Mousehole to Lamorna Cove

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.

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 via satnav the start of the walk.
Hand holding a phone showing the iWalk Cornwall app
The app leads you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
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 and which way you are facing.
Phone showing walk directions page in the iWalk Cornwall app
Detailed, triple-tested directions are also included.
Phone showing facts section in iWalk Cornwall app
Each walk includes lots of information about the history and nature along the route.
Person look at phone with cliff scenery in background
Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need wifi or a phone signal for 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 of £1.99 for a walk includes ongoing free updates.
The walk circles Mousehole harbour and then joins the Coast Path to Lamorna Cove, passing through the woods of the nature reserve and around the headland of Carn Du, from which there are panoramic views. The route then follows the cliffs into Lamorna Cove. The return route is through the Lamorna granite quarries and through the fields of the clifftop farms overlooking St Clement's Isle and St Michaels' Mount.


Mousehole to Lamorna cove 16/5/15 am. Beautiful walk
Perfect day: Circular @iwalkc Lamorna Cove Mousehole and back via The Old Coastguard @leroundhouse and #2Forestreet
Mousehole to Lamorna today - fabulous walk.
Did the Mousehole to Larmorna Walk last year and loved it, with beautiful scenery and also learning the local history along the way using the app, my 8 year old loved it and wants to do it again this year.
The walk along the cliffs from Mousehole is beautiful :-)

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 102
  • Distance: 4.8 miles/7.8 km
  • Grade: Moderate-strenuous
  • Start from: Ramp next to the toilets on the North Pier
  • Parking: Along road from Newlyn, Cliff car park or Pier car parks TR196PS. As you approach from Newlyn, there are free parking areas along the road before you reach Mousehole
  • Recommended footwear: Walking shoes (goes through farmyards)

OS maps for this walk

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


  • Historic fishing village of Mousehole
  • Views across Lamorna Cove from Carn-du to Tater Du lighthouse
  • Views across Mounts Bay to St Michael's Mount
  • Festive celebrations including Christmas lights and Tom Bawcock's Eve

Adjoining walks


  1. From the North Pier, follow along the harbour front, passing in front of the Ship Inn, to reach a junction with Keigwin Place.

    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.

  2. Turn left into Keigwin Place as indicated by the coast path sign and continue a short distance to a T-junction opposite Little Keigwin. Turn left towards Tide's Reach and follow the wharf to reach the South Pier car park.

    When you reach Little Keigwin, the building to the right is Keigwin House, the oldest building in the town, which dates from the 14th Century. Just before Tide's Reach, on the left, is a plaque dedicated to Dolly Pentreath, one of the last to speak the Cornish Language.

    During the Anglo-Spanish War in 1595, five Spanish Galleys carrying several hundred men landed at Point Spaniard, just outside Mousehole. The English Troops stationed there fled leaving the town unprotected. Some of the local people fled up the hill to the church in Paul. The Spaniards killed any men that remained, raped the women, looted the town and then burned it to the ground. The only building left standing that has survived to today is the Keigwin House (formerly the Keigwin Arms), named after its owner who was killed there. After burning down Mousehole and Newlyn, the Spaniards followed the locals up the hill and burned Paul too.

  3. Cross through the car park, passing to the left of the Rowing Club, and follow the narrow path to reach a narrow lane in front of Glas Mor. Bear left onto the lane and follow it around a sharp bend and uphill to a sign for Merlin Place.

    Mousehole harbour would have originally been built as a dry-stone granite construction using boulders from the beach or nearby moors stacked on their edges. Letters from the 1760s talk of repairs to the harbour involving floating the boulders into place using casks as buoys. It was rebuilt and extended in the 19th century. During this period, the stone for the quay faces was dressed, creating square blocks which were set in mortar. This was typically backfilled with rubble although older quay structures may sometimes have been incorporated within the backfill.

  4. Continue ahead up the path marked with a coast path sign and follow this until it emerges onto a lane. Turn left onto the lane and follow it uphill, ignoring the path leading off to the left. Follow the lane until you eventually reach a national speed limit sign.

    The Mousehole Bird Hospital, located on Raginnis Hill, was founded in 1928 by two sisters from the village. It became famous in 1967 after the Torrey Canyon disaster where the resulting oil spill was disastrous to seabirds and over 8000 birds were treated in the Mousehole Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary is now a registered charity, and is still run solely on voluntary contributions. Visitors are welcomed and admission is free.

  5. Turn left down the track indicated by the coast path sign. Follow the stony track past Porth Enys House and continue until it ends between two gates with a path leading ahead and a waymark for the Lamorna Inland Route on the right.

    On a rough November night in 1907, the Thames barge "Baltic" was on its way to Newlyn with a cargo of cement, but it ran aground on St Clement's Isle on its approach to the harbour. Mousehole fishermen rescued the crew and the captain's wife and daughter by lifting a crabbing boat by hand over the baulks that closed Mousehole harbour to winter seas and then rowing it out to the stranded ship. The ship was later salvaged and one of the crew settled in Mousehole and married the Harbourmaster's daughter.

  6. Follow the path ahead along the coast for nearly a mile until you enter a wooded area and reach an information board for Kemyel Crease.

    On your way, you pass the old Coastguard lookout on Penzer point which was used to alert the lifeboat based on Penlee point at the other side of Mousehole.

    In December 1981, a new ship - The Union Star - had just been launched in Denmark and was on its way to Ireland, having first made an unauthorised stop on the east coast of England to pick up the captain's wife and her two daughters. Near the south coast of Cornwall, the ship's engines failed and in 100 mph hurricane force winds, the ship was blown across Mounts Bay towards the rocks of Boscowen Cove.

    Mousehole's Penlee lifeboat was launched with a crew of 8 and in breakers of over 60ft, attempted to pull alongside the coaster, being dropped on top of it by the waves on one occasion. After several attempts, the crew managed to pull alongside the vessel and get the captain's family and one crew member off the ship, but never made it back. There were no survivors from either vessel.

    Within a day of the disaster, enough people from Mousehole had volunteered to form a new lifeboat crew. The lifeboat now operates out of Newlyn Harbour but is still known as the Penlee lifeboat.

  7. Follow the path through the reserve to emerge from the woodland by a reserve sign where the path passes through a wall.

    The Kemyel Crease nature reserve is unusual and unmissable due to its huge conifers which form a coastal landmark. These were fast-growing salt-resistant Monterey Pine and Monterey Cypress that were planted in Victorian times to act as windbreaks as the cliff edges were used for growing bulbs and potatoes. These were planted in tiny terraced fields known as quillets which were hedged with fuchsia. The reserve contains over 100 of these tiny fields and was purchased by the Conrwall Wildlife Trust in 1974.

    The thick tree cover limits what can grow beneath the canopy but the damp conditions are good for fungi. An unusual one known as an Earth Star is reported to grow here. This starts off as an unremarkable-looking brown ball and then the outer layer splits off and peels back to form a star shape, eventually folding underneath like starfish legs. These support a central globe which puffs out spores when drips of rain hit it.

    As the conifers eventually die off, they are being replaced with native broadleaf trees which are able to support a more diverse range of wildlife. The Monterey Cypress, in particular, has quite a long life span so this process will be fairly gradual.

  8. Follow the path through the gap in the wall and continue along the coast path to a waymark at the bottom of a flight of steps.

    On Boxing Day of 1977, a trawler - The Conqueror - ran aground in a severe winter storm on the rocks of Penzer Point. The ship remained on the rocks for a year, during which its cargo of frozen mackerel would have been unmistakable from the coast path! Eventually the boat was washed off the rocks by another storm and since it had been holed when it ran aground, it sank just offshore.

  9. When you reach the waymark, climb the steps to another waymark at the top.

    There are excellent views across the bay to the lighthouse from the top and from the end of the Carn Du headland. A small path leads onto the headland from the coast path but is not recommended in wet or windy weather.

    The Tater Du lighthouse was built in 1965 after a Spanish coaster capsized in 1963 with the loss of 11 lives, following a campaign from the Newlyn and Mousehole Fishermen's Association to prevent further disasters. From its construction, the lighthouse was designed to be fully automatic, being controlled remotely from the Trinity House depot in Penzance. The lighthouse also had a fog horn, but this was turned off in 2012.

  10. Follow the cobbled path to another waymark and then along the edge of the cliffs towards Lamorna Cove. As you approach the cove, follow the path along a garden wall to reach a waymark at a junction of paths.

    In the 1800s, the son of a large stonemasonry company in London travelled the length of the country searching for accessible granite quarry sites. He finally settled on Lamorna Cove and the quarry on the eastern side of the cove opened in 1849, with quarries on the other side of the cove and in the nearby hamlet of Sheffield also being worked in the late Victorian period, with the last finally closing in 1911. Granite was blasted and then chipped into shape by hand; the ringing noise from the hand-held chisels was reported as being incessant and deafening. The blocks were then loaded onto boats via a metal two-tier metal pier which extended into the sea on the east side of the cove.

    Lamorna granite was used in many Victorian engineering projects including the Wolf Rock and Longships lighthouses, Dover Admiralty Pier and breakwaters of Portland and Alderney. A number of iconic parts of London such as The Embankment and New Scotland Yard are also built from it.

  11. The return route is the path to the right, just past the waymark. You may want to explore Lamorna Cove first (along the path to the left, across the bridge and in front of the cottages). To continue the walk, follow the path from the waymark to a public footpath sign then up through the quarries for about a quarter of a mile until it emerges onto another path at a waymark in front of a cottage.

    The quay at Lamorna Cove was built in the 1850s. It was badly damaged in 2006 and was then smashed apart in the 2014 storm.

    Harbour walls created from mortared square blocks of granite during the Victorian period very quickly become unstable when the mortar between them is eroded by the sea. The large square blocks are particularly susceptible to the hydraulic lifting effect of the sea and the receding waves can suck loose blocks out of the harbour wall.

    The previous old-fashioned way of building drystone harbour walls from unshaped boulders stacked on their edges did not suffer this problem, as the hydraulic pressure would be released through the gaps between the stones and the narrow, rounded bottom of each one did not present the sea much surface area to lift against.

  12. At the waymark, turn right and follow the path to a track. Continue ahead to merge onto the track and follow it past the cottages to reach a stone stile with a public footpath sign on the right.
  13. Cross the stile on the right and follow the left hedge to reach a stone stile next to the gate in the far hedge.

    There are over four hundred complete stone crosses in Cornwall and at least another two hundred fragments.

    A number of mediaeval crosses have been found built into walls, used as animal rubbing posts, gateposts and stream crossings. Many were rescued and moved into churchyards during Victorian times. A number were also moved from their roadside locations into churchyards.

  14. Climb the stile and cross the field to a waymarked stile next to the gateway opposite (3rd gateway counting from the left).

    The number of cows in Cornwall has been estimated at around 75,000 so there's a good chance of encountering some in grassy fields. If you are crossing fields in which there are cows:

    • Avoid splitting the herd as cows are more relaxed if they feel protected by the rest of the herd. Generally the best plan is to walk along the hedges.
    • Do not show any threatening behaviour towards calves (approaching them closely to take photos, making loud noises or walking between a calf and its mother) as you may provoke the mother to defend her young.
    • If cows approach you, they often do so out of curiosity and in the hope of food - it may seem an aggressive invasion of your space but that's mainly because cows don't have manners. Do not run away as this will encourage them to chase you. Stand your ground and stretch out your arms to increase your size. Usually if you calmly approach them, they will back off. It's also best to avoid making sudden movements that might cause them to panic.
    • Where possible, avoid taking dogs into fields with cows, particularly with calves. If cows charge, release the dog from its lead as the dog will outrun the cows and the cows will generally chase the dog rather than you.
  15. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to a corner. Then head directly across the field to a stile with a cream-coloured arrow painted on the wall, pointing at it.

    Kemyel Crease farm are one of the suppliers to Rodda's for their Cornish Clotted Cream.

    The Rodda family started making clotted cream in their farmhouse kitchen in Scorrier in 1890, which was initially just sold locally. A breakthrough came in the 1920s when William Rodda developed a technique for preserving the cream in glass jars and this allowed it to be transported to London. Department stores such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason soon made large orders, but as the Roddas only had 12 cows on their farm, they began buying cream from local farms to supplement their own herd. By the 1930s, the demand had further increased and production was being scaled up, despite the lack of electricity and water on the farm at this point. Although there have been advances in production equipment, food hygiene and packaging, and Rodda's clotted cream is now sold all over the world, the business model hasn't fundamentally changed and cream from local farms is still brought to Scorrier. The milk used in the cream comes only from Cornwall and the farms that supply Roddas with their cream also need to meet high welfare standards.

  16. Climb down the stile and bear left onto the track. Follow this, which turns into a lane, until you reach a public footpath sign on the right.

    Cornish clotted cream is described as having a "nutty, cooked milk" flavour and now has a Protected Designation of Origin (it must be made with milk from Cornwall). The unique, slightly yellow colour is due to the high carotene levels in the grass in Cornwall.

    Traditionally, clotted cream was created by straining fresh cow's milk and letting it stand in a shallow pan in a cool place for several hours to allow the cream to rise to the surface. It was then heated, either over hot cinders or in a water bath, before a slow cooling. The clots that had formed on the top were then skimmed off with a long-handled cream-skimmer.

    Clotted cream is similar to Kaymak (or Kajmak), a delicacy that is made throughout the Middle East, Southeast Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Turkey. It is possible that it was introduced to Cornwall by Phoenician traders who ventured to the area in search of tin.

  17. Turn right off the lane at the footpath sign and cross the stile. Follow the left hedge to reach a gap with a stone stile on the left.
  18. Cross the stile and follow the path through the woods over another stone stile and footbridge and continue on the path to reach a public footpath sign on the approach to some farm buildings.
  19. Bear left in the direction indicated by the yellow arrow on the signpost and follow the path to reach another public footpath sign on the other side of a track.
  20. Cross the stile beside the footpath sign and follow the path through a series of kissing gates through the farmyard to reach a final gate into a field.
  21. Once through the last of the pedestrian gates, follow along the barn on the right to reach a stile with an old cross beside it. Climb the stile and follow the left hedge to a waymarked stile next to the gate.

    The inland footpath between Mousehole and Lamorna Cove was used at the start of the 20th Century for the daily postal delivery route from Penzance. After walking through Newlyn and Mousehole, the postman would walk through the three farms, crossing 15 stiles and then descend the quarry road to Lamorna Cove before climbing the valley to Lamorna village where a hut was provided for him to dry out and eat his mid-day meal before continuing on his rounds through Castellack and back to Penzance.

  22. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to reach a stone stile next to the gateway.

    Most of the fields here contain a standing granite stone somewhere in the centre of the field. Their locations suggest that they are scratching posts for itchy cows rather than a prehistoric configuration. However it's entirely possible that some of them may have once been menhirs that were scavenged from elsewhere.

    Large upright standing stones are known as menhirs due to the celtic words men meaning stone and hir meaning long. The reason for their construction is unknown; currently the most popular theories are ceremonial. Excavations at some of the menhir sites in Cornwall have found evidence of postholes and pits, and areas of quartz paving. Also beneath some of the stones, charcoal and cremated human bone have been found.

    These charcoal deposits have been radiocarbon dated and found to be between the Late Neolithic and Middle Bronze Age and, until recently, menhirs were thought to associated principally with the Beaker people who inhabited Europe during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze age (4-5 thousand years ago). Some recent research has suggested an older origin (perhaps 6-7 thousand years ago, at the very start of the Neolithic period in Britain). There is also evidence that some stones continued to be erected, or re-used, much later in the post-Roman "Dark Ages" (early mediaeval) period when some were also inscribed.

  23. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge a short distance to a stone stile. Cross this and again follow the left hedge a little further this time to reach another stone stile.

    The long headland in the distance is the Lizard which forms the other side of Mounts Bay.

    The name Lizard comes from the Cornish lysardh which literally means "high court" but could also be interpreted as "fortress". It is possibly a reference to the high cliffs along the coast and maybe also that it is a peninsula. Much of the rock making up the peninsula is known as "serpentine" but this is thought to be a coincidence; the name is thought to be based on the appearance of the rock and not a reference to the placename.

  24. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to reach a stone stile a few metres from the corner of the field.

    In 2007, a 17th Century shipwreck was discovered in the English Channel, roughly 40 miles off Mount's Bay. The gold and silver coins salvaged from the wreck were valued at half a billion US dollars, making it possibly the highest financial value of any shipwreck yet discovered. The wreck lies just outside UK territorial waters, and so the US-based salvage company was able to claim the find for themselves.

  25. Cross the stile and head towards the farm gate on the opposite side of the field. As you approach, make for the stile on the right side of the gate.
  26. Cross the stile onto a lane and bear right to the track leading between Raginnis Cottage and Bowjy Flat. Follow the track until a grassy path departs to the right, just past The Piggery.

    Bowjy is a Cornish word meaning cow shed and Raginnis is likely from the Cornish a-rag enys which literally means "in front of the island". St Clement's Isle is quite close and generally thought to be the one in question although there is also a really nice view across Mount's Bay to St Michael's Mount from here.

  27. Bear right down the path leading from the track to a stone stile. Cross the stile and continue ahead to the gateway with a telegraph pole leading into the next field (there is a stone stile about 5 metres to the right if the gate is shut).

    Penwith is thought to be the last part of Cornwall where the Cornish language was spoken. The language was still in common use in this part of Cornwall at the start of the 18th Century and Dolly Pentreath claimed it was the only language that she spoke until the age of 20. By the end of the 18th Century, it had pretty much died out. Dolly Pentreath was the last recorded speaker and she died in 1777 but it's likely that other less famous speakers outlived her. In 1778, a letter written in Cornish with an English translation was received from a fishermen in Mousehole. The letter stated that he knew of five people who could speak Cornish within Mousehole. There are also accounts of a man from Marazion who spoke Cornish and survived into the 1790s.

  28. Go through the gateway (or climb the stile) and bear right to a waymarked stone stile half-way along the hedge opposite.

    The Cornish language (Kernewek) is a Brythonic Celtic language closely related to Welsh. The last native speakers of the language are thought to have died by the end of the 18th Century and the language was classified as extinct. A revival movement started in the late 19th century initially as a result of antiquarian and academic interest. A number of orthographical systems came into use until a Standard Written Form was agreed in 2008. In 2009, UNESCO changed its classification of Cornish from 'extinct' to 'critically endangered'. At the start of the 21st Century, Cornish became the fastest growing language in Europe with the number of Cornish speakers increasing from 300 in 2000 to an estimated 3,000 in 2012. In 2015, Cornwall Council estimated there were about 5,000 people with basic conversational ability and around 300-400 fluent speakers who used the language regularly.

  29. Cross the stile and bear right to a stone stile just to the left of the gateway.
  30. Cross the stile and bear right to a gate in the bottom hedge, below the telegraph pole in the middle of the field.
  31. Go through the gate and turn left onto the track. Follow it a short distance until a path departs from the right down some steps beneath a hawthorn tree. Turn right down this path and follow it downhill until it ends in a junction with 2 tarmacked paths.
  32. Turn left at the junction and follow the path downhill as it widens into a narrow lane. Follow this until it ends at a T-junction with a larger lane opposite Mural Cottage.

    Mousehole is home to the infamous Star Gazy Pie.

    Stargazy pie is a pastry-based fish pie which, by tradition, is filled with whole pilchards. The pilchards are stuffed with a mixture of bacon, parsley, onions, cider and breadcrumbs. Boiled eggs and bacon are used to cover the pilchards, which are cooked with their heads sticking out of the pastry (hence the name). This allows the oils, released during cooking, to flow back into the pie, keeping the pie moist.

    According to legend, the first stargazy pie was made one Christmas in the 16th century, when Tom Bawcock saved the starving villagers of Mousehole by taking his boat out in storm-force winds to bring home a huge catch. Where the starving villagers got the eggs, bacon, pastry and other ingredients from isn't explained in legend, but nevertheless, Tom Bawcock's Eve is still celebrated in Mousehole every December 23 with a lantern parade.

  33. Turn left onto the lane then almost immediately right down a flight of steps beside Star Haze. Follow the path onto a narrow lane and continue until this ends opposite the Harbour Office. Make your way past the Harbour Office to reach the harbour and complete the circular route.

    Mousehole's now world-famous Christmas lights were started in 1963 by a local artist, who put a string of bulbs along the quays to brighten things up for Christmas. This caught the imagination of the village and two local carpenters made frames for increasingly elaborate displays including a serpent protruding from the water in the harbour. Many of their designs are still featured although the physical frames have been replaced a number of times due to the beating they take from the violent winter weather and saltwater. On December 19th each year, Mousehole's Christmas lights are dimmed for an hour in memory of those lost in the Penlee lifeboat tragedy.

Help us with this walk

You can help us to keep this walk as accurate as it possibly can be for others by spotting and feeding back any changes affecting the directions. We'd be very grateful if could you look out for the following:

  • Any stiles, gates or waymark posts referenced in the directions which are no longer there
  • Any stiles referenced in the directions that have been replaced with gates, or vice-versa

Take a photo and email, or message either IWalkCornwall on facebook or @iwalkc on twitter. If you have any tips for other walkers please let us know, or if you want to tell us that you enjoyed the walk, we'd love to hear that too.

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.

If you enjoy the walk, please could you leave a tripadvisor review for this walk to let other people know about it?