Coastal walks on the north Cornish coast

Explore Cornwall’s dramatic and beautiful north coast

Take a walk on the wild side

To truly capture the wild beauty of Cornwall’s coastline take to the south west coast path. Despite its name, the route will lead you along Cornwall’s north coast past beaches, lighthouses, amazing rock stacks, ancient historic sites and breathtaking views.

From Bay Retreat Villas you can head towards Porthcothan Bay and decide to join the 13.5 mile route north towards Padstow or 10.3 miles to Newquay and then a further 15 miles onto Perranporth and St Agnes. The coastline towards Padstow offers sheltered bays and Trevose Head where you can visit the lifeboat station and see the lighthouse. It’s a fairly even walk, if a little rocky around Constantine Bay. As a reward you can stop for a pasty or ice cream in Padstow!

Trevose Lighthouse

Trevose Lighthouse

boats in Padstow harbour

Padstow

Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps

pink flowers in Newquay

Newqay Harbour

Heading south to Newquay you’ll pass Bedruthan Steps. View the sea stacks from above or when the steps are open and the tide is out, head down to the interlinked beaches. Climb back up the steps and grab a bite to eat at the National Trust cafĂ©.

This part of the coast is generally fairly easy to walk but does have some steep steps to provide a challenge.

Before getting to Newquay you’ll pass Watergate Bay, famous for its surf and where Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall is situated. The coast path often gets busier from here. Stop and see an island connected by a footbridge known as Trevelgue Head before heading into town.

Newquay has nine beaches around its coastline. The surf destination of Fistral is possibly the best known. Here you’ll find a range of surf shops and eateries including Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips.

Wheal Coates

Wheal Coates

Beyond Newquay the coastline crosses over the River Gannel. In season you can either take the ferry, or wait for the tide to recede. Out of season you’ll have to wait for low tide. Here you’ll see the beach at Crantock and onto the unspoiled countryside protected by The National Trust that leads to the cove at Polly Joke.

Once you’ve reached Perranporth you enter Cornwall’s mining country and heritage coastline. This is the land of Cornwall’s patron Saint, St Pirran. Look out for iron age hill forts and holy wells.

From here the heritage coastline around St Agnes is dotted with old mine engines, the most iconic being Wheal Coates engine house, perched precariously on the cliff edge.

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