cornwall” asked the driver “well then, hop in and I’ll take you there."  Only in Cornwall!  On this occasion I found it an easy and enjoyable walk in the sun.  I was able to show Bob and Pam Ballowal Barrow and Porth Nanven, two of my favourite places, neither of which they had seen before.  At Nanjulian I was reminded of a trail I walked in 2008, the Penwith Round.  It joins the coast path here on its way to Cape Cornwall.  When we got to Whitesand Bay, Bob and Pam took to the beach for the final mile or so to Sennen Cove.  I stuck religiously to the Coast Path, determined to keep my data accurate.  I am sure that many will prefer the beach, which looks inviting and saves some final trudging on tarmac.  A delightful walk which Bob rated his most enjoyable bit of Coast Path yet.  And see a round walk from Sennen Cove that takes in Chapel Carn Brea.
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Boats drawn up on the hard at Sennen Cove harbout
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Stage 17 - Cape Cornwall to Sennen Cove - GPS Data
Distance:   5.45 miles.   Cumulative:  151.82 miles.  Intermediate:  Porth Nanven 1.58 miles, Nanjulian Cove 2.82 miles.   Ascent: Estimated 1200 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated  28600 feet. Highest Point:  Carn Gloose Trig Point 313 feet.  Steps:  Up 85.  Down 91, mostly rock steps, most low and easy.  Stiles:  4.   Difficulty:  Moderate but some steep ascent and a little rock scrambling.  Map:  OS 102 Land’s End 
Stage 17 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  NT pay CP at Cape Cornwall.  2 large car parks at Sennen Cove, harbour CP cheaper for day.  Intermediate Parking:  Ballowall Barrow, Porth Nanven (both free).  Refreshments:  None on the path but Old Success Inn and many restaurants and cafés at Sennen Cove.  Toilets:  Cape Cornwall NT car park (seasonal).  Both car parks at Sennen Cove (harbour seasonal).    Transport:  Open top bus 300 operates all round West Penwith in summer.  Accomodation:  St. Just, Cape Cornwall, Sennen Cove.
Stage 17 - Interest along the Coast Path
Ballowall Barrow:  An immensely impressive chambered cairn, from neolithic and bronze ages, discovered by W C Borlase in 1878 hidden under mining debris.  It is thought there could be other similar sites around here.  It was in use during both neolithic and bronze ages and includes an entrance grave, a cairn, several individual burial cists and a number of ritual pits.  It has a central oval structure, 35 feet across with walls up to 10 feet high;  around this is a passage six feet wide with outside walls forming a 'collar' of the same height.  The location is superb, just back from a 300 foot cliff with views north to Cape Cornwall and the Brisons rocks, south to Land’s End and the Longships Lighthouse.  On a clear day you can see the Isles of Scilly more than 30 miles away.   Porth Nanven:  Lovely small cove with some remarkable cliffs and rocks – and mining remains.  In the two coves a wave-cut platform in the cliff shows where sea levels were once many feet higher; ancient sea-worn boulders from above have tumbled to the modern beach and are now protected by law.  Be wary when in the cove, boulders from the northern cliff could fall at any time. Whitesand Bay:  Including Gwynver beach, the sweep of sand extends for over a mile from Aire Point to Sennen Cove.  Very popular with surfers. Sennen Cove:  Very much a family holiday destination for its superb beaches along Whitesand Bay, the main beach running from the harbour in the south all along the village and continuing north to become Gwynver Beach (not very easily accessible except from Sennen).  It is also a top surfing destination with the inevitable surf shops and beach café, this one called The Beach.  If they are still up on Sennen's web site, take a look at the images taken during the storm of 10th March 2008;  some are quite amazing and one appeared in several national newspapers. 
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Stage 18 - Sennen Cove to Penberth Cove - 7½ miles
The stages from St. Ives to Mousehole must be among the finest with both glorious scenery and ample challenges.  This stage might well be the best of all were it not for the horror of Land’s End.  You start at charming Sennen harbour to the south of Whitesand Bay, progress around superb headlands and bays and end in the National Trust’s loveliest coastal property, Penberth Cove.  Statistics suggest a fairly difficult stage but it is only moderate;  despite towering cliffs the highest point is only 245 feet.  Leaving Sennen Cove, there is a long easy climb up to Pedn-men-du Watch House.  From there to Land’s End is easy going, passing the Irish Lady rock, the wreck of the Mulheim in Castle Zawn and Maen Castle fort.  Approaching Land’s End, ignore the Coast Path sign and continue round the First-and-Last on Dr. Syntax’s Head, England’s most westerly point.  After Land’s End, linger before Carn Cheer for the view to the Longships.  Along Mill Bay look out for remains of Nanjizal Mine and the door in the headland by the sandy beach.  Climbing to Gwennap Head, ignore the main track and head down and up to the Watch House.  Do then allow time to linger in Porthgwarra and to visit the amazing Minack Theatre and fascinating Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno.  There is then a long climb up to Treen Cliff and a steep descent to Penberth Cove.  And do walk out to Treryn Dinas for the cliff castle, logan rock and views in both directions.
Enys Dodman, the Armed Knight and Longships
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Stage 18 - Sennen Cove to Penberth Cove - Oliver's Diary
I first walked this section with Jane back in 2004, as three out-and-back walks between Penberth Cove and Land’s End.  I was much taken by the scenery and interest at that time and remain so though I have now found more interest than I knew existed then.  We also visited Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and the Minack Theatre, both strongly recommended, and spent time exploring Penberth Cove and Treen village.  This time I walked it with Bob and Pam on a dull day at the end of January 2010, returning a few days later for photos in sunnier weather.  As always, I was disgusted by Land’s End, nor just by the inappropriate Theme Park but more by the way the best part of a mile of cliff is roped off.  More on Land’s End below.  To make up for Land’s End, I love the fact that, on a clear day, you can see three lighthouses – the Longships off Land’s End, Wolf Rock 4 miles to the south-west and Bishop Rock off the Isles of Scilly almost 30 miles away.  I also love the view from Zawn Wells, looking across Enys Dodman, the rock with the door, and the Armed Knight to Longships.  Porthgwarra is one of my favourite coves, coming not far behind Penberth at the end of the stage.  I like Treen village, too, and a favourite short round walk starts from there, takes in Treryn Dinas cliff castle and Penberth Cove, and provides the opportunity to patronise the excellent Logan Rock Inn.
Two round walks from Porthcurno take in Porthgwarra and Penberth Cove.
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Penberth Cove and its capstan winch
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Stage 18 - Sennen Cove to Penberth Cove - GPS Data
Distance:   7.57 miles.  Cumulative:  159.39 miles.   Intermediate:  Dr. Johnson’s Head 1.26 miles, Nanjizal 2.94 miles, Porthgwarra 4.91 miles, Porthcurno 6.25 miles.   Ascent:   Estimated 1750 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 30350 feet.   Highest Point: Treen Cliff before Penberth Cove 256 feet.   Steps:  Up 326, longest climb 93 steps up from Nanjizal.  Down 513, longest 153 steep steps down from Minack.   Stiles:  1. Difficulty:  Overall moderate with much easy going and some steep rocky sections. Map:  OS 102 Land’s End.
Stage 18 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  2 large car parks at Sennen Cove, harbour cheaper, street free winter.  Parking in Treen for Penberth Cove.   Intermediate Parking:  Land’s End (pay), Porthgwarra (free out of season), Porthcurno (free out of season). Refreshments:  Old Success Inn, cafés and restaurants in Sennen Cove.  Various at Land’s End including Hotel and cafés.  Seasonal teas Porthgwarra.  Beach Café and Cable Station Inn Porthcurno.  Logan Rock Inn and seasonal café in Treen village.  You can get take-away at the Minack Theatre without paying the entrance fee.   Toilets:  Main CP and Harbour CP (seasonal) at Sennen Cove.  Land’s End.  Porthgwarra.  Porthcurno, in car park.   Transport:  Open top bus 300 operates round West Penwith in summer, links Sennen Cove and Treen (1 mile Penberth). Accommodation:  Sennen Cove, Land’s End, Porthcurno, Treen.
Stage 18 - Interest along the Coast Path
Irish Lady:  Rock, just after Pedn-men-du, looking more like a statue of Queen Victoria.   Maen Castle:  Promontory fort, soon after the Irish Lady.  Below it, in Castle Zawn, remains of the wrecked Mulheim.   Land’s End:  It should be wonderful but is awful.  What a dreadful shame!  Nanjizal:  Half-mile long bay with considerable mine remains.  Adits in the cliffs, both below and above the path.  At the eastern end is a sandy beach, a tumbling stream and waterfall.  Nearby are remains of a wheelpit, where a waterwheel powered a stamps engine to crush the tin ore.  The mine operated from around 1840 but little is known about it. Daymarks:  On Gwennap Head are two short conical towers, one black and white, one red.  Apparently, when the red cone obliterates the black and white one the observer at sea is directly above the dangerous Runnel Stone.  Keep your eyes open around the Cornish coast and you will spot many daymarks, some conical, some towers as on Gribbin Head. Coast Watch: The National Coastwatch Institution, a voluntary organisation, keeps watch along the British coast. There are 40 active Coastwatch stations, most closely clustered in Cornwall.  Porthgwarra:  Charming small cove with a rock tunnel, a steep slipway and a seasonal café. Porthcurno:  Attractive small cove with steeply shelving beach.  In the village is the fascinating Telegraph Museum.  On the cliffs is the amazing Minack Theatre.   Minack Theatre:  Rowena Cade started work, creating her theatre on the windswept headland, in 1931 helped by her gardener, Billy Rawlings, and his mate Charles Angove.  The Minack Theatre looks for all the world like an ancient Greek or Roman theatre.  Seating looks out over the Atlantic and balconies, terraces and steps are all part of the unusual stage.   There is an exhibition, a good coffee shop, a shop and a small sub-tropical garden.  You can get a take-away snack at Minack without paying the entrance fee. Telegraph Museum:  The first world-spanning submarine cable came into Porthcurno from India in 1870.  The tiny cove grew to be the world's largest cable station, fourteen cables coming in from all parts of the world.  The original Eastern Telegraph Company became the multi-national Cable and Wireless which remained there until the 1990s.  The original headquarters building is now apartments but the later building and its 2nd World War tunnels now house a Museum, telling the story of submarine telegraphy and of Porthcurno's part, as a secret communications base, in World War II.   Story boards are good and exhibits - many working - fascinating. Upstairs is a comprehensive exhibit about Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great cable laying ship, the massive 'Great Eastern'.  Treryn Dinas:  Major promontory fort, just before Penberth Cove, massive ramparts and the famous Logan Rock.   Penberth Cove:  Several fishermen operate from this delightful small fishing cove, owned by the National Trust.
Stage18 - Interest off the Coast Path
St. Levan:  Just ¼ mile from path, nice small village with interesting church.  St. Levan’s Holy Well is on the Coast Path above Porth Chapel.   Treen:  Attractive village with a working farm, parking, toilets, seasonal café and the excellent Logan Rock Inn. 
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Stage 19 - Penberth Cove to Mousehole - 7½ miles
Moderate in length - highest point is Carn Silver at only 256 feet - but more strenuous than you might expect with many steps, a fair amount of rock scrambling and, in winter, some very muddy ground.  Hence my assessment as fairly strenuous.  Views are short until the Lizard peninsula appears.  The climb out of Penberth is moderate but the descent and ascent at Porthguarnon (note the waterfall) are steep with many steps.  Along Trevedran Cliff the going is relatively easy.  At St. Loy’s Cove (nice clapper bridge here) you cross a section of beach on massive rounded boulders.  From here the going can be very muddy and in parts stepping stones have been strategically placed.  After Carn Barges there is some rock scrambling into Lamorna Cove.  There are no more substantial climbs but rocky terrain means quite a lot of rock-cut steps and some rock scrambling.  Heading up to Carn Du the path climbs steadily, with undulations, to around 140 feet.  It then undulates before climbing fairly steeply, often muddily, through Kenyel Crease Nature Reserve.  It then drops down to Kemyel Crease waterfall where, with the stream in spate, the stepping stones and rock-scrambling can be awkward.  Once up to the granite seat and Watch House at Penzer Point, the going becomes easy to the road near Raginnis.  It’s then downhill on tarmac all the rest of the way to Mousehole. 
You walk over these rocks in St. Loy's Cove
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Stage 19 - Penberth Cove to Mousehole - Oliver's Diary
I did this with Bob and Pam as far as Lamorna Cove in February 2010, having already done Lamorna to Mousehole as a solo out-and-back on yet another lovely sunny, rolled-up shirtsleeves day in January.  Of the 50 odd miles from St. Ives to Marazion I find this and Stage 20 the least interesting scenically.  Views are of little significance;  even when the Lizard peninsula comes into sight there is not much to see except sea.  I was, however, entertained to note that, above Le Scathe Cove, someone has cleared tiny ancient fields, perhaps to grow vegetables or daffodils.  And I enjoyed the tiny daffodils around the Tangye Nature Reserve.  I last walked Lamorna to Mousehole in 2005, as part of a round walk from Classic Walks Cornwall, volume 1.  I then noted it as an easy walk but, 5 years on, the old joints found the rock scrambling hard going in places, as they did earlier in this stage.  The stream at Kemyel Crease was in spate and difficult to cross, the uneven stepping stones under tumbling water. It was there that I encountered  two cyclists!  I think they had set out from Mousehole on the cycleway and gone wrong just before Raginnis, where they must have followed the straight-on broad track of the Coast Path by mistake.  I wish there was an off-road path from there as Raginnis Hill can be quite busy.  At least that is relieved by the views over Mousehole. 
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A peceful looking Lamorna Cove
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Stage 19 - Penberth Cove to Mousehole - GPS Data
Distance:   7.52 miles.  Cumulative:  166.91 miles.   Intermediate:  St. Loy’s Cove 2.91 miles, Tater Du 4.05 miles, Lamorna Cove 5.05 miles.  Ascent:  Estimated 1400 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 31750 feet.   Highest Point:  Carn Silver 252 feet. Steps:  Up 465, longest climb 160 up from Porthguarnon.  Down 425, longest 112 down to Porthguarnon.  Stiles:  6.   Difficulty:  Fairly strenuous with a fair amount of rock scrambling in the last 5 miles.   Map:  OS 102 Land’s End 
Stage 19 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Large CP at Treen (follow FP down to Penberth Cove).  Main Mousehole CP at N end of harbour. Intermediate Parking:  Ample, but expensive even in winter, car parking at Lamorna Cove.   Refreshments:  Treen, Logan Rock Inn and seasonal café by car park. Lamorna Cove café, Lamorna Wink Inn ½ mile up hill.  Mousehole, Ship Inn, cafés;  Old Coastguard Hotel at beginning of next stage.   Toilets:  Treen by car park.  Lamorna Cove by car park.  Mousehole harbour, south end seasonal, north end all year.   Transport:  Open top bus 300 operates all round West Penwith in summer, Sheffield and Newlyn nearest stops to Mousehole.   Accommodation:  Treen, St. Loy, Lamorna (top of valley), Mousehole.
Stage 19 - Interest along the Coast Path
St. Loy’s Cove:  The Coast Path crosses the beach on massive rounded water-washed boulders.   Lamorna Cove:  A popular tourist spot but the car park is too expensive and the place a little disappointing.  The café has an interesting local seafood menu.  If you have the time, walk up the hill to the village.  Cottages, some attractive, some a little ramshackle, are tucked away in the woodland on either side of the lane.  Up a side turning is a charming row of cottages, a little way beyond them a tiny former watermill.   Lamorna Wink:  Pleasant pub, ½ mile uphill from the cove.  Good simple food, speedily served.  Tables outside in sun.   Tangye Nature Reserve:  Derek and Jeannie Tangye, famed for their series of Minack Chronicles, lived at Dorminack, off the coast path after Tater Du lighthouse.  Their nature reserve, now owned by a charitable trust, is worth wandering round.   Mousehole:  Tourist hot-spot, very busy in summer but charming for all that.  It has a tiny enclosed harbour, granite cottages, little courtyards and flower-filled gardens - and a few tales.  In 1595 the village was devastated, as were both Penzance and Newlyn, by a Spanish raid;  the only building unscathed was a pub, the Keigwin Arms.  In some unknown year, dreadful gales prevented the fishing boats putting to sea.  With the villagers almost starving, Tom Bawcock braved the storm to return with a massive haul of seven types of fish.  His feat is celebrated every 23rd December when all Mousehole eats ‘Starry Gazy Pie’, its assorted fish heads looking out through the pie crust.  A new trail guide is well worth following around the village.  The village’s busiest time is Christmas when thousands flock there for the superb lights.
Stage 19 - Interest off the Coast Path
Lamorna Antiquities:  If you have time in the area, and an interest in antiquities, you could not do better than a 5 to 6 mile round walk from Lamorna to Moorcroft Farm and back.  You will discover a massive standing stone near Boscawen Ros Farm, Cornish crosses at Boskenna Cross and Moorcroft Farm (more later near the Merry Maidens), massive Goon Rith standing stone on Choone Farm’s land, remains of Tregiffian Entrance Tomb nearby on the Penzance road, the famed Merry Maidens and the nearby Pipers standing stones and impressive Boleigh Fogou in the garden of Rosemerryn Wood (does B&B), telephone 01736 810530 for access permission.   Paul Church:  Worth the ½ mile uphill walk from Mousehole to see the grave of Dolly Pentreath, reputedly the last Cornish speaker.
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Stage 20 -Mousehole to Marazion - 7 miles
Unless you prefer town to coast, and tarmac to grass, this is the only seriously boring stage.  Most is on tarmac;  exceptions a length of track alongside the railway after Penzance and a short stretch over dunes before Marazion.  Care is needed in places where the footway disappears on blind corners;  and, in summer, look out for cyclists as much of the route is cycleway.   There is a low tide alternative of using the beach from soon after Penzance bus station;  some will find that a better choice though the beach is not easy going.  There is a lot of interest in this short stage if you enjoy art or fishing harbours.  Lacking in these interests, you may prefer to add this stage to 19 or 21.  Starting from the eastern end of Mousehole harbour, cross the car park to find an alleyway leading to the road to Newlyn.  There is then some short respite from the road when a path heads briefly down past the old Penlee Quarry quay.  Once in Newlyn, turn right over the bridge and keep right to stay close to the sea.  When you come to Penzance commercial harbour, keep to the right of Waterside Meadery to get to the swing bridge.  At the main Penzance car park, go right along the sea wall to find a gate on the right in the bus station to access the cycleway towards Marazion.  In Marazion, if visiting St. Michael’s Mount - it's well worth doing - the path to the causeway and ferry landing is just before the Godolphin Arms. 
Boats on The Wharf at Mousehle harbour
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Stage 20 - Mousehole to Marazion - Oliver'sDiary
I walked this stage, in a brief sunny break in the appalling weather, in January 2010.  I did it alone as I didn’t want to bore Bob and Pam with it and I know they don’t enjoy tarmac.  Thinking the distance only 5 miles – it turned out to be 7 – I had planned to walk out-and-back.  However, the old joints were aching from all the tarmac and, hearing a bus while eating my sandwiches in the little garden by the Godolphin Arms, I hopped on, changed at Penzance and was back in Mousehole in 25 minutes.  For serious walkers this may be a boring stage.  For me it is full of interest.  The harbours at Mousehole, Newlyn and Penzance always delight me.  The art galleries in Newlyn and Penzance also appeal, especially Penlee House, home to the Newlyn School.  I also find more interest than some along the stretch by the railway from Penzance to Marazion Station.  This time I saw a massive tracklaying machine being loaded onto a flatbed railway wagon in the railway yards and liked a new building a little further along, reminiscent of a Grand Designs episode from Hythe in Kent in that the accommodation floors are reversed to allow a view from the living room of the sea over the embankment and railway.  The one thing that does disappoint me about this walk is the view.  Despite the grand sweep of Mount’s Bay, nothing really changes except for St. Michael’s Mount getting nearer. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
St. Michael's Mount in silhouette
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Stage 20 - Mousehole to Marazion - GPS Data
Distance:   6.85 miles.   Cumulative:  173.76 miles.  Intermediate:  Newlyn War Memorial 1.97 miles.  Penzance Bus Station 3.50 miles. Ascent:  Estimated  200 feet.   Cumulative:   Estimated 31950 feet.   Highest Point:  Mousehole to Newlyn road 70 feet.   Biggest climb:  None of the slightest significance.   Steps:  Up 15. Stiles:  None.   Map:  OS 102 Land’s End.   Difficulty:  Very easy but mostly walking on tarmac. 
Stage 20 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Mousehole Harbour, east end, small charge.  Free along Newlyn road.  Large CPs Marazion (free winter).   Intermediate Parking:  Newlyn, several CPs.  Penzance pay CPs and some free street parking.  Long Rock (free) at 497/312.   Refreshments:  Many pubs, restaurants, cafés in Mousehole, Newlyn, Penzance and Marazion. Toilets:  Mousehole by car park.  Several Newlyn.  Several Penzance.  Long Rock at 497/312.  Marazion station and CP.   Transport:  First 5, 6 link Mousehole and Penzance.  First 2, 2A, 2B, Western Greyhound 513, 515 link Penzance and Marazion.  First open-top bus 300, circular route around West Penwith, operates in summer only. Accommodation:  Mousehole, Newlyn, Penzance, Marazion 
Stage 20 - Interest along the Coast Path
Newlyn:  Britains third busiest fishing port has a lot of character – and a lot of fishing vessels.  First impressions are of a gritty working town but there are attractive cottages in streets running up the hill.  About a hundred boats operate from the harbour.  The fish auction starts at 8 a.m. each day and sells around 10,000 tons of fish a year.  Pilchards were once the mainstay but the old Pilchard Works is now apartments.  There is a modern art gallery at the east end of town, the Newlyn Gallery.  If you have the time, as with Mousehole, a new trail guide is well worth following around the village.  Penzance:  Developed as a resort in Victorian times, first impressions suggest that Penzance is not generally very attractive.  However, stray into the streets between the main shopping street and the seafront and you will discover that there are parts well worth seeking out.  Chapel Street is known for its art galleries and antique shops and for its attractive Georgian homes and shops - do not miss the Egyptian House and the Admiral Benbow Inn amongst the many attractive buildings.  At the top of Chapel Street the old Market Hall is now a bank;  outside stands a statue of Humphrey Davy, inventor of the miners' safety lamp.  He looks down Market Jew Street, corruption of Cornish for Thursday Market.  Morrab Road and the small streets at its north end are charming as is Regent Terrace and Marine Terrace along the western promenade, part of the seafront.  If you have the time, do visit Penlee House Gallery and take a look at sub-tropical Morrab Gardens nearby.  If your taste in art is more modern, try the Exchange Gallery in the former telephone exchange building.  A passenger ferry operates from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly. Marazion Marsh:  On the inland side of the road before Marazion, a nature reserve;  entrance by the old bridge at the Marazion end. Marazion:  A narrow main street curves down from the east.  Along its way are attractive cottages, a charming small square, a couple of pubs, tearooms, shops (including Philps Bakery, renowned for pasties), and several art and craft galleries.  Pubs are the Godolphin Arms, also a hotel, and the King's Arms.  Marazion has a remarkable history and may be one of Britain's oldest towns.  It and St. Michael's Mount may have been known to the Romans, who would have traded for tin here, as Ictis.  The major town of West Cornwall, from 1170 it returned two members to Parliament and was incorporated by royal charter in 1257.  Its importance can be seen in its two former markets, the marhas vean (little market) and marhas yow (Thursday market), the latter giving the town its name. 
Stage 20 - Interest off the Coast Path
Penlee House:  Built as a private house in 1865, and standing in a pleasant small park and gardens close to the centre of Penzance, it contains West Cornwall's largest art collection, focusing on the local Newlyn School of the late 19th century.  Expect to see slightly romantic views of working fishermen on the beach and around the harbour.  Amongst the leading lights of the Newlyn School exhibited are Stanhope Forbes, its best known name, Frank Bramley, Norman Garstin, Thomas Cooper Gotch, Walter Langley, 'Lamorna' Birch and Henry Scott Tuke.  There is also a small museum covering 6000 years of Cornish history, commerce and archaeology, and with good displays of fine art and the decorative arts, including some superb Newlyn copper.  There is an excellent café, with an outside terrace overlooking gardens, and a well stocked shop.   St. Michael’s Way:  Waymarked 12 mile coast-to-coast walking trail to St. Ives, joining the coast path at Lelant.  Penwith Round:  A 38 mile round trail officially starts in Mousehole but, to complete the circle, is probably best walked from Penzance or even Marazion.  Created by Alexandra Pratt, as an adjunct to Val Saunders Evans Celtic Way, it takes a roughly circular route with Cape Cornwall as its northerly point.  Fans of antiquities will love it for all the ancient sites it includes along its route.   St. Michael’s Mount:  Remarkable former abbey, then castle, now home, with amazing garden.  The first sight is breathtaking, the house seeming to grow out of the rocky bluff that tops the island.  Access is unusual; at high tide by boat, at low tide by a long stone causeway from Marazion.  The path to the house is winding but steep and rough.  This was a place of pilgrimage from AD495 when fishermen claimed to have seen St. Michael.  In the eleventh century Edward the Confessor founded a Benedictine monastery;  at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it became a fortress.  In 1659 it was acquired by the St Aubyn family and became a home; the family still lives here but the house is in the care of the National Trust.  You would scarcely expect to find a garden at all on such a small, steep rocky island, exposed to gales.  Nonetheless, a 20 acre 'Maritime Garden' covers terraces below a 300 foot cliff.  Planting is mostly of weather tolerant exotics.  Amongst great granite rocks are yuccas, agaves, geraniums, hebes, fuchsias and, in spring, wild narcissi.
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Stage 21 - Marazion to Porthleven - 11 Miles
First impressions are of an easy stage.  Indeed, that is exactly what it is as far as the eastern end of Praa Sands with nowhere along the way higher than 150 feet and the going always easy.  It becomes somewhat stiffer after the Praa Sands Sea Meads estate and from there to Porthleven there are several climbs to over 200 feet, the highest point being above Rinsey Head at 255 feet.  The going is less easy on this section, too, with a lot of undulation, a moderate number of steps and some rock underfoot in places.  The path follows the road for half-a-mile out of Marazion then, except for a small detour after Trenow Cove (ignore the waymark to the left and keep on the track) and an inland bit at Rinsey Head, sticks to the cliffs all the way.  Until Cudden Point, keep looking back for superb views of Marazion, St. Michael’s Mount and across Mount’s Bay to Penlee Point.  After that, view are mostly forward and sweep round to the southern tip of the Lizard peninsula.  Things to look out for along the way include Prussia Cove, haunt of smugglers;  the popular surfing resort of Praa Sands;  restored mine buildings at Rinsey and at Trewavas Head ;  and the fascinating harbour town of Porthleven.  For refreshment, the Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe is quite a classy place and the beach café at Praa Sands is enjoyable with its terrace overlooking the beach. 
Young surfers take tuition at Praa Sands
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Stage 21 - Marazion to Porthleven - Oliver'sDiary
I walked this stage, with Bob and Pam and their friends from Crackington Haven, in February 2010.  I had previously done it’s constituent parts as three round walks in 2004 and 2005.  The weather in 2010 was dry and cold but the promised sun never materialised.  Ironically, my micro-cassette recorder failed to record Marazion to Par Sands satisfactorily so I returned a few days later to repeat that section, this time on a gloriously sunny day with ample photo opportunities.  It’s amazing what a difference the seasons make:  summer memories of Praa Sands evoke quite a smart vision but the surf shops and beach café were looking quite scruffy without their spring lick of paint.  As an enthusiast for mine relics – hence my love for the St. Just area, the Great Flat Lode Trail and the Minions area of Bodmin Moor – I was delighted to see the Wheal Prosper engine house in such good condition and to see the excellent job that the National Trust had done on the Wheal Trewavas engine houses.  It’s now about 200 miles under the belt and on to the Lizard for the next few stages.  It’s some while since I have done much walking on the Lizard – except for the National Trust’s Penrose estate (see Stage 22) which I walked with Jane last year – so I am really looking forward to it, as are Bob and Pam who don’t know the Lizard at all.  The next stage will take us to Mullion Cove. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Entrance to Porthleven's inner harbour
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Stage 21 - Marazion to Porthleven - GPS Data
Distance:  10.80 miles.   Cumulative:  184.56 miles.  Intermediate:  Perranuthnoe 2.33 miles.  Prussia Cove 4.60 miles.  Praa Sands 6.03 miles.  Trewavas Head 8.18 miles.   Ascent:   Estimated 2200 feet.    Cumulative:  Estimated 34150 feet.   Highest Point:  255 feet at Rinsey Head, 245 feet after Trewavas Mine.   Biggest climb:  NT Lesceave Cliff sign to Rinsey Head 240 feet in approximately ½ mile.   Steps: Up 250.  Down 104.   Stiles:  17.   Maps:  OS Explorer 104 Land’s End, 103 The Lizard.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Mostly easy to Praa Sands, some fairly strenuous between Praa and Porthleven.
Stage 21 - Useful Information
Parking:  Large CPs Marazion (free winter).  Large CP Porthleven (reasonable charges).   Intermediate Parking:  Perranuthnoe.  Trenalls, near Prussia Cove.  Praa Sands.  Rinsey Head (NT free). Refreshments:  Pubs, cafés Marazion.  Pub, café Perranuthnoe.  Pub, café Praa Sands.  Pubs, cafés etc Porthleven.  Toilets:  Marazion by car park.  Perranuthnoe by car park.  Praa Sands by beach.  Porthleven, signed near top of harbour.  Transport:  First bus 2 links Marazion, Praa Sands and Porthleven.  Accommodation:  Marazion, Perranuthnoe, Praa Sands, Porthleven. 
Stage 21 - Interest along the Coast Path
Perranuthnoe:   Safe sandy beach, popular with families and a few surfers.  Beach café can get very busy in summer.  The Victoria Inn is now very much a good food venue with an admired chef but regular bar food is still done at lunch time.   Cudden Point:  Good views from here, back over Mount’s Bay.  The National Trust now grazes Shetland ponies here.   Prussia Cove:  Although the tiny settlement is marked on the Ordnance Survey as Prussia Cove, it is really Porth-en-Alls (the harbour by the cliffs).  There are three small coves – Piskies, Bessy’s and King’s – which were used by smugglers in the 18th century.  The whole, privately owned, settlement of Porth-en-Alls comprises more than 20 holiday rentals.  Parking for other visitors is half-a-mile up the hill at Trenalls.   King of Prussia:  The Carter family of Breage has come down in history as the best known and most honourable of the Cornish smuggling families.  Their leader was John Carter (1736-1807), one of 8 children of a miner.  John, with his brothers Harry and Francis led a gang of smugglers which operated mainly out of Porth-en-Alls.  A god-fearing man, John would allow no swearing and operated surprising honestly.  The tale is told of an occasion when the Excise men captured a cargo of his.  John led some of his men to break into the Excise warehouse in Penzance and reclaim his goods – but took nothing else.  He was respected to such a degree that, when captured and imprisoned during the French Revolution, it was Cornish magistrates who secured his release.  He was known as the ‘King of Prussia’ from his childhood.  When he and his brothers played war games he always took the part of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.  The name stuck to such an extent that Porth-en-Alls and its three coves became known as Prussia Cove.   Wheal Trewavas:  After leaving Praa Sands, you soon climb Rinsey Head to find the handsome engine house of Wheal Prosper.  Half-a-mile further on, soon after Trewavas Head, you come to the engine houses of Wheal Trewavas.  The National Trust acquired the site in 2008 and have done a fine job of conservation though at present (2010) the cleaned stonework needs to settle down a bit.  Best photos may be had from the cliff edge but do take care.  Porthleven:  The long narrow harbour, a haven to both fishermen and yachtsmen, is overlooked on its west side by the Ship Inn, on its east by Bay View, a long curving row of handsome Victorian homes.  At the south-eastern tip of the harbour is the Institute with a clock tower, much photographed in high seas.  Once Porthleven was just a working village, now it seems to be full of second homes, many of then new but reasonably in character, and many of the former fisherman's cottages are now holiday rentals.  Indeed, along the east side of the harbour, and up Cliff Road towards Loe Bar, restorations and new builds are almost all second homes or holiday rentals.  Eating places are now generally good.
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Stage 22 - Porthleven to Mullion Cove - 7½ miles
This is a fairly short and easy stage.  Some may like to extend it with a walk around the Loe on the National Trust’s Penrose Estate, adding around 6 miles.  The first thing that strikes you about the coast here is how open it is with few hedgerows obstructing the view.  Views forward are superb, over delightful coves and headlands to Lizard Point.  Don’t forget to look back, too, for views across Mount’s Bay to the West Penwith Peninsula.  Underfoot is generally easy with plenty of grass, little rocky and some seasonal mud.  The first 5 miles are easy so it’s a surprise to find that the highest point on the stage is by Halzephron House at 210 feet. After Gunwalloe Church Cove the going becomes a little tougher with several steepish ascents and descents - and a long run of steps up from Polurrian Cove to the Polurrian Hotel, the bar of which serves lunchtime food.  The final descent down to Mullion Cove is also fairly steep with another long flight of steps.  Mullion Cove itself is one of Cornwall’s most photographed sites.  Mullion village is a mile away up the hill.  On the way, things to look out for include the blue rocks on the beach halfway along Porthleven Sands at 649/233, the remains of a fishing industry at Gunwalloe Fishing Cove, the charming little church in Gunwalloe Church Cove and the Marconi Memorial on Poldhu Point. 
The Anson Memorial stands above Loe Bar
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Stage 22 - Porthleven to Mullion Cove - Oliver's Diary
I walked this with Bob and Pam in February 2010 on a cold day so sunny it felt Spring-like.  I had last done it in 2005 but as two out-and-backs, Porthleven to Church Cove and Church Cove to Mullion.  I have also done several round walks starting in Mullion and Lizard Town (Stage 23) and including much of the coast.  It’s a part of the Cornish Coast Path that I love as much as any.  The lack of hedgerows gives the coast a very open feel with lovely views and a multitude of photo opportunities.  Several of my favourite Cornish locations are along this particular stage.  As I cross Loe Bar I always think of the many delightful walks I have had on the National Trust’s Penrose Estate.  At Gunwalloe Fishing Cove I marvel at the ingenuity of Cornwall’s fishermen.  At Gunwalloe Church Cove I love the little church of St. Winwalloe;  he will appear again later.  At Poldhu Point I marvel again, this time at the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of Guglielmo Marconi who transmitted his radio signal to Newfoundland in 1901.  In my eyes, the only disappointment on this stage is Mullion Cove itself.  For a National Trust location some of the buildings are a little tatty and you need to catch it on a sunny day, preferably without too many visitors, to enjoy it.  One word of warning.  At Gunwalloe Fishing Cove you may be tempted by Chydane and its summer café:  it's very expensive.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Mullion Cove
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Stage 22 - Porthleven to Mullion Cove - GPS Data
Distance:  7.45 miles.   Cumulative:  193.01 miles.   Intermediate:  Loe Bar 1.5 miles, Gunwalloe Fishing Cove 3.01 miles.  Church Cove 4.72 miles.  Marconi Memorial 6.03 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 1350 feet.    Cumulative:  Estimated 35500 feet. Highest Point:  Halzephron House 210 feet.  4 other summits over 150 feet.   Biggest climb:  Gunwalloe Fishing Cove to Halzephron House 168 feet.   Steps:  Up 150, longest flight 92 up from Polurrian Cove.  Down 152, longest flight 96 down to Mullion Cove.   Stiles:  3, all granite or concrete cattle stiles.   Map:  OS Explorer 103 The Lizard.  Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Mostly easy to Gunwalloe Church Cove, some slightly strenuous on to Mullion Cove.
Stage 22 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Large CP Porthleven (reasonable charges).  Mullion Cove, free by Mullion Cove Hotel and in former quarry near Mullion Cove, large seasonal pay CP ½ mile up Mullion road.   Intermediate Parking:  Small free CP after 1 mile near Highburrow.  Gunwalloe Church Cove.  Poldhu Cove. Refreshments:  Pubs, cafés etc Porthleven.  Seasonal cafés at Church Cove, Poldhu Cove, Mullion.  Polurrian Hotel bar.   Toilets:  Porthleven, signed near top of harbour.  Gunwalloe Church Cove.  Poldhu Cove.  Mullion Cove.  Transport:  First bus 2 links Porthleven and Helston.  First bus 33 links Helston and Mullion village.   Accommodation:  Porthleven, Gunwalloe village, Polurrian Hotel, Mullion Cove Hotel, Mullion village. 
Stage 22 - Interest along the Coast Path
Lizard Peninsula:  First glance might not suggest a peninsula but the River Cober in the west and the Helford River in the east are separated by only three miles.  There is something special about this great triangular projection, bounded by Porthleven, Helston and Helford.  It boasts the locations from which Marconi made his most important experimental radio transmissions, modern Goonhilly Satellite Station, and a massive airbase from which air-sea rescue helicopters operate.  Inland is dead flat farmland and heathland but the coast is another matter altogether.  High cliffs, serpentine boulders, jagged offshore rocks, charming small fishing villages and coves and wonderful walking.  Best known of the coastal villages is Coverack but  Cadgwith, Porthoustock and Porthallow are all more attractive.  Inland, St. Keverne and Mullion both feel like real villages.  If you are a golfer, you could take the chance to play on Britain's most southerly mainland course at Poldhu Point.  If you like unusually located churches, look at the church on the beach at Gunwalloe Church Cove.   If you are a serious diver, head for Porthkerris to dive around the Manacles Rocks, site of many a shipwreck.  You are on the Lizard National Nature Reserve between Mullion Cove and Lizard Point.  It also takes in Goonhilly Downs and areas near St. Keverne.   Loe Bar and The Loe:  A sand bar separates an inland lake from the sea.  Most people call The Loe Loe Pool but the Cornish word Loe is the same as the Irish Lough and the Scottish Loch, meaning a pool.  No one knows how the Bar formed.  Some say Atlantic storms, some longshore drift, some silt from upstream mines.  The likelihood is a combination of all three.  From a distance Loe Bar looks like sand but turns out to be mostly very fine gravel with a sprinkling of colourful small sea-washed stones.  High seas can cover the Bar.   Tennyson's description in Idylls of the King, The Passing of Arthur is taken by some to suggest Loe Pool as the location where Sir Bedivere threw Ecalibur into the water … "On one side lay the ocean, and on one lay a great water". The more popular alternative is Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor.  Anson Memorial:  On the south-east side of Loe Bar, it commemorates the 100 men who lost their lives in December 1807 when HMS Anson was wrecked on the Bar.  The good thing that came of this disaster was that Helston man Henry Trengrouse was so affected by the loss of life that he devised a rocket apparatus to fire a line from shore to ship.   Gunwalloe Fishing Cove:  There was once a thriving pilchard fishery here, established in 1803 and, so it would seem, still operating in the 20th century.  Ruined buildings stand on the cliff top, one a winch house, the other pilchard cellars.  Four winches also stand on the cliff edge, one in use recently enough to have been driven by a petrol engine.   Halzephron Inn:  Well recommended pub near Fishing Cove but gets very busy at summer weekends.  Gunwalloe Church Cove: The little church of St. Winwaloe is tucked into the foot of the dunes.  Winwaloe was born in Brittany of Cornish parents in the sixth century.  The present church is mostly in the perpendicular gothic style.  Inside are two earlier fonts and tiny rood stairs are still in place.  Two inner doors are painted with the figures of eight of the apostles.  Beyond the south porch a tower looks defensive but is really a detached bell-tower.  By the porch is a figure of the saint, who is also associated with St. Winnow, Landewednack and Towednack.  In a corner of the churchyard is a Cornish cross.   Marconi Centre:  A joint project between The National Trust, Marconi plc and Poldhu Amateur Radio Club built the Centre to commemorate the centenary of Marconi’s first transatlantic radio signal, transmitted from Poldhu Point to Newfoundland on 12 December 1901.  Open all year, days vary, call 01326 241656.  For more on Marconi see Stage 23.   Mullion Cove:  For a small harbour in the care of the National Trust, Mullion Cove disappoints.  Neatly enough kept, few of the buildings are very interesting and, with enclosed harbour and high cliffs, there are no views and you get a somewhat oppressive feeling.  To get any views you need to be high above on the cliffs.   The harbour walls suffer badly from storms and, in 2007, the National Trust decided on a policy of 'managed retreat' which means that, in due course, they will no longer maintain the harbour walls which, like those at Trevaunance Cove on the north coast at St. Agnes, will eventually crumble.
Stage 22 - Interest off the Coast Path
Penrose Estate: A National Trust leaflet describes and maps a delightful walk on the Penrose Estate, around the Loe and taking in the Bar.   Helston:  Very much a real town with some handsome old buildings, good shopping and decent pubs.  South of town a park has a little boating lake and a good café.   Mullion village:  Narrow streets, attractive buildings, ample shops and pubs – and the air of a real small town. 
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Stage 23 - Mullion Cove to Cadgwith - 11½ miles
This stage, at 11.50 miles, is an entirely reasonable length for most walkers.  However, for two reasons, I have divided it into two parts, Mullion Cove to Lizard Head and Lizard Head to Cadgwith Cove, calling them Stages 23a and 23b.  First, because the coastal scenery is so glorious and second, because there is so much interest along the way, both on and off the path.   Doing it as either one stage or two will work fine because there is accommodation at both Lizard Town and Cadgwith.  Coastal scenery is so good that I recommend ignoring the apparent path in many places and walking out to all the headlands, missing nothing.      Stage 23a.    Stage 23b.
Two round walks - from Mullion Cove and from Kynance Cove.
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Stage 23a - Mullion Cove to Old Lizard Head (or Polpeor) - 7½ miles
There is some doubt about the names of the Lizard headlands.  I have used the Ordnance Survey names, Lizard Point for the western one, Polpeor for the most southerly one, also known as Old Lizard Head.
Inland, the Lizard Peninsula is flat and boring, yet this stage includes some superb scenery and four of Cornwall’s best known coastal locations.  Three occur in this first part, Mullion Cove at the beginning, Kynance Cove after 5 miles and Lizard Head at the end.  The other, Cadgwith, is at the end of the next part.  As with Stage 22, there are no hedgerows to obscure the superb views, shortish forward but all across Mount’s Bay to Gwennap Head looking back.  Going is easy, mostly on grass.  Categorised overall as moderate, this part has three short fairly strenuous sections.  First the 225 foot climb out of Mullion Cove, then a stiff descent and ascent at Gew Graze, finally a 205 foot climb out of Kynance Cove with 141 steps.  Otherwise it simply undulates between about 100 and 200 feet.  Some parts can be muddy and occasionally saturated.   Along the way look out for:  wildflower hedges along Lower Predannack Cliff;   Predannack Airfield, half-a-mile inland;  remains of soapstone quarrying at Gew Graze, nearby Ogo Pons, the rock with the hole;  Highland cattle and Shetland ponies grazing;  impressive rocks and islands at Kynance Cove;  and the wicked looking rocks at Lizard Point and Old Lizard Head.  If you take a lunch break at Kynance Cove, note the comfortable oak settle above the west end of the beach, a lovely sheltered spot for a spot of refreshment.
Kynance Cove pictured against the light
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Stage 23a - Mullion Cove to Lizard Head - Oliver'sDiary
I had previously walked this section on several occasions, most notably in 2007 as a round walk, starting with an inland route from Mullion Cove to Kynance Cove, through part of the Lizard Nature Reserve, Predannack Manor Farm, Predannack Wollas and Jolly Town, returning from Kynance Cove on the Coast Path.  It made a great round walk of around 8 miles.  This time, in February 2010, I did the linear walk on the Coast Path, from Mullion Cove to Old Lizard Head, with Bob and Pam.  For the first time I quite enjoyed Mullion Cove, not usually one of my favourite places.  The light, in both morning and evening was ideal for photographs.  The photo, used in Stage 22, of boats on the hard of the cove was taken on that occasion.  In one way, I was quite disappointed that our walk was so early in the year.  The ideal time to be walking round Predennack Head is late spring, early summer, when the wildflowers on the hedges are a riot of colour.  To make up for it, there was a small herd of Shetland ponies grazing above Caerthillian Cove.  As usual, though, I was disappointed in Old Lizard Head which always feels just too commercial for such a beauty spot, though nowhere as bad as Land’s End.  However, nothing could really spoil the delight on walking the cliffs of the Lizard, some of Cornwall’s very best cliff-top walking
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
The former lifeboat station at Old Lizard Head
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Stage 23a - Mullion Cove to Lizard Head - GPS Data
Distance:  7.49 miles.   Cumulative:  200.50 miles.  Intermediate:  Vellan Head 2.74 miles.  Kynance Cove 5.17 miles.  Lizard Point 6.99 miles.   Ascent:   Estimated 1550 feet. Cumulative:  Estimated 37050 feet.  Highest Point:  Higher Predannack Cliff 252  feet.  Biggest climb:  Leaving Mullion Cove 235 feet.   Steps:  Up 225, longest flight 141 up from Kynance Cove.  Down 243, no flight of more than 42 steps.  Stiles:  12 of mixed type. Map:  OS Explorer 103 The Lizard.  Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Three fairly strenuous sections but fairly easy on top between 100 and 200 feet.
Stage 23a - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Mullion Cove, free by Mullion Cove Hotel and in former quarry near Mullion Cove, large seasonal pay CP ½ mile up Mullion road.  Intermediate Parking:  Predannack Wollas NT CP.  Kynance Cove, large CP on hill high above the cove.  Lizard, small NT CP at Old Lizard Head, nearby short-stay pay CP, short walk to large NT CP, donation CP on Lizard Green.   Refreshments:  Mullion Cove Hotel.  Seasonal cafés Mullion Cove, Kynance Cove, Old Lizard Head. Toilets:  Mullion Cove, Kynance Cove, Old Lizard Head NT CP and Lizard Town. Transport:  First bus 33 links Mullion village (1½  miles), Lizard Town (½ mile). Accommodation:  Mullion Cove Hotel, Mullion village.  Lizard Town.  Landewednack Church Cove.
Stage 23a - Interest along the Coast Path
Lizard National Nature Reserve:  Encountered between Mullion and Kynance Coves, the Reserve is unusual in that it is not one clearly defined area but a number of separate areas spread across the Lizard peninsula.  It is a mix of heathland, grazing land, cliffs and beaches.  Largest area is near the former Goonhilly Earth Station, now de-commissioned, which has an exhibition about the reserve.  Goonhilly Down is open heathland, best from June when gorse and many heaths and heathers bloom.  Here you may see adders, lizards, buzzards and owls.  Next major area is the most exciting, along the west coast from Mullion Cove to Kynance Cove, following Mullion, Predannack and Kynance cliffs, its two parts linked by the National Trust's Predannack Estate.  Rare wild flowers abound:  Cornish heath and bell heather, green winged and marsh orchids, short stemmed ox-eye daisies and wild asparagus –  Asparagus Island lies off Kynance Cove.  You may see peregrine falcons, ravens, choughs, skylarks and stonechats.  Shetland ponies and herds of Highland and other rare cattle graze the clifftops.  Smaller areas include Kennack Sands - where there are red serpentine pebbles on the beach and basking sharks in the sea - and Main Dale, near St. Keverne, with its heath-spotted orchids and bog asphodel.  Along the coast, there are information boards where you enter and leave the reserve.   Wildflower Hedges:  Some of Cornwall’s most colourful are along Lower Predannack Cliff. See Stage 08 for more on hedges.   Gew Graze:  Strange, partly man-made valley where soapstone was quarried.  Soap Rock has remains of quarry buildings.   Ogo Pons:  Just north of Gew Graze, a rock looking just as its name translates from the Cornish, bridge cave.   Kynance Cove:  Delightful double cove, divided and surrounded by impressive rocks and, perhaps, the most photographed spot in Cornwall.  Kynans is Cornish for ravine and even down on the beach you still feel as if you were in one, surrounded as you are by vast isolated rocks rising from the sand.  Down in the cove there are just a few privately owned homes and a café, with fine views from its outside tables.  A stream tumbles down the ravine, past the cottages; just above it is an unusual seat, settle-like and apparently made from oak salvaged from a wreck.  The sands are golden and firm but beware, at high tide there is no beach at all.   Old Lizard Head:  Cornwall's most southerly point is bit scruffy, thanks to tatty shops and cafés.  Famous lighthouse nearby and disused former lifeboat station in Porthpeor Cove.   Lizard Lighthouse:  Cornwall’s most impressive has a Heritage Centre.  See Stage 23b.
Interest off the Coast Path
Predannack Wollas:  Just a couple of hundred yards off the path, most of Predannack Wollas is owned by the National Trust which has two of the three farms in the hamlet, the other remains privately owned.  It is an attractive little settlement, probably largely thanks to the Trust.  There is a car park.   Predannack Airfield:  WWII night-fighter, anti-submarine and convoy support airfield, now part of RNAS Culdrose and used for glider and fire-fighting training.  After WWII Barnes Wallis – of bouncing bomb fame – worked here on the development of swing-wing aircraft.  A number of historic aircraft can be seen parked on the airfield - plus a couple of strange mock-ups.   Lizard Town:  Not a very attractive place, except for a few buildings on the road to Lizard Head.  However it does have a pub, plenty of cafés and several shops selling souvenirs made of the local serpentine stone (see Stage 23b).
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Stage 23b - Old Lizard Head (Polpeor) to Cadgwith Cove - 4 miles
This is a very short stage.  Those whose primary interest is in getting there will add it to Stage 23a to make a perfectly reasonable length walk of 11.50 miles.   Those who wish to linger over scenery and interest will find ample to entertain them on this short section, much of it at the beginning.  Halfway is the fascinating Landewednack Church Cove.  At the end is the attractive working fishing harbour of Cadgwith Cove.  At no time after leaving Lizard Point are views very long but in good weather they are ravishing.  The first half of the walk is extremely easy going, much of it on well-made paths or dry grass.  The Lizard Lighthouse comes immediately, then you drop down to Housel Bay and climb again easily to Bass Point.  Here is Marconi’s Lizard Wireless Station, just beyond it the former Lloyds Signal Station and a prominent Coastwatch tower.  After passing Hoe Point you come to the Lizard Lifeboat station at the foot of precipitous Kilcobben Cove.  Next interest is at Landewednack Church Cove then there is a fairly steep climb up to a daymark.  The going is now more difficult, primarily because it can get very muddy for much of the way to Cadgwith Cove.  If you are walking the full 11½ miles from Mullion Cove, attractively situated Housel Bay Hotel might make a good late lunch stop;  if only walking this short stage perhaps stop here for morning coffee.
Marconi's Wireless Huts at Bass Point
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Stage 23b - Old Lizard Head (Polpeor) to Cadgwith - Oliver's Diary
I walked this, with Bob and Pam, in early March 2010.  It was one of those  strange days where the light looks good for photography but the results, thanks to the high level cloud, are surprisingly disappointing;  only when photographing buildings were the results worthwhile, coastal views were poor.  I was last here in 2002 on a short walk with Jane and my sister Mary.  We parked on Lizard Green, walked west to Caerthillian Cove and on round to Landewednack Church Cove, ending by taking the quiet road back up to Lizard Town.  I was back again in 2004 as part of my first Coast Path circumnavigation of Cornwall.  This time I took the bus from Lizard Town to Kuggar to walk down through Poltesco to Caerleon Cove and back along the Coast Path via Cadgwith Cove to Lizard Head and Lizard Town.  It was good to be back;  a hiatus of 6 years meant I had quite forgotten what a lovely walk this is.  Bob and Pam, who hardly know the Lizard Peninsula at all, have raved about our last three walks between Porthleven and Cadgwith Cove.  I really do have to agree with them that, although relatively undemanding, it has been quite a delight so far. Further on, I am looking forward to revisiting the charming fishing coves of Porthoustock and Porthallow though, after what I have to say elsewhere on this web site about Coverack, I may not be entirely welcome there. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Cadgwith Cove from The Todden
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Stage 23b - Old Lizard Head (Polpeor) to Cadgwith - GPS Data
Distance:  3.87 miles.   Cumulative:  204.37 miles.   Intermediate:  Landewednack Church Cove 2.19 miles.  Ascent:  Estimated 900 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 37950 feet.   Highest Point:  Daymark after Landewednack Church Cove 210 feet.   Biggest climb:  To daymark after Landewednack Church Cove 210 feet.  Next biggest an easy 125 feet up to Bass Point.   Steps:  Up 78, no long flights. Down 130, longest flight 50 steps down to Housel Bay.  Stiles:  5, mostly sheep stiles.   Map:  OS Explorer 103 The Lizard.   Difficulty:  Overall fairly easy.  Very easy to Landewednack Church Cove, moderate from there to Cadgwith Cove. 
Stage 23b - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Lizard, small NT CP at Lizard Head, nearby short-stay pay CP, short walk to large NT CP, donation CP on Lizard Green.  Cadgwith, large pay CP, shortish walk on path to the cove.   Intermediate Parking:  None known.    Refreshments:  Seasonal cafés Old Lizard Head.  Cafés and pubs Lizard Town and Cadgwith. Toilets:  Old Lizard Head NT CP and Lizard Town, Cadgwith (none in car park).  Transport:  First bus 33 links Lizard Town (½ mile Old Lizard Head) and Ruan Minor (½ mile Cadgwith). Accommodation:  Lizard Town.  Landewednack Church Cove.  Cadgwith.
Stage 23b - Interest along the Coast Path
Lizard Lighthouse:  Instantly recognisable by its twin towers, the light tower hexagonal, the other square.  An earlier lighthouse was built in 1619 but lasted no time.  The present one was built in 1752 and has been one of Britain’s most important ever since.  A Heritage Centre was officially opened in 2009.  Trinity House has renovated the Engine Room, keeping some of the original engines.  As part of a Heritage Centre, there an exhibition, an AV room and interactive displays.  Displays in the engine room illustrate the history of Trinity House.  You can take a tour of the lighthouse, climb the tower, learn about lighthouse keepers and their families, find out about the weather, power up and sound a foghorn, track ships, send a Morse Code message, learn about semaphore and signal flags. Lizard Wireless Station:  The oldest surviving Marconi Wireless Station in the World is now owned by the National Trust which has restored it.  It is now operated occasionally by amateur radio enthusiasts as GB4MBP and is open to the public 12-3 on 5 days a week from June to August, 3 in September and on some Sundays during the rest of the year.   Guglielmo Marconi:  Marconi’s first successful transmission was from the Post Office HQ near St. Paul’s Cathedral.  In 1897 he achieved his first transmission over water, 4 miles from South Wales to Flatholm Island, followed by a 10 mile signal to Brean Down.  In 1899 he transmitted from Wimereuz in France to South Foreland in Kent.  In 1900 he came to Cornwall and succeeded with a 186 mile transmission between Bass Point and Niton on the Isle of Wight.  Then, setting up a transmitter at Poldu Point on the west coast of the Lizard peninsula, he achieved the first transatlantic transmission to St. Johns in Newfoundland, some 2,200 miles, on 12 December 1901.  He is remembered in Cornwall by the National Trust’s restored Marconi Wireless Station at Bass Point and by a memorial high on the cliffs at Poldhu Point (see Stage 22).   Lloyds Signal Station:  Lloyds of London once effectively managed the operations of the world’s shipping as part of its marine insurance business.  This signal station was used in pre-radio days to communicate instructions to ships leaving or arriving at the inshore waters off this southernmost tip of the British mainland.  Now it is owned by the Landmark Trust and rented as a most unusual holiday home.   Lizard Lifeboat Station:  The station in Kilcobben Cove opened in 1961, replacing the stations at Lizard Head and Cadgwith Cove.  You can visit it on weekdays between 12 and 2.  Just bear in mind that there are 200 steep steps down to it (and back) although, if you are crew, you get to use the cliff railway.  In 2010 the RNLI replaced the station with a new one, similar in design to that for the Padstow lifeboat, and a new Tamar Class lifeboat was acquired.   Landewednack Church Cove:  The Ordnance Survey just shows it as Church Cove – both the village and the Cove itself – and confusion would be easy with Gunwalloe Church Cove on the Lizard’s west coast.  It consists of a few houses and a church up the hill and the former busy fishing cove below.  The buildings in the cove make a delightful grouping:  the old Fish Cellars, an attached Roundhouse, the former Winch House and the old Lifeboat House.  It must have been difficult enough to launch cove boats from here, the lifeboat must have been almost impossible.  All these buildings are now holiday or second homes.  As at Gunwalloe, the church is dedicated to St. Winwaloe.  He was also known as Wednack and a church at Towednack near St. Ives is also dedicated to him.   Cadgwith Cove:  A delightful spot, with unexpected thatched cottages, happily still a working harbour.  Down by the cove there are pretty thatched and whitewashed cottages; one stands on the Todden, a small point overlooking the harbour.  Old net lofts and pilchard cellars are now shops, a tea shop and a restaurant.  The Cadgwith Cove Inn has folk music on Tuesday night, traditional Cornish singing on Friday.  Cadgwith has the largest fishing fleet on the Lizard, inshore boats no longer after the pilchards but now seeking crab, lobster, mackerel, mullet, sea bass and shark. They are quite a colourful sight drawn up on the shingle beach.
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Stage 24 - Cadgwith Cove to Coverack Harbour - 7½ miles
In one way this is a slightly confusing stage.  Not the route, which is perfectly straightforward except at Kennack Sands, but the distance.  If you rely on the Coast Path signs it is anything from 7 to 10 miles.  On the GPS it is less than 7½.  However, there is much up and down along the way, and several headlands – Carrick Luz, Chynhalls and Dolor Point - that you should walk out to for the view, so it seems more like 10 miles.  It is also a tougher stage than you might expect.  It starts easy enough as far as Kennack Sands, even the first 200+ foot ascent to Kildown Point is easy going.  After Kennack, footing becomes more difficult in places and after Carrick Luz it is fairly strenuous with quite a lot of difficult footing.  Other 200 foot climbs are a moderate one up from Kennack Sands and that out of Downas Cove, where steep muddy high-rise steps make the climb fairly difficult.  The curve of the coastline makes for worthwhile views.  For most of the way you look forward to Black Head and back to Bass Point.  After Black Head views forward are to Lowland Point and right along the coast.  Rocky coves and jagged cliffs offer plenty of photo opportunities.  Along the way there is less interest than on most stages but, whatever you do, don’t miss exploring the old serpentine works at Caerleon Cove. 
A round walk includes Landewednack Church Cove, Cadgwith, Caerleon Cove
The olde serpentine works at Caerleon Cove
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Stage 24 - Cadgwith Cove to Coverack Harbour - Oliver's Diary
It was another gloriously sunny early March 2010 day.  Sunny perhaps but a biting easter wind meant wrapping up well.  It also made the going quite tough and the footing difficult in some places, particularly up from Downas Cove and around Chynhalls Point.  I was last here in the course of three round walks in 2004 and 2005.  All the days then were overcast so this time I was glad of the sun and the chance of some worthwhile photos.  There are two spots along the way that especially reward the photographer.  The first is the old Watch House on the way up from Cadgwith Cove.  Here you get a particularly good view back to the cove with fishing boats drawn up on the hard and pretty thatched cottages behind.  On this occasion, despite neap tide, waves crashed spectacularly on the Todden.  The next location is Caerleon Cove, below Poltesco.  Here are the remains of both pilchard and serpentine industries, pictured at their best after a high tide when a large pool on the beach offers good reflections.  Kennack Sands is quite photogenic, too, and if the Beach Café on the road is open I recommend their bacon sandwiches.  Here there is a choice of the official inland dune route or, at low tide, a beach route.  Approaching Chynhalls Point there seem to be several alternatives.  Do take the one out to the point for views to Dolor Point and Lowland Point. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Boats on the hard at Coverack Harbour
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Stage 24 - Cadgwith Cove to Coverack Harbour - GPS Data
Distance:  7.31 miles.   Cumulative:  211.68 miles.  Intermediate:  Caerleon Cove 1.15 miles. Kennack Sands 2.13 miles. Carrick Luz 3.52 miles.  Black Head 5.46 miles.  Ascent:   Estimated 1900 feet.    Cumulative:  Estimated 39850 feet. Highest Point:  Above Zawn Vinoc, after Carrick Luz, 240 feet. Biggest climb:  225 feet up from Downas Cove.  2 other climbs of over 200 feet, leaving Cadgwith and Kennack Sands.  Steps:  Up 128, serious steep flight of 87 up from Downas Cove.  Down 117, longest 57 steps down in Coverack.   Stiles:  10 of mixed types.  Map:  OS Explorer 103 The Lizard. Difficulty:   Overall fairly strenuous.  Ample moderate but much difficult ground in last half of stage .
Stage 24 - Useful Information
Car Parking: Cadgwith, large pay CP, short walk to cove.  Coverack, some by Paris Hotel, donation CP ½ mile on.   Intermediate Parking:  Kennack Sands, small cliff-top CP just before, large seasonal CP, street free much of year.   Refreshments:  Seasonal cafés and pub Cadgwith.  Seasonal cafés Kennack Sands.  Paris Hotel and cafés Coverack.   Toilets:  Cadgwith (none in car park).  Kennack Sands (on coast path).  Coverack. Transport:  No linking public transport.  Accommodation:  Cadgwith, Kennack Sands, Coverack
Stage 24 - Interest on the Coast Path
Caerleon Cove:  Beach with massive sea-rounded stones and remains of two former industries.  There was once a flourishing pilchard fishery.  After 1846 the buildings were added to and operated as a serpentine factory.  A warehouse and capstan house still stand complete and remains of several other buildings survive.   Serpentine:  To give it its full geological name, serpentinised mantle peridodites is found nowhere else in England.  It really shouldn't be here at all as it's part of the earth's mantle and ought to be some 10 miles below the surface.  It was once a major Cornish industry and still flourishes on a small scale.  It was a visit to Cornwall in 1846 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that started the craze for Serpentine.  The dark green rock, with its blue and red veins, polishes like marble to a wonderful deep sheen.  It was much used for architectural and decorative features and for monumental masonry.  Sadly, it does not weather well and those uses have died out.  However, it is still worked for small decorative objects.  A favourite is the miniature lighthouse, stocked by half the shops in Lizard Town.  The beach is covered with massive rounded rocks, presumably sea-washed industrial waste.  Even the cliffs show evidence of serpentine quarrying.  Caerleon Cove is a charming and tranquil cove accessible only from Poltesco or from the coast path.   Kennack Sands:  Part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve.  Popular family resort with holiday park and double beach with silver sands.  One of the south coast’s few good surfing beaches with two seasonal cafés and a large seasonal car park.   Carrick Luz:  Prominent headland of mainly serpentine rock.  The iron age promontory fort is much degraded.   Black Head:  Viewpoint not to be missed.  From the former Watch Hut you get your last view back to Bass Point and Lloyds Signal Station and, on a clear day superb long views east as far as Rame Head, almost your final destination.  Coverack:  Loved by holiday makers for its family-friendly beach - even though the beach is more stone than sand, even at low tide.  There is a fair amount of wind-surfing in the sheltered bay - and there are several attractive thatched cottages.  The village's one serious claim to fame was its lifeboat.  Over the centuries Coverack's lifeboats saved numerous lives, many from ships wrecked on the dreaded Manacles reef.  In 1898 the Mohegan was wrecked there with the loss of 106 lives, their grave is in St. Keverne churchyard.  The following year the American liner Paris went aground on Dolor Point but no lives were lost.  The village's pleasant pub, the Paris Hotel, commemorates the occasion.  There is no longer a lifeboat in Coverack; the former lifeboat station is now a restaurant.  Harbour Lights café is open all year.
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Stage 25 - Coverack Harbour to Porthallow - 5½ miles
This very short stage is a mixed bag.  Essentially easy, it has its awkward parts in wet weather and, oddly for a coast path, goes inland for some way, using more road than one might like.  There are reasons for this:  quarries, working and closed, along the cliffs hinder access.  There is, however, a way of using more coast and less road (see below).  A delight is the charming fishing coves that you encounter, Porthoustock and Porthallow.  Other than a rental cottage there is no accommodation in Porthallow but an extra 1¾ miles on this and the next stage gives ample choice in St. Keverne, a delightful village well worth the detour.  Scenery is enjoyable with early views forward to Lowland Point, later to Manacle Point and finally over Falmouth Bay to The Dodman.  The first ¾ mile is on road then comes the only potentially awkward section, the 1¼ miles to Lowland Point;  here springs mean it can get very muddy though stepping stones do help.  After Lowland Point the path passes through abandoned Dean Quarry on its way to Godrevy Cove.  Crossing the beach, do not turn left at the waymark (marshy ground) but continue to the second path to turn.  The climb to Rosenithon is easy enough;  after the village do make the short detour to see the “Giant’s Quoits”.  Porthoustock, with its active quarry and small fishing boats, is worth lingering over before heading inland to Porthallow. 
Porthoustock, looking to the stone hopper 
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 25 - Coverack Harbour to Porthallow - Oliver's Diary
I walked this twice in March 2010, first as two round walks – Coverack, Porthoustock, St.Keverne and Porthoustock, Porthallow, St. Keverne – then as a linear walk.  The round walks were for photos, the linear walk for data.  Although I have visited Porthoustock and Porthallow many times, the last time I walked the coast path here was in 2005.  Some things have changed since then.  Dean Quarry, between Lowland Pount and Godrevy Cove, was still working then.  Now all the machinery and many of the buildings have gone.  Porthoustock seems unchanged but at Porthallow I will swear that the charming thatched cottage by the beach has changed, perhaps it was just redecoration. Also new to me was a vast carved slab on the beach, marking, at 315 miles, the halfway point of the full South West Coast Path.  Sadly the shops have gone and the Five Pilchards Inn, which I am assured is open under new management, was yet again closed each time I was there.  I was delighted, on my round walks, to visit St. Keverne twice.  It is a place I love.  I got good photos of the church at last and each time enjoyed a cafetiere of coffee outside the Three Tuns.  A week later I returned to Porthhoustock to check out a possible coastal route to Porthallow via Porthkerris:  it works (see below). 
A round walk from Coverack includes Porthoustock and St. Keverne.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Fishing boats on the beach at Porthallow
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Stage 25 - Porthoustock to Porthallow - The alternative coastal route
Those who, like me, prefer to stick to the coast wherever possible can find an alternative route from Porthoustock to Porthallow which includes an extra mile or so of coast and avoids road, bar a short stretch of lane.  From the coast path sign in Porthoustock take a track, past the thatched white-washed cottage, leading ENE towards Batty’s Point.  This is an old tramway that linked the defunct St. Keverne Quarry with Porthoustock.  After passing quarries on the left, this comes to a dead end but a short scramble up the grassy cliff puts you on a path along the cliff.  This joins what is a probable former inclined plane down to a causeway to the beach at Porthkerris Cove.  Leave the cove on the lane heading uphill.  At the top, go right through a galvanised gate, and immediately right again down a cleared swathe with a fence on the right.  This bears left as a sunken track then left on a path to a gap to a field.  Cross the field to a wrought iron gate and follow a path through thorny scrub to a kissing gate.  At this point the path, now shown on OS103, descends steeply through woods to Porthallow Cove.  None of this route, except the lane up from Porthkerris and the OS path, is on clear rights of way, and none of it has any footpath signs or waymarks.  However, it is all used by locals and by serious Coast Path walkers so you should have no qualms about trying it. 
Looking down to Porthkerris
There is an important Diving Centre at Porthkerris
For full details of this route go to a round walk from Porthoustock, taking in Porthkerris, Porthallow and St.Keverne.
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Stage 25 - Coverack Harbour to Porthallow - GPS Data
Distance:  5.39 miles.   Cumulative:  217.07 miles.   Intermediate:  Lowland Point 2.05 miles.  Godrevy Cove 3.03 miles.  Porthoustock 4.15 miles. Ascent:  Estimated 900 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated: 40750 feet.   Highest Point:  Junction of road from Trenance with lane to Porthkerris Cove at 221 feet. Biggest climb:  Moderate 219 feet from Godrevy Cove to road near Giant’s Quoits beyond Rosenithon.   Steps:  Up 31, no flights.  Down 19, no flights.   Stiles:  23, mostly granite of mixed types.   Map:  OS Explorer 103 The Lizard. Difficulty:  Overall easy though with rocky footing and many stepping stones over mud on way to Lowland Point
Stage 25 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Coverack, donation by Paris Hotel and ½ mile north, street free except summer.  Porthallow donation on beach.   Intermediate Parking:  Porthoustock, donation parking on beach.   Refreshments:  Paris Hotel and cafés Coverack.  Pub and seasonal café on beach at Porthallow.   Toilets:  Coverack near harbour and seasonal in further CP.  Porthoustock (all year).  Porthallow (all year).   Transport:  First bus 32 links Coverack and St. Keverne (1¾ miles Porthallow).   Accommodation:  Coverack.  Porthallow.  St. Keverne (1¾ miles Porthallow)
Stage 25 - Interest along the Coast Path
Dean Quarry:  The coast path skirts the site, following the line of the cliffs.  Greenstone and gabbro were quarried here.  Closed recently, the machinery and many of the buildings have now gone.   Other Quarries:  West of England Quarry, on Manacle point just before Porthoustock is still very active, producing gabbro primarily for roadstone.  The quarry can be seen from Porthoustock beach and you may see freighters loading at the quay on the south side of the beach.  St. Keverne Quarry, north of Porthoustock is closed and you can walk through it.   Porthoustock (pronounced Prowstock):  Four miles of coast from Lowland Point to Porthkerris is riddled with stone quarries and it is they which have determined the character of Porthoustock, Porthkerris and Porthallow.  Beaches have been formed by longshore drift of dark quarry spoil;  that at Porthoustock rose gradually by eight feet when a massive groyne was built with a stone hopper on it to load ships with stone from the now defunct St. Keverne Quarry.  An earth mover maintains the height of the beach.  West of England quarry, on Manacle Point and visible from Porthoustock beach, still operates and you may see freighters loading crushed gabbro stone.  Former winch huts are now used for storage, a tractor draws boats up the beach.   Most cottages were once quarrymens homes; some are still lived in by descendants who make a small living from the sea but many are now second homes.  There is a lovely thatched terrace just up the valley.  Until the 1970s two cotils, small steep south facing fields were used to grow early potatoes, harvested in March or April.   Porthallow (pronounced Pralla):  Another attractive fishing and pleasure boat cove.  A larger village than Porthoustock but around half the cottages are second or holiday homes so there is not much sense of community except at weekends and in summer.  Shops have closed and the hours of the Five Pilchards Inn are uncertain.  A massive stone plaque on the beach (donation parking) records that this is the halfway point on the full south West Coast Path from Minehead to Poole.  Toilets open all year.
Stage 25 - Interest off the Coast Path
The Manacles:  Over the centuries a multitude of ships have foundered on the Manacles reef.  As many as four hundred victims are buried in St. Keverne churchyard.  Manacles sounds an odd name but the explanation is simple.  The tower of St. Keverne church is used as a daymark for vessels needing to avoid the rocks, hence the spire, unusual for Cornwall.  The Cornish for the reef is Maen Eglwys, meaning church rocks.  Major shipwrecks here include the John bound for Canada in 1855;  190 out of 233 died because of the captain’s incompetence and the cowardice of  the crew .  In 1898 the Mohegan hit the Manacles with the loss of 106 lives.  In 1809 the Primrose and the Dispatch both went down with 250 lives lost.  The reef is popular with divers and Porthkerris, 1½ miles from the Manacles, is home to Porthkerris Land and Sea Sports and to Porthkerris Divers.  The latter provides dive tuition, equipment sales and hire, and diving - both shore diving around the cove and wreck diving out at the Manacles.  Dive Action of St. Keverne also offers tuition, kit hire and sales.  Both can arrange accommodation.   St. Keverne:  Atractive St. Keverne is worth lingering in for its history, church, handsome square and pubs, the Three Tuns and White Hart.  Unlike some Cornish villages, it still has the feeling of a real place - boasting a Silver Band, Male Voice Choir, Ox Roast, Carnival and Rodeo festivals - and shops.  Its historic claim to fame goes back to 1497.  The Cornish had expected that Welsh Henry VII would treat his fellow Celts well and at first he did.  Then heavy taxes were imposed to support Henry's Scottish wars, a matter the Cornish felt no concern of theirs.  A Cornish force, led by Lord Audley, Michael Joseph (An Gov) the St. Keverne blacksmith and Thomas Flamank, a Bodmin lawyer, marched on London to be routed by Henry's army at Blackheath.  Joseph and Flamank were cruelly executed.  Their memorial is by the lych gate, their statue on the Helston road.  St. Keverne’s other martyr was Martin Geoffrey, executed along with many other Cornishmen in the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1547.  A memorial in the churchyard, and a stained glass window commemorate the 106 lost when the SS Mohegan foundered on the Manacles.
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Stage 26 - Porthallow to Helford Point - 8 miles
An easy 8 mile walk, not without oddities.  First, like the Gannel crossing on Stage 9, the signed route may not be usable.  This is the crossing of Gillan Creek from Flushing to St. Anthony which, without waders, is usually impassable.  Second, half the route is not on coast at all but along rivers, through woodland with no views.  Third, unlike most other stages, there are no refreshments en route, unless you make a detour to the excellent New Inn at Manaccan.  Fourth, unlike most stages, there is little or no interest along the way.  Finally, thanks to all the woodland, GPS is unreliable so total ascent is subject to guesswork.  The route starts with a 135 foot climb with steps up from Porthallow.  It is then easy going all the way by Nare Point to Flushing.  Above Nare Cove be sure to follow the correct waymark along the cliffs by Nare Head.  At Flushing you encounter the almost inevitable detour inland to get to St. Anthony via Carne.  There follows a 160 feet climb to a stile at Dennis Head.  The path then does a loop round the head (views) and back over the stile before descending easily to the woodland of the Bosahan estate.  You then follow the Helford River to Helford but see little of it for trees.  Nowhere to stay in Helford, so be sure to be in time for the ferry to Helford Passage. 
A round walk from Helford takes in Frenchman's Creek.
Carne, at the head of Gillan Creek
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 26 - Porthallow to Helford Point - The Gillan Creek Crossing
The signed route from Flushing to St. Anthony-in-Meneage is across Gillan Creek.  You are directed to take steps down on to the foreshore and follow a ridge to stepping stones.  These are uneven and slippery and are covered by the sea much of the time.  If you can get across them, you then have to cross a wet and seaweedy bank to a second set of stepping stones.  These are much more even and are quite passable when visible.  The route you may prefer, and will most probably have to take, is signed inland on two roads with a shortish linking field crossing.  It is actually worth it for the charming tiny hamlet of Carne at the very head of the creek.  There is an alternative of sorts at all but the higher tides.  This is to follow the foreshore along the south side of Gillan Creek until you can get up into Tregithy Woods to come out at Carne.  There may well also be a simple summer alternative.  According to the Official Guide to the South West Coast Path there is a summer ferry available at high tide.  They give a number to call for more information - 01326 231357. 
Official Guide to the South West Coast Path
One of the two small coves at Gillan
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Stage 26 - Porthallow to Helford Point - Oliver's Diary
This stage, walked in March 2010 with Bob and Pam, is one of my least favourite, despite its ease for ageing limbs.  I have walked its component parts before, in 2003, 2005 and 2007, on my own and with my sisters.  My view of the walk, and I have to admit that not all agree, is that it is something of a bore.  I am happy enough walking inland, most especially on the moors, and I enjoy a good woodland walk, but when I walk the coast I want to be up on cliffs with sea views.  After the first couple of miles on this stage, all that I love about the coast disappears and I find myself either walking in woods with only occasional views or walking on tarmac.  Bob and Pam enjoyed Bosahan Woods along the Helford River but I found the going dull, muddy and lacking in all but the occasional view across to Durgan (see Stage 27)  The only saving qualities I can find are the occasional view across Falmouth Bay and along the coast eastwards and some attractive hamlets and villages - Gillan, Carne, St. Anthony-in-Meneage and Helford - though even in these I feel unwelcome.  Gillan Creek and the Helford River are very much second home territory and the second homers, mostly sailors, tend to look on walkers as creatures from another planet.  Happily I have already done the next boring bit to Falmouth so I look forward to stretching my legs on the Roseland. 
Boats on the hard at St. Anthony-in-Meneage
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 26 - Porthallow to Helford Point - GPS Data
Distance:   7.89 miles.   Cumulative:  224.96 miles.  Intermediate: Nare Point 1.40 miles.  Flushing 2.78 miles.  St. Anthony 4.89 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 1750 feet.  Cumulative:  Estimated 42500 feet.  Highest Point:  Ladder stile at Gillywartha 205 feet.  Next 192 feet above Nare Cove.  Biggest climb:  195 feet up from Flushing to Gillywartha.  160 feet from St. Anthony up to Dennis Head stile.   Steps:  Up 103, includes 48 up from Porthallow.  Down 95, includes 60 (in stages) down to Gillan.  Stiles:  11, includes 4 granite sheep stiles.   Map:  OS Explorer 103 The Lizard. Difficulty:   Overall easy but too much road Flushing to St. Anthony on the detour avoiding Gillan Creek crossing.
Stage 26 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Porthallow, donation parking on beach.  Helford, large pay CP above village.   Intermediate Parking:  St. Anthony.  May also be able to park unofficially at Gillan and Carne.  Refreshments:  Seasonal café on beach at Porthallow.   Shipwrights Arms and seasonal Tea Garden, Helford.   Toilets:  Porthallow (all year).   Helford (in car park).   Transport:  No linking public transport.   Ferry:  Helford Ferry (operates from Helford Passage) links with Helford Point, seasonal, from 1st April (Easter if earlier) to 31st October.  On demand 0930 to 1730 (to 2130 late June to August).  Gillan Creek Ferry, see above.   Accommodation:  Porthallow.  St. Keverne (1½ miles).  Ferryboat Inn, Helford Passage.  Mawnan Smith (1¾ miles).
Stage 26 - Interest
Nare Head and Nare Point:  Oddly, from this Nare Head you can see the Nare Head on the Roseland.  Views from here, of the Helford Estuary and over Falmouth Bay to St. Mawes, St. Anthony Light, the Dodman and, on a clear day to Rame Head and into Devon, are most enjoyable.  You are welcome to visit the NCI Coastwatch station at Nare Point.   Gillan Creek:  Small tidal creek, wooded both sides.  No interest except for the charming hamlet of Carne at its far end.   St. Anthony-in-Meneage:  Pronounced Menaig which means Monk’s Land.  One of the south coast’s sheltered sailing centres and home to the Helford River Yacht Club.  You will find quite large boats parked on the hard and there is sail and motor boat hire.  Cottages are all holiday lets.  There is an attractive small church; and you can walk through the churchyard to get back on the Coast Path.  Car park is up the hill behind the church. Dennis Head:  From the Cornish word Dinas meaning a fort.  There was a perfectly located promontory fort here and in the English Civil Wars the Royalists located a battery here;  little trace is visible of either.   Helford:  An attractive waterside village, mostly populated by incomers and second homers who often don’t get on with the local fishermen.  Surprisingly, it still has a shop.  The Shipwrights Arms is an attractive thatched waterside pub.  Helford River:  Shown on the map as the Helford River, and that's what everyone calls it, but really it is just a ria, a drowned valley.  A few unimpressive nameless streams debouch into it in the course of its six miles from the sea to the tidal limit at Gweek, the longest, of about three miles, looks to rise just to the east of Helston.  More striking are the many creeks that these streams enter the Helford River by.  Best known is the sombre Frenchman's Creek, made famous by Daphne du Maurier.  Most attractive is Porthnavas Creek, filled with small boats, lined with expensive second homes and location of the Duchy Oyster Fishery.  Gweek has a boatyard, houseboats and an engineering works - and is home to the renowned Cornish Seal Sanctuary.  The best way to enjoy the Helford River is undoubtedly from a small boat.  As a walker, it saddens me that there is so little foot access.
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Stage 27 - Helford Passage to Falmouth, Prince of Wales Pier - 10 miles
This is one of the easiest stages and arrival in Falmouth feels like the home stretch is now in view.  This is one for those who like regular coffee breaks:  opportunities at each beach along the way (some closed in winter) and a wide choice in Falmouth.  There is nothing very striking about views.  You look back only to Nare Point, forward only to St. Anthony Head, but the Helford Estuary is a delight and, once at Falmouth, the views over Carrick Roads and of the docks are enjoyable.  Interest along the way occurs early and late.  You start close by Trebah and Glendurgan gardens, walk through charming Durgan village, and pass by the garden of Meudon Hotel.  Beaches are acceptable but poor compared to the north coast.  You start along the banks of the Helford River, climbing to 150 feet above Shag Rock.  At Rosemullion Head views start to open out over Falmouth Bay as the path undulates its way down to Maenporth Beach.  It can be very muddy this far.  Another climb, up to 180 feet, on the way to Swanpool Beach, then it’s tarmac all the way, except for half-a-mile after Pendennis Point.  If you are short of time, you can save 1¾ miles by walking through Falmouth Hotel’s grounds to cut out Pendennis.  If you have the time, do visit Pendennis Castle and the superb National Maritime Museum.  Sadly, there is little waterfront that you can access in Falmouth. 
Gigs at Helford Passage
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 27 - Helford Passage to Falmouth, Prince of Wales Pier - Oliver's Diary
I had previously covered this stage with Jane as an out-and-back from Falmouth in 2000 and a round walk from Maenporth in 2004.  We shall never forget the out-and-back.  Staying at the Greenbank while house-hunting, we set off after lunch, quite unsuitably shod, intending just to look for a restaurant in town for dinner.  We ended up doing 5½ miles of Coast Path to Maenporth and 4 miles back.  We finished the day with a healthy appetite but sore feet.  This time, on my own in February 2010 and properly shod in my Brashers, I found the walk wonderfully easy going though muddy and slippery as far as Maenporth, thanks to recent rain.  I was pleasantly surprised to find all the beach cafés open, perhaps in anticipation of half-term.  Arriving at the Coast Guard station at Pendennis, I decided that it is ridiculous that the official path cuts off the point itself so I circumnavigated it, adding a couple of hundred yards.  I love the view from Pendennis Point to St. Mawes, the start of the next stage.  It always disappoints me that there is so little access to Falmouth’s waterfront - really only to the attractive fishing harbour - so, if you do decide to visit the superb National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, you must go up the tower for the glorious views over Falmouth, Carrick Roads, the harbour, docks and Penryn River.  I strongly recommend both museum and view. 
Falmouth's attractive inner fishing harbour
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Stage 27 - Helford Passage to Falmouth, Prince of Wales Pier - GPS Data
Distance:  10.04 miles.   Cumulative:  235.00 miles.   Intermediate:  Maenporth 4.45 miles.  Swanpool 6.09 miles.  Pendennis Point 8.00 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 1750 feet.   Cumulative: Estimated 44250 feet. Highest Point:  Between Newporth Head and Pennance Point 180 feet.  Biggest Climb:  180 feet out of Maenporth.  3 other climbs over 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 85.  Down 74, includes 39 down to Durgan.   Stiles:   9.  Map:  OS 103 The Lizard.    Difficulty:  Overall easy. Moderate from Helford Passage to Maenporth, mostly level on tarmac from there.
Stage 27 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Helford Passage, behind Ferry Boat Inn.  Many CPs Falmouth, suggest convenient Quarry near ferry. Intermediate Parking:  Bosveal (½ m).  Maenporth beach (free).  Swanpool (free).  Gyllyngvase.  Pendennis Point (free).  Refreshments:  Ferry Boat Inn.  Beach cafés at Maenporth, Swanpool, Gyllyngvase.  Multiple choices Falmouth.  Toilets:  Ferry Boat Inn.  Maenporth, Swanpool, Gyllyngvase.  Maritime Musem CP, Falmouth + many others.   Transport:  First bus 35 links Helford Passage turn (½ mile) with Falmouth.  St. Mawes Ferry:  All year, conditions permitting, web site and Tel: 01872 861910.   Accommodation:  Ferry Boat Inn.  Maenporth, Swanpool, Gyllyngvase and multiple choices Falmouth and St. Mawes.
Stage 27 - Interest along the Coast Path
Durgan:  Charming waterside village, mostly owned by National Trust.  There is an entrance to Glendurgan Garden from here.   Glendurgan Garden:  Lovely valley Spring garden with impressive maze.  One of the National Trust’s best.   Beaches:  Compared to the north coast, beaches on the south can disappoint, both for poorer sand and inferior surfing.  Along this stage you pass Maenporth, Swanpool, Gyllyngvase and Castle beaches, all nevertheless popular with families. Falmouth:  Harbour, docks, small fishing fleet, art and craft shops, cafés and restaurants, Castle and Maritime Museum.  (and see fuller description below).  Pendennis Castle:  Vast encircling ramparts and bastions were built under the supervision of Sir Walter Raleigh in Elizabethan times and remained in use until WWII.  The castle has survived assault from the sea but, during the Civil Wars, was taken by siege.  There are things to see of all periods:  the original Tudor castle, the Elizabethan ramparts and bastions, Napoleonic War fortifications, late 19th century batteries that housed 'disappearing guns', big guns and rapid firing guns, and a World War II Observation Post.  An exhibition explains Tudor coastal defences, there is an interactive exhibition at the Royal Artillery Barracks and an entertaining collection of 2nd World War cartoons.  Half Moon Battery can only be visited by joining a guided tour.  The excellent guide book covers Pendennis and St. Mawes castles and includes the battery on St. Anthony Head, also clearly visible from Pendennis – you pass it on the next stage.  Views, in all directions, are superb.  There is ample car parking and a tearoom opens all year, as does the castle. National Maritime Museum:  In a vast but handsome modern oak-clad  building, looking like a ship-building shed with a lighthouse tower on the end, the Museum has assembled a superb collection of small boats and of technological and inter-active displays.  Not just the artefacts but the complete maritime story in a dozen galleries.  Most striking features come at the beginning.  After a showcase of scale models, a ramp leads past a vast audio-visual theatre telling the story of the sea with impressive lighting and sound effects.  Then, as you continue up, you find yourself alongside the ‘Flotilla’, a comprehensive small-boat collection spanning 150 years and including racing dinghies, record breakers, working boats, fishing vessels, canoes, punts, rafts and coracles;  simple interactive displays offer information.  A gallery is home to works by the Royal Society of Marine Artists and to an exhibition on the packet boats that sailed from Falmouth.  At the top of the tower is a viewing gallery with telescopes and local displays.  In the basement you are below water with related displays.  At ground level you will find a 'pilchard cellar' from the original local museum, a sail loft, a working boatyard where craftsmen work on restorations - even a pool where children (of all ages) can try their model sailing skills.
Stage 27 - Interest off the Coast Path
Trebah Garden:  A colourful semi-wild 25-acre 'ravine' garden, dropping 200 feet down to the Helford River.  After 50 years of neglect, the Hibbert family began restoration in 1980.  Trebah’s essence is of Cornish Spring Garden - giant rhodos, magnolias, camellias and azaleas - but it is much more.  A stream garden meanders through ponds and water gardens to the river; around it bamboos, tree ferns, Chusan palms and a sea of hydrangeas, brilliant in summer.  High paths offer glorious overviews.  There is unexpected wartime interest, evidenced by path edges, lined by massive balks of timber bound with iron bands;  a studded concrete ramp, made to carry heavy vehicles;  and revetted trench-like recesses around Mallard Pond.  On the beach all is revealed.  In June 1944, Healey’s Hill carried heavy vehicles to Yankee Beach in the cove.  Trenches were machine gun positions, timber balks part of a series of ramps across the beach to platforms in the estuary, from which the US 29th Infantry Division embarked on D-Day.  A Visitor Centre - with shop, café and gallery - is in the form of a tea planter's bungalow.  Ample car parking.  No access from the Coast Path. Meudon Hotel:  Lower entrance by Bream Cove.  Worth visiting the hotel for coffee or a drink just to enjoy the lovely garden. 
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Stage 27 - Falmouth
There are several distinct Falmouths.  From the north, first the boatyards and marinas of Penryn, once a separate fishing village.  Next Dunstanville Terrace, its grand sea captains' homes looking across the water to Flushing.  Then the cobbled High Street leads to Prince of Wales Pier, where ferries leave for Flushing, St. Mawes, Trelissick and Truro.  Next the main shopping streets;  Market Street is a bit dire but Church Street is attractive with restaurants and art galleries.  Then, opposite the Tudor manor of the Killigrews is the Maritime Museum, beyond it a busy dockyard.   Now comes fortified Falmouth with Pendennis Castle high on its headland.  Finally, the sandy beaches of resort Falmouth, lined with hotels and apartments.  A good Art Gallery is near High Street in the centre of town.  What surprises is that, despite the world's third largest natural harbour and its ideal situation for international shipping, there was no town at all until the 17th century.  There were just three small settlements - Penryn to the north, the Killigrew's manor of Arwennack below Pendennis Head, and Henry VIII's Pendennis Castle.  When Falmouth grew it grew fast and by 1688 was the main Packet Ship port. The port declined with the advent of steam but from 1863 the railway brought tourists.  Now cruise ships take advantage of the deep water to anchor here, bringing their tourists..
Falmouth's Maritime Museum and Docks
Maritime Museum web site
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Stage 28 - St. Mawes to Portscatho - 6 miles
This is an easy straightforward stage with one proviso.  From November to Easter the Place Ferry does not operate so you may need to take the bus option under Useful Information below and then do a round walk from Portscatho, adding 3 easy miles.  From 2010 a new small ferry has been introduced with a pontoon to make landing at Place easier.  Scenery is superb, especially from Place Quay to St. Anthony Head where you get views up the Percuil River and across to St. Mawes and its castle, across Carrick Roads to Falmouth and Pendennis Castle and along the coast to Manacles Point on the Lizard.  There is only one place of serious interest along the way, the Battery at St. Anthony Head, so some will prefer to add Stage 29 to Portloe to their day’s walk. Starting from Place Quay there is a great view of Place itself.  The path follows the lane uphill for a little way before taking a track to St. Anthony’s church and through woodland above Cellars Beach.  Easy walking then to Great Molunan followed by a long moderate climb to St. Anthony Head.  After that views are forward, sometimes across Gerrans Bay, to the prominent headland of the Dodman, and walking is very easy although after Towan Beach you may, after rain, encounter muddy going.  The two beaches after St. Anthony Head, Porthbeor and Towan, make pleasant sheltered spots for a refreshment break.
Place, where the ferry from St. Mawes lands
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 28 - St. Mawes to Portscatho - Oliver's Diary
This is a kind of home territory for me.  Jane lived in Portscatho when I met her and I was already very familiar with the area from holidays spent in the Rectory at St. Just-in-Roseland.  So I have walked these parts many times over the years, including a delightful round walk from Portscatho that includes the shores of the Percuil River.  My last proper Coast Path walks here were way back in 2004 so I had quite forgotten just how ravishing the scenery is, especially on the way to St. Anthony Head.  I love the ever changing views over the Percuil River, St. Mawes Harbour and Carrick Roads and I always like to note the relationship of King Henry VIII’s two castles at Castle Point in St. Mawes and Pendennis Point in Falmouth, guarding the entrance to Carrick Roads and Falmouth Harbour.  For a while after St. Anthony Head I found the views a little disappointing but then, at Killigerran Head, they open out again across Gerrans Bay and along the coast east to the Dodman, a delight in store for Stage 30 on the way from Portloe to Gorran Haven.  The whole of this stage, walked with Bob and Pam in April 2010, holds pleasant memories for me, beaches at Molunan and Porthbeor and watering holes in Portscatho;  I can recommend the Plume of Feathers there and find the Boathouse acceptable enough though in my memories it used to be the Wishing Well and serve great cream teas. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
The harbour at Portscatho, looking to Nare Head and the Dodman
July 2013: While Jane was taking her Portscatho friends over to St. Mawes for a pasty lunch, sitting in the sun below the castle, I walked from St. Anthony Head to Portscatho, a pleasant fairly easy less than 5 miles.  Before setting off I decided to try the Tea Garden by the car park.  Nice garden setting with umbrella-ed and sheltered tables;  good coffee and good food but rather pricey.  I was charged £2.50 for a scone and butter, something I would value at perhaps £1.25.  Other feedback tends to agree with my thoughts on price.
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Stage 28 - St. Mawes to Portscatho - GPS Data
Distance:  6.09 miles.   Cumulative:  241.09 miles.   Intermediate:  St. Anthony Head 1.88 miles.  Towan Beach 4.16 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 1000 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 45250 feet. Highest Point:  Just beyond St. Anthony Head at 200 feet. Biggest Climb:  166 feet from Great Molunan beach to St. Anthony Head.  No other climbs over 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 65, no flights to speak of.  Down 20, no flights.   Stiles:  4 mixed stone stiles.   Map:  OS 106 Falmouth and Mevagissey.   Difficulty:  Overall easy.  Moderate climb up to St. Anthony Head.  Muddy section after Towan Beach.
Stage 28 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Large pay CP St. Mawes.  Large pay CPs Portscatho, ¼ mile along on Coast Path and up Gerrans Hill.   Intermediate Parking:  Few spaces Place Quay.  St. Anthony Head.  NT Porth Farm, above Towan Beach.   Refreshments:  Multiple choices St. Mawes.  Plume of Feathers and Boathouse café (seasonal) Portscatho. Toilets:  St. Mawes, main CP.  St. Anthony Head CP.  Portscatho, bottom of River Street.   Transport:  Western Greyhound 550 links St. Mawes and Portscatho.   Ferry: St. Mawes to Place Quay.  Operates from St. Mawes Harbour from Easter to October daily, half-hourly.  But on demand at quiet times at each end of summer season.  Web site Place Ferry.  Tel: 01872 861910.   Bus:  When the St. Mawes to Place Quay ferry is not operating out of season it is possible to get from St. Mawes to Gerrans by Western Greyhound bus 550, about 2 miles from there to Place mostly by quiet lanes.   Accommodation:  St. Mawes, Portscatho, Gerrrans.
Stage 28 - Interest along the Coast Path
For St. Mawes and St. Just-in-Roseland see below
Roseland: In most other parts of Cornwall the name would denote heathland.  Here it refers to the long promontories divided by St. Just Creek and the Percuil River.  Largely for promotional reasons, and to suit status conscious second home owners, the name Roseland is now taken to include a wide area, extending as far a Tregony to the north and Veryan and Portloe to the east.  It is delightful countryside, especially on the real promontories and around their creeks.   Place:  Described by Pevsner as ‘symmetrical neo-Gothic at its least attractive’ it has been in the same family for several centuries though the male line of the Sprys died out in the early 20th century and the last female Spry married a Grant-Dalton.   The massive lawn in front of the house was once the mill-pond of a tide-mill.  Behind the house, and joined to its older parts, is the real interest, the Church of St. Anthony with its unusual hexagonal broach spire and impressive Norman doorway.  Inside is a fine collection of memorials to the Sprys, mostly seafaring men, including two admirals.  One puzzle, why do the family add the redundant ‘House’ to Place?  The Cornish Plâs already means palace or mansion.   St. Anthony Battery:  The latter half of the 19th century was a time of revolutions and wars in Europe.  Britain felt threatened and coastal defences were updated.  Those on St. Anthony Head probably originally dated from the Napoleonic Wars but were regularly updated throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.  The fort was eventually abandoned in 1956 and the site acquired by the National Trust in 1959.  They demolished many of the buildings but kept the Observation Post, which can be visited, and the Magazine, which can’t.  Officers homes are now rental cottages.  The Lighthouse below was built in 1834 and, like all others, is now automated.  Wreck Post:  Standing above the south end of Towan Beach, the tall post with its wooden steps was used to receive the line for a breeches buoy, fired from some distance away.  The breeches buoy is no longer in use.   Portscatho:  There are really two villages, joined by time.  Portscatho is the harbour village.  Above, up a steep hill, is Gerrans, where the church and the Victory pub are, originally just straggling along the road to St. Anthony Head.  The name Gerrans derives from a 6th century king, Geraint of Dumnonia, whose fort, known as Dingerein, now on the map as Ringarounds lies to the south-west of Veryan.  Legend has it that he is buried in the massive barrow on Carne Beacon but the period is wrong by a thousand years or so.  Activity has largely migrated down the hill from Gerrans to Portscatho where, partly supported by second and holiday homes, are the Plume pub, a general stores, a couple of art galleries (representing the small colony) and a seasonal teashop.  Portscatho harbour remains intact but small leisure boats use it.  Despite second homers and visitors there is a strong sense of community and gardens are opened for charity in summer.
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St. Mawes
Rock, on the Camel Estuary on Cornwall's north coast, is Cornwall's sailing village that gets all the attention from the media, perhaps partly thanks the well-connected youngsters who holiday and party there during the summer.  St. Mawes has always been a great deal more discreet but has always been a home for serious wealth.  It is a bright and colourful sailing village with white-washed cottages under slate roofs - and a little thatch here and there - with flowers everywhere enhancing its charms.  Above the village one of Henry VIII's coastal castles looks across broad Carrick Roads to its twin atop Pendennis Point high above Falmouth.  On Upper Castle Road, above St. Mawes Castle a sign points to Lamorran House Garden, a delight open just two days in week during the summer season.  Hotels abound;  of these, Tresanton is undoubtedly far and away the best, the Idle Rocks next best, while the Rising Sun is an attractive inn;  all are close by the water.  Pub afficionados will enjoy the Victory Inn, just off the waterfront.  Walkers who enjoy an unusual garden should park by the castle and follow the water north to find the tiny village of St. Just with its delightful sub-tropical churchyard garden.  Ferries run from St. Mawes, one crosses Carrick Roads to Falmouth, the other crosses the Percuil River to Place on the St. Anthony peninsula.  The latter is your route in this stage to the continuation eastwards of the Coast Path.
St. Mawes Castle
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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St. Just-in-Roseland
I must confess a special interest in the church at St. Just-in-Roseland.  For twenty years my father's cousin Bertie was rector of the parish of St. Just.  As children we enjoyed family summer holidays staying with Bertie and Marjorie at the rectory, just across the road from the church (it's now the Old Rectory and a private home).  Jane knows it too, having lived a few miles away at Gerrans.  The church has a long history, reputed to have been founded by St. Anthony in the 6th century on a spot said to have been visited by tin merchant Joseph of Arimathea and his nephew Jesus!  Remarkably, although the English Church submitted to the rule of Rome in 664 AD, St. Just remained Celtic until the middle of the 10th century.  The church  is attractive from the outside but is disappointing inside, having been over-restored in the 19th century.  The real attraction is the location, deep in a wooded valley with the waters of a little creek lapping the churchyard walls below the lower lych gate - unusually there are two lych gates - and the sub-tropical garden planted in the sloping churchyard by an enterprising Victorian rector.  The churchyard is sufficiently steep that from the upper lych gate you are looking over the church tower.  The church is easy to find;  a sign on the road to St. Mawes points to St. Just Church and Bar - perhaps an illustration of thirsting after righteousness?
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The upper lych gate of St. Just-in-Roseland church
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Stage 29 - Portscatho to Portloe - 7¾ miles
Very much a walk of two halves.  The first, from Portscatho to Carne Beach, is fairly easy going.  Its highest point is only 165 feet at the eastern end of Treluggan Cliff, just before Pendower Beach, and the biggest climb a mere 70 feet.  The second, on to Portloe, is a different affair altogether.  The high point is Nare Head at 330 feet and it takes two climbs, of 150 and 280 feet to get there.  After that you climb to around 250 feet on several occasions, the biggest climb being the 235 feet up to the National Trust’s Broom Parc.  The two parts also contrast scenically.  The first offers few views as the path is constrained much of the way by high hedgerows or scrub and you only occasionally look down on beaches or forward to Nare Head.  The second is much more open and views across Veryan Bay to the Dodman are a delight.  For the whole length, going underfoot is quite easy although there are some quite muddy patches.  Interest is relatively minor.  After Pennarin Point, look out for Tregagle’s Hole below and ruined Mallet’s Cottage on the cliff.  At Nare Head, you should spot the evidence of a nuclear bunker, visitable occasionally.  Do allow time to explore Portloe, tiny but fascinating.  There are two routes down to it but no waymark.  Take the route out to Jacka Point for the view down into the cove. 
A round walk includes Portloe and Veryan.
Abandoned Jacket's Cottage above Tregagle's Hole
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 29 - Portscatho to Portloe - Oliver's Diary
I walked this in early April 2010 with Bob and Pam.  I had last walked here in 2007, one of quite a number walks along this part of the coast.  Jane had a charity lunch in Portscatho and left me in Portloe.  Not fancying the challenge of Nare Head on that occasion, I took an inland route on paths up the valley to Veryan, a charming village (see below) then a mixture of lane and path down to Carne Beach.  Those who don’t fancy the climbs between there and Portloe might consider this as an alternative route.  In 2010 I was pleased to find the coast route less challenging than I had expected.  My old bible – John Mason’s turnover Collins Guide – grades the whole length as strenuous.  I was pleased to find that I could grade it as overall moderate, partly because of the ease of going underfoot.  I was also pleased to find out something about the derelict cottage near Tregagle’s Hole and the strange green metallic projections by the mound up on Nare Head (more below).  If you are one who likes your comfortable coffee break, don’t rely on the OS map.  Of the two hotels shown at Pendower Beach, the first is now apartments, the second closed (and rotting) since 2008.  However, I can strongly recommend the Nare Hotel which hosted Jeremy and Mimi’s wedding reception.  The path used to go to the front of the hotel but a landslip now means a detour behind.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Nare Head and the Dodman from Portscatho
September 2013: I walked part of this, but in the reverse direction, in early September 2013.  Jane, who was lunching with friends, dropped me off in Veryan.  The walk to Nare Head was easy, fields and tracks, but I must confess that I found the descent to Tregagle's Hole and the ascent the other side tough going.  I did note a couple of changes along the way.  There seemed to me to be more steps than expected along Treluggan Cliff and there were also several new kissing gates, perhaps the National Trust replacing stiles.
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Stage 29 - Portscatho to Portloe - GPS Data
Distance:  7.72 miles.   Cumulative:  248.81 miles.  Intermediate:  Pendower Beach 2.93 miles.  Nare Hotel 3.51 miles.  Nare Head 5.06 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 2200 feet. Cumulative:   Estimated 47450 feet.   Highest Point:  Nare Head 330 feet.  Next just before Portloe 265 feet.   Biggest Climb:  430 feet from Nare Hotel to Nare Head in two climbs of 150 feet and 280 feet.   Steps:   Up 117, no flights to speak of.  Down 119, includes 55 down to Porthbean beach in flights of 19 and 36.   Stiles:  22, mostly wooden but also a variety of granite stile types.   Map:  OS 106 Falmouth and Mevagissey.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Easy to the Nare Hotel.  Some strenuous sections from there on. 
Stage 29 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Large pay CPs Portscatho, ¼ mile along on Coast Path and up Gerrans Hill.  Up Treviskey road in Portloe.   Intermediate Parking:  Pendower Beach.  Carne Beach.  Near Nare Head at NT Kiberick Cove at 921/378. Refreshments:  Plume of Feathers and Boathouse café (seasonal) Portscatho. Lugger Hotel and Ship Inn Portloe.  Toilets:  Portscatho, bottom of River Street.  Pendower Beach CP.  Carne Beach. Portloe above harbour on Coast Path.   Transport:  Western Greyhound 550 and 551 appear to link at Portloe turning on Tregony – St. Mawes road.   Accommodation:  Portscatho.  Gerrrans.  Nare Hotel Carne Beach.  Broom Parc.  Portloe.  Veryan. 
Stage 29 - Interest along the Coast Path
Features below - On the Coast Path, Portloe.  Off the Coast Path, Veryan.
Carne Beach:  Together with the preceding Pendower Beach, the sands here stretch for over a mile and are generally quiet.  There is parking at both beaches.   Mallet’s Cottage:  Just before the last climb up to Nare Head, the ruin of a one-up, one-down, fisherman’s cottage, built in the 19th century.  It’s fireplace is massive.  Ground floor walls are of stone, the upper floor was of cob.   Tregagle’s Hole:  One wonders whether the name is connected with the legendary Jan Tregeagle, reputed to have been so evil that he had to make a pact with the Devil to keep out of hell until judgement day.  The pact required him to perform impossible tasks:  to empty Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor with a limpet shell with a hole;  to move the sand from Gunwalloe beach to Porthleven – he spilled the sand from his giant sack, creating Loe Bar;  and many other impossible tasks.  He is also associated with the hermit’s cell on Roche Rock where he tried to take refuge.  The real Jan Tregeagle was a Bodmin magistrate, notorious for his harsh judgements.  Nare Head:  At 330 feet, one of the highest headlands along the south coast although the Dodman, on the next stage, rises to 380 feet.  Offshore is the massive Gull Rock, sanctuary for seabirds but the site of several wrecks, the last in 1914.   Nare Head Nuclear Bunker:  Identified by green metal projections above the ground, close to what looks at first like a large cairn, this was the Veryan Royal Observer Corps Underground Command Post, constructed in 1962 close to an existing decoy command bunker mound.  Its purpose was the observation of nuclear bursts and monitoring of nuclear fallout.  A Survival Unit, it gave 3 people 3 weeks virtual total protection.  Exercises were held here 4 times a year through 1960s, 70s and 80s, with site meetings weekly.  It was stood down in 1991 and is now owned by the National Trust and managed by the Truro Branch of the ROC Association.  Restored, it can be visited by appointment and on summer open days for a  90 minute tour.  Visible above ground are the green painted hatch and ventilator shaft and the decoy command bunker.  Use the NT Kiberick Cove CP at 921/378 and walk up.  For booking contact Lawrence Holmes at Ve6agv@hotmail.com.  Broom Parc:  Now a National Trust property, the house operates as a B&B.  Broom Parc featured in a 1991 TV adaptiation of Mary Wesley’s The Camomile Lawn.  The terrace, above a wide cove, was apparently a favourite with 20th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Gordon Cosmo Lang.  There is a wonderful daffodil meadow.   Portloe:  Unspoiled tiny fishing village with a classy hotel, a good pub, and familiarity from use as a film and TV location.  Portloe feature below
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Portloe - On the Coast Path at the end of the stage
This is expensive second home territory, as is much of the Roseland, yet manages to retain the olde-worlde charm of a small active fishing cove.  It is a total delight.  To get the best out of Portloe, park in the only car park, way up the hill from the north.  Walk its narrow street and enjoy the charming cottages, with a couple of exceptions no longer fishermen's cottages.  Wander down to the cove where you will see evidence of the crab and lobster still caught by the local fishermen.  The buildings on the cove are mostly part of the Lugger Hotel, once just a pub but now one of Cornwall's best hotels.  If you lunch at the Lugger, there is a car park.  Or walk up the Veryan road for a pub lunch in the excellent ancient Ship Inn, also with a car park.  If the tide is out, you can cross the back of the beach, cross in front of the former Lifeboat House, now a home, and continue north on the Coast Path where you quickly encounter an amazing shack that was once the Coastguard lookout.  If Portloe seems unexpectedly familiar, it may be so from film and television.  Among others, it has featured in The Camomile Lawn, as a Mediterranean village in Forever England, an Irish village in Irish Jam, in an early version of Treasure Island, and in Wild West, a dreadful TV comedy series of which Dawn French should still be ashamed.
Lugger Hotel above Portloe's tiny Harbour
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Veryan - Off the Coast Path
Veryan is a charming little village on the Roseland, on the road to tiny Portloe harbour.   It comes in two parts.  Churchtown has pub, church, post office and stores and a lovely garden.  Half-a-mile north-east is Veryan Green.  Both are notable for their pairs of thatched round houses.  These were built around 1815 by vicar Jeremiah Trist as homes for his several daughters.  Thatched and with crosses on top, they are round to ensure there are no corners for the devil to hide in.  Jeremiah's son Samuel built Trist House as his vicarage;  its beautifully kept garden, with superb herbaceous borders, opens daily from April to mid-September - when good cream teas are served.  The church is unexpectedly dedicated to a French martyr, St. Symphorian, the name gradually corrupted to Veryan.  It has Norman origins with Romanesque door and window arches;  the font is a mediaeval copy of a Norman design.  The New Inn stands on the green, a pleasant place with good food and a nice garden behind.  Opposite is Elerkey House which does B&B, has an art studio and gallery, a gift shop and a coffee shop.  There is also an art gallery at Veryan Green.  Half-a-mile south of Churchtown, on a path from Carne Beach and Carne, is Carne Beacon with a massive bronze age cairn and fine views over Gerrans Bay.
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Two of the round houses in Veryan
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Stage 30 - Portloe to Gorran Haven - 8¾ miles
Some guides rate this section ‘strenuous’ but, thanks to easy footing, its several climbs merit only 'moderate to strenuous'.  The stage starts with an easy 145 foot climb up to the ramshackle old Watch House above Portloe – good view back to the village.  It then undulates until another 100 foot climb before Carn Pednathan.  More undulations then a 185 foot climb to 275 feet before a moderate descent – though with a lot of steps – to West and East Portholland.  The moderate 155 foot climb out of East Portholland is followed by easy going down to lovely Porthluney Cove.  The 245 foot climb out of Porthluney Cove is stiffish with a flight of 134 steps but going is easy again to isolated Hemmick Beach.  The big climb is up to the Dodman;  two long climbs totalling 430 feet taking you fairly easily up to the stage’s highest point at 370 feet.  Views from the Dodman are tremendous and, happily, continue so as the aspect is now much more open.  Make the most of views when you have them, for too much of the way they tend to be obscured by hedgerows and scrub.  Going continues no more than moderate to Gorran Haven.  Interest along the way is primarily the sandy beaches but the promontory fort on the Dodman is worth exploring and, in spring, only garden haters should miss Caerhays Castle’s wonderful garden.  A round walk includes Porthluney Cove, The Dodman and Penare.
East Portholland from the coast path
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Stage 30 - Portloe to Gorran Haven - Oliver's Diary
I walked this stage with Bob and Pam in April 2010.  I had previously done it as two walks.  The first was a 9 mile round walk in 2002 with Jane, repeated solo in 2008, using the coast from Porthluney Cove to Gorran Haven and an inland route, mostly on road, back by Gorran Churchtown and Treveor.  In those days there were two pubs in Gorran, the Lawnroc, where we ate, up the hill from the beach, and the Barley Sheaf in Gorran Churchtown.  Sadly, at the time of writing in Spring 2010 both were closed but the Lawnroc later re-opened as a boutique hotel, the Barley Sheaf as a good local pub.  The second was a solo outing in 2005 when Jane, who was visiting in Portscatho, dropped me at Porthluney Cove for a short 4 mile walk back to Portloe, where we lunched in the excellent Ship Inn up the hill.  Although hedgerows somewhat restrict views along this stage, when you do get open views they are quite superb.  Best of all is from the Stone Cross on the Dodman.  From there you look back over Veryan Bay to Nare Head, over Gerrans Bay to Zone Point, and over Falmouth Bay to Black Head on the Lizard.  Forward the views are even longer, all the way to Rame Head and on into Devon as far as Bolt Head on the Kingsbridge estuary.  Hope for a fine clear day on this stage because nowhere along the south coast will you enjoy better views.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Gorran Haven Harbour, low tide
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Stage 30 - Portloe to Gorran Haven - GPS Data
Distance:   8.78 miles.   Cumulative:  256.59 miles.   Intermediate:  West Portholland 1.95 miles.  Porthluney Cove 5.50.  Hemmick Beach 5.40.  Dodman 6.39.   Ascent:  Estimated 2550 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 50000 feet.  Highest Point: Dodman Point 375 feet.  Next before West Portholland 275 feet.   Biggest Climb:  430 feet from Hemmick Beach to Dodman Point in two climbs of 190 feet and 240 feet.  Steps:  Up 362, includes 134 up from Porthluney Cove.  Down 265, includes 92 down to West Portholland.   Stiles:  Only 5 stiles, all wooden but there are 21 kissing gates, some of them quite narrow.   Map:  OS 106 Falmouth and Mevagissey.  Difficulty:  Overall fairly strenuous.  Moderate to Porthluney Cove, strenuous from there.  Some rocky footing.
Stage 30 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Up the Treviskey road in Portloe.  250 yards up hill to Churchtown in Gorran Haven.   Intermediate Parking:  East Portholland.  Porthluney Cove (free out of season).  Hemmick Beach.  Lamledra Farm.  Penare (¾ mile from Dodman Point)  The last 2 both National Trust.  Refreshments:  Lugger Hotel & Ship Inn Portloe.  Porthluney Cove café (seasonal).   Café by beach (seasonal) & pubs Gorran Haven.   Toilets:  Portloe above harbour on Coast Path.  East Portholland.  Porthluney Cove.  Gorran Haven.  Transport:  No practicable bus link;  it would require 3 changes and take hours.   Accommodation:   Portloe.  Veryan.  Boswinger.  Gorran Haven.  Gorran Churchtown.
Stage 30 - Interest along the Coast Path
Below you will find features on Caerhays Castle and Gorran Haven
Portholland:  Between Portloe and Porthluney Cove, tiny twin hamlets separated by a small headland.  Forming part of the Caerhays Estate, most of the cottages are second homes or holiday rentals.  If, when you pass through, Portholland looks slightly familiar, you may have seen it in the Poldark TV series.   Porthluney Cove:  Also familiar from Poldark, Ross rode across the beach of this delightful cove on his return from the war in France.   Caerhays Castle Garden:  If you are walking the Coast Path here in Spring, this superb garden is a must (feature below).   Hemmick Beach:  Quiet sandy beach at the point where you begin the climb up to the Dodman.  Popular with families.   The Dodman:  The most impressive, and highest headland along the south coast.  The massive granite cross on the point was erected by a rector of St. Michael Caerhays as a daymark.  It stands within an enormous promontory fort, its banks up to 15 feet high in places.   Vault Beach:  Also known as Bow Beach, part of its quiet mile-long curving sandy beach is on the NT Lamledra estate.  Gorran Haven:  Family holiday territory though the sheltered harbour still has a few fishermen  (feature below).
Stage 30 - Interest off the Coast Path
Penare:  A pleasant National Trust owned hamlet, a path leads to it from the Dodman.  The small black Dexter cattle that you see grazing the Dodman are raised by Penare Farm for their top quality beef.
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Caerhays Castle and Garden - on the Coast Path
Cornwall's most highly specialised - and probably best - spring garden boasts the finest imaginable collection of camellias, azaleas, magnolias and rhodos.  2009 and 2010 were both classic Aprils at Caerhays.  Unusual winters meant that almost everything bloomed at the same time and while camellias may have been past their best, daffodils were still going strong and a mass of bluebells already carpeted the ground.  Two criticisms: a detailed garden plan may have good descriptions but numbering doesn't seem to relate to plant labels - and both the garden tea-room and the excellent beach café may well be closed in the earlier part of the garden’s season..  The Caerhays Estate has only changed hands once in over 600 years.  The Trevanions acquired the estate - from Portloe to Mevagissey - in 1370.  Around 1805, John Bettesworth Trevanion hired architect John Nash to build the present house.  Nash's well-known extravagance bankrupted Trevanion and the entire contents, even the lead off its roof, were sold.  Eventually John Williams - Welsh born mine owner and banker - bought it in a state of dereliction in 1855. The Williams are still there. The Castle also opens for guided tours but is very Victorian and of little importance.  There is ample car parking by delightful Porthluney Cove, where you will find the beach café and toilets.
Caerhays Castle, highland cattle in the foregrund
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Gorran Haven - at the end of the stage
Gorran Haven is attractive with fishing boats in the harbour, nice old fishing related buildings clustered around.  Facing south-east, the harbour dries out at low tide and provides a safe bathing beach with a seasonal café.  Some narrow old streets climb the hill from the harbour and there is a lot of recent development beyond.  Undoubtedly many of the houses are second homes and holiday rentals.  Slightly surprisingly, philosopher and prolific author Colin Wilson lived and died in Gorran Haven.  On the way up the hill is the little St. Justus Church, a chapel of ease once used as a fish cellar and net store.  Further up is the Llawnroc Hotel, once a pleasant pub, now a boutique hotel.  Keep going for another mile and you come to Gorran Churchtown.  Here is the Barley Sheaf Inn.  This was closed for refurbishment in April 2010 but subsequently re-opened as a good local pub.  Also here is the handsome St. Goran's Church.  St. Goran (or Goranus) is probably the Guron of Bodmin, who moved here when Petroc arrived there.  The 13th to 15th century church is typically Cornish with its crenellated and pinnacled porch, a fine collection of original bench ends and some good modern wood carvings.  Outside is an unexpected vault dated WSG 1813 and a lovely Spring display of daffodils. 
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
Looking to Turbot Point from Gorran Haven
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Stage 31 - Gorran Haven to Charlestown - 11¼ miles
Very much a stage of two halves.  Gorran Haven to Pentewan is fairly easy;  three moderate climbs but level much of the way.  Pentewan to Charlestown has a lot of up and down, giving a total ascent of around 3350 feet and some serious staircases to contend with.  Hence the overall rating of fairly strenuous.  As with the previous stage, views occur less often that you might hope, thanks to almost continuous hedge.  When you do get views, make the most of them as they are well worthwhile.  Looking back you see no further than the Dodman but forward you have the attractive sweep of St. Austell Bay and on a clear day you see not just to Rame Head but on to Bolt Head in Devon.  You start from Gorran Haven with a long but easy climb to 250 feet and undulate to Chapel Point where you have another easy 150 foot climb before Portmellon and another on road out of there.  The climb out of Mevagissey is 190 feet and, although you reach 260 feet at Penare Point, the going is fairly easy to Pentewan.  Going is then moderate to Polrudden where the tough bits start.  Statistics show 655 steps up and 421 down, most after Polrudden.  A serious cliff fall in 2010 meant a boring road diversion between Porthpean and Charlestown.  Happily, in early 2012 the Coast Path proper was restored.
A round walk includes Gorran Haven and Penare. 
The unusual home on Chapel Point
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 31 - Gorran Haven to Charlestown - Oliver's Diary
I walked this in April 2010 in two parts.  With Bob and Pam I walked the easy part from Gorran Haven to Pentewan and. a couple of days later, continued to Charlestown solo.  I was first here in 2004 and 2005 in the course of four separate round walks.  I shall never forget the round walk with Jane from the car park at Lower Porthpean, heading out to Black Head and back up the valley to Trenarren and then past Castle Gotha on our return to Lower Porthpean. As we passed through Trenarren village on our way out to Black Head, we were joined by a mongrel name Ruby who insisted on acting as our walk leader for the next three miles as far as the Rowse Memorial – though she wouldn’t go out to Black Head but waited at the memorial – and then escorted us back to Trenarren.  In 2010 I found this an interesting stage.  I enjoy its harbours at Gorran, Mevagissey and Pentewan, love the views across St. Austell Bay – and the occasional view of Clay Country above St. Austell – and have always loved Charlestown, even though it can sometimes get over-run with visitors.  Do believe me about the Duporth diversion.  I took a close look at where the Coast Path used to go, saw the overhang and turned straight back.  From the look of the site, there will be more falls there.  It’s just a pity that the diversion is all on road and quite boring.  2012:  The coast path has now been restored here. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Mevagissey Bay, looking to Chapel Point 
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Stage 31 - Gorran Haven to Charlestown - GPS Data
Distance:  11.26 miles.   Cumulative:  267.85 miles.   Intermediate:  Mevagissey Harbour 3.34 miles. Pentewan Harbour 5.61 miles.  Black Head 7.75 miles. Ascent:  Estimated 3350 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 53350 feet.   Highest Point:  Trenarren Car Park 325 feet.  5 other high points over 200 feet.  Biggest Climb:  280 feet up from Porthpean Beach but easy going.  250 feet up from Gorran Haven.  11 other climbs over 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 665, includes 110 up approaching The Vags.  Down 421, includes 170 before Silvermine Point.   Stiles:  20 stiles, almost all wooden.   Map:   OS 106 Falmouth and Mevagissey.   Difficulty:  Overall fairly strenuous.  Moderate to Pentewan, strenuous from there.  Footing generally very good but many steps.
Stage 31 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  250 yards up hill to Churchtown in Gorran Haven.  Opposite Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown.   Intermediate Parking:  Portmellon.  Mevagissey.  Pentewan.  Trenarren.  Lower Porthpean.   Refreshments:  Café by beach Gorran Haven.  Llawnroc Hotel, Gorran Haven.  Rising Sun, Portmellon (Mar-Oct).  Many pubs, cafés, restaurants Mevagissey.  Ship Inn and Piskey Cove café Pentewan.  Snack shack at Porthpean Beach.  3 pubs and several cafés at Charlestown.   Toilets:  Gorran Haven.  Portmellon.  Mevagissey.  Pentewan. Porthpean Beach.  Charlestown (E side of harbour).   Transport: Western Greyhound bus 526 links Pentewan and St. Austell.  Bus 525 links St. Austell and Charlestown.  Accommodation:  Gorran Haven.  Gorran Churchtown.  Mevagissey.  Pentewan.  Porthpean.  Duporth.  Charlestown.
Stage 31 - Interest along the Coast Path
See also features below on Mevagissey, on Pentewan and on Charlestown
Chapel Point:  The cluster of white painted buildings on Chapel Point, built in the 1930s as a private house looks for all the world like a small Mediterranean monastery.  Below it to the west is Bodrugan's Leap where Sir Henry Bodrugan is said to have escaped his Edgcumbe enemy when fleeing after Lambert Simnel’s abortive uprising in 1487.   Portmellon:  Attractive small cove with safe bathing and a good pub, the Rising Sun.  Mevagissey:  Cornwall’s third busiest fishing harbour is most attractive but gets overwhelmed by summer visitors (see feature below). Portgiskey:  Above a small cove, just before Pentewan, remains of cottages, fish cellars and boatyard, abandoned in C19.   Pentewan:  The once busy harbour is now cut off from the sea.  Attractive village with large holiday park by the beach (see feature below).   Black Head:  The most prominent headland along this stage has superb views and a memorial to Cornish author, Shakespeare scholar, Tudor historian and supreme egotist, A. L. Rowse, who lived at nearby Trenarren House, visible from the coast path.   Beaches:  After Black Head you see a succession of popular beaches all around St. Austell Bay.  Charlestown:  Delightful small harbour town, once an important port, now a familiar TV and film location (see feature below).
Stage 31 - Interest off the Coast Path
Trails:  One of Cornwall's Clay Trails starts from Pentewan village, the Pentewan Valley Trail.  Although this stops short of St. Austell, it is easy to find a largely off-road route through the town to link to the trail that leads to Wheal Martyn, home to a superb China Clay Country Park and Museum.  A mile along the Pentewan Valley Trail, an off-road cycle route leads to Mevagissey, passing close to Heligan Garden on its way. Heligan Garden:  One of Cornwall’s great gardens, rescued from dereliction by Tim Smit of Eden Project fame.
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Mevagissey - on the Coast Path
From the photo on the left (small as it is) you might be forgiven for thinking that Mevva (as the Cornish call it) is a delightful place:  there is the busy harbour with its fishing fleet and pleasure boats, old cottages clustered around its north side, large newer homes standing above it.  However, once a charming small fishing village, in the 20th century it sadly became over-run by modern development and the worst of cheap tourism.  The harbour is still a delight - if you don't look too closely at the cheap cafés and shops that surround it - and it is still Cornwall's third busiest fishing port.  But it is definitely not a place to spend much time in.  Best to enjoy the view from Polkirt Hill, on the way into Mevva, and not to linger as you pass through on the way to the far more enjoyable villages of Pentewan and Charlestown.
Mevagissey harbour
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Pentewan - on the Coast Path
It surprises, arriving here, to discover a historic port.  From early times local stone quarries supplied such homes as Antony near Torpoint with superb silvery grey stone.  A small fishing cove, at the mouth of the St. Austell River, it came to handle cargoes of tin, stone, sand and grain.  A harbour was constructed in 1744 and it was the first port to handle local china clay (see stage 32).  However, when the Rashleighs built their new port at Charlestown in 1801, the Hawkins family struggled to keep it open, eventually closing.  The harbour remains intact and still has its sea-lock but access to the sea is blocked.  Industrial remains moulder to the south of the harbour.  Substantial houses and cottages line the main street.  Walk up Pentewan Hill and follow the coast path sign to find the colonial looking Terrace and Georgian church.  Behind the beach is a large and orderly looking holiday park.  The beach, owned by the holiday park, is private but has public access.  The Ship Inn is a pleasant place, with simple good value food, but gets busy from the holiday park in summer. The Pentewan Trail follows the course of the White River towards St. Austell; add a little road walking and you can link with the Clay Trail to Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum.  Free car parking, toilets, café, shop, accommodation, cycle hire, diving centre and surf hire.
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
The sea lock at bthe old entrance to Pentewan harbour
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Charlestown - at the end of the stage
Originally West Polmear, you might expect that the name of Charlestown would have been acquired in the 17th century to honour King Charles I or II.  But it is named for Charles Rashleigh, local landowner with major interests in mines and china clay.  He transformed a small fishing harbour during the early 19th century.  Harbour and picturesque village were the work of engineer John Smeaton - who built the pier at St. Ives, several canals and the famous Eddystone lighthouse, now standing on Plymouth Hoe.  China clay is no longer exported and the harbour is owned by a company called Square Sail who provide period ships for films;  their tall ships are usually moored by the quay.  Unusually the harbour has a sea-lock keeping it in constant water.  It comes as a surprise that Charlestown has retained its Georgian flavour so strongly, despite 21st century tourism.  There are three pubs - the Rashleigh Arms, above the harbour, is preferred – and a couple of cafés, one in a former boathouse.  Charlestown may be familiar from such movies as The Eagle has Landed, Poldark, The Onedin Line, Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle and many others.  A Shipwreck Heritage Centre has a vast collection of artefacts and displays on diving and ocean liners.  The village can get very busy, so it may be best to avoid the height of the holiday season.
The old china clay harbour at Cherlestown
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Stage 32 - Charlestown to Fowey - 11 miles
Another stage very much of two parts.  After a long easy climb of 215 feet up from Charlestown Harbour to Porth Avallen Hotel the going is then very easy as far as the eastern end of Par beach.  The last part of this section is also a bit boring since from Split Point you are on first tarmac path and then road much of the way to the western end of Par beach.  At least the present route is an improvement on the old one which stayed on the road all the way to the eastern end.  You are then back on proper Coast Path to Readymoney Cove.  There is nothing difficult about the way to Polkerris although the steps down to the village are steep.  It becomes a little more strenuous from Polkerris to Readymoney Cove though there are no difficult ascents or descents.  From Readymoney to Town Quay in Fowey it is all on road.  Yet again, views are restricted by hedges and scrub.  On the way to the Gribbin you look back across St. Austell Bay to Black Head.  From the Gribbin you get a brief long view to Rame Head and on into Devon and, towards the end, views across the Fowey River to Polruan are superb.  There is relatively little interest along the way but plenty to take your attention once you reach Fowey.  Going underfoot is generally excellent though the rocky path leading down to Readymoney can get slippery.  See below for route alternatives.
A round walk includes Polkerris, Gribbin Head and Readymoney Cove. 
The delightful small harbour at Polkerris
Oliver's Diary  -  Alternatives - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 32 - Charlestown to Fowey - Some Alternatives
Carlyon Bay:  At the vehicle entrance to the stalled Beach development at 154/522 it is possible to take a path down to the beach, cross it to its eastern end at 067/522 for an easy rock scramble and path to rejoin Coast Path at 067/523.  Par Docks:  On joining the road at Par, you can almost certainly enter the now closed Par China Clay Docks at the main entrance, bear L and follow the road to a child crossing sign to go R to rejoin the Coast Path, on a path through woods to Par Sands.  This saves a stretch of road through Par.   Par Beach:  At the far eastern end of Par Beach at 087/530, you can cross a metal footbridge, go right, scramble up rocks to a path to rejoin the Coast Path at 087/529.  This cuts off a few hundred yards.   The Gribbin:  When you reach the Gribbin Daymark at 098/497, you can cut off a corner direct down to the hunting gate at 100/501.   Readymoney Cove:  Above the cove, the Coast Path goes forward but steps to the right lead more directly to the beach. 
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Stage 32 - Charlestown to Fowey - Oliver's Diary
I walked this stage solo in two parts:  a Charlestown and Polkerris out-and-back walk and a round walk from Polkeris to Fowey, returning to Readymoney Cove for an inland route back, mostly on the Saints Way.  Previously I had done it in the course of three separate walks, the first two parts in 2005, the last, the Polkerris, Fowey round walk, several times with Jane and sister Mary.  In April 2010 both walks were in hazy weather with little in the way of views so photography, except in brief sun at Polkerris, was a waste of time.  At Carlyon Bay I was disappointed that the massive The Beach project, which promised to bring employment to St. Austell, has remained stalled since 2005 and the old Coliseum stands roofless and rusting.  In contrast, I was pleasantly surprised by the improvements at Polkerris since I was last there:  the once scruffy café in the old lifeboat house is now quite enticing and there is a small watersports centre with its own café.  I was disappointed that the haze meant that the long views from the Gribbin were non-existent.  Readymoney Cove looked sad.  I hope the new owners of Readymoney House, once home to Daphne du Maurier, will open their garden occasionally, as the previous owners did.  Fowey I enjoyed, as I always do, and even in poor weather views across the river are ravishing. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Town Quay at Fowey
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Stage 32 - Charlestown to Fowey - GPS Data
Distance:  10.96 miles.   Cumulative:  278.81 miles.   Intermediate:  Par Docks 3.21 miles.  Polkerris 5.87 miles.  Polridmouth 8.29 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 3350 feet.   Cumulative: Estimated 56700 feet.  Highest Point:  Gribbin Daymark 260 feet.  Only 2 other high points over 200 feet.   Biggest Climb:  215 feet up from Charlestown but easy going.  200 feet up from Polkerris.  Only 4 others over 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 109, no long flights.  Down 88, includes 56 down to Polkerris.  Stiles:  4 stiles, 3 wooden and one sheep.   Map:  OS 107 St. Austell and Liskeard.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Very easy to Par Beach, some strenuous thereafter.  Footing generally very good, but may be awkward down to Readymoney Cove.
Stage 32 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  N end of harbour, Charlestown, some free on street.  Large CP above Fowey, small CP by Bodinnick Ferry, large one close by.   Intermediate Parking: Carlyon Bay, above beach.  Polmear, above beach.  Polkerris (300 yards).  Readymoney Cove (expensive).   Refreshments:  3 pubs and several cafés, Charlestown.  Carlyon Bay Hotel.  Welcome Home pub and Ship Inn, Polmear.  Par Beach café, near holiday park entrance.  Rashleigh Inn, Sams on the Beach and Polkadot cafés, Polkerris.  None at Readymoney Cove.  Wide choice Fowey.  Toilets:  Charlestown (E side of harbour).  Par Beach, on lane to holiday park. Polkerris, close to beach (signed).  Readymoney Cove.  Fowey.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 525 links Charlestown and Fowey, 1 bus a day, early a.m. from Fowey, late p.m. from Charlestown..  Bus 524 links St. Austell and Fowey.  Ferry:  Pedestrians, Fowey to Polruan, Town Quay or Whitehouse Slip, daily every 15 minutes.  Cars, Caffa Mill Car Park to Bodinnick, daily every 15 minutes.   Accommodation:  Charlestown.  Carlyon Bay.  Par.  Polkerris.  Fowey.  Polruan. 
Stage 32 - Interest along the Coast Path
Features below on Fowey and Literary Fowey
Carlyon Bay:  What was once a lovely beach, complete with a music venue called the Coliseum, is sadly despoiled at present (2010).  A major holiday project, called The Beach, ran into planning difficulties after groundwork had started.  Now the beach is divided by a seawall and the Coliseum stands roofless and rusting.  A sad sight.   Par:  A dreary industrial town which has lost its main industry, china clay, with the closure of its operation at Par Docks.  There are plans (2010) for a massive regeneration with a major marina but one hopes it moves faster than Hayle Harbour.   Polkerris:  A tiny attractive harbour village with a family friendly pub, the Rashleigh Inn, a good looking café in the old lifeboat house, and another café at a small watersports centre.  The popular family beach is well protected, enclosed within the harbour.  Former pilchard cellars stand at the southern end of the beach.  Gribbin Head:  Along with Black Head to the west, The Gribbin closes off St. Austell Bay at its eastern end.  Rising to around 260 feet, it is crowned by a massive red and white daymark tower.  Polridmouth:  The sheltered sandy cove lies at the very southern end of the Rashleigh family’s very private Menabilly estate (see Daphne du Maurier feature).  Above the cove are a summer house and ornamental lakes.  An attractive spot where the sandy beach is relatively little used as the nearest car park is some half-mile away.   St. Catherine’s Castle:  The small artillery fort was constructed on the orders of Henry VIII as an outer defence for the important harbour of Fowey.  Of two storeys, there are gun ports at the lower level.  Below the fort is a two gun battery constructed in 1855.  Across the Fowey River at Polruan is a blockhouse, though this relates to a similar one in Fowey.   Readymoney Cove:  At the very beginning of Fowey, the cove, looking across to Polruan, is dominated by a mansion above its northern side.  The house behind the cove was once home to Daphne Du Maurier.  One of the two branches of the southern end of the Saint’s Way starts here, heading inland to join the Coast Path and a Clay Trail at Polmear.   Fowey:  Charming harbour town with a long and important history.  China clay is exported and cruise ships call here (see feature below). 
Stage 32 - Interest off the Coast Path
The Saints Way This walking trail runs for 30 miles from Fowey to Padstow on the north coast.  As far as Helman Tor, there is a choice of routes.  Clay Trails One starts from Par Beach, running to the Eden Project where it links with trails to Bugle and Wheal Martyn.  These are multi-use trails.   Marsh Villa Garden:  Delightfully colourful and varied privately owned garden, close to Par railway station.  3 acres of garden and woodland, in what was once a tidal creek and could have been the setting for Daphne Du Maurier’s House on the Strand.  Open 5 days a week from April to September and well worth a visit anytime in that period.
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Fowey - at the end of the Stage
An attractive small town with narrow streets and a one-way system.  Its scenic attractions are less easy to enjoy than those of St. Ives and St. Mawes, also pretty waterside towns.  While they cluster around a harbour with walkable waterfronts, Fowey has no harbour as such but depends on its deep tidal river.  And while they face the water, Fowey backs on to the river and almost nowhere can you walk by the water.  There are attractive shops in Fore, North and Lostwithiel Streets and pretty alleyways climb the steep hill.  Of the several pubs, the King of Prussia is best known;  there are some boutique hotels.  There is a long maritime history.  In medieval times Fowey provided ships for Crusades and wars with the French.  Henry VIII considered it important enough to build a castle, two blockhouses and a chain across the river.  Now there are yachts, fishing boats and a china clay terminal up-river and, thanks to deep water, cruise ships visit.  A major regatta takes place in August.  Don't expect to park in the centre, instead follow car park signs on the periphery and be prepared to walk.  There are also many literary associations.  Kenneth Graham gained inspiration for 'Wind in the Willows' here whilst guest of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.  Daphne du Maurier stayed at Ferryside in Bodinnick and lived at three rented homes (one was Menabilly, her model for 'Manderley').
Fowey from Hall Walk;  Place behind the church
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Literary Fowey - mostly Daphne Du Maurier
In 1926 Daphne du Maurier’s parents bought 'Ferryside' at Bodinnick and she fell in love with both it and Fowey.  In 1932 she married Boy Browning at St. Wyllow, Lanteglos-by-Fowey.  They lived in London but in 1943, with Boy away at war, Daphne rented a house at Readymoney Cove, just south of Fowey.  She then persuaded the local landowners, the Rashleighs (builders of Charlestown), to rent her Menabilly, a mile to the west.  Menabilly was the model for 'Manderley' in Rebecca.  When her lease expired in 1969 she moved to another Rashleigh home, Kilmarth, where she died in 1989.  There is a du Maurier Literary Centre shop at 5 South Street in Fowey and each May a highly successful Literary Festival honours her.  Other du Maurier locations are Tywardreath - the name means House on the Strand - Frenchman’s Creek on the Helford River and Jamaica Inn at Bolventor.  Before du Maurier, Q - Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch - was the literary lion of Fowey.  Born in Bodmin and, although Prefessor of Literature at Jesus College Cambridge, he lived most of his life at The Haven on Esplanade, where a plaque commemorates him;  his memorial stands high on Hall Walk across the river.  One of his close friends and visitors was Kenneth Graham, author of Wind in the Willows;  Graham was inspired by the river and Q himself - who loved 'simply messing about in boats' - was probably the model for Ratty.
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Ferryside at Bodinnick, once a Du Maurier family home
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Stage 33 - Polruan to Polperro - 7 miles
It may only be 7 miles but this is probably the most strenuous stage along the south coast, comparable to the north coast of West Penwith, although the character is very different.  The stage starts with a fairly moderate climb of 225 feet out of Polruan.  You continue up to around 400 feet above Blackbottle Rock, where what is probably the best view of the walk occurs, that over Lantic Bay's two beaches and Pencarrow Head.  The way then undulates to attractive Lansallos Cove and continues like that until past Sandheap Point and Lansallos Cove.   There are then some stiffish climbs along Lansallos Cliff.  It is when you get to West Coombe that the strenuous part of the stage begins with 112 steps up to 330 feet.  After dropping down to the footbridge above Penslake Cove you then have another 166 steps up to Blackybale Point, again at around 400 feet.  The worst is now behind you as the path undulates its way to Chapel Cliff and on to Chapel Point - superb view over Polperro’s outer harbour.  Make the most of that and of the area directly around the harbour.  If you stray into the inland part of Polperro you will probably wish you hadn’t, it’s hardly the kind of place to appeal to walkers of any kind, let alone Coast Path walkers.  Interest along the way is scenic only, with generally short but good views. 
A round walk from Fowey includes Polruan, Pont and Lantic Bay.
Lantic Bay looking to Pencarrow Head 
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 33 - Polruan to Polperro - Oliver's Diary
I had previously done Polruan to Lantic Bay, though in the other direction, on many occasions in the course of a delightful round walk from Fowey.  This starts by taking the car ferry across to Bodinnick, following Hall Walk, high above the Fowey River, continuing west down to Pont, south to Lanteglos-by-Fowey (Churchtown Farm on OS107) then down to Great Lantic Beach and back along the coast to Polruan.  Lantic Bay to Polperro I had done in 2005, parking in Polperro and taking the privately-owned Polruan minibus to the stop above Great Lantic Beach.  I had been surprised then by just how tough this section of the Coast Path is.  It was no surprise, walking in April 2010 with Bob and Pam, but it was still tough with two long climbs to around 400 feet and several severe staircases along the way.  After the lack of views, restricted by hedges, on the previous several stages, it was a delight to find this much more open.  Sadly, it was no day for photography.  A sea mist had rolled in and blanketed us for much of the way.  Quite a pity that, when we arrived in Polperro, the mist had cleared and we had to endure the horrors of Cornwall’s worst tourist trap.  Only April and already the place was filled with bus loads of trippers and foreign schoolchildren.  I don’t think I shall ever learn to love Polperro although I have learned to like the next town, Looe.
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Polperro Harbour. looking to the east side
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Stage 33 - Polruan to Polperro - GPS Data
Distance:  7.03 miles.   Cumulative:  285.84 miles.  Intermediate:  Pencarrow Head 2.5 miles.  Lansalos Cove 3.70 miles.  Blackybale Point 5.19 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 2400 feet.  Cumulative:  Estimated 59100 feet.  Highest Point:  Above Blackbottle Rock (at 1.28 miles) at 400 feet.  Blackybale Point 395 feet.   Biggest Climb:  320 feet up to Blackybale Point.  235 feet up to above Lantic Beach.  225 feet out of Polperro.  Steps:  Up 391, includes 170 up to Blackybale Point, 126 up near Great Lizzen.   Down 365, includes 160 down after Blackybale Point.   Stiles:  Only 4 stiles, 3 of them sheep, but a large number of hunting gates.   Map:  OS 107 St. Austell and Liskeard.   Difficulty:  Overall strenuous.  Moderate to Pencarrow Head, severe in places after that.  Footing generally very good.
Stage 33 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Polruan, St. Saviours Hill (½ mile on Coast Path).  Polperro, at Crumplehorn (½ mile from harbour).   Intermediate Parking:  Above Lantic Bay (¼ mile).  Frogmore Farm (½ mile).  Lansallos (¾ mile).   Refreshments:  Wide choice Fowey.  Pub and cafés, Polruan.  Pubs, cafés, restaurants, Polperro.   Toilets:  Fowey.  Polruan Quay.  Polperro.   Transport:  Travel Cornwall bus 481 links Polruan Quay with Polperro Car Park, Crumplehorn.  Ferry:  Pedestrians, Fowey to Polruan, Town Quay or Whitehouse Slip, daily every 15 minutes.  Cars, Caffa Mill Car Park to Bodinnick, daily every 15 minutes.   Accommodation:  Fowey.  Polruan.  Polperro. 
Stage 33 - Interest along the Coast Path
Polruan:  Largely ignored in favour of Fowey across the water, Polruan, whilst tiny in comparison, has its own charms.  Streets are even steeper than Fowey’s and the interest is mostly close to the harbour where there is a successful working boatyard.  As you follow the coast path up Battery Lane, look out for the Blockhouse on the waterside and, shortly after, for unusual Headland Garden.  Chains were stretched from the Blockhouse, across to its counterpart on the Fowey side.   Lantic Bay:  Delightful quiet bay encountered soon after leaving Polruan.  It sweeps round for half-a-mile, terminating at Pencarrow Head.  Great and Little Lantic beaches are accessible, but not all that easily.  Inland parking ¼ mile off path.  Polperro: See feature below.
Stage 33 - Interest off the Coast Path
St. Wyllow, Lanteglos-by-Fowey:   The church  is a delight.  Daphne du Maurier thought so, too, and married Boy Browning here in 1932.  High in a valley, the only nearby habitation is Churchtown Farm.  A brass commemorates Thomas Mohun, 15th century lord of the manor.  The former Mohun pew is now a panel in the south aisle.  Bench ends are superb, among Cornwall's finest (and that is saying something), one portraying an eel and two fish.  Outside the south porch is an unusual 'lantern' cross; nearby is the stump of another. 
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Polperro - at the end of the stage
Polperro, lauded by travel guides, can be a great disappointment.  The massive car and coach park, half-a-mile away at Crumplehorn, gives the clue:  it is a day tripper’s paradise.  The commercial aspects are what offend:  streets bustling with day visitors, elbowing one another for room; shops, restaurants and cafés designed to part them from their money.  Yet, if you approach by the Coast Path, and stick to it while passing through, it can delight.   There is a small fishing fleet, coming and going through a sea-lock, keeping the harbour in permanent water.  Around the harbour are a museum of smuggling and fishing, a fish market, net stores, a stall selling fresh fish and shellfish and two of the better pubs, our favourite is the Blue Peter though we like the look of the Lugger.  At the landward end of the harbour a bridge crosses the small stream that feeds the harbour.  Shops and homes back onto the stream, one jettied out over the stream and known as the 'House on Props'.  As there are only fourteen working fishing boats, most fishermen's cottages are now artists studios or holiday homes.  You leave the harbour, heading for Looe, along The Warren, a narrow street with charming cottages.  Parking is banned in the village, except for locals, thank goodness.  Park at the head of the valley;  walk down or take the horse bus. 
Shellfish Stall on the west quay
Description - Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Stage 34 - Polperro to Seaton - 8¾ miles
This stage has two disadvantages.  First is the unexpectedly high amount of tarmac, almost half the total distance.  Second is that it gets tougher as you go along, only moderate as far as East Looe, increasingly more strenuous after that.  Views are acceptable.  Hedge obscures the view in places but there is sufficient open ground, at least as far as Looe, that you often get the long curving view east to Rame Head and on to Bolt Head in Devon.  Two views not to miss are that back to Talland Bay as you climb after leaving it and that forward to St. George’s Island from above Bridge Rocks.  Footing is generally excellent with a few rocky passages in places.  There are few stiles but quite a lot of narrow kissing gates, awkward for those with packs on the back and cameras on the front.  Interest is not great but East Looe is worth exploring.  You start with a moderate 250 foot climb out of Polperro then undulate to Talland Bay and Hannafore.  There the longest stretch of tarmac begins, 2¾ miles to beyond ugly Millendreath, and incorporating 101 concrete steps up out of East Looe.  A 325 foot climb out of Millendreath leads to Bodigga Cliff and soon views disappear as you start some steep ups and downs, with quite a number of steps, through woodland to the road down into Seaton.  There is no known accommodation in Seaton but ample in adjoining Downderry.
Nelson the seal looks to East Looe waterfront
Oliver's Diary  -  GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 34 - Polperro to Seaton - Oliver's Diary
I had previously walked between Polperro and Looe on many occasions, several with Jane, often just because we like the Smugglers Rest café just above Talland Bay.  Last time we did it, a section of cliff had collapsed east of Talland Bay, now a second flight of steps has been created;  oddly, the old ones remain.  This time I walked it with Bob and Pam and my sister Mary in April 2010Talland Bay has two coves;  I discovered this time that there is now a café in the western one, too.  I had walked Looe to Seaton in 2005 and had commented on my web site that John Mason’s grading of it in Collins Coast Path Guide as easy severely under-rated its difficulty.  When we did this walk I had quite forgotten that and the difficulty took me by surprise.   I think there may be more tarmac, anathema to a serious walker, on this stage than any other, 4.3 miles in all if you include tarmac paths.  However, the boredom of that is slightly relieved by the pleasure of seeing quiet Hannafore, with its handsome villas, and walking the Looe waterfront.  Looe is a town that, when I revisited it in 2009, I decided is much more enjoyable than my earlier web site judgement.  I don’t much like the section from Looe to Seaton:  quite apart from the tarmac, the only views are along the first part of Bodigga Cliff.  But do look out for the labyrinth there and its lovely ‘Health and Safety’ warning.  People are funny! 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Seaton Beach;  it doesn't usually look this good
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Stage 34 - Polperro to Seaton - GPS Data
Distance:   8.75 miles.  Cumulative:  294.59 miles.   Intermediate:  Talland Bay 1.29 miles.  Hannafore 3.75.  Looe Banjo Pier 5.27.  Millendreath 6.26.   Ascent:   Estimated 2150 feet.    Cumulative:  Estimated 61250 feet.  Highest Point:  Above Salter Rocks (7.38 miles) at 340 feet.  Labyrinth (6.84 miles) at 325 feet and after Struddicks at 325 feet.  Biggest Climb:  325 feet up from Millendreath to Labyrinth.  250 feet out of Polruan.  6 other climbs over 100 feet.  Steps:  Up 265, includes 101 out of Looe.  Down 352, includes 122 down to Millendreath.   Stiles:  Only 4 stiles, all wooden but many gates include narrow kissing gates.   Map:  OS 107 St. Austell and Liskeard,  OS 108 Lower Tamar Valley.  Difficulty:  Overall fairly strenuous.  Moderate to Looe, then severe in places.  Footing generally good but some rocky parts. 
Stage 34 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Polperro, at Crumplehorn (½ mile from harbour).  Seaton, close to beach.  Intermediate Parking:  Talland Bay.  Hannafore (street, free).  Looe, several, expensive.   Refreshments:  Pubs, cafés, restaurants, Polperro.  2 cafés, 1 in each cove of Talland Bay.  Wide choice in East Looe.  Smugglers Inn and Beach Café, Seaton.   Toilets:  Polperro.  Talland Bay.  Hannafore.  Looe (appropriately).  Seaton (only at café).  Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 573 links Polperro Car Park, Crumplehorn with Looe.  Western Greyhound 572 links Looe with Widegates and Hessenford.  First 81 links Widegates and Hessenford with Seaton.  Accommodation:  Polperro.  Talland Bay.  Hannafore.  West and East Looe.  Downderry (adjoins Seaton).
Stage 34 - Interest along the Coast Path
Features below - Looe and St. George's Island
Talland Bay:  An attractive two-cove bay with sandy beaches, popular with users of several nearby campsites.  Celtic Chapel:  Just before the road at Hannafore, a sign directs you left uphill to an early Christian archaeological site.  Excavated by Time Team in 2008, along with a similar site on St. George’s Island (see feature below).   Hannafore:  A strung-out village, an extension of West Looe, with a quiet air and some quite handsome early 20th century villas.  There are toilets and a seasonal snack shack, halfway along the road, also a hotel and bar shortly before West Looe.   West Looe:  Rundown, unattractive.  Concentrate on the views to East Looe and look out for a sculpture of Nelson the seal on the waterfront.   East Looe:  Attractive main street and waterfront.  Large inshore fishing fleet and busy fish market.  (see feature below).  Millendreath:  This may be the most horrible sight along the complete length of the Coast Path.  Ugly holiday chalets fill the valley and an abandoned entertainment complex stands close to the beach.  Ughh!  2012, good news, Millendreath to be re-developed.  Seaton:  An odd little place.   Where there was once a caravan park, now there is the 125-acre Seaton Valley Countryside Park, with ponds, woodland, a nature reserve and a sensory garden.  On the road are holiday apartments and the Smugglers Inn, which does food all day.  The oddly grey beach is the result of quarry waste being washed down by the River Seaton.  By the beach is the Beach Café with an extensive outside undercover area.
Stage 34 - Interest off the Coast Path
St. George’s Island:  Now owned by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and accessible by boat (see feature below).   Monkey Sanctuary:  Owned by the charity Wild Futures, the sanctuary rescues and cares for Amazonian woolly monkeys, capuchin, macaque and patas monkeys.  Not accessible from the Coast Path, it opens Sunday to Thursday, Easter to September.
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Looe - West and East and Hannafore
When I originally reported on Looe on my web site a few years ago, I was very harsh about it, really seeing only the tourist tat.  In March 2009 I was in Looe when walking the Smugglers Way.  I spent considerable time walking around the more interesting bits and taking a number of photos.  Chris Halls, who runs the 'I Love Looe' website, had taken me to task about my scathing judgment on his town.  Having been back in Looe and looked at it through different eyes, I am now happy to revise my original view - though not entirely.  Looe comes in three parts.  Divided by the River Looe are East Looe, the town's main residential, resort and shopping area, and West Looe, residential and drab with poor shops.  The two are joined by a handsome many-arched bridge and linked by a little passenger ferry.  To the west is smart residential Hannafore with a long beach.  East Looe has an attractive waterfront with a major fish market, serving Cornwall's second largest fleet (the fish is reputed to be the best as all the boats are day boats), handsome converted warehouses and a new lifeboat station.  Behind these are the charming guildhall and the old lifeboat station.  Shops and restaurants look better than I remember and I have had good fish and chips here.  Parking  free on the road in Hannafore, expensive in Looe.  Lovely walks through Kilminorth Woods.
Looe's attractive Romanesque old lifeboat house
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St. George's Island - offshore from Looe
Owned from 1965 by two sisters, Babs and Evelyn Atkins, the island, once St. Michael’s Island, now also Looe Island, is now in the care of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.  Accessible, except with a guide on just a few days a year, only by boat from Looe, the island lies just half-a-mile offshore of Hannaford.  Legend has it that the island was visited by Joseph of Arimathea, bringing his nephew Jesus.  Not as fanciful as it might first appear.  Joseph was a merchant and tin trader and surely visited Cornwall, the world’s primary source of tin.  Jesus disappears off the map as a youth and could well have travelled with Joseph.  In 2008, Channel 4’s Time Team did an extensive archaeological dig and documentary investigation - of an early Christian site on the island and of the Celtic Chapel site, known as Lamanna, on the mainland.  The programme was shown in 2009.  At Lamanna, previously dug by Croft Andrew of the Old Cornwall Socity in the 1930s, they found a reliquary and evidence of an early wooden chapel;  nearby they unearthed remains of a small monastic cell.  On St. George’s Island, not previously dug, they found evidence of both early Christian and medieval chapels and of occupation in both prehistoric and Roman times.  Appropriately to the Joseph legend, in  medieval times, both sites were outposts of Glastonbury Abbey, itself closely associated with the Joseph and Jesus legend and with the Holy Grail. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Looking over Portnadler Bay to St. George's Island
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Stage 35 - Seaton to Freathy - 7¾ miles
Unlike the previous stage, which starts easy and becomes fairly strenuous, this stage starts moderate and becomes steadily easier.   Views are mostly open and that along Whitsand Bay to Rame Head is a delight.  That back to the Dodman is less of a delight but still pleasing.  Interest along the way is sparse:  just the little village of Portwrinkle, the fort and ranges at Tregantle, and the remarkable shack city of Freathy.  Once again, there is some road, this time only 1.3 miles at the start and 0.4 miles at Portwrinkle;  the former can be avoided by using the beach when the tide permits.  Note, however, that although OS108 shows the path as running along the beach, it is actually waymarked through the village of Downderry.  After Downderry you continue with a moderate 370 foot climb, through woodland and behind hedges, into the open on Battern Cliff.  The highest point at 480 feet comes above the Skerries.  From here it is easy going as you undulate down to Portwrinkle.  After a steepish 240 feet climb out of Portwrinkle it is easy going across the golf course and on to Freathy.  The official Coast Path follows the road from Trethill Cliffs to Freathy.  On the map, it may look as if this is all road but the path is off road almost all the way.  When Tregantle Ranges are not in use, a permissive path crosses them - see below.  There are relatively few steps.
Whitsand Bay hotel at Portwrinkle
Oliver's Diary  - Detours - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 35 - Seaton to Freathy - Possible Detours
Seaton and Downderry beaches:  You could start along the beach at Seaton, continue along Downderry beach, and finally take a path up to the road, rejoining at the eastern end of Downderry at 21876/53964.   Whitsand Bay:  At really low tides, it is possible to walk all the way from Portwrinkle to Freathy – and on to Polhawn Cove – along the mostly sandy beach, a distance of 2½ miles to Freathy, 5 miles to Polhawn Cove.  As with the next detour, over Tregantle Ranges, Portwrinkle to Tregantle Cliff is passable only when the ranges are not in use.   Tregantle Ranges:   At 372/535, when red flags not flying, and the gate not locked, you can cross Tregantle Ranges, passing in front of Tregantle Fort, and emerging on the road towards Freathy at 389/529.  Far preferable to walking by the road.  Closure info Tel: 01752 822516. 
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Stage 35 - Seaton to Freathy - Oliver's Diary
I had last walked this stage in November 2005, as two out-and-backs with Portwrinkle in the middle.  There was a very good reason - Whitsand Bay Hotel.  Jane and I had discovered it, during an early exploration of the Rame Peninsula, when looking for lunch.  We tried the Finnygook at Crafthole but its power was out.  They directed us to their sister establishment, the hotel.  We had an excellent light lunch in the lounge.  Each time I returned while walking I had superb sausage and onion baguettes in the bar.  On this 2010 walk with Bob and Pam there was one major disappointment:  we had chosen a day when there was activity on Tregantle Ranges and were unable to use the permissive path across.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised that the official route, which I had expected to use the road, actually ran along a path beside it or along wide verges.  Only for a short distance, near the Coast Path’s exit from the ranges, did we have to walk on the road.  I really enjoyed passing through Portwrinkle again – we stopped to eat our sandwiches by the harbour there – and Bob sorted out a puzzle that had eluded me. (see Portwrinkle below)  Now I’m really looking forward to the final stage to Cremyll and to passing through my favourite village(s), Kingsand/Cawsand and through the delightful Mount Edgcumbe estate, which Jane and I often visit. 
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
Chalets line the cliffs at Freathy
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Stage 35 - Seaton to Freathy - GPS Data
Distance:   7.29 miles.   Cumulative:  301.88 miles.   Intermediate:  Portwrinkle Harbour 3.81 miles.  Gate to Tregantle Ranges 5.02 miles. Ascent:   Estimated 1750 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 63000 feet.   Highest Point:  Above The Skerries at 333/540 at 480 feet.   Biggest Climb:  370 feet up from Downderry to Battern Cliffs.  240 feet out of Portwrinkle.  4 other climbs over 100 feet.   Steps:  Up 51.  Down 168, includes 77 down from Cargloth Cliff and 82 down from Britain Point.   Stiles:  No stiles but 11 gates (13 if Tregantle Ranges open).   Map:   OS 108 Lower Tamar Valley.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Moderate to Whitsand Bay golf course but with 2 big moderate climbs.  Easy from there to Freathy car park.  Footing generally good with a little rock in one place only.
Stage 35 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Seaton, close to beach.  Freathy, car park just W of village.   Intermediate Parking:  Downderry centre.  Portwrinkle, near Whitsand Bay Hotel.  Road near Tregantle Fort.   Refreshments:  Smugglers Inn and Beach Café, Seaton.  Café and pub, Downderry.  Whitsand Bay Hotel, Portwrinkle.   Toilets:  Beach Café, Seaton.  Downderry.   Transport:  Western Greyhound web site map shows bus 81 linking Seaton and Freathy but timetables differ on this.  However, bus 81 links Seaton with Portwrinkle and Crafthole.   Accommodation:  Downderry (adjoins Seaton).  Portwrinkle.  None known Freathy, nearest St. John-in-Cornwall.
Stage 35 - Interest along the Coast Path
Downderry:  An odd little place, Suburbia-on-Sea, with a long street and some expensive homes overlooking the water.  If you are in need of supplies, there is a shop.  If you are a nudist, apparently you can try the eastern end of the beach.   Portwrinkle:  Charming little village, little more than a hamlet.  Once a busy fishing port, to judge by the size of the former fish cellars, now converted to a home.  Yet the harbour is tiny and only in water for part of each tide.  It is almost surrounded by jagged rocks and boats were guided in by stone posts in the water and a small daymark in a field.  The whitewashed daymark has a candle recess to guide boats in the dark.  The Whitsand Bay hotel is a pleasant place with a golf course and good food in the bar.   Tregantle Fort:  A Palmerstonian artillery fort, built in 1865, Tregantle is one of five main forts on the Rame Peninsula guarding Plymouth Sound.  Others are Scraesdon, Whitesand Bay (sic), Cawsand and Picklecombe.  Tregantle had 35 large guns and barracks for 1000 men but never fired a shot in anger.  The fort has had a variety of military occupation on and off to the present day, including the US Army in WWII.  Its firing ranges are still in use, mostly by HMS Raleigh.   Freathy:  A strange, and oddly attractive, little settlement of chalets on the cliffs and on stable landslip below the clifftop.  On the inland side of the road are Whitsand Bay Holiday Lodges, owned by Hoseasons and occupying the site of the former Palmerstonian Whitesand Bay Artillery Battery.  Further on, Tregonhawke is similar to Freathy. 
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Stage 36 - Freathy to Cremyll - 10 miles
An ideal final stage, full of interest with delightful views and, by and large, easier as it goes along.  The path from the car park just before Freathy starts by paralleling the road but then you have to join it for a mile or so through Freathy to Tregonhawke.  A little surprisingly, the highest point on the stage is on the road near Whitesand (sic) Bay Battery at around 375 feet.  The path then gets off road and wanders up and down the cliffs until the biggest climb of the walk, around 185 feet with 95 steps up onto Wiggle Cliff.  More undulation then, mostly between 200 and 300 feet until you descend gently to the cottages and converted fort at Polhawn Cove.  There is then a long but easy climb up to Queener Point and a short steep climb up to the chapel on Rame Head, a detour which adds 0.30 miles of the distance.  From here you are then mostly on the Mount Edgcumbe estate.  It’s very easy past Penlee Point and on down into the charming twin villages of Cawsand and Kingsand, not on the estate, and then it's estate again all the way to Cremyll.  Views are generally open until you get into the Mount Edgcumbe estate after Kingsand.  On the first part of the stage views over Whitsand Bay to Rame head are lovely.  Views from Rame Head are superb and subsequent views over Plymouth Sound are remarkable and fascinating.  Notes below re possible detours.
Approaching Rame Head, chapel on top
Oliver's Diary  -  Detours - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
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Stage 36 - Freathy to Cremyll - Possible Detours.  Mount Edgcumbe Route
Whitsand Bay Beach:  At low tides it is possible to walk on the beach all the way from Sharrow Point (opposite Freathy CP) to Polhawn Cove but there are rocky sections towards Polhawn Cove.   Rame Head:  You must make the short detour up onto Rame Head to see the ancient Chapel and enjoy the superb views.  This adds only 0.30 miles (included) to the official path.  A little further on you should also make a tiny detour to Penlee Point Grotto.   Mount Edgcumbe Estate:  There are multiple possible routes through the main part of Mount Edgcumbe Park.  Which is just as well since the Coast Path is not well waymarked.  For those who prefer to keep to the official route, the next item describes how to find it. 
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Stage 36 - Route through the Mount Edgcumbe Estate
Except for a short stretch through Cawsand/Kingsand, you are on the Mount Edgcumbe Estate much of the way from Freathy, though there are no estate signs until after Kingsand.  It can get complicated from the foot of Hooe Lake Valley - some signs are confusing, some waymarks missing.  Re-entering the Estate through a kissing gate, ignore the Mount Edgcumbe sign showing the Coast Path going north uphill on grass.  The regular Coast Path sign is also a little misaligned.  You should go right on the clear narrow path uphill through scrub.  It’s then clear enough until, 200 yards after a folly temple on your left at 45465/51822, you might assume that the route continues on the wide track.  This, however leads only to a difficult to negotiate section above a landslip.  Instead, follow the waymark left uphill.  This leads to another folly by a gate to open land.  Continue past the folly.  In a while you go down 55 wooden steps to a broad crossing track with no waymark.  The track coming in from the right comes from the landslip route.  You need to cross the track and, confusingly, head down 28 steps in what seems to be the wrong direction.  A hairpin turn sorts that out.  All is then clear again until, after a short climb after duck-boards, you come up into the open, immediately below The Folly.  There are cross tracks here but no waymarks.  Just keep right and go through a gate back into woods again.  The route is entirely straightforward - and highly scenic - from here on. 
Mount Edgcumbe Folly, looking to Drake's Island
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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Stage 36 - Freathy to Cremyll - Oliver's Diary
I did this final stage in May 2010 with Bob and Pam on a lovely sunny day which made the best of wonderful views and was perfect for photography.  My first walk from Freathy to Rame Head was done in 2005 as an out-and-back from the Rame Head car park.  Rame Head to Cremyll I have done on many occasions, mostly as round walks from Cremyll, first with Jane, later with sister Mary.  Mount Edgcumbe estate, with its handsome restored house, lovely gardens and woodland and parkland walks, is a place that Jane and I have visited many times and continue to return to.  I really enjoyed this as the final stage.  I love the shack city at Freathy and Tregonhawke;  proudly maintained chalets make up for the bit of road walking and always remind me of Mrs. Mustoe’s chalet on a Hampshire clifftop that we stayed in as small children at the end of the war. I love Rame Head with its medieval chapel, ramparts and superb views.  Surprisingly, until this walk I had never seen the grotto on Penlee Point, well worth the small detour.  But, most of all, I enjoyed lingering in Cawsand and Kingsand again and enjoying wonderful views of Plymouth Sound with power boats and luxury yachts coming and going and naval vessels anchored by the Breakwater.  Plymouth may not be the most beautiful of cities but it looks good across the water. 
Round walks: south from Kingsand and north from Kingsand
Description - GPS Data, Useful Information and Interest
The welcoming Edgcumbe Arms by the ferry at Cremyll
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Stage 36 - Freathy to Cremyll - GPS Data
Distance:  10.10 miles.   Cumulative:  311.98 miles.   Intermediate:  Rame Head 3.83 miles.  Cawsand Square 6.71 miles.   Ascent:  Estimated 2100 feet.   Cumulative:  Estimated 65100 feet.   Highest Point:  Tregonhawke at 375 feet.  Wiggle Cliff at 360 feet.  Rame Head at 330 feet.   Biggest Climb:  Long 235 feet ascent in Mt. Edgcumbe estate.  Easy 200 feet out of Kingsand.  Steep 185 feet up Wiggle Cliff.    Steps:  Up 313, includes 95 up Wiggle Cliff.  Down 217, includes 86 down above Redding Point.   Stiles:  No stiles and just 8 gates.   Map:  OS 108 Lower Tamar Valley.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate.  Moderate to Rame Head, with some steep parts.  Easy to Cremyll with some moderate.   Footing generally good, good tracks, some grass.  Surprising number of steps, both up and down.
Stage 36 - Useful Information
Car Parking:  Freathy, car park just W of village.  Cremyll, behind Edgcumbe Arms.   Intermediate Parking:  Road near Wiggle.  Rame Head.  Penlee Point.  Cawsand.  Kingsand.   Refreshments:  Seasonal Clifftop Café, Tregonhawke.  Pubs and cafés in Cawsand and Kingsand.  The Orangery in the Italian Garden in Mount Edgcumbe Park.  Edgcumbe Arms (all day) Cremyll.   Toilets:  Rame Head.  Cawsand.  Kingsand.  Mount Edgcumbe.  Cremyll, behind Edgcumbe Arms.   Transport:  Western Greyhound bus 81 links Freathy with Cremyll.   Ferries:  Car ferry from Torpoint to Devonport.  Pedestrian ferry from Cremyll to Stonehouse.   Accommodation:  None known Freathy, nearest St. John-in-Cornwall.  Polhawn.  Cawsand.  Kingsand.  Cremyll.
Stage 36 - Interest along the Coast Path
Features on Cawsand/Kingsand - Mount Edgcumbe - Plymouth Sound
Freathy and Tregonhawke:  A strange settlement stretches along the cliffs from Freathy to Tregonhawke and beyond, somewhat reminiscent of Clacton’s Jaywick Sands in the 1940s.  Chalet bungalows, many looking very home-made, but clearly lovingly cared for, line not only the road but also the cliff, some looking quite precarious on what must be old landslip.  Probably built between the wars, some are lived in permanently, many are holiday homes.  Steep paths lead down to the cliffside chalets;  how the owners ever got furniture into them is hard to imagine.  The attraction is, of course, the tranquil location and the superb beaches of Whitsand Bay.  In Tregonhawke the former Whitesand (sic) Bay artillery fort is now occupied by a holiday park.   Polhawn Cove:  A peaceful spot, sheltered from most of the worst weather by Rame Head and Queener Point.  The former fort has been converted to a home and what were probably coastguard cottages have also been converted.   Rame Head:  An isthmus links the headland with the mainland.  Across it were cut deep ramparts for an iron age cliff castle.  There is also some evidence of neolithic occupation.  On top of Rame Head stands a small chapel, dedicated to St. Michael.  There may have been one here since before the Norman Conquest but the present building probably dates from the 12th or 13th century.  Views from here are superb, in good weather as far west as the Lizard and as far east as Bolt Head.  Below the headland, to the west, is Western Gear Cove, popular with small boats in summer.   Penlee Point:  It is from here that you get the first comprehensive views over Plymouth Sound.  On the point is what is described as a grotto.  Originally a cave used as a watch house in the 18th century, the stone building, with romanesque and gothic arches and vaulted roof, was constructed for Queen Adelaide's visit to Mount Edgcumbe in 1827.   Plymouth Sound:  The vast natural harbour, one of the finest in Britain, covers some 10 square miles (see feature).   Cawsand and Kingsand:  The twin villages join at the appropriately named Halfway House Inn (see feature).   Mount Edgcumbe:  Delightful estate, formerly owned by the Edgcumbe family, now owned by Plymouth and Cornwall councils (see feature).
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Cawsand and Kingsand
This is a charming, tucked away part of Cornwall, more easily accessed by car ferry to Torpoint or foot ferry to Cremyll than from most of Cornwall.  Here the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand tumble down their hillsides to meet at small harbours facing broad Plymouth Sound with long views of Drake’s Island and the Devon coast.  Where they meet at the bottom is the Halfway House Inn, a comfortable pub with a good welcome, a good atmosphere and excellent food.  Surprisingly, until 1830 the Halfway House stood at a county boundary, Kingsand in Devon, Cawsand in Cornwall.  This is a great place to explore on foot with steep streets filled with colour washed stone cottages, jostling for space.  Climb high above the Cawsand side to find a gun garden with good views over Kingsand and a Victorian fort, converted to housing with breathtaking views.  Climb above the Kingsand side, past a tiny village green, to find a gate near the cliff that leads into glorious Mount Edgcumbe Park with its house, formal garden and Earl's Garden.  By Cawsand beach a shelter has an attractive tile mural.  Above the beach in Kingsand is the charming Institute with a slender clock tower.  The villages are popular with Plymouth people, thanks to a direct ferry operating from Sutton Harbour.  There is a smallish car park next to the Halfway House and a much larger one above Cawsand. 
Kingsand, the beaches and the Institute
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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The Mount Edgcumbe Estate
Mount Edgcumbe is a paradox.  On one hand the House and Earl's Garden are comparatively little visited.  On the other there is the Country Park and 'formal gardens' which act as a lung for the City of Plymouth.  Severely damaged by wartime bombing the house was rebuilt by the 7th Earl and the whole estate gifted to Plymouth and Cornwall jointly.  The exterior is striking, the contents good but it is museum rather than home.  The Earl's Garden, by the house, includes parterre, shrub borders, fine rhodos, shell house and sweeping lawns .  The 100 acres of park, much of it overlooking the water, includes formal gardens in the English, French and Italian styles, informal Rose, American and New Zealand gardens, a National Collection of Camellias, woodland with a variety of mature trees, classical and gothic eye-catchers - Milton's Temple, Lady Emma's Cottage, a folly, an arch and several 'seats' with views.  It also includes, with a couple of breaks, almost nine miles of Cornish Coast Path, from its beginning, where the little Cremyll ferry disgorges its Plymouth foot passengers, way past Rame Head - topped by a medieval chapel - and on into Whitsand Bay.  There are three car parks, one in Cremyll, two on the estate, one free.  There is a good pub in Cremyll, the Edgcumbe Arms.  There are restaurants in the Orangery in the formal gardens and the estate yard by the house.  Park and formal gardens are free;  fee for House and Earl's Garden. 
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
Mount Edgcumbe House
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Plymouth Sound
The vast natural harbour, one of Britain's finest, covers some 10 square miles.  Into it flow the Rivers Plym and Tamar, the latter also fed by the Lynher and Tavy.  Military forts and artillery batteries surround it.  Central in the Sound is the mile long Breakwater that enables waiting ships to anchor in protected waters.  Alongside it, to its north, the small island is an artillery battery.  The larger island, nearer the northern end, is 6½ acre Drake’s Island.  Originally St. Michael’s Island, later St. Nicholas Island, a medieval chapel was demolished in 1549 when construction of a fort began.  It became Drake’s Island after local hero Sir Francis Drake was made governor of the island.  After the Civil War of the 1640s it became a prison.  In 1691, when the Royal Naval Dockyard moved from Cattewater at the mouth of the Plym, the island became important to the defence of its new location at Devonport.  Best views of the Sound are from Penlee Point, from which you see the Breakwater and the defences on the eastern shore, and from Mount Edgcumbe and Cremyll, from where you see Plymouth Hoe, the entrance to historic Sutton Harbour, from which most of the explorations of the Americas started and from which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed in 1620, Drake’s Island, Millbay Docks and Royal William Yard, now housing, marina, shops and restaurants.  A ferry crosses the Sound from Cawsand to Sutton Harbour.
Plymouth Sound at sunset
Description - Oliver's Diary - GPS Data, Useful Info and Interest
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