Marazion to Perranuthnoe circular walk

Marazion to Perranuthnoe

A mostly circular walk to Perranuthnoe beach from one of Britain's most ancient towns - Marazion - burnt down twice by the French and once more in a Cornish rebellion

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 route passes through the centre of Marazion where warm pasties can be picked up for fuelling the return journey. The route then joins a footpath leading over the hill to Perranuthnoe church, from which there are excellent views over Mount's Bay. After reaching the beach at Perranuthnoe, the walk returns along the coast path, passing several small coves tucked in the rocky shoreline. The final stretch is past the causeway and ferry to St Michael's Mount.


  • Note that most coastal walks in Cornwall have paths close to unfenced cliffs.

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: 102
  • Distance: 4.9 miles/7.9 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 102 OS Explorer 102 (laminated version)

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


  • Views over Mount's Bay and St Michael's Mount
  • Visit St Michael's Mount as part of the walk
  • Sandy beaches at Perranuthnoe and Marazion

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Fire Engine Inn
  • The Godolphin Arms
  • The Kings Arms


  1. Make your way to the coast path sign (in the left corner, if you are facing the sea). Follow the path signposted to Marazion to reach a memorial for the HMS Warspite, just past the lifeguard hut.

    The rock beside the causeway to St Michael's Mount is known as Chapel Rock.

    A mediaeval chapel was built on Chapel Rock (hence the name) in 1419. It was removed in 1645 by order of Lord Hopton.

  2. Continue ahead from the memorial, between the wooden railings along the front of the car park, to reach an information board beside the slipway onto the beach.

    In 1947, the HMS Warspite was under tow to the breakers yard by two tugs but the cable from one broke in the severe south-west gale. The tugs spent a day fighting against the storm but eventually had to abandon the ship which was driven ashore at Prussia Cove. It was partially salvaged here before being moved to St. Michael's Mount, where the salvage operation took several years. There is still a fair amount wreckage left on the seabed in the centre of Prussia Cove and interesting artefacts are still sometimes discovered by divers.

  3. Join the road ahead and follow this until it ends in a junction with the main road.

    Marazion is the oldest chartered town in Cornwall, granted by Henry III in 1257, and one of the oldest in Britain, possibly evolving from a Roman tin-trading port. It was the major town in southwest Cornwall throughout the mediaeval period until both it and the other major port of Mousehole were eventually overtaken by Penzance. The name is from the Cornish for the market here: marghas byghan, meaning small market, and Marghas Yow, meaning Thursday Market. The town was recorded as Market Jew on maps from the 17th Century - a name which still persists in the street name of Penzance.

  4. Bear right onto the main road and follow it past the Goldolphin Arms and the King's Arms. Continue on the road until you eventually reach the Fire Engine Inn.

    A chapel was located on the site of the parish church during mediaeval times, licensed in 1309. The chapel later fell into ruin and was rebuilt in 1735. In 1861, it was demolished to make way for the present church.

  5. Keep following the pathway alongside the road away from Marazion (crossing over some residential roads on the left) until you reach the track alongside the cemetery on the right just past St Anthony's House.

    In 1548, the governor of St Michael's Mount, Hugh Arundell, led a Cornish rebellion which culminated in a siege on Exeter. During the rebellion, the town of Marazion was burned. Exeter withstood the siege until reinforcements arrived and the rebel leaders were executed.

  6. Cross the road to the track beside the cemetery and follow this until you reach a gateway ahead where a small path departs to the left of it and there is a Footpath sign to the right of the gate.

    The interlaced knot patterns that are associated with Celtic decoration had their origins in the Roman Empire and appear in mosaics during late Roman times. Prior to this, simpler patterns such as spirals and steps featured in Celtic art. Together with Christianity, interlaced patterns were enthusiastically adopted by the Celtic people refined into the knotwork that is now so iconic. Nearly all the decorative patterns are composed from a palette of just 8 elementary knots.

  7. Bear left onto the path to the left of the gate and follow this until you reach a waymark at gateways either side of the path.

    The overgrown area in the field to the left is the remains of Tolvaddon Mine.

    Tolvaddon Mine (not to be confused with Tolvaddon at Camborne) was a copper and tin mine that operated in Victorian times. The status of the mine was reported in 1865 as:

    Rock: clay-slate, influenced by carns of elvan. Number of persons employed, 75, made up by: 40 men, 20 females, and 15 boys.... Depth of mine to adit, 27 fathoms; under adit, 103 fathoms. Workings commenced in 1857.
    At one time the prospects in the mine were such as to encourage expectations of large dividends, which have remained unfulfilled. We are glad to hear, however, that the lode is renewing its productive character, in the bottom levels, and that a new range of the ground is likely to be opened by deeper sinkings, which, it is probable, will contribute to the success of the proprietory, who deserve well of the mining world, not only for their geological judgment in the selection of the ground, but also for the perseverance manifested in pursuing the ore deposits, which, as is the case in all mines, have occasionally shown phases of a discouraging nature; but these, we hope, are only temporary obstacles such as are incident to all mundane affairs, and which, when surmounted, open up a field of permanent prosperity.

    Between 1857 and 1866 the mine sold tin ore worth £2,353 (equivalent to over a quarter of a million pounds today), over 10,000 tons of copper ore plus a few tons zinc and lead ore.

  8. Turn left to follow the small path to the left of the gateway. Continue to emerge into a field at a waymark.

    The bramble is a member of the rose family and there are over 320 species of bramble in the UK. This is a big part of why not all blackberries ripen at the same time, and vary in size and flavour.

  9. Follow the path along the left hedge of the field to reach a gateway in the corner.

    Due to the curvature of the earth, the distance you can see to the horizon depends on your height above sea level. This increases with the square root of height (i.e. with diminishing returns). An adult typically sees the horizon about 3 miles from the beach. From the top of a 100 foot lighthouse, it is about 12 miles away. At the top of the highest cliff in Cornwall it is roughly 33 miles out but if a 100ft tower were built all the way up here, it would only allow an extra 2 miles to be seen.

  10. Go through the opening to the kissing gate opposite. Go through this and a second kissing gate then cross the field to a stone cattle-grid-like stile in the gap in the trees opposite.

    The stiles in Cornwall that consist of rectangular bars of granite resembling a cattle grid are known as "coffen" (coffin) stiles. These often occur on footpaths leading to churches such as the Zennor Churchway. The mini cattle grids are fairly effective at containing livestock and were significantly easier for coffin-bearers to navigate than stiles crossing walls. They are more frequently found in West Cornwall but there are a few in East Cornwall such as those on either side of Advent Church.

  11. Cross the stile and follow the path between the hedge and fence to reach a small step into the next field.

    It is thought that the harbour on the island of St Michael's Mount may have been the location of the Roman port of Ictis described by Diodorus Siculus, which has been translated from Greek:

    The inhabitants of that part of Britain which is called Belerion are very fond of strangers and from their intercourse with foreign merchants are civilized in their manner of life. They prepare the tin, working very carefully the earth in which it is produced. The ground is rocky but it contains earthy veins, the produce of which is ground down, smelted and purified. They beat the metal into masses shaped like knuckle-bones and carry it off to a certain island off Britain called Iktis. During the ebb of the tide the intervening space is left dry and they carry over to the island the tin in abundance in their wagons ... Here then the merchants buy the tin from the natives and carry it over to Gaul, and after travelling overland for about thirty days, they finally bring their loads on horses to the mouth of the Rhone.
  12. Follow the path up the step and continue between the hedge and fence to reach a more substantial stone stile.

    After the Norman conquest in 1066, St Michael's Mount became the possession of the monks of Mont St Michel in Normandy. In the 12th Century they built the church and priory on the island. The original building was destroyed in an earthquake in 1275 and rebuilt in the 14th Century. When Henry V went to war with France, the priory was seized and the French monks evicted, ending the connection with Mont St Michel. After improvements to the harbour in 1727, the mount flourished as a sea port with 53 houses and 3 pubs recorded in 1811. The mount was given to the National Trust in 1954 but the St Aubyn family retained a 999 year lease to inhabit the castle.

  13. Cross the stile and follow along the left hedge to reach a waymarked flight of stone steps just before the far end of the field.

    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".

  14. Climb the steps beside the waymark and turn right. Follow along the right hedge and go through the metal gate ahead to join the track. Follow the track until you reach a telegraph pole with three waymark arrows at a junction of tracks and paths.

    Buddleia are originally from northwest China and Japan where they grow in forest clearings, on riverbanks and on limestone outcrops where they are able to survive with minimal nutrients. They were introduced into the UK as an ornamental plant in the late 19th Century and can found in many gardens. Some have escaped and established a niche on industrial land which resembles their native limestone outcrops.

    The shrub is commonly known as the Butterfly Bush as the flowers are profuse, rich in nectar and are in the shape of champagne flutes; butterflies and bees have sufficiently long drinking apparatus to reach the bottom.

    The plant has two types of leaf; the broad green leaves are replaced with shorter hairy grey leaves during the winter which are more resistant to frost and the drying effect of cold winds.

    The Cornish palm is neither originally from Cornwall nor a palm! It is from New Zealand where it is known as the cabbage tree, being neither related to or tasting anything like cabbage. The top of the stem from which the leaves shoot was harvested by the Maori, resulting in something resembling an artichoke. It is bitter so it was traditionally eaten with fatty meats such as eel to make it palatable. The largest specimen of the plant is thought to be around 500 years old and has a circumference of nine metres at the base! It was introduced to Britain after being collected on Captain Cook's first voyage to the Pacific on the Endeavour.

  15. Turn right onto the small path just past the telegraph pole and follow this to emerge on a driveway leading from the cemetery.

    Ivy is unusual in that it flowers particularly late in the year - from September to November - and therefore provides vital nectar for insects such as bees and moths. Ivy berries are an important winter food source for birds and will remain on the plant all the way through the winter until spring. The berries also have a high fat content so provide a dense source of energy at a time when animals need lots to keep warm.

  16. Bear left onto the drive and follow this a short distance to emerge onto a lane.

    Postboxes are a Victorian invention. The first pillar boxes were erected in the 1850s and by 1857, the first roadside wall boxes were in place. Early postboxes were green and it wasn't until 1874 that some in London were painted red. Over the next 10 years this was applied elsewhere. Postboxes are initialled with the reigning monarch at the time which allows them to be approximately dated. For example Edward 7th (marked as E VII) was only on the throne for 10 years so these date from the 1900s before the First World War.

  17. Turn right onto the lane and follow it a short distance to a junction opposite the church.

    The church at Perranuthnoe dates from Norman times and a few elements from this period remain, including the font. The first record of the church is from 1348 which mentions it was dedicated to St Piran, and some remodelling of the original building had already been done by this point. In 1856 the church was also dedicated to St Nicolas but this has since been replaced by a dedication to St Michael.

  18. Turn left and follow the lane away from the church until it ends in a T-junction.

    The village of Perranuthnoe is thought to get its name partly from the church being dedicated to St Piran and partly from the name of a mediaeval manor that was once here (Uthno). During the 13th Century, the manor was acquired by the Whalesborough family from Bude, and remained within their extended family for a number of centuries. The settlement in its current location dates back at least to Norman times when it consisted of 8 farmers, 7 villagers and 3 slaves. From the names of some of the fields, it is thought that area has been settled since prehistoric times and throughout the Roman occupation.

  19. Turn right and follow the road towards the beach to reach a Coast Path sign on the right just past the car park on the left.

    The beach at Perranuthnoe is also known as Perran Sands, but so is the much more well-known one at Perranporth, so the name only tends to be used in a very local context. The name is accurate in that the beach is sandy at low tide, with relatively little shingle compared to many of the neighbouring beaches. Winter storms can reduce the amount of sand by either throwing up shingle or dragging the sand out into the bay, but it usually returns relatively quickly. At high tide, the beach is almost entirely covered by be sea, but on a low spring tide, the beach stretches for nearly half a mile - most of the way to Trevean Cove.

  20. Cross the stile on the right beside the coast path sign and follow the path to a small stone stile.

    Alexanders are very salt tolerant so they thrive in Cornwall's salty climate. They are just as likely to be found along coastal footpaths as along country lanes. New growth appears in the autumn so during the winter, when most other plants are dormant, it is a dominant source of greenery along paths and lanes in exposed coastal areas.

    Crows can often be seen in the fields along the coast.

    Research has shown that crows have a much higher density of neurons in their forebrains than primates do (the density if neurons in this region is thought to correlate with intelligence).

    The brain of a crow accounts for 2.7 percent of the bird's overall weight whereas an adult human's brain represents 1.9 percent of their body weight. This is even more impressive when considered in context: birds need to be as light as possible in order to fly.

    Ravens are considered the most intelligent crow species, outperforming chimpanzees in some tests. Consequently an academic is quoted as saying that crows are "smarter than many undergraduates, but probably not as smart as ravens."

  21. Cross into the field and follow the path along the left hedge of three fields to where the path enters the undergrowth.

    The stink from decaying cabbages is due to sulphur compounds which it stores in its leaves, ready for the production of seeds later on. The compounds are also more concentrated in the plant if it has been deprived of water. These compounds are also released from the plant when leaves are boiled - the longer it's cooked, the more cabbage smell. The silver lining is that it's thought that the smelly compounds may possibly have anti-cancer properties. Whilst that's being researched a bit more, blanching or braising cabbage is a less smelly way to cook it.

  22. Follow the path leading from the field to reach a pair of benches on the point.

    Wheal Neptune, extending below Perranuthnoe, was one of the most successful mines in the area, extracting over 10,000 tons of copper ore; the owners became so prosperous that they issued their own bank notes! South Wheal Neptune was a smaller mine situated on the clifftop; just over 170 tons of copper were extracted in 1842-43, fetching £1049 (equivalent to around £100,000 today).

  23. Follow the path around the end of the point and past a National Trust sign for Boat Cove. Continue through two fields, and past a stone wall beneath some bushes on the point to emerge into field where a small path joins from the right.

    The offshore rock formation is known as The Greeb. With a bit of imagination and a look on Google Maps, you'll see why. Rocks such as these are a favourite spot for seabirds to dry off after fishing.

    The large black birds nesting on offshore rocks, known colloquially as the cormorant and shag, are two birds of the same family and to the untrained eye look pretty similar. The origin of the name "shag" is a crest that this species has on top of its head and the cormorant doesn't. The cormorant is the larger of the two birds with a whiter throat. The shag's throat is yellow, and mature shags have a metallic green sheen on their feathers which cormorants lack.

  24. Keep left along the coast and follow the path to reach a flight of wooden steps leading down to the shore on the next point.

    Tamarisks, also known as salt cedars, are able to withstand drought, soil salinity, and salt-water spray and therefore thrive in mild coastal areas such as the Cornish coastline. Their ability to accumulate salt and then excrete this through glands in their leaves prevents less salt-tolerant plants from growing around their base.

  25. Follow the path around the point and along the left hedge of the field to a gateway.

    Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world with adults typically reaching 20-25ft in length and the shark with the smallest brain relative to its body size. They are slowly cruise along, usually in small groups, filtering plankton. They migrate in search of plankton blooms and are seen off Cornwall between May and October. Occasionally they come in close to the shore on sandy beaches, causing much excitement for swimmers.

    Turnstones pick through the rafts of seaweed washed up on the beaches during storms, looking for invertebrates.

    Turnstones are small wading birds which can often be seen scavenging for small crumbs of pasty along harbour fronts in Cornwall. Their name arises from one of their ways of finding food on the seashore: they are able to lift stones as large as themselves using their strong neck. As their pasty foraging skills suggest, they are very versatile feeders and will eat almost anything including dead animals.

  26. Follow the path through the gap in the hedge and across the small field to the gap in the hedge opposite.

    Unlike many birds that just sing in spring, robins sing nearly all year round. In fact during winter if you hear birdsong, it's most likely to be a robin. Despite how cute robins look, they are actually very territorial and the chirp is an aggressive warning to any would-be intruders not to even think of trying it. When robins don't sing, this a sign that their body fat reserves are low and they are conserving what little they have left until food becomes more plentiful.

  27. Go through the gateway then keep right to follow the path between the bushes. Continue until the path ends at a track.

    The quarry ahead extracted a hard metamorphic rock known as greenstone which was used for road chippings. In Neolithic times this was used to make stone axes. Stone Age axes found in prehistoric sites around the UK have been chemically and magnetically analysed and matched up with samples of rock taken from various quarries in a process known as "geochemical fingerprinting". A group of 20 axes (known as Group III) have been traced back to this quarry. The axes were mostly found at sites in central southern England with a few in East Anglia and one up near York. This implies that a sophisticated trade network was in place to be able to transport goods over such as distance.

  28. Turn left onto the track and follow it past the buildings to where it forks at the coast.

    At Trenow, a mine known as the Trenow Consols operated during Victorian times. Prince Albert even visited Trenow Cove by steamship to be shown the copper and the 85-inch cylinder engine. Further inland there was another mine known as Wheal Charlotte, in which the engine boiler exploded in 1861, killing many men. The two mines were eventually combined into Charlotte United Mines.

  29. Turn right and pass the bench to reach a small path departing to the right immediately after a second bench. Bear right onto this and follow it past the National Trust sign for Trenow Cove and through a gap in the wall. Turn left and follow the narrow field to a gap in the wall at the far end.

    The Neptune and Trenow mines were drained by an extensive network of interconnecting adits. On the rocky shore of Trenow Cove, a small stream runs down the beach from a mine adit.

    An adit is a roughly horizontal tunnel going into a mine. In Cornwall these were important for drainage as many of the ore-bearing veins are close to vertical, through which water can easily seep. Drainage adits were sloped slightly upwards to meet the main shaft, so water trickling into the main shaft from above could be diverted out of the adit. Below the adit, engines powered by waterwheels or steam were needed to pump the water up to the level of the adit where it could then drain away.

  30. Go through the gap and follow the path to the gap in the bushes opposite.

    Ribwort plantain is a common weed on cultivated land with long leaves and unmistakable black seed heads on the end of tall stalks often with a halo of white flowers. Generations of children have worked out that by knotting the stem, the seed head can be launched as a projectile at unsuspecting adults.

    A tea made from the leaves is a popular herbal remedy but care should be taken where the plant is harvested as it is not only highly tolerant of high metal levels in the soil but also accumulates these. It will even tolerate and accumulate arsenic which is normally toxic to plants. It therefore has the potential to be used for cleansing soils contaminated with mine waste.

  31. Go through the gap and follow the path to a small flight of steps concealed in the bushes on the left-hand side of the far hedge.

    The settlement to the left of St Michael's Mount with the large harbour walls is Newlyn. The smaller settlement to the left of the quarry is Mousehole.

    Throughout the Mediaeval period, Mousehole was the major port in Mount's Bay and it had a number of fairs and markets. In the 14th century, its fishing fleet was ten times the size of that of either Penzance or Newlyn. Up until the 12th Century, the village was known as Porth Enys which translates to something along the lines of "Island Port", referring to St Clement's Isle. In the 13th century, the name Mousehole (pronounced "mouzel") began to be used as well - the exact origin is unknown and various theories have been put forward including a possible Cornish name of "Moweshayle". The most well-known candidate is the cave known as "The Mousehole" which does look very much like a mouse hole from a cartoon, but made by a very large mouse! Unsurprisingly, the cave was put to good use by smugglers.

  32. Climb the steps and follow the waymarked path along the left side of the field to the corner, where a small path departs.
  33. The path to the left leads to Venton Beach (this used to be the Coast Path but cliff falls have made the route up from the beach unsafe). The walk continues to the right. Keep following the left hedge up the field to reach a track leading from the top.

    The cove here is named after Venton Farm, where the other path from the fork leads. The name is from the Cornish word for "spring", which makes sense as water would trickle down here from the area of elevated land around the granite outcrop beside the farm. The cliffs around the cove are very unstable and prone to landslides so if you decide to visit the cove, stay well away from the crumbling cliffs.

  34. Join the track and follow it to where a stony path departs from the left between two hedges. Keep left to join the stony path and follow this to the junction of paths and tracks you encountered near the start of the walk.
  35. Follow the small path ahead and continue until it ends in a junction with the road.
  36. Cross the road to the pedestrian path and turn left; follow it back through Marazion to complete the circular route.

    The causeway to St Michael's Mount has been repaired many times over the centuries and the locations of the two ends were altered at the end of the 19th Century. There are records from 1433 documenting funds for the causeway that suggest it may have been constructed shortly after the mediaeval harbour, started in 1427. It is thought that the more random areas of paving, located towards the centre of the causeway are likely to be the most ancient.

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.