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The South West Coast Path in Cornwall

 

Plan your South West Coast Path route through Cornwall

To help you plan your South West Coast Path route follow the interactive map option on the South West Coast path website.

Whether you’re an avid walker, cyclist or just enjoy a gentle meander around the beaches in Cornwall, you’re bound to encounter some of the South West Coast Path whilst on holiday. Stretching for 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, the South West Coast Path encircles the whole of the Cornish coast. Whilst the precise routes have been mapped for the last 30 years, the Cornish coast has been an important asset to the county for thousands of years and it’s quite something to tread in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors.

Heritage

Nestled on the cliffs and harbours throughout Cornwall are a plethora of disused tin mines, artillery defences, churches and sites of historical interest. Ancient Castles such as Tintagel on Cornwall’s north coast, burial mounds around Fowey on the south coast and the iconic island of St Michael’s Mount in the west, hint at a county steeped in myths and legends. Visit Perranporth Church, the site where the 6th century Saint Pirran first landed, or view the carved bench at St Senara’s Church; a reminder of the mermaid of Zennor, who allegedly lured a fisherman to his death.

The Tudor castle of Pendennis and surrounding Napoleonic forts were important strategic defences throughout the centuries. Many are English Heritage sites and can be visited along the way. Church towers and battlements provided great vantage points to watch for invaders whilst also providing refuge to families awaiting the return of their fishermen from stormy seas. The fortified harbour of Falmouth contrasts with the preserved Georgian shipping one at Charlestown and again with the vast fishing harbour of Newlyn. It is still possible to see the sites of Pilchard sellers dotted amongst art and craft studios in the area, underlining two of Cornwall’s important trades.

Talland Bay by Adam Gibbard

Talland Bay

Porthpean by Adam Gibbard courtesy of Visit Cornwall

Porthpean

Charlestown by Adam Gibbard courtesy of Visit Cornwall

Charlestown

Geology and Mining

Arguably the most important trade for the county came from its natural geological deposits in the form of tin, copper and lead ores. Many of the former mining sites are now situated on World Heritage sites and that combined with the flora and fauna of the natural landscape make for some of the most breathtaking walks in the county. With isolated mine buildings standing precariously on cliff edges surrounded by sea stacks and rolling hills such as those found at Pentire Point, the landscape is truly stunning.

Formed from 370 million year old volcanic activity, the once industrial landscape also bought the railway to the coast in order to transport mined minerals and with the advent of new transport, seaside towns such as Newquay then rose in popularity as holiday destinations.

Eat your way around the South West Coast Path

One thing you will not be short of on your South West Coast Path travels is food and drink! Cornwall loves to promote its locally sourced food and whether you need to grab a quick crab sandwich, eat a gourmet meal or opt for a delicious cream tea, cafés and restaurants will be close at hand. Much of the coast path is under the care of The National Trust with many estate houses and gardens available to pop in to visit on your way. There is also a choice of restaurants owned by famous chefs on the way with Padstow, Watergate Bay, Falmouth and Fowey all top choices. Of course, our own Beaucliffes Restaurant is a great choice whilst on the north coast near Porth for breakfast, lunch, afternoon teas or evening fine dining. Browse our Cornwall food and drink pages for more ideas.

Beaches

You can’t fail to walk the coast path without visiting some of the wonderful coves and beaches along the way. Cornwall is home to 6 Blue Flag beaches and 158 miles of the Cornish coast has Heritage Coast status due to their accessibility and thought to conserving the natural environment.

Dog friendly

Dogs and walking go hand in hand and should you wish to bring your four legged friend with you on holiday, then check out our ‘Dogs Welcome‘ page which lists our dog friendly accommodation, as well as a beach guide and dog friendly pub locations.

View of Boscastle harbour

Boscastle

Fishing boat Padstow Harbour

Padstow

Tintagel