Hayle Estuary is the start of over three miles of beach that stretches from St Ives Bay to Godrevy. The beaches include Upton Towans, Mexico Towans and Hayle Beach, all of which are dog-friendly all your round; when the tide goes out, they all interconnect for form one huge beach a quarter of a mile wide. The vast grassy dunes are full of wildlife, birdlife and rare species of wildflower; the estuary is a popular RSPB reserve and a favourite with birdwatchers. The Towans also have a fascinating industrial history; in the 19th century the National Explosive works were established here, used to supply the local mining industry. Low tide reveals hidden caves from this era.
A short stroll from Hayle Towans and backed by sand dunes, Gwithian’s lifeguarded arch of golden sand is perfect for beach life. It’s one of the most popular spots on the north coast for surfers, and it’s great fun watching kitesurfers take to the air. There are vast rockpools when the tide recedes, and several cafes peppered along the coast, from the brilliant Hungry Horsebox Co right on the beach, to the legendary Sunset Surf Cafe up on the cliffs. On a calm day, the waters are dotted with swimmers and paddleboarders, families playing beach games and kids finding their feet with bodyboards.
With its rocky outcrops, great surf and sheltered shores perfect for sunbathers, Godrevy is the beach for those looking to find their own secluded spot of sand. When the tide is in, the size of Godrevy is greatly reduced in size, but head up onto the rocks and watch the waves crash. Godrevy is under the watchful eye of seasonal lifeguards, so children can play happily in the sea, or explore the many rockpools and sandpools. It looks out towards Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration behind Virginia Woolfe’s To The Lighthouse, and has a great little cafe by the carpark. It’s one of our favourite spots to watch the sun set, turning the sky a deep red as the sun slips down behind the lighthouse — bring a barbecue for an idyllic Cornish evening.