Circular walks visiting Loe Bar beach

The beach at Loe Bar, Cornwall

The Loe Bar is composed mainly of shingle that is not of local origin: it is mostly chalk flint. It is thought that this was washed down from the terraces of the river which the English Channel once was, when sea levels rose after the last Ice Age. It is also thought that the bar of shingle initially formed offshore and then slowly moved towards the shore so that the bar across The Loe may not have been in place until early mediaeval times or at most a few thousand years ago. The bar was originally porous, allowing seawater into the lake but fine silt released by mining activity upriver has caused it to seal so that it is now freshwater. To prevent flooding in parts of Helston, a disused mine adit has been repurposed as an overflow from the Loe Pool into the sea. On occasions this has blocked and so the Bar has been intentionally breached to release the build-up of water, but the Bar has always resealed itself. It is thought that Longshore Drift plays an important part in the maintenance of the Bar and causes it to gradually accumulate more sediment over time.

During violent winter storms, waves have been known to break all the way over the bar into the Loe Pool. Even under normal conditions, the sea off the beach is extremely dangerous and a number of people have been drowned, some just from paddling. It is notorious for its massive unexpected shore dumps which can appear out of nowhere even in calm weather and suck people under the water as the shingle caves in beneath their feet. Some locals have called for a skull-and-crossbones to be added to signs on the "killer beach" which is reputed to take one soul every seven years.

  • 6.2 miles/10 km - Easy-moderate

    The Loe

    The Loe

    6.2 miles/10 km - Easy-moderate

    A circular walk around the Loe Pool, the largest natural freshwater lake in Cornwall, and along the Loe Bar, one of Cornwall's most treacherous beaches on which 100 of those onboard the HMS Anson drowned metres from the shore, motivating the invention of the rocket lifesaving apparatus that saved thousands of lives.

  • 5.3 miles/8.5 km - Moderate

    Gunwalloe Coves

    Gunwalloe Coves

    5.3 miles/8.5 km - Moderate

    A circular walk from the Loe Bar to Dollar Cove passing the wrecks of treasure ships whose cargo still washes ashore, returning via the Halzephron Inn which still has a trapdoor leading to an underground network of tunnels used by smugglers.

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