A Walker’s Paradise
It’s no wonder that walking is one of the most popular activities in Cornwall. From stunning sandy shores, giant cliffs plunging into the sea, and over 400 miles of coastal path, Cornwall is a walker’s paradise. Explore this magical county on foot with three of our favourite Cornish walks
Port Isaac to Tintagel
You’ll begin in the beautiful village of Port Isaac, a picturesque fishing village situated midway between the Camel estuary and Tintagel. With much of the surrounding countryside being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coastline this is one of the most dramatic coastal walks in Cornwall with huge cliffs and far-reaching views up and down the coast.
Departing Port Issac, this walk follows the rugged coastline to Tintagel, passing the ancient settlement of Port Gaverne, a sheltered inlet perfect for watersports with magnificent views and home to a small, charming sandy beach (as well as ten lovely holiday cottages and apartments courtesy of Forever Cornwall of course).
You’ll continue on to the cliffs past Barrett’s Zawn. This is a candidate for Cornwall’s Most Secret Beach and is, technically, accessible although you will need a torch and kneepads! Then past the abandoned dwelling of Dannonchapel — it’s just inland with footpath access and is recorded in the Domesday Book as being occupied by “one villein and four serfs”. Then on past the vast sandy beaches of Tregardock and Trebarwith Strand.
From here the route stretches to Tintagel with its ancient ancient castle. Built half on the mainland and half on a jagged headland, Tintagel’s Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain and its association with King Arthur also makes it one of the most famous. With the new 229ft (70m) long bridge to the historical masterpiece this is definitely one to put on your Cornish bucket list but best visited outside of July or August when it is understandably busy!
This is a 10 mile walk — do it in either direction and book a taxi (phone one in Camelford) to get you ‘home’ in about 20 minutes.
St Ives to Zennor
This super-scenic ramble is best done as a circular walk, although you can do it one way as there is a bus service from Zennor to St Ives. It starts at Porthmeor Beach followig the coastal and turning inland at Hellesveor Cliffs to Zennor, before returning to St Ives.
Have your cameras at the ready as your first shot will be at the start of the walk, Man Rock (you’ll understand when the name when you see it).
Leaving St Ives, Porthmeor beach and the Tate Gallery behind you, you’ll pass Hor Point, Pen Enys Point, Carn Naun Point and Gala Rocks before reaching Zennor. There are also views over to the Carracks, home to a colony of Grey Atlantic Seals. Boat trips to the island are available from St Ives. Zennor is an exceptionally pretty village which whilst very small boasts both an excellent pub, the Tinner’s Arms — and a fabulous cafe in the old Chapel, so it’s a choice of cake and coffee … or pasty and pint (or lots of other things of course) depending on the time of day. Do visit the fine 12th century church of St Senara. She was possibly a Breton princess and certainly floated here from Ireland nailed inside a barrel… Zennor church is most famous for the carved medieval chair depicting a mermaid complete with mirror and comb.
The best way back to St Ives is the ‘coffin path’ which passes over fields back to St Ives in more-or-less a straight line. After the thigh-burning ups and downs of the coastal path, and perhaps after enjoying the pub, this route makes a delightful stroll.
Helford to Frenchman’s Creek
Another circular walk and a fairly easy one that you can do in a couple of hours with a pub at the end.. or beginning… or both. Best done at high tide when the creek is at its most appealing. Start at Helford village — you’ll probably park in the big car park just before the village, stroll down over the ford or over the foot bridge, past ‘the Shipwrights’ — here walk out to the point for the view of the mouth of the Helford and across to Helford Passage… then follow the signs, or map along the little valley past Penarvon cove and up the steep lane until you reach the road. Go right then follow the lane descending to Frenchman’s Creek. Frenchman’s Creek was made famous by Daphne Du Maurier’s classic and it’s not hard to see why she was so inspired to set her love story between an English Lady and a French pirate in this hidden part of the Helford River.
Less well known is that Kylie Minogue filmed the video of her lovely track Flowers here… watch the video before doing the walk and you can re-create the fallen tree vignette!
You’ll then follow a path along the magical creek to before reaching the hamlet of Kestle, home to the ancient Cornish farmstead of Kestle Barton with its excellent little (free) art gallery. Past the gallery, through the gate and down through through the beautiful Under Wood brings you back to Helford village.