TRURO Cornwall TR3 6LQ
Spring is the perfect time to take a short break in Cornwall and discover some of the county’s fantastic scenery on foot. We have listed 10 of our favourite short walks in south Cornwall which are within easy reach of our 5-star cottages in Cornwall. While many of the walks listed can be extended to make a full day at each location, you can also accomplish several of them within a single day out, allowing you to pack as much into your holiday as possible.
Distance 1 mile
Start Porthcurno car park, grid ref SW288223
Porthcurno is a classic Cornish beach. The golden sand is surrounded by a host of strangely shaped rocky outcrops, and it’s thought that this is what gave the place its Cornish name – “cove of horns”. On the western side of the beach is the Minack theatre, where during the day you can pop in and have a walk around. The coastal path to the east of Porthcurno is the real star of the show, however, winding along the cliff edge towards the Logan Rock. There are plenty of opportunities to clamber around and investigate the outcrops in this area; the granite forms conceal all manner of pools, nooks and crannies. There is a great beach just west of the Logan Rock promontory, with an impressive sandbar that moves every year.
Distance 2 miles
Start Newlyn harbour, grid ref SW464286
The seafront promenade at Newlyn makes for a lovely stroll, and both the lido and the art gallery are well worth a visit. This part of Mount’s Bay affords great views back across to St Michael’s Mount and is the mainland home of the Scillonian ferry.
Distance 1 mile
Start Rinsey car park, grid ref SW593276
Rinsey is a delightful mix of seascape, landscape, mining heritage and natural history. Take in three old engine houses with world heritage site status plus close-up views of rare plant life, and further afield the enigmatic Bishop Rock in the Scilly Isles. You might see ponies grazing, choughs displaying or even dolphins playing. As from Penzance, the views to St Michael’s Mount are quite stunning.
Distance 7 miles
Start Kynance Cove, grid ref: SW703125
The Lizard peninsula is the most southerly point of mainland Britain, and on a blustery day, it certainly feels exposed. There are hidden gems on this route, such as Kynance Cove, home to a great little cafe complete with a turf roof and wool insulation with its welcome as warm as the interior. This area is famous for its wildlife where seals and basking sharks can often be seen. The views from this stretch of Cornwall are magnificent: the coastline starts to soften from this point east, so make the most of the imposing cliffs.
Distance 4.5 miles
Start Bosveal car park, grid ref SW775275
The Helford estuary is a stunning sight, particularly rewarding if you are an early bird, as you often get a beautiful hanging mist just after dawn. Glendurgan is home to a great maze, so take care – you might unintentionally lengthen your walk! A favourite stretch is from Porth Saxon beach out to Rosemullion Head, as the transition from wooded riverside through to rocky outcrops provides a great backdrop to this walk. The real highlight, however, is the views across Falmouth Bay to Henry VIII’s castles at Pendennis and St Mawes. If you catch the right season, then the wildflower meadows on Rosemullion Head make this the perfect spot for the nature lover as well as the amateur historian.
Distance 4 miles
Start Trelissick car park, grid ref SW835395
Nestled on its own peninsula, Trelissick is almost surrounded by water and has direct access across the river Fal via the amazing King Harry chain-driven ferry. You will be surprised at the size of the vessels that get this far upriver to be worked on by the numerous boatyards. They’re anchored in the deep water channel and provide an unexpected twist to any walk in this area. And, as with many of our sites, there is a depth of history at Trelissick – you walk from the Iron Age fort past the industrial quay. The tidal mudflats are home to all sorts of wading birds, which you can spot while you’re hidden out of sight in the woodland. There’s also a lovely National Trust cafe to refuel in Trelissick.
Distance 1 mile
Start Percuil car park, grid ref SW858341
This gentle, rolling landscape is a real contrast to the crags of West Penwith. The sandy beaches are relatively sheltered from the prevailing swell, which seems to give this area its own microclimate. You could extend this walk by setting out from Porthscatho and heading south-west, all around the south coast of the peninsula, until eventually you round the headland and come back up the inland waterway, with its views over to St Mawes from St Anthony. The change from the rise and fall of the landscape behind the beaches through to the wooded riverside offers a fascinating journey.
Distance 4 miles
Start National Trust car park at Coombe Farm, grid ref: SX110512
One of the finest natural harbours in Cornwall, Fowey offers all that a sailing haven should – with the bonus of good pubs and good food. The walking around this area is fantastic – the exposure of the Gribbin, steep craggy coves, beautiful beaches and stunning grassland meadows, it really does have it all. When the sea mist rolls in you can see why Daphne du Maurier was drawn to this location and set several of her books here.
If you strike out east rather than west you can catch the ferry across to Polruan and then take in the equally stunning coastline towards Lansallos, the unspoilt campsite here is well worth a visit and a cracking cream tea is on offer at Lansallos Barton Farm. Lantivet Bay and Lantic Bay are a reward for the intrepid – a steep path winds down to the latter beach, but the rewards are instantaneous.
Details for this Lantivet Bay circular walk are:
Distance 3 miles
Start Frogmore car park, grid ref SX156518
Distance 2 miles
Start Wiggle car park, grid ref SX410513; finish at Rame Head lookout, grid ref SX422487.
An often overlooked spot, Whitsand Bay stretches from Polperro eastward to Maker Heights. The walking in this area is surprisingly tough, but for those who do take it on the views are stunning. The bay is home to two Napoleonic forts (or Palmerston’s Follies), and there are a couple of great little cafes (one has its own cable car delivery system). You will never tire of the breathtaking views from the headland across Plymouth Sound towards the Yealm Estuary and the Mewstone.
Distance 2.5 miles
Start Cotehele House, grid ref SX423685
The Tamar Valley offers one of the most magical places to explore on foot; it provides the natural boundary between Cornwall and Devon and contains a wealth of history. This area became famous for its market gardens and mining, both well serviced by the navigable reaches of the Tamar. Cotehele was at the heart of the activity, with a bustling quay, lime kilns and market gardens on all the suitable slopes. Today, it’s a fantastic place to explore on foot. Start on the quayside, perhaps with lunch in the Edgecumbe arms and a wander around the historic barge, Shamrock. The gardens are beautiful and frame some of the most magnificent views down this mighty river. The wider estate is steep but well worth the effort when you stumble upon the Chapel and Prospect Tower.
Will you be embarking on any of these exciting walking route adventures this year? Reach out on our social media channels and let us know your favourite walks in Cornwall!