Circular walk from Tintagel Church to Trebarwith Strand

Tintagel Church to Trebarwith Strand

A circular walk on quarrymens' trails along cliffs of Tintagel past the Thunderhole blowhole to the long, sandy beach at Trebarwith Strand from Tintagel's mediaeval clifftop church with relics including the font that once stood in Tintagel Castle's chapel.

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.
From the ancient church on Glebe Cliff, the walk follows the rugged coast of Port Isaac Bay past huge pillars of slate remaining from coastal slate quarries to the cliffs overlooking the sandy surf beach at Trebarwith Strand. After an optional visit to the beach, and possibly the pub overlooking it, the route then follows one of the quarrymens' trails into Treknow and returns along country lanes and mediaeval tracks connecting Treknow to the church and castle.


  • Route includes paths close to unfenced cliff edges.

Buy walk

Sign in to buy this walk.

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

My Basket Remove from basket

You own this walk.

An error occurred while checking the availability of this walk:

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

Reload page

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 111
  • Distance: 3 miles/4.8 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots; walking shoes or trainers in dry weather

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 111 OS Explorer 111 (laminated version)

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


  • Panoramic coastal views from Penhallic Point
  • Exploding waves at Dunderhole and Penhallic Point during a large swell
  • Ancient church of St Materiana
  • Long beach of golden sand at Trebarwith Strand
  • Wildflowers along the coast in spring and summer
  • Views over Trebarwith Strand from the Port William Inn
  • Optional short extension (quarter mile each way) to Tintagel Castle

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Port William Inn


  1. Facing the sea, make your way towards the right-hand corner of the church car park. Take the left of the two paths (towards the sea) and follow it past the Glebe Cliff sign to a waymark.

    Tintagel Parish church, dedicated to St Materiana, is located on Glebe Cliff at the end of Vicarage Lane. The first church on the site was thought to be in the 6th century, founded as a daughter church of Minster in Boscastle which is even older. The current church was built in the late 11th or early 12th century with the tower added in the late Mediaeval era. The Norman font bowl by the south wall is believed to have been brought from St Julitta's chapel at Tintagel Castle. The church also contains a Roman stone from the 4th century bearing the name of the Emperor Licinius which may be evidence that there was once a Roman camp nearby.

  2. At the waymark, bear left to stay on the path and follow it to another waymark.

    Along the coast you can see the headland of The Rumps with the islets of Newland and Gulland off this. Further in the distance is Trevose Head with its group of islets known as The Bull and The Quies.

    Coastal slate quarries are confined to a small area of about five miles either side of Tintagel and relatively little is known about their history. In order to work the vertical cliff face, strong points were built from stone above the working areas. From these, ropes were dropped down the quarry face. Men were lowered down the faces on these ropes to split blocks of slate from the face. The slate was hauled up the cliff face on these cables which were wound using "horse whims" - capstans powered by horses or donkeys walking around a circular platform. The stone was split and shaped on "dressing floors" on the cliff top, originally covered with sheds. The remains can be seen as level terraces and are marked by screes of waste rock on the cliff below. Splitting was (and still is) done with a bettle (hammer) and chisel, hence the name of the pub in Delabole.

  3. At the waymark, bear right and follow the small path to another waymark. From here, continue ahead along the path until it emerges at another waymark by the Youth Hostel.

    There are 9 slate quarries along the coast path between Tintagel Church and Trebarwith Strand. Slate quarrying began here in the early 14th Century and ended just before The Second World War. The slate was exported from Tintagel Haven and later from boats moored along Penhallic Point.

    Cutting the stone and loading it onto boats was harsh work and could be lethal. A local man - Alan Menhenick - recalled in the 1920s: "we worked with the tides, around the clock. I've been at the quarry at four in the morning. When the tide was in, we blasted; when the tide was out, we went down and collected the slate". In 1889, three men vanished into the sea when the face that they were boring sheared off the cliff.

  4. Bear left along the track to another waymark and go down the steps on the right to the coast path. Follow this until you reach a kissing gate.

    On the point opposite Tintagel Youth Hostel is the remains of Gull Point Quarry. The quarry face on the rear of the cove was known as Lambshouse Quarry (Lambshouse is the name of the cove). Both were worked in the 19th Century, and jointly for much of their later life. The round platform near the top is the remains of a "horse whim", where a blindfolded donkey used to circle, operating the winding gear.

  5. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path until it forks on the top of Penhallic Point. Keep left at the fork to reach a bench.

    Penhallic Point is the long headland along the northern edge of the bay at Trebarwith Strand. In the late 1800s, a wharf (which has now been taken by the sea) was constructed at Penhallic Point where the cliff edge was trimmed to form a 100ft vertical face. Ships could lie against this face as there is a natural deep-water berth alongside the point. The slate was lowered by crane down into their holds.

    A path from the top of the point zig-zags down to a grassy platform where there is a lifebuoy. It's possible to get down onto the rocks from here, but only in the summer when the rocks are dry.

  6. From the bench, follow the path around a bend to the right to reach a kissing gate.

    Hole Beach is on the far right of the bay and apart from at the lowest couple of hours of the tide, Hole Beach is cut off by the sea. There is some good snorkelling along the right-hand edge of Hole Beach where boulders that fell from the cliffs of Dria and Bagalow quarries have been colonised by kelp.

  7. Go through the kissing gate and follow the wall on your left to reach a stile over a fence.

    The cliff on your right was Dria Quarry.

    Dria quarry, between Bagalow Quarry and Penhallic point near Trebarwith Strand, was developed from a natural cove (Dria Cove). The quarry was worked in Victorian times and shown as still working in the 1880s but closed by the early 1900s. No processing areas have been found above the quarry, so it is assumed that this was shared with Bagalow Quarry. The 1880s OS map shows a small platform associated with Dria Quarry but it's possible some of the lifting was also shared with Bagalow quarry. Dria Cove is no longer accessible due to landslips on the cliffs between the two quarries.

    The origin of the name could be a version of tre (meaning farmstead - there are other examples of "Drea" used this way), perhaps referencing a settlement that was once on the cliffs near the cove. There is a low linear bank near the bench on Penhallic Point which is thought to be the remains of a mediaeval field boundary.

  8. Cross the stile and go through the kissing gate then turn right. Follow the path parallel to the fence to reach a gate leading to a stone stile over the wall.

    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.

  9. Go through the gate, cross the stile and follow the path past one small waymark until you reach a waymark with three arrows where a path joins from the left, opposite slate fence posts on the right.

    The crumbling stone walls and the outlines of buildings are the remnants of Bagalow quarry.

    Bagalow Quarry is located above Bagalow Beach and stretches around to Hole Beach. It dates back to at least the 1800s and was still working at the start of the 20th Century. The quarry face runs from sea level all the way to the top of the cliff. At the top of the cliff are remnants of a powder magazine (some low banks are all that remain) and a horse whim used to haul the slate up from the quarry face.

  10. From the waymark, follow the path past another waymark to a slate stile.

    Scurvy grass has thick, flesh leaves that look a little similar to ivy leaves in shape and its flowers have 4 white petals forming a cross. It flowers around the same time as primroses - in March and April - and the flowers have a pleasant scent reminiscent of jasmine. It is a member of the cabbage family, related to rocket and horseradish and the flavour is hot like horseradish.

    Scurvy grass gets its name as it was salted and carried aboard ships to help prevent scurvy during long sea voyages as it is rich in vitamin C. The saltiness combined with the powerful hot flavour might well have needed a daily ration of rum to wash it down!

    There are more than 20 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons along the coast from Bude to Padstow.

    The peregrine falcon can reach over 322 km/h (200 mph) during its hunting stoop (high speed dive) making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. In 2005, a peregrine was measured at a top speed of 389 km/h (242 mph). The air pressure at this speed could damage a bird's lungs. However small bony tubercles on a falcon's nostrils guide the powerful airflow away, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving. In Cornish dialect, these falcons are known as "winnards" and local expressions include "shrammed as a winnard" (meaning chilled) and "rumped up like a winnard" (meaning huddled).

  11. Cross the stile and follow the path to reach a waymark with a yellow arrow for Trebarwith Strand and a red one for Treknow.

    The vertical cliffs of Hole Beach at Trebarwith Strand were the site of Caroline Quarry. The hole in the cliff, from which the beach gets its name, was excavated to quarry out a chunk of good quality slate. Caroline together with the neighbouring Lanterdan and Bagalow quarries, were some of the last still operating at the start of the 20th century but production had ceased by the Second World War.

  12. Continue straight ahead at the waymark past the slate quarries to reach a waymark with a yellow arrow for Treknow.

    The Lanterdan and West quarries above Vean Hole and Hole Beach at Trebarwith Strand were once some of the biggest in North Cornwall. In Lanterdan quarry there is a tall, distinctive, pinnacle of rock. This was left behind as the slate in the pinnacle was not of a sufficiently good quality; shorter pinnacles were left in West Quarry for the same reason. These chunks of inferior-quality slate were known locally as "scullocks".

    The quarry workings never reached the shoreline as there is a fault along the base of the quarry, known as the Trambley Cove Formation. This is made of volcanic lava which was no good to the quarrymen. Lanterdan Quarry is now owned by the National Trust and is a site of geological interest for two reasons. The first is that it contains brachiopod (shellfish) fossils. Second, a rare mineral called monazite is present which contains rare-earth (lanthanide) metals.

  13. Continue ahead along the coast path from the waymark until you pass through a gap in a wall by a bench and climb over a small hill past another bench to reach a rocky outcrop. Go down the steps from the outcrop and follow the path a short distance to reach a waymark with a white arrow for Treknow and a yellow one for Trebarwith.

    In 1886, an iron-hulled sailing ship, named the "Sarah Anderson", got into difficulties off Tintagel Head in a violent gale then blew up and sank off Trebarwith Strand. According to one source, the ship was carrying a cargo of 966 tons of manganese ore and 15 tons of dye. According to another source, it was hinted that she might also be carrying copper, silver and gold. Due to the huge waves, the Port Isaac lifeboat was unable to launch and the ship was out of range of the marine rescue rockets brought to the shore at Trebarwith Strand. All the 14 crew and 4 passengers (2 women, including the captain's wife, and 2 children) perished. Divers report that the hull is now almost entirely gone. One section (presumably the stern) stands about 3m high and is separated from the main wreckage; the remainder consists of the ore cargo with the odd piece of steel protruding.

  14. From the waymark, keep right to stay on the coast path and descend to another waymark with multiple yellow arrows at the bottom of some steps.

    The beach at the bottom of the cliff to your right is Lill Cove.

    A small water-powered copper mine existed on the cliff slopes above Lill Cove and was worked until the early-mid 19th Century. A hollow in the cliff was dammed to form a reservoir which was fed by a leat; the reservoir in turn was used to drive a waterwheel to pump out the groundwater draining into the mineshaft. Little remains now as some massive landslips on this part of the cliff have obliterated the majority of the mine workings.

  15. At the waymark, the walk continues to the left in the direction signposted to Treknow. Before doing so you may want to continue ahead to the beach and return here afterwards to continue the walk. Follow the path to Treknow until it emerges on a track beside a bench.

    Gull Rock lies approximately 500 metres offshore from Trebarwith Strand and has given its name to RR Gordon's crime thriller set in the area. It is made of a very hard volcanic material that has withstood the sea whilst the slate around it has been worn away. On the seaward side, where a chunk of the rock has cracked off, the tightly folded volcanic rocks within can be seen.

    Recently the rock has turned green during the spring and summer due to rock samphire colonising the side facing the beach which is sheltered from the westerly winds, helped by fertiliser provided by the seabirds also colonising the sheltered side of the rock.

    In the 1800s, the rock at Trebarwith (or "Trebarrow" as it was known then), was known as Otterham Rock, or Rocks, acknowledging the rocks to the side of the main rock which protrude a small amount from the water. Below the surface of the water, these are part of an extensive reef.

    For some refreshment, the Port William Inn is up the path on the opposite side of valley, across the road to the beach.

    The main building of the Port William Inn is recorded in its present location on OS maps from the 1880s but no use as a public house is recorded in this period. The more recently-added outdoor terrace and conservatories offer spectacular views of the beach and coastline for weary walkers to enjoy some well-deserved refreshment. The interior is decorated with various trophies recovered from ship wrecks such as brass propellers, lanterns and even half of a rowing boat!

    A track shown on the 1880s maps ran past the buildings all the way to Port William beach and this was still usable in the 1980s. The 1973 film "Malachi's Cove" was filmed on the track and the beach. Since then, a cliff fall has buried part of the track near the beach and more recently a section of the track closer to the pub has been undermined by the sea so it is now closed to the public.

  16. Follow the track ahead past the houses and a barn to reach a junction just past Tregosse House.
  17. Keep left at the junction and follow the track ahead until it ends on a lane at a bench.

    Treknow (which in Cornish means "the valley place") is perhaps one of the oldest "industrial" settlements in the area dating back to Mediaeval times, based mainly on slate quarrying with some early metal mining. The physical structure of Treknow - its bowl-like formation, in parts literally carved out of the rock - could be the result of early slate excavations. It was in direct response to the needs of industrial workers, in the expanding quarrying industry of the early 19th century, that the rows of cottages were constructed. The use of slate for roofs, chimneys, walls and paving, which contributes so greatly to their character, is further testimony to the dominant role of the local industry.

  18. At the lane, continue ahead and follow the pavement until the lane ends at a T-junction.

    Slate is formed when clay or volcanic ash is compressed under millions of years of deposits to form shale, and then the shale is subject to a (relatively low, in geological terms) heat and pressure transforming it into a harder, less-crumbly rock - slate. The heat and pressure can arise from an intrusion of molten magma into the sedimentary rocks or from the friction associated with collision of tectonic plates. Like shale, slate also has a layered structure, splitting into thin sheets which have proven ideal for shedding water from roofs without collapsing them under the weight of stone. However, the direction that the slate splits into layers is often not the same as the direction of the layers that were laid down in the original shale. This is because a reorganisation of the mineral components occurs during the metamorphosis, based on the direction that the pressure was applied. In other words, it's possible to have stripey slates.

  19. At the T-junction, turn left and follow the pavement to a sharp bend where a narrow lane departs ahead, signposted to the Youth Hostel.
  20. Follow the lane ahead in the direction of the Youth Hostel to reach a staggered crossroads with unsurfaced tracks either side.
  21. At the crossroads, continue ahead on the tarmacked lane signposted to the Youth Hostel and follow this where it forks either side of a National Trust Glebe Cliff sign.

    A glebe was an area of land used to support the parish priest (in addition to a residence in the form of a parsonage or rectory). Occasionally the glebe included an entire farm. It was typically donated by the lord of the manor or cobbled together from several donated pieces of land.

  22. Keep right at the fork and follow the lane to return to the church car park.

    You can extend the walk slightly (about a quarter of a mile each way) to include Tintagel Castle by following the path marked "Coast Path and Access to Castle View" which leads to the kiosk to enter Tintagel Castle.

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.