Coastal walks in Cornwall
These walks all feature the Cornish coast path as part of the circular route. Since the coast is usually rugged, walking speed along the coastal path will generally be slower than the inland footpaths, so take your time, enjoy the coastal scenery and aim to finish the walk d'reckly.
A circular walk around the rugged coastline of Trevose Head via the iconic lighthouse and golden sandy bays of Constantine, Booby's, Mother Ivey's and Harlyn, with spectacular wildflowers in spring and summer.
A circular walk from Rock along the sand dunes to St Enodoc church, once buried in the sand, and across fields to the mediaeval church of St Minver, returning via 3 pubs and the brewery where "Doom Bar" is made.
A short circular walk exploring some of the historic sites in Tintagel including King Arthur's Castle and Merlin's Cave, the Old Post Office, and the ancient parish church on the cliffs.
A circular walk on quarrymens' trails along cliffs of Tintagel past the Thunderhole blowhole to the long, sandy beach at Trebarwith Strand from Tintagel's mediaeval clifftop church with relics including the font that once stood in Tintagel Castle's chapel.
A circular walk through Padstow's mediaeval network of streets to the church, the Elizabethan Manor at Prideaux Place and Tregirls Farm, with panoramic views of the estuary, returning along a mile of sandy beaches.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk from Watergate Bay along the coast path to Newquay, passing the sea caves at Whipsiddery beach, the Iron Age hillfort on Trevelgue head and beaches of Porth, Lusty Glaze and Tolcarne.
A circular walk along the beach from Watergate Bay to the sea caves of Whipsiddery and Iron Age hillfort at Trevelgue head, returning past the clifftop tombs of Bronze-Age chieftans, with panoramic views of the Newquay coastline.
A circular walk along the coast from Polzeath past a number of small coves with pinstripe rocks to the vast sandy beach at Daymer Bay, returning through the dunes past St Enodoc Church which was once so deeply buried in the sand that entrance for services was through the roof.
A circular walk from Mawgan Porth along the Vale of Lanherne, following the river Menalhyl to St Mawgan and returning past the 800 year old cloistered Convent where the sanctuary light has been burning for hundreds of years.
A circular walk via King Arthur's Great Halls and the Old Post Office and along the coastline from Tintagel Castle past towering headlands and island bird colonies to the golden, sandy cove at Bossiney Haven, returning via the labyrinthine carvings and ruins of mills in the woods of Rocky Valley.
A circular walk through the wildlife reserve and bluebell woodland of Tehidy Country Park to Deadman's Cove and the North Cliffs where many sailing ships were wrecked before the Godrevy Lighthouse was built.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk between the sandy beaches of Porthcothan and Mawgan Porth along the coast with spectacular wildflowers and one of Cornwall's most photographed views over the volcanic rock stacks of Bedruthan Steps, which Victorians liked to think of as a giant's stepping stones.
A circular walk around the creeks of the Helford River and the small villages settled by Celtic monks from Brittany.
A circular walk between Constantine Bay to Porthcothan via nature's swimming pool at Treyarnon beach and a spectacular series of islands, headlands and tiny coves named after wine and pepper smuggled there, and the rock where a customs officer was left by smugglers to drown.
A circular walk from Holywell Bay past the remarkable sacred spring and along the coast to the sandy beaches of Porth Joke and Crantock, returning via the poppy fields of West Pentire and the Cubert Common nature conservation area.
A circular walk passing the National Trust's Glendurgan gardens and the equally spectacular submarine gardens of Rosemullion Head where fish dart amongst the brightly-coloured blooms.
A circular walk from Pentire Steps along the coast past with spectacular views of Bedruthan Steps to the sandy beach at Mawgan Porth, returning on lanes past the remnants of main military airfield that RAF St Mawgan was an annexe to, now patrolled by sheep.
A circular walk around the Loe Pool, the largest natural freshwater lake in Cornwall, and along the Loe Bar, one of Cornwall's most treacherous beaches on which 100 of those onboard the HMS Anson drowned metres from the shore, motivating the invention of the rocket lifesaving apparatus that saved thousands of lives.
A circular walk from Widemouth Bay along the Coast Path though the Phillips Point nature reserve to The Storm Tower at Compass Point and then along the Bude Canal to Whalesborough, returning across the fields to Widemouth.
A figure-of-8 walk from Daymer Bay thorough the dunes to Rock, passing the once-buried St Enodoc church, before crossing on the ferry to Padstow, and returning along three miles of sandy beaches.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk around Trevose Head past the lighthouse and along the bays of Porthcothan, Treyarnon, Constantine, Booby's, Mother Ivey's and Harlyn.
A short circular walk through the woods and canyons of Rocky Valley, past the ruined mills and labyrinthine carvings, and along the coast to the golden sandy cove at Bossiney Haven.
A circular walk from Lansallos to the coves of Lantivet Bay where farmers collected seaweed and sand to improve the soil and smugglers landed French brandy.
A circular walk from Boscastle to Pentargon waterfall and Willapark coastguard lookout with magnificent views of the village and harbour from the headlands where the village women once gathered dressed in red to fool a French ship into fleeing from British army redcoats.
A figure-of-eight walk around the fishing village and headlands surrounding Polperro, passing the net loft perched above the harbour, the Victorian sea pool, the site of the mediaeval chapel and the route to the lighthouse walked by the blind harbourmaster.
A circular walk from the fishing village of Port Quin to the golden sandy beaches of Epphaven Cove and Lundy Bay with spectacular coastal scenery, via the cliff-edge folly on Doyden Point built as a gambling den.
A circular walk through Woodland Trust reserves of the ancient Millook woods, meadows to the former smuggling den and 1920s wild party venue of Trebarfoote, and along the coast from Cancleave Strand to Millook Haven where colliding continents have melted and folded the rocks like toffee.
A circular walk along the stream of Trevellas Coombe where tin ore is still worked using traditional water power, past Stippy Stappy - the row of sea captain's cottages, and down the valley to the sandy beach of Trevaunance Cove with the remains of Victorian harbour which was demolished by Atlantic storms.
A circular walk from the busy fishing port of Mevagissey into the Portmellon Valley and through the West Bodrugan Woods nature reserve to the beachside village of Portmellon where boats have been built for hundreds of years, and still are.
A short circular walk from Padstow harbour to the viewpoints at the War Memorial and Victorian obelisk, the Elizabethan Manor at Prideaux Place, and including some pretty back streets that lie off the main tourist routes.
A circular walk along Mount's Bay from the large sandy beach at Perranuthnoe to the smugglers' coves at Prussia Cove, returning across the fields with views over St Michael's Mount.
A circular walk from Pendeen via the Geevor and Levant mines to the lighthouse at Pendeen Watch returning via the white, sandy beach at Portheras Cove.
A circular walk on the Roseland coast where, during the Napoleonic Wars, smugglers would row out to the middle of The Channel in pilot gigs to trade with the enemy.
A circular walk down Trebarwith Valley to Trebarwith Strand then along the cliffs above the beach, with magnificent views of the bay between Dennis Point and Penhallic Point and the pinnacles of the coastal slate quarries now colonised by birds and wildflowers.
A circular walk across the Iron Age hillfort on the twin headlands of The Rumps and around Pentire Point, with panoramic views of the Camel Estuary and the offshore islands, to the sandy beach at Polzeath.
A circular walk along the coast past the towering cliffs of Bosigran Castle via the white sand and huge boulders of Porthmeor Cove to the site of an Iron Age fort on Gurnard's Head, returning from the Gurnard's Head pub via the ancient Zennor Churchway.
A figure-of-8 walk from St Endellion to Port Isaac, via the estate of the ancient family of Roscarrock, who survived torture on the rack during Tudor times for being Catholic sympathisers, returning to the parish church, dedicated to the daughter of a Celtic king, on the ancient route which itself influenced the fervent adoption of Methodism in Port Isaac.
A circular walk from St Ives through the Steeple Woods nature reserve to the monument overlooking St Ives Bay where the eccentric quinquennial ceremony of John Knill has been performed for over 200 years, returning along the coast via the white sandy beaches of Carbis Bay and Porthminster.
A circular walk from Zennor along the coast via the sea-smoothed granite boulders at Porthmeor Cove to the site of an Iron Age fort on Gurnard's Head, returning from the Gurnard's Head pub on the ancient Churchway to Zennor.
A circular walk from Crackington Haven, with panoramic views of the Shipwreck Coast, to the long, sandy Strangles beach, returning through bluebell woodland along the Ludon river valley.
A circular walk at St Ives along the granite coastline and white sandy beaches which have inspired so many artists, through some of the most famous parts of the town including the harbour, The Island and The Tate, and via the church and holy well of Celtic girl Ia who, according to legend, was the first to settle here.
A one-way walk to St Ives along the beaches from Lelant including the vast expanse of Porthkidney Sands, Carbis Bay and Porthminster Beach, returning on the coastal railway.
A circular walk along the Victorian Excursion route from Lizard village to the most southerly point and along the coast path to Kynance Cove with spectacular views, wildflowers, and wildlife including the Cornish Chough.
A circular walk along two miles of beaches around Gerrans Bay which were once used by Portscatho smugglers to land contraband and strewn with the wreckage of sailing ships that overshot Falmouth Harbour and ran aground on The Whelps reef.
A circular walk from Sandymouth beach, via the Landmark Trust's historic buildings of Coombe and a derelict mill which is one of the largest bat colonies in England, to the remains of the once great manor of Stowe Barton, the interior furnishings of which can be seen in Prideaux Place at Padstow.
A walk to the Victorian harbour of Mullion Cove via two sandy coves either side of where Marconi made history by achieving what was thought impossible by many of the scientific community at the time - the transmission of a radio signal all the way across the Atlantic.
A circular walk including some of the more remote parts of the coast path around Port Isaac Bay, passing the Donkey Hole at Barrett's Zawn and returning through the abandoned hamlet of Dannonchapel.
A figure-of-eight walk from Readymoney Cove past the Tudor fort and along the coast where Daphne Du Maurier lived to Polridmouth where the shipwreck inspired the end of her book Rebecca, and then along the mediaeval streets of Fowey.
A circular walk from Porthtowan, along the coast, valleys and woodland passing engine houses and other relics of Cornish copper mining.
A circular walk through the Lizard National Nature Reserve from Predannack to Kynance Cove along the rugged Serpentine cliffs where the "great silver ship" was wrecked in 1616 and more than 700 Spanish silver coins have so far been found.
A circular walk from Lelant following St Michael's Way along the vast stretch of beach from Porthkidney Sands to Carbis Bay, with views over St Ives Bay on the return route.
A circular walk on the Roseland from the fishing village of Gorran Haven to the remote, sandy Hemmick Beach via The Deadman's Point of old nautical maps, still marked with a huge cross to warn sailors of the perilous lee shores, and Vault Beach where the wreckage washed ashore.
A circular walk up Gillan Creek from Porthallow via Nare Point where, during World War II, an elaborate decoy for Falmouth Harbour was created by Ealing Film Studios with fake railways, houses and explosive special effects.
A circular walk following the coast from Hell's Mouth past the large grey seal colony at Mutton Cove and Godrevy lighthouse to the sandy beaches of St Ives Bay, returning via a pilgrimage route along the Red River Valley.
A circular walk along a coast of shipwrecks and smugglers from Deadman's Cove to Hell's Mouth, past the collapse of the North Cliffs that went viral on YouTube, and returning through the nature reserve along the Red River Valley.
A circular walk from the Loe Bar to Dollar Cove passing the wrecks of treasure ships whose cargo still washes ashore, returning via the Halzephron Inn which still has a trapdoor leading to an underground network of tunnels used by smugglers.
A circular walk via the Victorian obelisk overlooking Padstow, the creek-side church at Little Petherick and the tidal enclosure of Sea Mills, returning via the Camel Trail bridge which carried the railway that brought the first Victorian tourists to Padstow and Cornish fish to London.
A circular walk from England's only Cape, via the engine houses of Kenidjack Valley and perched on rock ledges at Botallack Head, to Levant Mine which had over 60 miles of tunnels beneath the Atlantic and now has a working restored beam engine.
A circular walk following the coast path from Perranporth past the remains of Alfred Nobel's dynamite works on Cligga Head to the red-and-yellow ore-rich cliffs above the wreck of the treasure ship Hanover, returning, via the spitfire base, along Perran Coombe where a 2 mile leat once carried water to power a massive waterwheel in a chamber within the cliffs.
A walk on the tracks trodden by the donkeys laden with slate from the coastal quarries of Trebarwith to Tintagel Haven where the slate was loaded onto ships and Tintagel Castle's island, inhabited during the mediaeval period, the Celtic times of King Arthur, and before this by the Romans.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk along the dramatic coastline of islands and arches from Boscastle to Tintagel, rated as one of the top five walks in Cornwall.
A circular walk around Rame Head - the southeastern corner of Cornwall - past the mediaeval chapel and the remains of a huge gun battery, now a nature reserve, on Penlee Point to Cawsand which was once the smuggling capital of Cornwall.
A circular walk from Coverack to St Keverne, past the treacherous Manacles reef, known as the grave of a thousand ships, where at least a hundred wrecks have been recorded and over a thousand people have drowned.
A circular walk from Gorran Haven to Portmellon via the sheer cliffs from which Henry Bodrugan leapt to escape execution and sheltered Colona Beach, returning through West Bodrugan Woods Nature Reserve and via Gorran church which now has some of the finest bells in the country.
A walk along the Roseland coast and creeks opposite St Mawes, passing the preserved fort and Fraggle Rock lighthouse on St Anthony Head and the golden sandy beaches of Molunan.
A circular walk along the coast between the golden sandy beaches of Chapel Porth and Trevaunance Cove at St Agnes via the iconic engine houses of Wheal Coates, perched above the breakers.
A circular walk on the Roseland peninsula to St Mawes from the subtropical gardens of St Just church, along Carrick Roads where Europe's only fishery entirely under sail catch oysters using the traditional methods that have sustained their stocks.
A circular walk from Boscastle along the dramatic coastline of islands and arches towards Tintagel, following the cascading river up Rocky Valley past the ruined mills and labyrinthine carvings and returning via the mediaeval churches of Trethevy, Trevalga and Forrabury.
A circular walk through Bude and along two miles of sandy beaches to Sandymouth, passing Bude Castle, built on floating foundations by the inventor of limelight, the Victorian Sea Pool, the Half-Tide Cross and the shipwreck of the SS Belem from which the propeller shaft supports the barrel on Barrel Rock.
A circular walk passing the sandy beach at Polurrian Cove, the storm-beaten Victorian harbour at Mullion Cove, and along the cliffs of the National Nature Reserve overlooking Mullion Island, with vibrant wildflowers in spring and summer.
A (bus-assisted) one way coastal walk from Harlyn Bay to Padstow via Trevone, Stepper Point - where a huge stone tower stands as a daymark, the Doom Bar and the sandy coves of Hawker's, Harbour and St George's which join into a single huge beach at low tide.
A circular walk from St Ives on the ancient churchway towards Zennor and returning along the rugged coast to Porthmeor where a Victorian cargo ship and the St Ives lifeboat were both wrecked and the ship's boilers are still visible at low tide.
A circular walk on The Lizard from the pretty fishing hamlet of Cadgwith Cove, past the Devil's Frying Pan, lifeboat station, restored Marconi wireless hut and the infamous lighthouse, to the most southerly point, returning via two ancient churches and the holy well dedicated to the Celtic Saint accused of being a werewolf.
A circular walk on one of the most remote parts of The Lizard from Coverack to the white sand beaches of Downas and Lankidden Coves, where the serpentine underwater landscape provides some of the best snorkelling in Cornwall.
A circular walk from Holywell Bay along the rugged coastline to Perran Beach and across the dunes to the Dark Ages relics of St Piran's Oratory, Church and Cross, returning via the Penhale Sands nature reserve which is carpeted in cowslips during spring.
A circular walk from St Just to Cape Cornwall and the Cot Valley where an ancient beach has been eroded from the cliffs releasing granite boulders resembling Dinosaur eggs.
A circular walk to Padstow from Trevone beach, which tracks the route taken by sailing ships along the rugged Atlantic coast to the daymark at Stepper Point, past the infamous Doom Bar and the sandbanks of Hawker's, Harbour and St George's coves before finally reaching safe harbour in Padstow.
A circular walk via some of the mediaeval farmsteads on the west of The Lizard to the ancient churchyard of Cury from the coves of Mullion and Gunwalloe where the wrecks of treasure ships still lie.
A short circular walk at Morwenstow to the cliff edge hut built from driftwood in which Reverand Hawker smoked opium and composed poetry, returning along the river valley to the ancient Bush Inn where medieval monks would rest the night before continuing their pilgrimage.
A circular walk with spectacular coastal scenery from Porthcurno to Penberth Cove, passing the famous wobbling boulder of Logan Rock and returning via the escape route from the wartime tunnels which housed one of the world's largest telegraph stations.
A circular walk from the surf beach at Crackington Haven to the mediaeval church at St Genny's via the imposing Penkenna Point, where there are spectacular views of the bay and the secluded landing points used by some of North Cornwall's most notorious smugglers and wreckers.
A short circular walk in "Doc Martin Country" including the pretty fishing village of Port Isaac and the historic beach of Port Gaverne with birds-eye views over the harbour.
A circular walk with lovely views of Veryan Bay to the pretty fishing village of Portloe from West Portholland where one of the last of Cornwall's mediaeval coastal farmsteads has survived.
A circular walk from Vicarage Cliff along the coast path to Marsland Mouth at the Devon border, returning through fields to Morwenstow rectory, church and the Rectory Tea Rooms - the last stand of the Cornish cream tea before the Devon border.
A circular walk through the Millook woodland reserves to the ancient gnarled oak forest of The Dizzard, returning along the coast with panoramic views to Hartland Point, to the chevron-folded cliffs and honeycomb reefs of Millook Haven.
A circular walk following the coast from the historic fishing village of Mousehole through the Kemyel Crease nature reserve and around the towering cliffs of Lamorna Cove with views over Mount's Bay, returning along the route was that taken by the Victorian postman on his round from Penzance.
A circular walk along the rollercoaster path from Port Quin, descending into Port Isaac, with spectacular views of the harbour, via the old houses of Roscarrock Hill including Doc Martin's, one with roof timbers tied on by an anchor chain, and the Sunday School with a bell from a shipwreck.
A circular walk along the volcanic coastline north of Boscastle including Cornwall's highest cliff, North Cornwall's largest grey seal colony and The Strangles beach with its spectacular arch known as the Northern Door.
A circular walk above the white sand crescent of Lantic Bay and the small coves of Lantivet Bay where a battle was once fought between smugglers and Customs men, and following an ancient cart track along the stream through the woods to the mediaeval church of Lansallos.
A circular walk visiting prehistoric stone circles, crosses and tombs and along the granite cliffs from Lamorna Cove to the sea-polished boulders of St Loy's Cove with one of the mildest winter climates on the British mainland.
A circular walk around Nare Head, past the restored Cold War nuclear bunker, to the pretty fishing village Portloe, with views along the length of The Roseland coast and over The Whelps reef - a graveyard for sailing ships that misjudged the entrance to Falmouth.
A circular walk along the rugged North Cliffs hiding smuggler's coves such as Ralph's Cupboard, to the sandy beach and historic harbour of Portreath, returning via the bluebell woodland of Illogan and Tehidy Country Park.
A circular walk from Pentewan to Mevagissey via The Lost Gardens of Heligan which were discovered in the 1990s after 7 decades of neglect and what followed The Times described as "The garden restoration of the century".
A circular walk along the coastline from Boscastle via the Pentargon waterfall to the seal colony at Buckator, returning along the Valency valley.
A circular walk from Porthcurno, passing the Minack Theatre, St Leven's Holy Well, Porthchapel and Porthgwarra beaches, to Gwennap Head where the English Channel meets the Atlantic and the Runnelstone Reef has claimed so many ships that divers are unsure where the wreckage is from.
A circular walk towards St Ives from Zennor following the Coast Path past the haunts of the legendary mermaid of Zennor to the islets of The Carracks, frequented by seals, and returning on the Coffin Path, along which villagers made their final journey to Zennor church.
A circular walk to the remote sandy beach at Tregardock, returning along the coast path with panoramic views of Port Isaac Bay, through the wildflowers of Treligga Downs and via Backways Cove.
A circular walk from the white sandy beach at Sennen Cove along the towering granite cliffs via Land's End to the song of the sea cave at Nanjizal. The best way to see Land's End.
A circular walk from the lost port of Pentewan along the coast to the remains of the Iron Age fort overlooking St Austell Bay on Black Head, returning via the nature reserve that was once the King's wood and the trackbed of the horse-drawn tramway used for china clay and Sunday School outings.
A circular walk near Fowey from the tiny harbour of Polkerris, past the daymark tower on Gribbin Head and along the coast where Daphne Du Maurier lived and based many of her books on, to the sandy beach at Readymoney Cove, returning on the Saint's Way.
A circular walk from Porthleven to the cliff-edge engine houses of Rinsey Head and Trewavas where the under-sea mine, set out with tables and food for the annual Tribute dinner, is said to have been breached by the sea just minutes before all the miners were due underground.
A circular walk along the coast from Talland Bay to Looe, passing the pilgrimage site of Looe Island which Jesus was said to have visited as a child, and returning via the ancient Giant's Hedge in Kilminorth Wood and Talland's mediaeval church.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk along the Shipwreck Coast from Crackington Haven to Boscastle passing the largest seal colony in North Cornwall, the highest cliff in Cornwall and the long, sandy beach at The Strangles.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk from Port Isaac to Polzeath along the Rollercoaster Path to Port Quin, the golden beaches of Lundy Bay via the Iron Age hillfort on the twin headland of The Rumps.
A short circular walk from the long, sandy beach of Trebarwith Strand to the rugged rocky cove at Backways in which sea foam tornadoes form in windy weather, and returning over the massive headland of Dennis Point with panoramic views of Port Isaac Bay.
A circular walk from Poundstock through bluebell woods along the river to the pretty pebbles and chevron-folded cliffs of Millook Haven and along the coast path with panoramic views from Bridwill Point.
A circular walk from Tregardock, passing the long, remote sandy beach, to the ruins of the mediaeval manor of Dannonchapel, and includes one of the steepest and most spectacular sections of the North Cornish Coast path with vibrant wildflowers in spring and summer.
A circular walk in Trebarwith Valley to beaches and the coastal slate quarries of Backways Cove and Trebarwith Strand, and Dennis Point, overlooking the bay and point opposite where the ships moored to be loaded with roofing slates which were also brought down the valley on a road covered with beach sand to stop the horses being flattened by runaway carts.
A circular walk along the coast from Polruan to the white sandy beaches of Lantic Bay, returning via Lanteglos Church and along the creek with panoramic views of Fowey.
A circular walk at St Gennys, known for its wreckers, from the mediaeval church, via the smuggling routes though bluebell woods along the stream and an Iron Age clifftop fort crumbling into the sea, to some of North Cornwall's most remote coastline.
A circular walk from the sandy beach at Porthpean, past the brilliant white shingle beaches at Silvermine to the Iron Age fort on Black Head, returning via the site of an Iron Age metal works with spectacular views over St Austell Bay.
A circular walk from Port Gaverne around Port Isaac Bay to Barretts Zawn where a tunnel leads to the beach, through which donkeys used to haul slate.
A (bus-assisted) one-way walk along the Shipwreck Coast from Crackington Haven to Widemouth Bay passing the bluebell woodland of ancient twisted oaks at The Dizzard, chevron folded rocks and honeycomb reefs of Millook Haven and fossil beds of Wanson Mouth.
A circular walk along the rugged coast from Portreath towards Porthtowan passing small coves and remnants of the clifftop mines beside the old RAF base, and returning via the horse-drawn tramway that brought fortune to Portreath harbour, where its "lighthouse" and "monkey house" remain from the shipping activity.
A one-way (bus-assisted) walk from Port Isaac to Tintagel along towering cliffs, past the long, sandy beaches of Tregardock and Trebarwith, the slate pinnacles of the coastal quarries and via the mediaeval cliff-top church to the castle of Arthurian legend.