Seven Bays walk

Seven Bays (via bus)

The coast path crosses the top of the beach at Harlyn Bay where there is no alternative route. During neap tides this is accessible at all states of the tide but during spring tides this is underwater for around 1 hour at high tide. Therefore check tide times (and heights) before setting out to avoid a wait.

A one-way coastal walk, made circular via an initial bus journey, along the Seven Bays coast and around Trevose Head past the lighthouse.

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After an initial bus journey from Haryln Bay to Porthcothan, the walk starts at the Porthcothan beach and follows the coast path past a series of inlets used by smugglers to the sandy beaches of Treyarnon and Constantine Bay. The route then passes Booby's Bay, where a buried shipwreck is sometimes revealed by storms, and climbs onto Trevose head past a collapsed cave to reach the lighthouse. The final part of the walk is above the sheltered sandy beaches of Mother Ivey's Bay and Harlyn Bay with an optional short extension to Trevone Bay.


  • Route includes paths close to unfenced cliff edges.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 106
  • Distance: 6.8 miles/10.9 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Bus: 56 from Harlyn Bay to Porthcothan.
  • Recommended footwear: walking shoes or trainers in dry weather

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 106 OS Explorer 106 (laminated version)

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  • Sandy surf beaches at Constantine Bay, Booby's Bay and Harlyn
  • Alternating headlands and narrow coves used for smuggling, offering panoramic views
  • Rugged coastline with rock stacks, arches, blowholes and caves
  • Rockpools at Treyarnon, Constantine Bay and Booby's Bay
  • Circular abyss created by a collapsed cave on Trevose Head
  • Iconic lighthouse on Trevose Head and lifeboat station at Mother Ivey's Bay
  • Coastal heath rich in birdlife and wildflowers
  • Sheltered cove at Mother Ivey's Bay with azure water in Summer


  1. The walk begins with a bus journey from Harlyn to Porthcothan. From the bus stop at Porthcothan, follow the lane behind the beach and over the bridge to a track on the left, marked with a coast path sign to Treyarnon.

    The Seven Bays are:

    • Porthcothan
    • Treyarnon
    • Constantine
    • Booby's
    • Mother Ivey's
    • Harlyn
    • Trevone
  2. At the coast path sign, turn left onto the track and follow it a short distance until a path departs from the right. Bear right onto this path and follow it, passing through a pedestrian gate, until you reach a waymark.

    The coastal land here is owned by the National Trust.

    Project Neptune was started by the National Trust in 1965 to purchase and protect large portions of the British coastline. By 1973 it had achieved its target of raising £2 million and 338 miles of coastline were looked-after. The project was so successful that it is still running although mainly focused on maintenance. There is still an occasional opportunity when privately-owned coastal land is sold. A particularly notable one was in 2016 when the land at Trevose Head was put up for sale and successfully purchased by the National Trust.

  3. At the waymark, bear left and follow the path to where a small path departs to the left towards the end of the headland.

    There is a beach at all states of the tide at Porthcothan, though the beach massively increases in size at low tide, and consequently the tide comes in very fast. At the top of the beach, in the sand dunes, is a store. There are also public toilets in the car park, on the opposite side of the road.

    On the left side of the beach there are some double rock stacks. Before 2014, one of these (known as Jan Leverton's Island) was one large rock with a pair of "windows" going through it, but the central section containing the windows was obliterated by storm waves leaving a stack on either side. To the far left of the beach is a collapsed cave that has openings both onto the beach and the end of the headland through which it's possible to clamber at low tide.

  4. Keep right on the main path and follow this to a kissing gate.

    The rock stack at the end of the right-hand headland at Porthcothan is known as Will's Rock. This is because smugglers left a man from the Revenue on the rock to drown in the rising tide, however the officer (presumably named Will) survived to tell the tale.

  5. Go through the gate and follow the path to the remains of a kissing gate.

    The frothy "cuckoo spit" that can sometimes be seen on the stems of plants in May and June is a foam produced from plant sap that a froghopper nymph uses to protect itself. This acts as a thermal and moisture-conserving blanket that also hides it from predators and tastes nasty for those that get too inquisitive. The association with cuckoos is simply that it can be seen in spring when cuckoos can be heard.

    Froghoppers get their name as the adults jump from plant to plant. Some species can jump up to 70 cm vertically which is even more impressive relative to body weight than fleas. To put this in perspective, on the rollercoaster with the highest g-force in the world, riders experience an acceleration of just over 6 gs. A fighter pilot with a g-suit may experience acceleration of around 9 gs. Froghoppers exceed 400 gs of acceleration and that is self-propelled!

    In the 1780s, Britain was in financial crisis after losing the American War of Independence. High levels of duty were imposed on luxury goods in order to recoup the national debt and this included the curing salt vital to the pilchard industry which was taxed at around 4000%! Consequently many Cornish fishermen that were previously legally employed by the trade were driven into illegal smuggling. Towards the end of the 18th Century, nearly half a million gallons of brandy and more than a quarter of a million pounds of tea were being smuggled into Cornwall each year. This continued until the 1840s, when Britain adopted a free-trade policy that slashed import duties. Within ten years, large-scale smuggling was just a memory.

  6. Pass the gate remains and follow the path between the wall and fence to reach another dismantled kissing gate.

    The "herringbone" style of walling built with tightly packed alternating diagonal slate courses, is unique to Cornwall's heritage.

    It is known locally as "Curzy Way" or "Kersey Wave", based on the Cornish word kersy which means "reeds", perhaps referring to a square weave pattern. It is also sometimes known as "Jack and Jill" which is likely to be based on the falling down part of the nursery rhyme.

  7. Go through the gap and follow the path along the fence to a waymark on the point.

    Thrift is a tough evergreen plant which grows on sea cliffs and consequently it's the county flower of the Scilly Isles. To survive in this environment it needs to be able to withstand drought and salt-laden winds. Its long, thin leaves and hairy flower stems have evolved to minimise water loss.

    The white flowers along the coast in July and August which resemble a more compact version of Cow Parsley are the delightfully-named Sea Carrot. Unlike Cow Parsley, the flowers start off pink and become white as they open and sometimes have a single dark red flower in the centre. The Sea Carrot is technically the same species as a wild carrot, from which the carrot was domesticated, but is shorter, stouter and more splayed out than a wild carrot. The two converge the further north and east that you go in Britain: West Cornwall is therefore the pinnacle of Sea Carrot evolution. You should avoid touching the leaves of the Sea Carrot as they can make skin hypersensitive to ultraviolet light which can result in blistering caused by extreme sunburn.

    Cornwall has the longest stretch of coastline of any county in the UK, stretching for roughly 400 miles around 80% of the county, and there are over 300 beaches. Wherever you are in Cornwall, you are never more than 16 miles from the sea, and from the majority of hills you can see it on a clear day.

  8. At the waymark, bear right and follow the path to a kissing gate.

    The herring gull is the gull most commonly encountered in Cornwall, with a grey back and red spot on their yellow beak. They live for around 12 years and are highly intelligent birds with strong communication and social learning skills. This has allowed them to evolve strategies to obtain food more easily by stealing it from humans, either when briefly left unattended or by swooping and grabbing from unsuspecting hands.

    Whilst their pasty and ice cream stealing antics in coastal resorts might give the impression there are lots around, the coastal herring gull population dropped by about 50% from 1970 to the mid 1980s and the decline has continued with another drop of around 50% up to 2020.

    Part of the decline in coastal herring gull populations can be explained by a migration of birds inland to urban areas. Birds have been driven inland in search of food and roosting sites due to declining fish populations and lack of undisturbed coastal nesting sites. In urban areas, streetlights allow gulls to forage by night and there is no longer much competition from red kites, which scavenged the rubbish tips in the Middle Ages.

    At the time of writing, a survey of the inland populations is being carried out to determine the relative size of these vs the coastal population and if these are stable. The first datasets from some of the devolved UK Nations suggest that is unlikely to explain the majority of the decline. Since the 1990s, 96% of the population in Northern Ireland died out predominantly from botulism. It's thought that birds seeking food on rubbish tips might be bringing this back to colonies.

    The herring gull is an example of a "ring species". In Europe, the lesser black-backed gull and herring gull are distinct species, yet as you circumnavigate the globe, the populations become more similar until they merge in the middle as a single species.

    Herring gulls are able to communicate nuances both by altering the frequency and timbre of their calls - conveying, for example, the relative severity of a threat in an alarm call. They also analyse and remember the personality of their neighbours, ignoring more skittish birds but taking action when a more trusted bird raises an alarm.

  9. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path to a waymark. Continue along the cliff edge until you reach a fork in the path at the back of the inlet.

    The carpets of yellow flowers on the coast in June and July are Kidney Vetch. The flowers are red when they open and then turn yellow, and appear to be on a woolly cushion. The plant gets its common name as it was used to treat kidney troubles. Its other name - woundwort - is because it was also used to treat wounds. It is the food plant of the small blue butterfly, which is consequently quite common on the coastal heath.

    The sandy areas of seabed are favoured by flatfish such as turbot who use their camouflage against the sand to ambush unsuspecting small fish.

    Turbot is a large flatfish and has been in culinary demand for at least two thousand years in Europe due to its firm white flesh. Commercial fishing over a long period means that they are now classed as Near Threatened by the IUCN and the recommendation is that they should only be eaten occasionally due to the decline in stocks and the fishing methods used to catch them - primarily beam trawling.

    Like many other flatfish, turbot can change the pattern and colour of blotches on their upper surface to blend in with their surroundings. They are at the slower end of the scale, taking several days to complete the change. It's possible that their larger size makes a quicker change less vital both in terms of the need to avoid predators and also having more reserves to survive the period until they are ready to ambush prey.

  10. At the fork, keep left on the path along the edge of the coast and follow it down some steps to a crossing over a stream bed.

    The sea cave acts as a blowhole at high tide if there is a big swell.

    Blowholes form when waves enter a cave, and the air they compress weakens the roof of the cave and enlarges the chamber. Often the blowhole eventually breaks through to the surface, forming a collapsed cave which can ultimately result in a rock stack being severed from the land.

  11. Cross the stream (if in full flow, via the stepping stones) and follow the waymarked path to the next gully.

    Sea foam (also known as "spume") is formed due to organic compounds known as surfactants present in seawater. Under turbulent conditions, the surfactants form persistent bubbles which float to the surface, stick to each other through surface tension and are driven onshore by the wind. The surfactant compounds themselves arise from processes such as the offshore breakdown of algal blooms.

    On beaches, sea foam can conceal deep pools and gullies with an apparently flat, uniform surface. Tread carefully, especially on beaches you don't know well, to avoid walking off the edge of a precipice or vanishing into icy cold water.

  12. Cross the stream and keep right to follow the well-worn path ahead, passing a waymark, to reach a kissing gate.

    Corn buntings nest along this stretch of coast.

    The corn bunting is a small brown bird and as its name suggests, it has a preference for cereals. Consequently it has been living alongside humans since Neolithic times when our ancestors started to domesticate cereal crops. Its common name "fat bird of the barley" gives away its appearance, resembling a very portly skylark that looks like it would have trouble getting off the ground, let alone hovering. Its call is equally unglamorous, described as the shaking of a bunch of keys. Sadly, the once common and familiar bird has vanished from many areas and is now endangered. The rapid decline is thought to be due to industrialisation of arable farming methods. In Cornwall, the coastal land management provides an important habitat in which the birds thrive.

  13. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path between the fences around Fox Cove until you reach a bench on the headland.

    In 1969, the Helmsley, a tanker of over 1000 tonnes, foundered on the rocks off the Cornish coast. The ship sent a distress signal, reporting they had foundered off Lizard Point in the English Channel. The emergency services, despite ever widening their search, could find no sign of a massive sinking tanker anywhere in the English Channel. The mist was so thick that the crew had completely lost track of the ship's location: the ship was actually in the North Atlantic, off Trevose Head. The sinking ship finally ran aground at Fox Hole. Miraculously, all members of the crew managed to climb the 100ft cliff to safety, before the ship broke up on the rocks. The wreckage was cut up and removed, so there are no visible traces of the wreck today.

  14. At the bench, bear right and follow the waymarked path past Warren Cove until it passes between a pair of wooden fences at Pepper Cove and you reach a fork at the end of the fence.

    Pepper Cove is one of the narrow inlets between Treyarnon Bay and Porthcothan. When pepper was taxed heavily, smugglers would land boatloads of the spice in this inlet, which gave rise to the name. Once inside the inlet, the boat was hidden from the sea and could be safely landed as the beach is sandy and of a gentle gradient allowing relatively large boats to be beached safely. The neighbouring Wine Cove presumably has a similar origin for the name.

  15. At the end of the fences, take the left-hand path and follow this to where a small path leads off to the left to a bench. Keep right on the main path and continue a short distance further to reach another fork in the path.

    The 3 headlands either side of Wine and Pepper cove were fortified with ramparts during the Iron Age to create a cliff castle. Initially it was thought it may have been a single cliff castle sliced into 3 by coastal erosion but there's also a distinct possibility it was specifically engineered as a triple cliff fort with each headland separately fortified. A spindle for weaving found in a cave and the remains of a hearth in a cliff face suggest that it was occupied.

  16. At the fork, again go right to avoid walking along the stony area on very edge of the cliff and then left at a final fork to rejoin the path leading along the cliff edge. Then follow the path to a waymark on the end of the headland.
  17. Turn right at the waymark and follow the path along the bank. Continue past another waymark and some benches until you reach a fence behind a gully on Treyarnon beach, where a path connects from the right and there is a gap in the wall ahead.

    The cliffs overlook Trethias Island.

    Trethias Island is situated on the left side of Treyarnon beach. The island is separated from the headland by a deep gully which is filled with water except at low tide. At the seaward end of the gully there is an opening on the left-hand side which leads into a large cave which passes through the headland and emerges in the cove adjacent to Treyarnon.

  18. Go through the gap in the wall ahead and follow the main path in the direction of the houses (ignoring small paths on the left) until it emerges onto a grassy driveway to a cottage.

    Stonechats are robin-sized birds with a black head and orange breast that are common along the Cornish coast all year round.

    The name "stonechat" comes from the sound of their call which resembles stones being knocked together.

  19. Continue downhill to join the path leading to the beach and follow this down the steps onto the beach.

    During late winter or early spring, if you encounter a patch of plants with white bell-shaped flowers, smelling strongly of onions, and with long, narrow leaves then they are likely to be three-cornered leeks. Once you're familiar with their narrow, ridged leaves, you'll be able to spot these emerging from late October onwards.

    The plant spreads to form dense colonies, crowding-out native species. The onion-flavoured seeds are very attractive to ants who carry them quite large distances and forget some of them, allowing the plant to colonise new areas. In fact three-cornered leeks are so invasive that they are illegal to plant in the wild.

    A typical pattern of sea temperatures in Cornwall is shown below, although it can vary by a degree or two between years

  20. Cross through the stream and take the track opposite. Follow this towards the house named "Trewalder" to reach a larger track.

    There is a beach at Treyarnon at all states of the tide, backed by sand dunes. On the right side of the beach is a very large rockpool that acts as a natural swimming pool when the tide goes out. On the left side of the beach is Trethias Island. Towards the back of the beach on the right side, next to the car park, is a café and public toilets.

  21. Turn left and follow the track past the lifeguard hut and toilets to a coast path sign by the entrance to the Youth Hostel.

    The RNLI was founded in 1824 under the original name of the National Institution for Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. It was renamed to the RNLI in 1854. Until 1890 all the lifeboats were rowed with oars until some steam-powered boats were introduced. By 1905, petrol-powered boats were being trialled and fairly quickly replaced the bulky steam-powered predecessors. Today a fleet of over 340 lifeboats provide a 24/7 search and rescue service around the UK. The charity has saved over 140,000 lives since it was set up.

  22. Turn left off the track onto the path and follow it around the headland until you reach a gate with a pedestrian gate beside it.

    Sea beet is also known as "wild spinach" and is the ancestor of sugar beet, beetroot and Swiss chard. It can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are at their best during March and April and become tougher as the year goes on.

  23. Go through the pedestrian gate next to the main gate and follow the lane to reach a path on your left leading down to the beach.

    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.

  24. Cross the beach to reach a flight of steps leading up from the far side, near the island.

    The beach at Constantine Bay is backed with sand dunes so there is a thin ribbon of sand even at high tide. At low tide, the beach joins with Booby's Bay to form a continuous stretch of sand. The large rock platform to the left of the beach is also uncovered, forming rockpools.

    The beach faces west and the gently-shelving sand produces some good surf. However, the reefs and hidden rocks make it only suitable for experienced surfers.

    Constantine Bay is both the name of the beach and the neighbouring settlement so referring specifically to the beach now results in slightly cumbersome terms like "Constantine Bay Beach".

  25. Walk up the steps and along the cliff behind Booby's Bay until the path meets some tracks leading inland at the Booby's Bay beach information sign.

    Against the rocks of Booby's Bay is the shipwreck of the SV Carl.

    The wreck of the SV Carl lies against the rocks of Booby's Bay, next to Constantine Bay. The SV Carl was in Cardiff docks when war broke out in 1914 and was impounded. In 1917 it broke free in a storm whilst it was being towed to London to be broken up for scrap. An eyewitness account was recalled in 1966:

    The Carl went aground on the outer reef... Two Admiralty tugs came from Devonport to try to refloat her. They got her off the reef, but as soon as they had done so, the towing hawser on each tug parted, Carl went ahead out of control and grounded on the inner reef. She was there examined by salvage experts...who found no damage whatever to the hull. The Admiralty tugs therefore had another try to tow her off, but once more both ship’s towing harnesses parted. Carl broke her back and became a total loss. But for the unusual misfortune of both towing hawsers parting on two successive attempts Carl would in all probability have been salvaged.

    In 1917, work began to salvage the materials from the 60ft ship for scrap metal, but the wreck became covered in sand which put an end to the salvage work. The remainder lay buried beneath the sand with only the occasional part (often just part of the anchor) protruding until the huge storms of early 2014 stripped more than a metre of sand from the beach, exposing the wreck in an excellent state of preservation from being under the sand. One of the three steel masts is amongst the wreckage and is still largely intact.

  26. At the Beach Information sign, keep left along the coastal path until you reach a kissing gate in the wall at the far end.

    A number of prehistoric flint tools have been found in the Booby's Bay and Trevose Head area. The flints were likely to have been from pebbles washed ashore from the offshore chalk deposits that run under the Celtic Sea, possibly from the Haig Fras reefs approx 100 miles to the west of Trevose Head. The flint tools are thought to date from around 6500 BC. In that period, sea levels were much lower and Trevose head would have been a couple of miles inland and forested.

  27. Go through the kissing gate, bear left to stay on the coast path and follow it out onto the headland, passing a huge collapsed cave then a waymark to reach a junction with another waymark, this time marked with a white arrow to a National Trust car park.

    The rocks off Trevose Head have been the cause of many shipwrecks, and are the main reason that the lighthouse was built. The single large rock, a couple of hundred metres off Dinas Head, is known as The Bull. The group of rocks just over a kilometre offshore are known as The Quies, though were recorded as the "Cow and Calf" on maps of 1720, continuing the bovine herd further out to sea.

  28. Bear left onto the track and follow it downhill into a quarry (you may want to take a short diversion onto Dinas Head on the left, then return to the quarry).

    On April 18th 1918, the cargo ship Runswick, carrying coal, was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Despite the damage, she didn't sink. The crew were transferred to another vessel which proceeded to tow the Runswick. However, the towing hawsers broke and she drifted onto The Quies, off Trevose Head, and sank. The wreck lies between the innermost two islands and is now festooned with sea life including Cup Corals, Jewel Anemones of different colours, Dahlia Anemones, Sea Squirts, Starfish and Spider Crabs.

  29. Cross the quarry, then follow the path on the other side, up the steps reach a waymark just before the road.

    In April 1901, the cargo steamer Whinfield was bound for Cardiff with a cargo of Iron ore. As the ship approached Trevose Head, a fog descended which concealed the lighthouse. Disoriented, the ship ended up deviating inland of its intended course and struck the Quies off Trevose Head. Fortunately the crew managed to escape in a lifeboat before the ship went down. A court somewhat harshly found the captain's seamanship to be substandard and suspended his licence for 3 months, arguing he could have dropped a plumbline to establish he was inshore of his intended course and averted disaster by veering seaward.

  30. Walk parallel to the road towards the lighthouse until you are opposite the steps to the right.

    Trevose lighthouse is situated on the north west extremity of Trevose Head. Built in 1847 of granite quarried from the headland, the lighthouse tower is 27 metres tall, and has a range of 20 nautical miles (37 km). Between 1912 and 1995, the lighthouse flashed red (since then it's been white). Up until 1995, the lighthouse had a keeper; now it's automated. Between 1913 and 1963, a fog horn developed by Lord Rayleigh was in use here. This consisted of a 36 foot long rectangular trumpet. Walking along the coast path on a foggy day was not for the faint-hearted back then!

  31. Descend the steps to the road, climb the steps opposite and follow the coast path to a kissing gate.

    Until electric lighting was introduced, the light for a lighthouse was produced by burning a thin oil such as paraffin. However this wasn't burnt on a wick like domestic lighting. Instead, a pressurised system was used, typically powered by a hand pump, to force the oil through a nozzle to create fine mist which instantly vaporised in the heat from combustion. This mixture of paraffin gas and air burnt rapidly, generating a bright light. As well as header tanks in the lighthouse itself, larger storage tanks were needed nearby.

  32. Go through the kissing gate and another and continue to reach a waymark near a bench.

    Trevose is at a corner on the Cornish peninsula, so a lot of shipping traffic passed close by. During the first World War, a number of cargo ships were sunk by German U-boats lurking off Trevose Head, or mines laid in the area. Two of the ships sunk here towards the end of the war were cargo ships carrying coal from South Wales.

    The Poldown was a 1370-ton steamship. On 9 October 1917, she was on her way from South Wales with a cargo of coal, when she struck a German mine and sank.

    The Anna Sofie was a large cargo ship of 2577 tons. On 23 July, 1918 she was returning from Northern France to South Wales when she was torpedoed by U55, just off Trevose Head. Four days before sinking the Anna Sofie, the U55 had sunk the Carpathia (the liner that rescued survivors from the Titanic in 1912).

    The approximate position of the Anna Sophie was recorded on Admiralty charts. However, when divers eventually located and dived the wreck, they had a surprise: this was the Poldown with its cargo of coal. For many years, another shipwreck alongside Diver Rock was known about, but its identity was unclear. Once the Poldown had been correctly identified, there were suspicions that this one might be the Anna Sofie. This was finally confirmed by a number found on a steam valve.

  33. Continue on the outer path around the headland past the remains of a large concrete platform to where the path passes the corner of a wall with a wire fence and then immediately forks at another waymark.

    The concrete remains on Trevose head are thought to be linked to a wartime observation post and bombing range in the bay. There was an air station at Crugmeer during WW1 and an airfield at St Merryn during WW2 so it is possible that elements of the remains date from both periods.

  34. At the waymark, follow the path to the left past a cairn to a bench on the headland.

    Kestrels are easily spotted when hovering, watching their prey. Whilst hovering, kestrels have the extraordinary ability to keep their head totally still, even in strong winds.

  35. From the bench, double-back and keep left at the fork to a kissing gate in the corner where the fence meets the hedge.

    From the headland there are good views of the lifeboat station and the rocks around Barras Bay. The headland on the opposite side of the bay with the tower is Stepper Point, forming one edge of the Camel Estuary. The tower (known as the "Pepper Pot") is a daymark used by shipping for navigation.

  36. Go through the gate onto the lane and through the kissing gate opposite onto a path. Follow this along the fence until you emerge through a gap in a stone wall onto a narrow tarmacked lane.

    The first lane that the footpath crosses leads to the Padstow lifeboat station.

    The Padstow Lifeboat was relocated to Mother Ivy's Bay in October 1967 due to river silting at Hawker's Cove. The current lifeboat, known as the "Spirit of Padstow", was brought into service on July 17th 2006. Things have moved on a little from Padstow's original lifeboat rowed by hand: this one is controlled using touchscreens, has a top speed of 25 knots and is capable of towing 7 tonne ships. It has a crew of 7, including a doctor.

  37. Cross the tarmac to the path opposite and follow this to a kissing gate leading through the wall onto the coast.

    The "herringbone" style of walling built with tightly packed alternating diagonal slate courses, is unique to Cornwall's heritage.

    Traditionally, hedges (stone boundary walls) were built with whatever was cleared out of the fields, whilst buildings were constructed from stone that was quarried and cut. On a long wall, the herringbone sections are often between "towers" of flat-laid slate (built from the larger and squarer stones) which helped to prevent the wall slumping sideways.

  38. Go through the gate and follow the path along the cliff to a wooden signpost beside a kissing gate.

    Mother Ivey's Bay is named after a white witch who is said to have cursed the land of a local fishing family who didn't share their catch with the starving inhabitants of Padstow and instead ploughed the fish into their fields as fertiliser. Since then, mysterious deaths have allegedly occurred for people digging in the cursed fields. David Cameron is reported to have stayed in the cursed house for his summer holiday in 2008, some years prior to the Brexit referendum.

  39. Continue following the path along the cliffs until you eventually emerge at the end of a track next to Little Treharrock.
  40. Pass the path to the beach and head towards the gates. Go through the wooden pedestrian gate marked with an acorn and follow the path until you reach the main track onto the beach at the Holiday Park.

    The Saphir was a 1406 ton Norwegian steamship and was another coal-carrying victim of the German U-boats off Trevose head during World War One. It was torpedoed by U94 on 25 May, 1918 and sank 1.5 miles NNW of Trevose Head. The Saphir was the last victim of U94, and the U-boat survived the war to be surrendered less than six months later. The wreck lies alongside a rocky reef. It has fallen and then collapsed to starboard, perhaps as a result of initially landing on the ridge of reef that runs almost parallel to the keel.

  41. When the path joins the track to the beach, turn left then immediately right up the steps and follow the coast path until you reach a gateway.

    The offshore island that you can see is known as Gulland.

    Gulland is the most westerly and largest of the 3 rocky islands around the Camel estuary, lying between Stepper Point and Trevose Head. The name "Gulland" is likely to be a corruption of the Cornish word goelann meaning "gull", and the rock appears as "the gull rock" on map of 1576. It is reported to be used by seals as a nursery. Puffins can also sometimes be seen here and it is postulated this might be a small colony distinct from the larger colony on The Mouls.

  42. Go through the gateway and follow the path to a track. Cross the track to the path opposite, and continue on the coast path around the headland until you reach a stile in front of a house at Onjohn Cove.

    The headland is known as Cataclews Point.

    Cataclews Point is located between Mother Ivey's and Harlyn Bay. "Cataclews" is a corruption of the Cornish Karrek Loos, meaning grey rock. This refers to the quarries on the point which have been worked since Mediaeval times. The stone, sometimes known as "Catacleuse", is a form of Greenstone (also known locally as Blue Elvan) and has been carved into features such as doorways and windows in churches such as Padstow's St Petroc's. Although the quarry is no longer being worked, it is designated a "heritage" quarry which means it could be re-opened in the future to extract stone for the repair of heritage buildings.

  43. Cross the stile and keep left on the path past the house to a kissing gate.

    The edge of the coast from Cataclews Point to Harlyn Bay was used as a graveyard in the Bronze Age. There have been many archaeological finds here, particularly as the cliffs have been eroded away and burial cists have been uncovered. For example in 1990, an early Bronze Age burial pit was discovered, in which a pottery vessel contained a bronze pendant as well as cremated remains.

    In 1900, workmen digging the foundations for a new house found over 200 graves. Each one contained a body laying on its side in a crouched position with the head pointing North. One contained the body of a child, buried with two mice. The relics are now in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

  44. Go through the kissing gate and keep right past the path to the beach to reach a small path departing to the left through a gap in the wall. Bear left onto this path and follow it along the coast, through a pedestrian gate along the way, to a waymark at the top of a flight of steps leading onto the beach at Haryln Bay.

    The small beach is named Onjohn Cove, although it merges with the other beaches across Harlyn Bay at low tide.

    In 1865, a labourer found two wafer-thin crescents of gold, known as lunulae, above Onjohn Cove (a small cove between Harlyn Bay and Cataclews Point). They probably date from the early Bronze Age, and are likely to have been grave goods, as there are several prehistoric burial mounds nearby. They are now in the British Museum.

    Lunulae were neck ornaments and have been found dating from the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Four have been found in Cornwall and are all made of very thin gold. The crescent shape of lunulae is thought to indicate a symbolic meaning, representing the crescent horns of the moon, and they may thus have been objects of ceremonial significance. A number of similar lunulae have been found in Ireland and also Brittany. It is thought the four found in Cornwall were all made from Irish gold and manufactured either in Ireland or Brittany and brought along the trade route between the two passing through Cornwall.

  45. At the waymark, turn left down the steps and follow the coast path onto the beach. On the beach, turn right and hug the cliff on your right which will eventually bring you up some steps onto the lane at the side of the bridge.

    Harlyn Bay faces Northeast which means that the prevailing southwesterly winds are offshore. This is very good news for surfing, but due to the sheltered location it needs a good size swell to produce surf of any size. The best waves are reported to be at mid tide.

    The original name was Ar-Lyn which is Cornish for "facing the lake". This is presumably based on the bay facing away from the prevailing wind and therefore having calm waters. The "h" seems to have been gained during mediaeval times after the Norman conquest when the land-owning gentry didn't speak Cornish.

  46. You can optionally cross the bridge and continue along the coast path a short distance to Trevone which is the seventh of the Seven Bays, returning here afterwards.

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