16 – 27 of June
A trip to England’s most famous long distance trail – South West Coast Path, during which we will explore the wonderful coast of Cornwall over 10 days of hiking adventure, and finish the journey in Land’s End – the most westerly point of mainland Cornwall and England.
Come to the beach anywhere in the South West of England, turn left or right and you’ll be on the South West Coast Path and on the edge of an amazing experience. Where else can you walk along 630 miles of such superb coastline which makes up the longest National Trail in the UK. The heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery along the way are truly inspirational and every day walking it brings stunning new experiences.
June 16: Travel Day
We’re going to take a direct flight from Valencia to London. Then we’ll go to the train station and take a train from London to Par. We will spend the evening wandering the streets and waterfront of Par and preparing for the upcoming adventure.
Accommodation: Penarth Guest House
June 17: Par to Mevagissey
The day begins with a path along the pubs and cafes and large expanse of beach at Par Sands, but try not to spend too long wandering the streets and waterfront as a Path of roller coaster climbs awaits! A diversion around china clay works at Par leads us to Charlestown, with its beautiful historic harbour and quay, provides a welcome spot for rest and refreshment. After leaving Charlestown we’ll come to a stretch with many steps to climb as the Path continues to rise and fall past Silvermine Point and Phoebe’s Point.
High cliffs pass rocky coves between Charlestown and Pentewan produces dramatic scenery, but tiring walking. The inland china clay works around St Austell come in and out of view. The clay industry boomed in the 19th century, resulting in the formation of the ‘Cornish Alps’, and continues today with 80% used to make paper. The stage finishes in the fishing town of Mevagissey. With its double walled harbour, it is a busy fishing port and offers a good range of refreshments after a day of walking the South West Coast Path.
Accommodation: Tregenza Guest House
June 18: Mevagissey to Portloe
The landscape of the Path varies between a mixture of wild scrub and soft pastures and some road walking around Gorran Haven. The Path really opens up around the Chapel Point and walking is easy with rewarding views in all directions. From here the high cliffs to the windswept, 375 foot headland of Dodman Point looms ahead. Views from here are fantastic, especially on a clear day when you may even be able to make out Berry Head in Devon.
A bit of a clamber across rocks on the approach to Hemmick Beach eases around the more pastoral landscape of Caerhays Castle, before becoming tougher again along a rather rugged Path into Portloe.
Accommodation: Treverbyn House
June 19: Portloe to Falmouth
We’ll start with a mild ascent from Portloe, after which the Path twists and plummets in places through wooded areas and across high open fields. After that we will find several steep ascents and descents and walking becomes a lot more strenuous. After passing Nare Head the Path offers fairly easy walking, turning into another one of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: The Roseland Peninsula.
The stage finishes in Falmouth harbour, reputed to be the third largest natural harbour in the world and once the second busiest port of the British Empire. There is much to see in Falmouth including the Killigrew Monument, the red brick chimney known as the King or Queen’s Pipe, which was used to burn confiscated contraband tobacco, and the beautifully restored Arwenack House, the former 14th century manor house of the Killigrew family who were the original town planners of Falmouth.
Accommodation: Jacob’s Ladder
June 20: Falmouth to Helford
We’ll start the day by exploring the Falmouth harbor one more time, now in the light of the morning sun. Exhilarating views from Pendennis Castle await, after which the Path continues to the Swanpool Nature Reserve.
Most of the day’s journey consists of fairly gentle, easy walking through fields and along wooded clifftop paths, passing many attractive little coves, offering fantastic views across the Fal to St Anthony Lighthouse and Zone Point.
The day finishes with a journey across the Helford River, once favoured by pirates and smugglers. The river supports many different types of fish, birds and plantlife and at the other side you will cross the openings of lush valleys with subtropical gardens.
Accommodation: Trevarn B&B
June 21: Helford to Coverack
This walk follows the South West Coast Path through a huge variety of different landscapes, involving dramatic cliffs, fishing villages by the sea, lush woodland, beaches, heathland, a working quarry, pastures and a creek crossing. At Gillan Creek there is a feeling of shelter and peace. From here on some sections of the Path are wooded and others offer fine views ahead extending to the lighthouse at St. Anthony Head, the Roseland and the headland of Dodman Point. After walking past the beautiful Gillan Creek we will walk round Nare Point, turning inland with a steep descent to Porthallow, where we will then join the sea again.
As we get closer to Coverack the Path crosses fairly flat heathland which is not much above sea level, as this is in fact a raised beach and the original cliffs are a few hundred yards inland.
Accommodation: YHA Coverack
June 22: Coverack to The Lizard
A walk through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty awaits us we set off towards the most southerly point of Great Britain. Some of the stiles along this stretch have been built of serpentine: beautiful but slippery when wet. Kennack Sands, once famous for shipwrecks, is a National Nature Reserve with beautiful cliffs of layered rock, with veins of talc, and lovely displays of wildflowers. A steep climb up to join the seabirds around Beagles Point marks the beginning of a stretch with particularly far-reaching views of the Coast Path ahead.
We will see some extraordinary geology along this stretch as the Path crosses serpentine, granite and schist. Serpentine is a dark green rock veined with red and white which is easily carved and can be polished to a really beautiful sheen. It was very popular in the 19th century when it was used for shop fronts and fireplaces.
Accommodation: YHA Lizard
June 23: The Lizard to Porthleven
This stretch of the South West Coast Path is, without a doubt, unique and exceptionally beautiful. The path is quite narrow in places with some steep ascents and descents, but then becomes fairly level and easy arriving in Porthleven.
There is a special sense of wildness and isolation on the Peninsula, notably along Mullion and Predannack Cliffs which are part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve. Here rare heathers and wildflowers grow, adding to the colour and drama of the spectacular views. It is no surprise that the white sand and turquoise sea of Kynance Cove has been recognised as being part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the seas are particularly dramatic at high tide, and even more so on a windy day.
The Lizard Peninsula is also known for its banks of pink and yellow flowered Hottentot Fig and its serpentine granite, which is a dark green rock veined with red and white, and, of course, the symbol of Cornwall: the chough.
Accommodation: Welmore End
June 24: Porthleven to Marazion
Much of this walk through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers fantastic views of Mounts Bay and the magical island and castle of St Michael’s Mount. The first part of the stage is pretty narrow with a rollercoaster over the cliffs up to and beyond Praa Sands, but the it gets fairly easy, level walking, which allows time to enjoy the views towards the end.
The stretch leading us out of the pretty fishing village of Porthleven is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Travelling through a landscape with clear evidence of a mining history, especially around Perranuthnoe, the Path passes tempting sandy beaches, followed by rugged scenery before Rinsey Head where there are some tiring climbs. The granite then turns to slate resulting in dramatic vertical cliffs.
Accommodation: Mount View Hotel
June 25: Marazion to Lamorna
The majestic sight of St Michael’s Mount dominates as we start the stage from the ancient town of Marazion, passing Marazion Marsh with its rich wildlife. The Path changes quite dramatically as it crosses rugged cliffs, with some difficult ascents and descents, and then turns to easy walking on tarmac through Newlyn to Penzance, ending in the sub-tropical cove of Lamorna. Mousehole, known for its tiny harbour and narrow streets of granite cottages, is a good place for a relatively quiet refreshment stop after we pass the more bustling stretch around Mount’s Bay.
Newlyn is not just the third largest fishing harbour in Britain – here we may even find the house with the smallest window in the UK! Following part of the National Cycle Network route round the edge of Mount’s Bay allows you to concentrate more on the facilities and sights of Penzance.
Accommodation: Sea View House
June 26: Lamorna to Land’s End
This particularly beautiful section of Coast Path certainly feels like it begins at the very edge of the land, as the Path leads you along high cliffs and exposed, windswept heath.
On a clear day, there are fantastic views across the sea out to Wolf Rock Lighthouse and the Isles of Scilly. Birds such as fulmars, shags, rock pipits and occasional peregrine falcons can be seen along this stretch and the incredible geological formations, including offshore rock stacks and rippling cliffs, as well as the natural land-bridge of Tol-Pedn-Penwith at Gwennap Head, add to the sheer drama of the landscape, undoubtedly some of the best of the entire Coast Path.
Accommodation: The Longboat Inn
June 27: Travel Day
Time to return to Valencia! We’ll take the train back to London in the morning and then a direct flight back to Valencia in the afternoon.
The information about the stages, as well as photos are taken from the official website – https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/