Do you enjoy a hike adventure? Whether you are new to Cornwall or looking for new adventures we have something for you. Here is a short list of our top 5 favourite coast-path hikes – at the moment anyway! We will share photographs, view spots and walk details for you to go with ease and have fun.
Mark and I also have our adventure buddy Ember. We hope you enjoy the addition of a dog in some of the photos!
Walk 1: Perranporth to Chapel Porth
Distance: 6 miles (10.7km) each way
Terrain: Mostly level though does include some extreme hills
Dog friendly: Yes, on the lead. Multiple dog friendly beaches along the way
Firstly, Perranporth has lots of car parking options but we would recommend the top of the hill. The walk takes you left of the beach up the hill where you’ll see signs for the coast path. The coast path follows the cliff edge all the way to Trevellas cove. Just keep the sea to your right and keep dogs on the lead.
From Trevellas cove it’s a little inland walk, through the car park, along the river on your right. Once out onto the little road go right and then through the gate and up the steep hill. This path is straight onwards to Trevaunance Cove which sits at the bottom of the village. There are, most importantly, public toilets here.
If choosing to visit the village head up the road on the left. Take a right to the beach and find a cafe and restaurant here as well. The coast path continues straight ahead of you once you cross the road and above all else keep the sea to your right. This follows straight along St Agnes head, you’ll find the RNLI watcher hut here, and onwards to Chapel Porth past the famous Wheal Coates.
Want to do this hike in reverse or break it up? The parking options include Chapel Porth (National Trust, arrive early as it’s small) and St Agnes. Just look for the coast path signs!
Being close to our home this is a walk we have frequented a fair few times. It is stunning. As you climb up from Perranporth you are greeted with breathtaking views of white-capped waves and the ocean that spans as far as the eye can see. As you reach the old mining spot of Cligga Head you are taken almost back in time. Yet the ruins are now all that stands above the deep depths of the ancient mines.
The hike takes you inches from the cliff edge and with all things considered is not one for the faint-hearted. The half-way spot is Trevellas cove, a singled beach great for a pit stop. This cove is accessed via steep steps down the path which in essence only means one thing. It’s an intense climb up to continue onto St Agnes. So steep in fact that every year the locals of the village celebrate the ‘Blue Hills’ festival of racing old cars up the steep path and often not making it (don’t worry, everyone does usually make it out okay!).
The great thing about this walk is the food stops. St Agnes is home to delicious eateries with vast options including cocktails on the beach, fish and chips or top-knotch pub dinners. Great news of course as dogs are welcome in the pubs so you can fuel up and head back if you’d prefer a shorter walk.
From St Agnes is the stunning coast path towards Chapel Porth, known famously for Wheal Coates, a collection of mining engines that sit on the coast path. We love a pit stop here to take photographs. It’s a steady walk from here to Chapel which at low tide is an absolute must to walk on. (Though dog restictions do apply here). The cafe is also scumptious, selling their take on the French croque monsieur and living up to their reputation for selling THE BEST loaded ice creams (try their Foxy, you won’t regret it). From here it’s back the way you came. Good Luck!
If you take on this challenging but worthwhile hike we would love to hear about your experience!
Walk 2: Porthcurno to Gwennap Head
Distance: 3 miles (5km) each way
Terrain: Mostly level terrain with some moderate hills
Dog friendly: Yes, with dog-friendly beaches on the way
This walk begins in Porthcurno in the pay and display car park towards the beach. Once at the beach you have two choices, the first option is to walk up the road on your right towards the Minack theatre, this is a longer but less-steep incline. My choice is always to head onto the beach and up the cliff-side. This is on your right – look for the steps.
Once at the top you’ll be in the Minack theatre car park. Just cross here and really, the path is easy to follow if you just keep the sea to your left. The next beach is Porth Chapel. There is a kind-of scramble down the beach at the far side if you would like to dip your toes. Otherwise, head across the little bridge and keep on going.
It’s not far then to Porthgwarra. A little village equipped with toilets and a seasonal cafe. It’s also possible to park here and hike in reverse. The path follows the road up to the right a little before you go through a gate, on the left, and continue on the coast path to Gwennap Head.
To be blown away is really the only way to describe this hike. This coastline is probably my favourite and if you have searched social media for Porthcurno you will see how popular this destination has become – all to have a short glimpse of paradise. Porthcurno beach itself is a wonder. The sand is near-white and creates a brilliant contrast against the cerulean waters.
From the Minack the views towards Logan’s rock, as you can see if the photo above, is something of indescribable beauty. Plus, you can even stop for a show! However, the beauty doesn’t stop here. It merely continues to progress.
My first time walking here and stumbling down the rocks to Porth Chapel I felt transported. It was Ember and I, untouched sand, a cascading waterfall and the sounds of lapping waves. I didn’t think it could get any better. I was wrong. Wrong when I walked through the beautiful green and brick archway and into the village of Porthgwarra. Any fans of Poldark will recognise this place! This unique beauty allows you to access the small beach through a caved tunnel. Watch the slipperiness but do not miss this – slip down if you must! The transportation into Cornish fishing makes the tunnel feel like a time machine and the sun-baked sand and glittering waters will make you never want to leave.
Have you tried this walk? Did you make it out of the time machine? We would love to hear your thoughts on this absolute must-hike!
Walk 3: Perranuthno to Prussia Cove
Distance: About 4 miles there and back (6.5km)
Terrain: Mostly level terrain, some narrow slippy paths in winter and at times close to the cliff edge
Dog friendly: Yes, with dog-friendly beaches on the way
This hike begins in the beautiful village of Perranuthno, in the public car park. This hike is an easy route to follow because it is effectively a single path and, as said before, you just been to keep the sea on your right. It is well sign-posted! From Perran Sands, the long and sandy beach of the village, head left. This path takes you passed a couple of coves before reaching Cudden Point. This is a National Trust spot with wonderful views and wild ponies to boot.
From the point the path takes you left and Prussia Cove is on your right where you can dip you toes in the beautiful snorkelling spot of Piskie’s cove – watch out for the seals! Once you arrive you can sit back and relax before heading back the way you came.
We remain on my favourite part of the coastline. The village itself is idyllic and the beach is worth a pitstop. The first stretch of path is soft underfoot as the paths take you across country fields. The views behind you make it near-impossible to walk without continually turning to look behind you as the immensity of St Michael’s Mount draws you in. It’s quite something.
The day I embarked on this hike was a sunny yet wintry day. Although it was incredibly windy. I attempted to stand at the edge of Cudden point. A point in the perfect place for you to enjoy vast views of the ocean. Given the rain, I think I managed to do this sideways! However, braving the wind was worth it as the point was also the home to a herd of small black ponies, including a foal. They had taken shelter in the rocks and lay huddled together. All except the silhouetted pony that stood strong on the hillside.
As you turn back from Cudden point and walk inland you are greeted by the beautiful cove. A snorkeller’s dream. On this day the waves broke heavily as they crashed against the cliffside. Myself, stood by an old farm building, was also lucky enough to see a seal braving the winter storms as he floated about the cove. This hike definitely seems one for the nature spotters among you!
I followed a loop back inland and stopped at a lovely little cafe for a pasty. This is something I would certainly recommend!
Walk 4: Padstow to Stepper Point
Distance: 5.8 miles (11km)
Terrain: Mostly level terrain suitable for children
Dog friendly: Yes, with dog-friendly beaches
This hike begins in Padstow harbour. There are lots of parking options in the village. From the harbour take the path up the ramp towards the memorial and keep the sea to your right. As you head towards the Gun Point you’ll have views of the Doom bar on your right.
The path turns inland a little here, with quite high hedgerows, as you head towards to beautiful Harbour cove. This is quite a narrow path that really hugs the coastline.
As you go, ignore the paths that enter on your left and just keep going. You’ll reach Hawker’s cove. Continue on the path as it heads above the sea and onto Stepper Point. Here you can take a u-turn home.
You may already be familiar with the quaint fishing village of Padstow. Home to Rick Stein, fish and chips and fine-dining eateries. Spend time here for a beautiful day of food and a relaxing time by the harbour.
The beauty of hiking in Cornwall is the heaps of myths and legends surrounding the areas. One of my favourites is the story of the mermaid who fell in love with a local boy. Like any great story their love was doomed from the beginning and the boy, who had mistaken the mermaid for a seal, shot her. Unquestionably, this act caused havoc as the mermaid, in the light of her wrath and fury, created the Doom bar. To forever imperil future sailors. Make sure you look out for her as you walk this way!
Prepare yourself to be amazed when you reach Stepper Point. This is the entryway to the estuary. If you’re anything like me, a big Poldark fan, you might even recognise this coastline from some of the episodes. A feast for the eyes is undeniably offered by this coastline but this is not the only treasure. Listen out as you walk around and hear the low tumble of the waves crashing into the sea caves beneath your feet. This point is haphazardly strewn with caves and sinkholes that create dramatic scenery alongside sounds as if you are holding a seashell to your ear.
Did you enjoy this hike? Did you spot the mermaid? Let us know your thoughts!
Walk 5: Kynance to Cadgwith
Distance: 9 miles (14.5km) – an estimate, this is a long one!
Terrain: Kynance to the Lizard is a easy terrain. It’s more challenging as you go on.
Dog friendly: Yes, with some dog-friendly beaches (check the seasonal restrictions)
This hike begins in the National Trust car park in Kynance. For the easier terrain head through the field on the left and, at the far end, pick up the coast path that heads towards Caerthillian cove. This is across grassland – bear in mind this can get boggy in winter – and use the path that zigzags down. Once you’re at the bottom of the path follow the little valley inland and onto a steep lane into the village.
You can head down to the beach. This is little further to walk and a rocky decline but the beach is particularly lovely at low tide and the cafe is great, and once you’re ready to start the walk head off the beach on the left and take the path on the edge of the coastline. Be sure to keep the sea to your right.
Either way you arrive, you can pick up the coast path from the Lizard village car park which heads east. This takes you past the lighthouse and towards Housel bay. Keep right and contine along the coastline where you’ll reach Bass point lookout station. Continue on towatds the lifeboat station.
Once here be sure to continue on the coastpath, don’t go inland, and this will take you down to Church cove. There is a kissing gate above the beach that continues along the coast path to Cadgwith. You can follow the road or the footpath here to the village.
There is a brilliant looped route here if you’d like to take a look. If not, head back the way you came.
The hike here is vast in it’s changing landscapes and beautiful views. Kynance and Lizard feel raw in their immensity. The crashing of the waves against the cliffs, the cawing of gulls and impressive undulations feel unique in their making. Hours can be spent exploring Kynance alone with small caves and little scrambles to island-like view spots.
The landscape invites in the beautiful fishing villages of Church cove and Cadgwith. Surrounded by immensity and yet striking in their own ways. Quaint and colourful. Fishing nets strewn about in seeming abandonment. The last time I hiked this path it was winter yet warm and the sea shone brilliantly blue. The coves you pass along the way are just beautiful reminders of the hidden nature of parts of Cornwall. A reminder of likely long-forgotten lives of smugglers and fisherfolk.
A Hike Conclusion
I hope you feel inspired and ready to find new adventures – or relive old ventures. We hope that you are excited to follow along the coast path yourself and to explore the wonders that Cornwall has to offer. Hiking in Cornwall sometimes feels like a step back in time and like a way of touching back into what makes Cornwall so wonderful. It feels like a connection with Cornwall’s rich history and surrounding myths and legends. Hiking always feels like a brilliant touch back into nature, and a healing breath of fresh air.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on hiking the coastpath of Cornwall. Use the comments below or our socials to let us know if you take on any of these challenges!
Good Luck! From Ember and I. (Of course).