Trek Notes - England

Cornish Coastal Path

General Information
England's longest and, many would say, finest trail is the 613 mile long South West Peninsula Coastal Path from Poole to Minehead, of which almost half is in Cornwall. Our one week's walk explores the most scenic and varied part of the Cornish coast, on either side of Lizard Head, the southern most tip of mainland Britain. The great thing about Cornwall is that it enjoys the mildest climate in Britain and one can enjoy walking there both early and late in the year, when other parts of the country are still in winter plumage. On the west coast, battered incessantly by the Atlantic waves, are the precipitous coves of Kynance and Mullion, cut deeply and jaggedly into the dark serpentine rock. Further east, while still rugged, the coast is more sheltered, with picturesque fishing villages such as Cadgwith and Portloe. Between Portloe and the Lizard, the coast is deeply indented by the valleys of the Helford and Fal Rivers, whose steep slopes are clad with dense forest. Helford River was the romantic setting for Daphne du Maurier's novel ‘Frenchmans Creek'. She loved Cornwall, and so will you!

This holiday includes a wonderful variety of coastal scenery ranging from sheltered tidal creeks to the wooded Fal estuary and the brooding cliffs of the Lizard, England's most southerly point. The whole area is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Its mild climate permits even palm trees to flourish and Cornwall is the home of some of England's finest gardens. Cornwall historically is the land of smugglers, shipwrecks and dark deeds in secret hidden coves, many of which you will pass through on your walk. It has literary associations with the poet John Betjeman, who was tongue-tied by the spectacular cliffs, Virginia Woolfe and of course the novels of Daphne Du Maurier. The scenery is as spectacular and picturesque as the tiny fishing villages. There are superb beaches, marvelous bird watching and botanical spots, and sunsets that will stay in your memory long after you leave. There are those who have completed the whole five hundred miles of this wonderful long distance trail, who's after dinner conversation touches on little else. Our moderate little week's walk can have just as powerful side effects.

Waymarks: Well waymarked throughout generally, but sometimes recourse to maps will be needed when you are crossing fields or National Trust properties. Just follow the acorn signposts - except for where they are missing!!
Duration of tour: 8 days (seven nights)
Season: April to October.
Starting point of walk : Mevagissey
End of tour: Marazion

Getting to the Start
Outward journey from London to starting point: By rail throughout the year there is an excellent service of intercity trains, including overnight intercity sleepers, from London and Reading to Cornwall. Direct Intercity trains additionally operate to Cornwall from Bristol, Birmingham, the North and Scotland. On arrival into St Austell, which is well connected with the mainline rail service from London, your first nights accommodation is approx 10 miles from St Austell and we recommend you take a taxi, alternatively there is a bus service that operates between St Austell and Mevagissey. There are also long distance National Express buses from London to St. Austell.
End of Tour
Inward journey to London at end of tour: A short taxi ride from Marazion to Penzance where you can connect easily with train and coach connections back to London. 

Night 1: Our first night is spent in Mevagissey, our guesthouse is an elevated house that has great views to the sea and harbour. Susie your host will make you more than welcome.

Night 2: Tonight we stay in a B&B on the cliff tops beyond Portloe, a unique shell fishing hamlet on the almost unknown Roseland peninsular.

Night 3: Yet another superb waterside location overlooking the harbour in the pretty village of St Mawes. The eleven rooms offer comfortable accommodation, many with superb sea views. Wild woodland mushrooms with garlic and herbs and a tresse of salmon and turbot on saffron rice are samples of the delicious dinners on offer. The restaurant makes good use of the areas rich supply of seafood, and you can choose to dine in the restaurant or from the bar.

Night 4: We stay in a small bed and breakfast where your host will make you more than welcome.

Night 5: Our night at the remote southernmost point of Britain will hopefully be rewarded with an unforgettable sunset, and will certainly offer fine views of the sea. We stay in an excellent private hotel, close to Lizard Head; set in its own grounds the hotel has views of the famous Lizard lighthouse. Most rooms are ensuite and are equipped with tea and coffee facilities, TV and hairdryers. All have magnificent sea views.

Night 6: We stay in a three crown hotel by the quayside with old stone flags on the floor and oak beams and wood paneling in profusion. The bar retains the ambience of an old fisherman's pub, and offers friendly service in traditional surroundings. If you are there on a Saturday there will often be entertainment as well, so be prepared for a noisy evening. Pubs in Great Britain are open until 11pm. You can enjoy fine seafood at the inn or venture along the quay to a famous seafood restaurant.

Night 7: A highly commended hotel, with interesting views of the Mount, and of the bay sweeping around to the very popular resort of Penzance. Why not really treat yourself at the end of the holiday, the hotel offers a massage treatment, which has to be, pre-booked its approx £30 an hour or approx £45 for 1½ hours.

PLEASE NOTE: It is generally normal practice when staying in hotels that you check-in on or after 2pm and checkout by 10am the following morning. Guesthouses/bed & breakfast establishments are normally check-in on or after 4pm and checkout by 10am.

Day 1 Mevagissey: Travel to the start point and enjoy a peaceful evening next to the coastal path.

Day 2 Portloe: Walk to Portloe via Dodman Point and Portholland Cove (Distance: 12 miles / 19.35 km, Ascent 1016m approx. Estimated walking time: 5 hrs, 15mins)

Day 3 St Mawes: Portloe to St Mawes: A remote pleasant little yachting harbour at the end of the Roseland peninsula, which boasts a clover leaf castle built by Henry VIII in 1542. En route we pass through Veryan noted for its thatched round houses, and Caerhays Castle, designed by John Nash, and its beautiful gardens. The tumulus at carne is reputed to be the burial mound of St Geraint. (Distance: 13.5 miles / 21.75km to Place ferry. If you walk all the way to St. Mawes, the total distance is about 14.75 miles / 23.75 km, Ascent 1200m and estimated walking time approx: 5hrs 30 mins).

Day 4 Porthallow: St Mawes to Porthallow. The day starts with a ferry ride over to Falmouth (approx £4.50), the principal resort of the region. We then follow the coastal path to the impressive Trebah gardens before following the beautiful Helford River to our pub lunch stop near the Frenchmans Creek made famous by Daphne Du Maurier. The ferry will take us across Helford passages to continue our walk to Nare point and Gillan. Our suggestion is to walk to Gillan and then take a taxi to Porthallow otherwise this day can be extremely long. Fantastic scenery throughout the day. 16.5 miles / 26.5 km (inc ferry distances, and by Gillan Creek stepping stones). Ascent: 900m, Estimated walk time 6 hours.

Day 5 Lizard: Porthallow to The Lizard. You may wish to make a detour from the coast to St Keverne to view its pleasant village square and remarkable churchyard where over 400 shipwreck victims of the nearby Manacle Reef are buried. Just beyond the reef is Coverack, a fine example of a totally unspoiled traditional fishing village. Distance: 16 miles / 25.75 km. Ascent: 1100m. Estimated time: 6hrs, 40 mins.

Day 6 Portleven: The Lizard to Porthleven. Still very much a working harbour, that is closed by wooden baulks during storms, via the stunningly beautiful Kynance Cove and the pretty village of Mullion, which is at the heart of the finest walking country. Distance: 15 miles / 24.15 km Ascent: 870 m. Estimated walking time: 6 hrs

Day 7 Marazion: Porthleven to Marazion. Our final day takes us along some interesting sections of cliffs, with the remnants of tin mines. There are some beautiful bays and inlets associated with smuggling and then you will see St. Michael's Mount emerging around the corner. This old abbey now a manor house has an ageless appeal and was traditionally linked to Mont St.Michel in Brittany. Distance: 11 miles / 17.75 km. Ascent: 815m. Estimated walking time: 4 hours

Day 8: End of tour after breakfast and a taxi (approx £10.00) will take you to Penzance railway station for mainline services to London etc.

Bed & breakfast with ensuite facilities where available. Luggage transfers from Inn to Inn. Full route notes and map package.

Print   To Top