CORNWALL COAST PATH
We parked our car at Swanpool and climb up onto the coast path. Swanpool has a pool behind the beach which we convinced ourselves had swans on it. A point of interest here is that when we finished our walk were returned to Swanpool. Then we set off for to our b&b via Helston. As we were leaving the area near Swanpool we saw a swan with about 8 cygnets waiting to cross the road!
Looking back at Swanpool
The Home Guard memorial at Pennance Point
Looking due south from Pennance Point
Pennance Point from Newporth Head
Across the cliff-top paths led us to the village of Maenporth with a sandy beach nestled in the cove.
Panorama of Maenporth
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Beyond Maenporth the cliff-top path opens up into broad grassy pastures around Rosemullion Head. A number of tankers of various sizes were anchored out at sea. We stopped for a coffee at the secluded and peaceful Bream Cove.
Bream Cove & Rosemulion Head
This soft gentle and undulating landscape made for an easy walk as we passed Rosemulion Head and the hamlet of Mawan (where we'd had a great meal on Tuesday at the Ship Inn) before turning Toll Point where we got our first view of Helford Passage.
The National Trust property Bosloe House
Our final look at one of the Cornish stone stiles
Through the National Trust property grounds of Bosloe House and down to Helford Passage. This was a fairly easy stretch of coast path walking for our final day.
Passage Cove and the ferry to Helford
Today it rained. In fact it poured down, but none the less Mike and Beryl decided to launch themselves at a 14 mile walk from Mullion Cove to Prussia Cove. My right knee was still sore and I just couldn't face that distance (even when the knee was sound I'd struggle) so Geri & I took the two stalwarts to their start point at Mullion Cove and bit them farewell. I'd agree to accompany them from the car park at Parc-an-ais Cliff to do the final 7½ miles to Prussia Cove.
Mike & Beryl set off from Mullion Cove
Looking back on Mullion Cove
Mullion Cove & Mullion Island
By the time they arrived the rain had virtually stopped, much to my relief and so we left Geri to make her way back to the b&b and headed off up the road through Porthleven and onto the cliff top coast path. We went at a fair pace and quite soon the rain stopped completely and we started shedding layers.
Porthleven inner harbour
above 4 photos courtesy Mike Starr
We passed Parc Trammel Cove and headed on to Tremearne Cliff where we got our first glimpses in the distance of our lunchstop and the old chimneys at Trewavas Cliff.
Chimney & mine building at Trewavas Cliff
Does it look like a merecat to you?
We now rounded Rinsey East Cliff and got our first view of Praa Sands.
Wheal Prosper mine 1860
By now my right knee and calf were protesting and so Praa Sands looked to be a good place to rest them both as we covered the distance on the flat - wrong! The sands were so soft (even right down at the water line) that our heels dug in and the walk along the sands became a real struggle for me. The recent bad weather has clearly much damage and undercutting to the earth cliffs and several houses now look to be in jeopardy.
Innocent looking Praa Sands
Undercutting of the sandy cliffs here
Praa Sands from above Sydney Cove
with the weather improving all the time
At last we reached Sydney Cove and climbed up off the sands. We rounded Hoe Point and followed along Kenneggy Cliff to Prussia Cove. For me a punishingly short walk but glad to have done it for all that.
Panorama of Coverack from coast path
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On a glorious warm and sunny morning we left the car park at Coverack and passed the pretty harbour near Dolor Point and then climbed up onto the coast path proper taking the (easy) inland route avoiding the slippery Chynhalls cliff path.
The delightful harbour at Coverack
Looking ahead to Chynhalls Point
Our reward was to stumble upon the Terence Coventry Sculpture Park. The park usually contains about 25 monumental sculptures depending on whether any were display at other venues. A most interesting and rewarding diversion.
Geri with one of the sculptures
So then we all had to get into the act
Looking back at Chynhalls Point from Black Head
We rounded Black Head with the path hugging the cliff tops here and entered Beagles Point. As the path rounds Treleaver Cliff views of The Lizard come into view, which, after such a short distance of walking is quite disconcerting as we knew we had a good 5 hours of walk ahead of us.
Panorama of the Lizard from coast path
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There are quite a few descents (not good for me with my now very dodgy knee) and climbs as the path negotiates the many coves along the route. Downas Cove, Kennack Beach, the charming Poltesco with the former Serpentine Works, and then the descent into Cadgwith which hides in a little cove and which remains concealed until the path turns into the cove itself. Cadgwith Cove Inn sits on the steep narrow road that leads to the heart of the village and we had a meal there the following evening (see footnote).
The broken footbridge at Downas Cove
Heading up the hill out of the village comes to an area known as The Todden, a large headland that separates the two beaches at Cadgwith.
Cadgwith with The Todden headland on the left
Just beyond the village is a cove and rock formation known as The Devils Frying Pan. This is a collapsed cave that has resulted in a small cove connected to the sea under a thick arch of rock and topped with turf.
The Devil's Frying Pan
The coast path continues round to The Lizard Lighthouse, passing the Lizard Lifeboat Station which sits in Kilcobben Cove, Lloyds Signal Station which is the oldest surviving purpose-built wireless communications station in the world, Bass Point lookout station and Housel Bay.
Lloyds Signal Station
The Lizard Lighthouse
We returned to Cadgwith on Thursday evening for a meal at the Cadgwith Cove Inn (highly recommended). We had to park in the car park above the village and I was struck by the complexity of the car park instructions. When I arrived at the sign I was met by a dutch couple who were also puzzling over the instructions, and I have to confess that I had to read the sign 3 times to understand the meaning.
A very wordy and confusing sign
especially for non-english speakers
This walk was intended to stretch as far as about a mile beyond Mullion, but the heavy rainfall promised for most of the day made us reconsider, and so we shortened the proposed 10 mile walk to 7 miles and set off for Mullion Cove. We also took this walk out of sequence as we really wanted to do the Coverack to Lizard stretch on a decent day (promised accurately for tomorrow).
Looking back at the Lizard from Lizard Point
We set off from the car park at Polpeor Cove and made the gentle climb up onto the cliff to the west of the old lifeboat station and headed towards Lizard Point. We noticed that as we set off from the Lizard, a clear break in the weather was coming up from the south and we had high hopes that perhaps we weren't going to get rained on all day. And so it proved to be. Within a short time the rain had eased and had almost completely stopped.
Looking north west from Lizard Point towards Kynance Cliff
We soon come to Pentreath Beach, a sandy beach at low tide, but covered at high tide. Continue along the coast path soon reaching the cliff top car park for Kynance Cove.
Gull Rock, Asparagus Island and The Bellows
from Kynance Cliff
At high tide there is very little sand and unfortunately the route down the steps to the beach was unusable so we had to detour inland and take the road down to the cafe on the right then back up onto the cliffs where we soon stopped for a coffee. Unfortunately it started to drizzle again and so we put our waterproofs bacon once again.
The path for the next mile or so is very obvious, keeping to the cliff top along Kynance Cliff. This part of the path is quite flat with lovely views west and around the coast. Soon we come to another little cove, Cew-graze and we continued round Vellan Head, passing George's Cove and Parc Bean Cove.
From Predannack Head looking back at
Vellan Head & Kynance Cliff
Mullion Cove in the distance from Predannack Head
From here the coast path is easy to follow and soon we saw Mullion Island just off the coast to our left. This island is now owned by the National Trust. Ahead there was a descent and climb back up the valley at Predannack Cliff where we soon saw Mullion Cove ahead.
Mullion Cove from Mullion Cliff
A long gentle descent brought us to the road leading to the nearby car park.
We returned to our start point at the Lizard to collect the car and of course, now the sun had come out and it was quite warm - just right for that ice cream.
Lizard Point look much more inviting than earlier in the day
The Lizard lighthouse
Today we were eager to set off on our first full day of the holiday, and, after have dropped one car at Coverack we drove to a shady car park in Helford to get ready for the walk.
The car park at Helford
Helford is a peaceful and secluded spot and we left the car park and took the wide track by the marina and sailing club with fine views over the river. The path was good and much of it through woodland offering the occasional view over the Helford river.
Emerging from the woodland
As we left the trees the path started to climb up onto Dennis Head - the path almost doubles back on itself up on the headland and we descended into the little village of St Anthony in Meneage and Gillan Harbour.
Gillan Creek from Dennis Head
Having to take the ferry we were luckily spotted by a gentleman who fortunately happened to be the fery owner and who took us across the creek.
St Anthony in Meneage
Leaving the south side of the creek after the ferry crossing
Looking back at Gillan - our coffee stop
Beryl inspect the sign
Gillan Creek from the south bank
The path then took us through Gillan a pleasant little village on the south bank. We continued on fairly low cliffs around to Parbean Cove, a rocky and pebbly beach and round to Nare Point and on to Porthallow.
Midway marker for the
Southwest Coast Path at Porthallow
The next mile and a half of the coast path is not along the coast but followed a mixture of road and paths inland. Eventually we left the road and arrived at Porthoustock.
South of here we again left the coast and followed the road out of Porthoustock which climbs steeply out of the village. We eventually regained the coast path (over a stone stile) arrived at the village of Rosenithon and then on to reach the coast at Godrevy Cove, a shingle beach that felt quite remote with few buildings visible.
The path then took us into the rather ugly Dean Quarry. We. followed the very well signed footpath around the coast beside the quarry eventually to Lowland Point where we turned the corner to Coverack which was now in view about 2 miles. The final stretch of path was very rocky and boggy with occasional stepping stones. This was hard going and it was a relief to climb up to reach the minor road that headed down to Coverack.