30 walks in Cornwall and the South West Coast Path
With a beautiful and varied coastline, Cornwall offers walkers many amazing walks using sections of the South West Coast Path. With pretty fishing villages, harbours, stunning beaches and rugged cliffs, Cornwall’s coastal scenery is very diverse and the walking can often be more strenuous than you might think. Take a trip inland and you will find a dramatic change of scenery around Bodmin moor and some amazing archaeology sites. In short, Cornwall offers something for everyone.
Here are a few of the walks you will find on our Cornwall and South West Coast Path Walking App.
A dramatic and spectacular coastal walk between Boscastle and Tintagel.
Boscastle is 5 miles northeast of Tintagel and it’s pretty Cornish harbour is a natural inlet protected by two stone harbour walls and was built in 1584. Boscastle harbour is the only major harbour for 20 miles along the North Cornwall coast. The village extends up the valleys of the River Valency and River Jordan.
Tintagel and the nearby Tintagel Castle are associated with the legends surrounding King Arthur. The village has, in recent times, become attractive to day-trippers and tourists, and is one of the most-visited places in Britain.
A regular bus service runs between Boscastle and Tintagel. Park at Boscastle and use the regular bus service or taxi to begin the walk from Tintagel.
Bude provides a good starting point for walking the south west coast path with a myriad of pubs, cafés and shops to stock up before setting out for a walk. The jagged reefs around Bude have been the unintended final resting place of many ships wrecked on the rocks and the remains of some of these are preserved in the town today. The area around Compass Point is now a site of special scientific interest for the geological and biological interest.
After leaving the busy town of Bude, the coast path to the south provides stunning views of rock and beach without too much effort. Turning inland to the canal, the return to Bude through the gentle countryside provides a good contrast to the coast. The canal was originally built to carry sand from the beaches at Bude inland for agricultural use on the fields. The canal carries boats over 400 vertical feet on the inland journey.
Cardinham Woods Walk
The 650 acres of beautiful mixed woodland known as Cardinham Wood, just outside of Bodmin, has been owned by the Forestry Commission since 1922. The woodland is a favourite location for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There is the delightful Woods Café near the car park serving morning coffee, lunches and afternoon tea.
The walk takes you past the historic Lady Vale Bridge dating back to the 12th century where Lady Vale Chapel once stood, before continuing on to the peaceful village of Cardinham. St Meubred's Church in Cardinham is worth visiting both for the architectural details inside the building and the two large Cornish crosses standing tall in the grounds.
Return along Cardinham Water, past Lady Vale Bridge and back to the visitors car park.
Cotehele Estate Walk
Calstock was a busy river port shipping copper and tin until the railways arrived, now it is a quiet Cornish village and the beginning point for this walk. The route follows the River Tamar west to the Cotehele Estate. The estate was the family home of the Edgecumbe family for over 600 years before being handed to the Treasure as payment for death duty. The property is now in the care of the National Trust. The house is one of the least altered of the Tudor houses in the United Kingdom.
After leaving the manor house, the route leads on to Cotehele Mill. The watermill has existed since medieval times and has since been restored by the National Trust to working condition.
Cudden Point Walk
This walk begins in the village of Perranuthnoe heading out across farm land to meet the South West Coast Path at Kenneggy Sands. The headland at Cudden Point is considered one of the most impressive stretches of the coast path providing views of Prussia Cove, Mount's Bay and The Lizard.
Prussia Cove was once the home of the 18th-century ship-wrecker and smuggler John Carter, also known as the ″King of Prussia″, thought to be from a childhood game he played and the origin of the name for the area.
Crackington Haven Walk
Explore a breathtaking stretch of North Cornwall’s coastline on a walk that leads you from Crackington Haven’s sandy beach, past Tremoutha to Cambeak Headland and onto The Strangles, before returning via the sheltered woodlands of Ludon Valley.
Crackington Haven is a small coastal village, set between imposing cliffs and backing onto the Crackington Haven beach which is a great spot for surfing if the weather is right.
The small unspoiled cove provides two cafe’s, a shop and a pub, the latter providing locally caught fish, vegetables and well reared meats from local farms.
The Stangles is a stunning and dramatic wild beach set under some of the highest cliffs in Cornwall. Please note that the walk down to the beach from the coastal path is quite demanding.
Fowey Hall Walk
This route crosses from the waterfront in Fowey on the Bodinnick ferry to walk through the woodland on the north side of Pont Pill. At the top of the creek, cross on the footpath to begin the return to the small fishing village of Polruan. The quay in Polruan provides panoramic views of Fowey and the boats moored in the river. Before returning to Fowey on the Polruan ferry, take a short detour to the castle at the entry to the River Fowey for further views of the Fowey coast.
Polkerris and Gribbin Head Walk
Cross from Polkerris to St. Catherines Castle on the South West Coast Path, west of Readymoney Cove. On the way to Polridmouth enjoy distant views of the opening of the River Fowey and the small fishing village of Polruan. Make the short climb to the nape of Gribbin Head and the red stripped lookout tower, then continue along the coast path to the beach at Polkerris.
This pleasant walk starts from Trevone beach and takes you around the headland and along the rugged south west coastal path. You will enjoy far-reaching views over the mouth of the River Camel and the Doom Bar, where mermaids were said to wait to lure sailors. Along the walk you can enjoy sandy beaches, secluded coves and Stepper Point which is topped by a stone tower called a ‘Day Mark’. This important landmark served as a navigation beacon for seafarers during daylight.
As an alternative, you could start this walk from Padstow or take a detour to the town to experience everything it has to offer.
Padstow is a lovely working fishing port at the head of the Camel River and is surrounded by tidal sandy beaches. It’s a popular watersports destination but also favoured with food lovers, offering great restaurants and bistro’s such as Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant.
St Agnes Head Walk
If you love walking the rugged North Cornwall coast, then St Agnes Head is a walk for you. Located within a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, this glorious walk will take you along the South West Coast Path and past St Agnes Beacon. Along this walk you will experience dramatic and colourful scenery, with high cliffs, wildflower heathland, sandy beaches and stunning views across the Atlantic Ocean to Perranporth and St Ives in the distance.
St Agnes Beacon and the surrounding cliff tops are one of the last examples of heathland that used to stretch across Cornwall. It's recognised as an important wildlife area and in late summer, the heathland comes alive with bursts of colour from the wildflowers and heather.
Parking for this walk is at the Chapel Porth car park (National Trust) and refreshments are available at the cafe.
St Ives Walk
The walk from St Ives to the historic village of Zennor is a popular and spectacular walk on one of Cornwall’s best sections of the South West Coast Path. Although the route might look quite straight forward, it’s a tough walk with steep sections that will give your legs a real workout.
The town of St Ives is one of Cornwall’s most famous tourist destinations, with its golden sandy beaches, a picturesque and working fishing harbour, galleries, pavement cafes, ancient pubs and wonderful restaurants with tasty menus.
It’s no wonder that St Ives is regarded as one of the best holiday destinations in the UK, offering a range of activities from surfing at the blue flag-rated Porthmeor beach or simply wandering through the maze of narrow cobbled streets, enjoying the numerous cafes, pubs and shops.
The village of Zennor sits on the rugged Atlantic coastline of Cornwall with rocky cliffs and the granite hills. At the heart of the village is The Tinners Arms which was built in 1271 to accommodate the masons who constructed St Senara’s Church, famous for its mermaid.
If you would prefer not to walk the return journey, there are buses from Zennor to St Ives.
Pentire Point and The Rumps Walk
This walk is along a spectacular stretch of the North Cornwall coast that takes you along the South West Coast Path, around Pentire Point and past the Rumps.
To the north, you may be able to see Tintagel Castle in the distance and Stepper point can be seen to the south on a fine clear day.
If you like wide golden sandy beaches you could also visit Polzeath Beach which is popular with sun seekers and local surfers.