Lantic Bay, Lantivet Bay and Lansallos circular walk

Lantivet Bay and Lansallos

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.

Get the app to guide you around the walk

Phone showing walk for purchase
Download the (free) app then use it to purchase this walk.
Phone showing Google navigation to start of walk
The app will direct you to the start of the walk via satnav.
Hand holding a phone showing the iWalk Cornwall app
The app guides you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
Phone showing walk directions page in the iWalk Cornwall app
The walk route is described with detailed, regularly-updated, hand-written directions.
Person looking a directions on phone
Each time there is a new direction to follow, the app will beep to remind you, and will warn you if you go off-route.
Phone showing walk map page in the iWalk Cornwall app
A map shows the route, where you are at all times and even which way you are facing.
Phone showing facts section in iWalk Cornwall app
Each walk is packed with information about the history and nature along the route, from over a decade of research than spans more than 3,000 topics.
Person looking at phone with cliff scenery in background
Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need wifi or a phone signal during the walk.
Phone showing walk stats in the iWalk Cornwall app
The app counts down distance to the next direction and estimates time remaining based on your personal walking speed.
Person repairing footpath sign
We keep the directions continually updated for changes to the paths/landmarks - the price for a walk includes ongoing free updates.
The walk follows the ridge of Pencarrow Head with spectacular views over Lantic Bay. The route then follows the coast around Lantivet Bay, past the old coastguard lookout to West Coombe, with paths leading down to some small coves along the way. From there, the walk turns inland and follows a wooded valley to Lansallos to reach the church. The return route crosses fields and woods to Trevarder and follows small lanes, tracks and footpaths across the fields to complete the circle.


  • The route includes about half a dozen stiles consisting of stone footholds over walls - some up to about 6ft high.
  • Route includes paths close to unfenced cliff edges.

Buy walk

Sign in to buy this walk.

This walk is in your basket. Proceed to your basket to complete your purchase.

My Basket Remove from basket

You own this walk.

An error occurred while checking the availability of this walk:

Please retry reloading the page. If this problem persists, please contact us for assistance.

Reload page

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 107
  • Distance: 5 miles/8 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 107 OS Explorer 107 (laminated version)

Click or tap on map for more info (blue=laminated)


  • Panoramic views over Lantic and Lantivet Bays
  • Sandy beaches at Lantic Bay and Lansallos Cove
  • Pretty wooded path to Lansallos


  1. Turn left out of the car park, follow the lane to a junction and cross to the gate opposite. Go through the pedestrian gate on the right and follow the footpath to the right between the hedge and fence to a gate into a field.
  2. Go through the gate and turn left. Follow the left hedge to a gate at the bottom of the field.

    The crescent shape of Lantic Bay shelters it from the wind and its white, sandy beaches face south towards the sun. Within the bay, the main beach - Great Lantic Beach - is accessible via a flight of steps. At low tide, this joins to the other beaches in the bay - Little Lantic Beach on one side and some small coves on the other. As the tide comes in, these are cut off and there is no path up from them, so care should be taken in exploring them.

  3. Go through the gate and take the path ahead to a gate. Go through this and follow the path past a rock outcrop and over the ridge to reach a waymark.

    The path leading downhill after the first gate leads to the beach.

    There are panoramic views both over Lantic Bay and Lantivet Bay from the top of the rock outcrop. On a calm day, it comes highly recommended as a picnic spot.

  4. Turn left at the waymark and follow the path to reach a crossing of paths.
  5. Follow the steep downhill path ahead to reach a fork in the path. Take either path (the one to the left is less steep) to where they rejoin and then follow the path at the bottom to reach a gate.

    In the 18th and 19th centuries, Cornish fishermen used sailing boats to fish and one of the most popular of the larger boats was known as a lugger.

    The design of the Cornish Lugger was honed into a high-speed vessel for use in smuggling. The largest were up to 75 feet long with three masts of stepped height, allowing a large area of sail to be set. The fastest could average twelve knots between Cornwall and Roscoff, which is fast sailing even by modern standards. The decks were often lined with a dozen or more cannons and another dozen anti-personnel swivel guns loaded with shrapnel-like grapeshot.

  6. Go through the gate and follow the path to reach another gate.

    Although primroses flower most intensely in March and April, some primroses can begin flowering in late December. The name "primrose" from the Latin for "first" (as in "primary"), alluding to their early flowering.

    Hawthorn berries have traditionally been used to make fruit jellies as they contain pectin and have an apple-like flavour. A reason for making seedless jellies is that the seeds in hawthorn berries contain a compound called amygdalin, which is cyanide bonded with sugar. In the gut this is converted to hydrogen cyanide.

    Hawthorn has many folk names which are spread across quite a diverse range of features. Names such as "maytree" or even just "may" are references to when it flowers. However "whitethorn" is not about the blossom but a reference to the lighter bark colour than blackthorn. The name "bread and cheese" derives from the very young leaves being edible. It is also sometimes called "thornapple" due to the apple-like shape of the fruits. This is not a coincidence as both the hawthorn and apple are members of the rose family.

  7. Go through the gate and follow the path to another gate.

    Red-and-black-spotted Burnett moths can often be seen feeding on nectar-bearing flowers alongside the coast path. The red colour is a warning that they contain hydrogen cyanide. The larvae normally create it by breaking down more complex cyanide compounds from the birdsfoot trefoil on which they feed. However they are also able to synthesise it themselves in environments where it isn't readily available from food plants.

    The English Channel is thought to have been formed by two catastrophic floods from lakes that built up behind a dam of ice. The first was about 425,000 years ago and broke through a range of chalk mountains between the Weald and Artois. Then about 225,000 years ago, a second ice-dammed lake at the end of the Rhine broke through another weak barrier and created another massive flood channel. The waterfalls during these floods are thought to have created plunge pools around 100 metres deep and several kilometres across.

  8. Go through the gate and follow the path ahead to one final gate.

    The path to the right leads to the old Coastguard Watch House.

    In October 1835, smugglers landed 107 kegs of spirits at Lantic Bay and were in the process of carrying these up Pencarrow Head when they were discovered by a coastguard patrol. There was a fierce fight, sometimes known as "The Battle of Lantic Bay". Several of the smugglers were arrested but, to the dismay of the coastguards, they were acquitted by a jury in Bodmin. As a result of this incident, the watch house at Lantivet Bay was built and manned by coastguards to prevent any more smuggling in the area.

  9. Go through the gate and keep left along the path to reach a waymark as the path enters a field.

    The rocky coast provides a good habitat for limpets.

    Limpets wander around grazing on algae when the tide is in, but always return to the same parking spot as the tide recedes, gradually creating a depression in the rock at this point. In coastal communities it was traditional to gather limpets, mussels and winkles before Lent. The practice was known as "goin' a triggin'" and the gathered shellfish was known as "Trigg meat". The shells of limpets were known as "Croggans".

  10. Bear right from the waymark and walk downhill to the fence near the bench. Keep right along the fence and follow the path along the coast from here to reach a stile.

    Limpets are a favourite food of wrasse.

    One of the most common fish on inshore reefs is the wrasse. The name for the fish is from the Cornish word wragh meaning "old hag". This is probably based on its lack of popularity for culinary consumption and is the reason why it is still quite common whereas most other species have been depleted by several centuries of fishing. Recently, wrasse has been "rediscovered" as a good eating fish if not overcooked. However, wrasse are very slow growing so are not an ideal culinary fish for conservation reasons: they cannot reproduce until they are 6-10 years old and large individuals may be over 30 years old.

  11. Cross the stile and follow the path along the coast to a gateway.

    Another species of fish found on rocky shores is the pollack.

    Pollack spend much of their time around weed-covered rocks, ambushing small fish as sandeels. On offshore reefs and wrecks, pollack can grow up to a metre in length but close to the shore you’re most likely to see young fish of a few cm in length, which there was a word in Cornish specifically for: dojel.

    Pollack is a member of the cod family but until recently was an unpopular culinary fish. There are two reasons for this: as well as having a name that sounds like an insult, when the fish is dead, its flavour deteriorates faster than many other members of the cod family, so fish which is not very fresh smells "fishy". However pollack is excellent to eat when very fresh, and since it is pretty much the only member of the cod family that hasn’t yet been overfished, has made more of an appearance in supermarkets in recent years. It used to be marketed as "coley" which was a fishmongers' collective term for either pollack or its close cousin, the coalfish, but more recently it has been appearing as pollack.

  12. Go through the gateway and follow the lower of the paths across the field towards the headland to reach a stile.

    As you cross the field, there is a small path leading from the bottom of the field that descends to Palace Cove.

    Palace Cove may sound grand but it is from a local dialect word for pilchard cellars (which were known as Pilchard Palaces). The term is thought to have its origins in the Cornish word for "place". Little remains of the old cellar at Palace Cove; it is now just a flat grassy area with some remnants of walls. The cove is rocky at high tide and has a good selection of rockpools, but care must be taken not to get cut off by the tide. As the tide falls, a sandy beach is revealed.

  13. Cross the stile and follow the path across the field to a gate.

    In 1930, the "Islander" yacht foundered on the rocks of Palace Cove in rough seas. The boat was in trouble for some time and attempted to anchor to stay off the rocks but the anchor would not hold fast under the force of the wind and was slowly dragged along the seabed. Flares were spotted by campers on cliffs, but the time taken to get 1930s cars stuck in muddy fields and then drive to Polperro to make a telephone call meant that the boat had hit the rocks by the time the lifeboat reached it. Despite the efforts of the lifeboat and local people climbing down onto Palace Cove in an attempt to rescue the crew from the shore, none of the 6 aboard survived. In part because one of the crew was an ex member of Parliament, the incident was reported all over the world. An investigation came to the conclusion that the crew may have been rescued in time by the lifeboat if the Coastguard lookout in Lantivet Bay had been manned.

  14. Go through the gate and follow the path down into the valley to a stile onto a footbridge.

    The disaster at Lantivet Bay ultimately resulted in 1931 in the establishment of the Coastal Life-saving Corps, later renamed the Coastguard Auxiliary Service in which volunteer rescue personnel were trained and coordinated by the Coastguard. The Children's Newspaper of August 1931 commented:

    A Good Idea Comes Out of a Sad Disaster

    Something good has come from a sea disaster of a year ago, when the yacht Islander foundered and Commodore King and his five companions were drowned in Lantivet Bay. The Board of Trade is planning a new civilian, Life-Saving Corps, nearly 6000 strong, to supplement the present coastguard service. Here is a wonderful new chance for Scouts and Guides if the scheme comes into being, for they are to be specially welcomed as helpers. Women would also be enrolled in the corps. ... The idea of performing some national service is bound to appeal to a vast number of people. If the Government approves the scheme we can prophesy that all round the coasts of our little island there will be a great army of volunteers for serving the ships that pass in the night.

  15. Cross the stile and footbridge and follow the fence on the right to a gate. Go through this to a junction of paths and turn left onto the path heading away from the beach. Follow this to a gate marked Lansallos, just past the point where the coast path continues up the headland.

    Lansallos Cove is also known as West Coombe, after the valley. The sheltered beach is composed of sand and shingle and was used to launch small fishing boats. The same characteristics that made it a good launching spot also make it good for swimming, particularly at mid-high tide when the bottom is sandy (at low tide, rocks are exposed). The bowl shape of the cove also traps warm water as the tide rises over the rocks and sand exposed to the sun. Sand from the cove was used by local farmers to improve soil drainage and as a source of lime. Seaweed was sometimes also used as a fertiliser as it is rich in potassium and contains a number of trace elements needed by plants. The small waterfall on the side of the beach was once used to power a mill.

  16. Go through the gate and the one ahead of it and follow the path to a waymark. Continue ahead at the waymark and follow the path alongside the stream until it ends on a track in front of the churchyard.

    Wild garlic has been found in settlements dating as far back as the neolithic period which given its springtime abundance and aroma is not that surprising. Its culinary use was eventually overtaken by domesticated garlic which first arrived with Mediterranean traders and had the advantage that the bulbs could be stored for relatively long periods.

    The footpath along the stream, known as Reed Water, is an ancient route from the village to the cove. It was cut out to form a cart track to serve both the cove and the mill, and ruts from the cartwheels are still visible. In March and April, celandines flower along the wooded path.

  17. Turn right onto the track and follow it to a junction, then bear left along the churchyard wall to a stile beside the entrance to the churchyard.

    The church is on the site of an earlier Norman church and before that, Celtic missionary monks had an establishment here that the "Lan" in the name refers to. The present church building was dedicated to St Ildierna on 16th October 1321, was rebuilt in the 15th century, and contains a number of important architectural and historical features.

    In 2005, the church and many of its ancient artefacts were badly damaged in a fire which is thought was an act of arson. The now partly incinerated mediaeval chest gives an idea of the intensity of the blaze which also damaged both the roof and organ. Fortunately, the magnificent carved oak benches, made between 1490 and 1520, survived the fire.

  18. Cross the stile and follow the path alongside the churchyard wall to a stile at the far end.

    The inscription on a gravestone in Lansallos churchyard records the untimely death of John Perry at the age of 24 in 1779 "unfortunately killed by a cannon ball by a person unknown," probably as a result of an encounter with a Revenue vessel at sea.

    In Prime of Life most suddenly.
    Sad tidings to relate.
    Here view my utter destiny
    and pity my sad fate.
    I by a Shot which rapid flew.
    Was Instantly Struck dead.
    Lord pardon the offender who.
    My precious blood did shed.
    Grant Him to rest and forgive me.
    For all I've done amiss.
    And that I may rewarded be.
    With everlasting bliss.
  19. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to a waymark, then bear right slightly and cross the field towards the buildings to reach a stone stile enclosed in wooden railings.

    The Ramblers Association and National Farmers Union suggest some "dos and don'ts" for walkers which we've collated with some info from the local Countryside Access Team.


    • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves
    • Be prepared for farm animals to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
    • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
    • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
    • Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep.
    • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
    • If you and your dog feel threatened, work your way to the field boundary and quietly make your way to safety.
    • Report any dangerous incidents to the Cornwall Council Countryside Access Team - phone 0300 1234 202 for emergencies or for non-emergencies use the iWalk Cornwall app to report a footpath issue (via the menu next to the direction on the directions screen).


    • If you are threatened by cattle, don't hang onto your dog: let it go to allow the dog to run to safety.
    • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way around the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible.
    • Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
  20. Cross the stile and footbridge and go through the gate into a field. Follow the left hedge of the field to a pair of gates in the bottom corner.

    To make wine from dandelion flowers, pour a gallon of boiling water over a gallon of flowers and steep for 2-3 days in a covered container, stirring occasionally. Then boil, add 1.5kg sugar and allow to cool. To the basic liquor, citrus is often added (lemon/orange juice and zest) which gives some acidity, and chopped raisins or grape concentrate can be used to give more body to the wine. Ferment with a white wine or champagne yeast.

    During Victorian times and earlier, small amounts of land in Cornwall were measured by the goad - a unit of nine feet in length, derived from the name of the staff used to drive oxen.

    An English acre was less generous (at 43,560 square feet) than a Cornish acre (51,840 square feet). Although both were defined as 160 smaller land units, the English equivalent to the Cornish goad was a perch but this was 5.5 yards (16.5 ft) rather than the two-goad length used in Cornwall of 6 yards (18 ft). It is thought that the reason the perch ended up as a non-round number of feet is that it was originally measured from 20 averaged-sized human feet in Saxon times when nutrition wasn't great.

  21. Go through the gate in the fence ahead and walk downhill to the pedestrian gate in the fence below. Then follow the path down the valley to a waymark. Turn right at the waymark (indicated for Trevarder) and follow the stone steps between the wooden railings to a footbridge. Follow the path from the bridge to reach a gate.

    Celandine flowers close each night and open each morning. This is controlled by a circadian rhythm, so they really are "going to sleep" at night and "waking up in the morning". It is likely that this has arisen to protect the internals of the flowers from any frost during the night as they begin flowering in March when frosts are still common.

    A copper mine known as Wheal Howell operated in the valley for around 20 years at the start of the 19th Century. The three mineshafts that are known about have been filled in but the National Trust recommend that you stick to the paths through the valley, in case you discover a fourth.

  22. Go through the gate and cross the field diagonally towards the clump of trees in the corner, keeping the buildings and fenced-in stone structures to your right. Pass a standing granite post to reach a stile consisting of stone footholds over the hedge.

    The local name for the steps, possibly coined by the bawdy miners of Wheal Howell, is the charming "Kiss Me Arse Steps". Two people climbing the steps in close succession will likely arrive at one possible explanation.

  23. Cross the hedge via the stile and turn left onto the lane. Follow the lane until it ends at a junction.

    The Royal Cornwall Gazette reported in April 1825:

    During the last week the coast between Polperro and Fowey has been kept in a state of disorder as a consequence of a quantity of smuggled liquor found on the shore. It has been particularly annoying to the agents of Wheal Howell Mine, the miners having been in a continual state of drunkenness. On Wednesday last the whole of the men had assembled, and by stratagem succeeded in getting underground where they concealed part of a keg of brandy, and drank to usual intoxication - so much so that it was with extreme difficulty that several of them were brought to the grass.
  24. Go through the small pedestrian gate on the right (opposite the larger gate on the left for Lantivet Bay) and follow the path to emerge on the lane opposite the car park. Turn right and carefully follow the lane to a junction.

    Geese migrate to warmer climates for the winter and fly in a V-shaped formation known as a skein or wedge (on the ground, a collection of geese is known as a gaggle). The V-formation allows birds behind the leader to fly more efficiently as the rising air from flapping wings of the bird ahead helps to support the weight of the one behind. This can increase the range that the bird can fly by over 70%. The birds each take it in turns to do the harder job of flying at the front.

  25. Keep right at the junction (signposted to Pelynt) and follow the lane past Tredudwell Manor to reach a track and gateway on the left opposite a wooden gate on the right.

    Tredudwell Manor dates back to mediaeval times and its estate included much of the surrounding land including the Hall Walk from Bodinnick Ferry. Coastal land was donated to National Trust in the 1950s as part of Project Neptune. The current house was built in 1705, but parts are thought to date back to the 14th century.

  26. Turn left and pass the gate to reach a wooded path. Follow this until it ends on a lane.

    The ferns with solid leaves are appropriately called hart's tongue as the leaf resembles the tongue of a deer. It's an evergreen so leaves can be seen all year round but there's usually a flurry of new growth in mid March when new leaves can be seen gradually unfurling over a number of days. The Latin name for the species means "centipede" as the underside of the leaves have rows of brown spore cases that form a pattern resembling centipede legs. The plants thrive in shady places and are tolerant of the lime used in mortar so are sometimes found growing in old walls.

  27. Turn right onto the lane and follow it a short distance to a track on the left marked with a Public Footpath sign. Turn left up the driveway and follow the path alongside the cottages to an unsurfaced path beneath the trees. Follow this path, keeping right at the steps to stay on the path. Continue along the path until it ends at a gate into a field.

    Daffodils contain chemical compounds which are toxic to dogs, cats and humans and ingestion of any part of a daffodil is likely to cause a stomach upset e.g. when unsupervised children have eaten leaves. The bulbs have both higher concentrations and a broader range of toxins than the rest of the plant and can be mistaken for onions (although don't smell of onion).

    The extra distance covered by going up and down does indeed add to the distance shown on a map. However, despite your legs telling you otherwise, this is actually not that huge. On an exceptionally arduous walk solely on the coast with lots of deep valleys, the distance travelled "up and down" is likely to be at most about 10% compared to the distance on the flat. For a more normal coastal circular walk the extra "up and down" is typically not much more than 5% of the distance on a flat map.

  28. Go through the gate and follow the left hedge of the field to a gate in the corner.

    The hedges along the fields and tracks contain many nectar-bearing flowers which attract butterflies.

    The Red Admiral, Peacock, Painted Lady and Tortoiseshell butterflies are all quite closely related and specialised for overwinter hibernation. Their wings, when closed, have a jagged outline and camouflaged colours that allows them to blend in with dead leaves. Their feet contain chemoreceptors (taste buds) which allows them to detect nectar-bearing flowers when they land.

    Nettles are the theme of German and Dutch colloquial expressions for a troublesome situation. The German equivalent of "having a bit of a nightmare" is to be "sat in the nettles". The Dutch have abbreviated this further, so you'd be having a bit of a "nettle situation".

  29. Go through the gate and follow the track a short distance to a waymark at a junction.
  30. At the waymark, bear left onto the track and follow this until it ends on a lane.

    Skylarks are the most common member of the lark family in Britain and are often known simply as "larks".

    The collective noun for larks ("an exaltation") dates back to "The Book of Saint Albans" printed in 1486 which provided tips on hunting, hawking, and heraldry. It also included "a murmuration of starlings", "an unkindness of ravens" and "a clattering of choughs".

  31. Turn left onto the lane and follow this back to the car park.

    Lanteglos church is a short diversion to the right.

    The church is dedicated to St Wyllow who according to legend was born in Ireland in the 6th Century, lived as a hermit in Cornwall and was beheaded by the locals. The current church was built in the 14th Century and altered in the 15th. The brass of Thomas de Mohun within the church dates from this period and the brasses depicting John Mohun and his wife date from the start of the 16th Century. The bench ends were also carved in the 16th Century and carefully preserved during an 18th Century restoration. Daphne Du Maurier featured the church as "Lanoc Church" in her first novel, "The Loving Spirit" and she was married here herself in 1932.

either as a GPS-guided walk with our app (£2.99) or a PDF (£1.99)

Please recycle your ink cartridges to help prevent plastic fragments being ingested by seabirds. Google "stinkyink" and click on "free recycling" for a freepost label.