Sculptured coastlines – Portscatho to Pendower Beach

If you’re a lover of enchanting sculptured coastlines and never-ending shorelines, this is the walk for you. Ramble Cornwall’s genteel southern coast which includes the picturesque Portscatho. Distance 4.4 miles

You always know you’ve been for a good stomp when you get home and find mud halfway up your backside, smeared across your forehead and sand in your ears. Well, this was my experience of a good walk recently anyway. In my eyes, mud is wonderful…until you try to walk 6 miles in the stuff.

Portscatho Photo 1

Portscatho is an idyllic coastal fishing village on the Roseland Peninsula and lies in the south-westerly corner of Gerrans Bay. It sits within the ‘Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and during this walk, I could see why. Heading north from Portscatho along the cliff path you will stumble across not one, two, three or four, but FIVE stunning beaches with all sorts of hidden gems. The terrain on this particular day was extremely muddy and although I was slipping and sliding all over the place, this could be forgiven by the breath-taking expanse of blue water that lined my vision the entire way.

Portscatho Photo 2

Rugged cliffs and endless tantalising sea that tempts you with every footstep, it was hard not to run and jump in, especially after getting a little hot and sweaty on some of the ascents. The great thing about this 6-mile circular walk is that although it’s not too challenging, you do feel like you’ve been for a good hike. The views are immense and on a clear day, the beauty can be quite overwhelming. When it’s not been raining, the paths will be less muddy so you can really get a good stomp on.

If you’ve got dogs, there are a couple of lovely beaches called Porthbean and Porthcurnick where they’re allowed on all year round. My little Cocker Spaniel, Purdy, had a whale of a time running up and down the beach! If you’ve got kids, there are many rock pools they can explore and streams they can splash around in. Although it’s a tidy 6 miles, there are enough places to stop for respite along the way and plenty of sand to build castles or dig holes to distract your clan with.

Portscatho Photo 4

One hidden gem you’ll definitely want to visit is the Hidden Hut (pictured below) which can be found tucked away along the coastal path near Portscatho overlooking Porthcurnick Beach. If you’re not ready for a break when you first spot it don’t panic, you will walk past it again at the end of this walk.

Portscatho Photo 5

Throughout this walk, you will never get bored of the scenery. Our coast paths are something to be admired and on days when it’s muddy, you can begin to see the work that needs to go into it to keep them safe and well maintained. Something as simple as adding steps and a handrail in particularly steep spots, keeping hedges and brambles cut back and making sure there haven’t been any fallen branches or debris that cover the pathways can make all the difference to an enjoyable and safe walk. But someone needs to look after them, so funding is required to keep our coastlines in tip-top condition!

Portscatho Photo 6

Reaching our first rest spot and the halfway point of our hike, Pendower Beach is a National Trust beach which boasts a mile of beautiful sand and spectacular views of the coastline. It is also home to a quirky little beach café with an equally quirky name; Shallikabooky Beach Hut. Here you can refuel on light snacks, pasties, ice creams and hot drinks, including a delicious hot chocolate with all the trimmings. Set back from Pendower Beach, you can sit and enjoy the views as you rest your feet. There is even shelter if it does happen to rain!

Portscatho Photo 7

After refuelling ourselves, we started the journey back along the coast. The great thing about this walk is that you have two options. You can either go up higher and back around through fields and along the road, or in our case (and because we got a little lost in a field!) we decided to clamber over a rickety gate and make our way back along the coastal path so we could continue gawping at the views.

Even though it is a circular walk, when the weather is as delicious as it was for us, walking back the way we came seemed the best option. If you do decide to go back along the road though, you can pick this route up fairly easily and it’s still just as lovely. As we reached the end and made our way back across Porthcurnick Beach, my legs were satisfactorily achy and as we staggered up the steps towards the car park, I couldn’t help but take one last look at the sea and breathe in that proper Cornish air knowing I was going to sleep like a baby that night!

Portscatho Photo 8

‘Ah! Seaweed smells from sandy caves
And thyme and mist in whiffs,
In-coming tide, Atlantic waves
Slapping the sunny cliffs,
Lark song and sea sounds in the air
And splendour, splendour everywhere’.

Sir John Betjeman

See here for the full walk instructions

A 30-something Cornish bumpkin with a passion for walking, Jody is the founder of Cornish Ramblings, a friendly walking group full of novice walkers, keen hikers, sturdy stompers, active explorers, fair-weather adventurers, hill seekers, coastal lovers, woodland ramblers and most importantly…walking addicts.

You can find all details over on the website; or find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.