124b St Agnes to Perranporth

The walk from St Agnes’ Head to Perranporth is spectacularly beautiful. As I set off along the cliffs, I could see the rocks below were pockmarked with caves. This is a wonderland for divers.

Caves, Newdowns Head, St Agnes, Ruth on her coastal walk around the UK

It is difficult to describe the drama of St Agnes.

I walk round a curve in the coast and see a fold in the rocks. This is Trevaunance Cove. Under towering cliffs, their sides slashed by recent rock falls, lies a small strip of beach, edged by beach huts and cafés. Waves roll in, line after line of swelling water, and the sea is crowded with surf boards. Perched high above is an industrial landscape, dotted with the smooth-sided mounds of quarried material and punctuated by chimneys.

Drama of St Agnes, Ruth on Coastal walkBut one of the first things I notice when I round the corner is a Fisheries Patrol vessel in the bay, using its water cannon to hose a group of boarders.

St Agnes, bay, Ruth on her coast walking, SWCP

I wonder what crime the boys were committing, until I realise they are having fun. As I watch, more boarders paddle out to enjoy the dubious pleasure of being hosed down.

Spraying the surf boarders, St Agnes, Ruth Livingstone

I intended to stop for lunch in St Agnes, but the missing part of my map has disrupted my schedule and I’m worrying about getting to Perranporth in time to catch the last bus back to Portreath. And just look at the size of those cliffs ahead! I decide to skip lunch and press on.

The walk up out of Trevaunance Cove is as tough as I feared. At the top there is a weird track, very rough underfoot and with slippery stones. I walk on the grass verge as much as I can. At the end of the track is an iron gate a sign – “The Motor Cycling Club”. That must be an old sign, I think. Nobody could race cars here anymore.

Motor Cycling Club, Ruth walking St Agnes

Later I discover they really do race cars along this track, as demonstrated in this Youtube video, filmed in 2013.

This area is called Blue Hills. I look back down at St Agnes and regret not having more time to spend in this amazing place.

Looking back to St Agnes, Ruth walking the coast in Cornwall

Below another tiny cove nestles among spectacular cliffs. This is Trevellas Porth and is even more beautiful than cove I have just left behind.

Trevellas Porth, Ruth walking the north Cornwall Coast, SWCPI walk down and spend some time wandering around on the tiny paths that thread across the far slopes. Trevellas Porth is a popular spot and I am not the only person walking up and down these steep places.

looking down on secret coves, Ruth on SWCP, St AgnesI speed up and find the going easier when I climb back up and onto high ground. I march onwards, trying to keep up my pace, but am constantly distracted by the wonderful views.

The coast is indented with tiny coves and pock-marked with numerous caves. The water is blue and clear.

amazing cliffs, Cligga Head, Ruth's coastal walkThere is tremendous variation in the colour of the cliffs. Some are red or yellow sandstone, others are hard grey and granite.

Blue rocks, Ruth walking in CornwallIt is difficult not to spend hours just taking photographs of the rock formations. The sky is covered in flitting clouds and every new minute seems to bring a change in the colour of the landscape.

This area was mined for tin and copper, with arsenic produced as a byproduct. Looking down at the tumbled stones you can see blue colouration.

Eventually I come to a place where the landscape is open wasteland, pitted with the remains of old quarries, exposed rocks, ruined buildings – evidence of what was once a thriving industry. This is Cligga Head.

Ahead I can see the cliffs fall away and there is a large stretch of  sandy beach, sweeping around a wide bay. I know I am looking at Perran Beach with the dunes of Penhale Sands behind. Perranporth is hidden around the corner.

Penhale Sands, Ruth's coastal walk, South West Coast Path

I leave the ruins behind and follow the path along the slope. It is clearly marked and the route is scenic but it seems to go on for ever. I thought I was nearly there! I walk so fast I am almost jogging.

 Heading towards Perrnaporth, Ruth on SWCP

Finally I see Perranporth ahead. The beach looks busy. There are some wonderful rock formations on this side of the bay.

Perranporth Beach, Ruth walking the coast

It is just past four o’clock and I need to find the bus stop. But I spend a few minutes gazing at the view and anticipating tomorrow’s walk along the sands. It will make a change from cliff walking and I am looking forward to it already.

 Perran Beach sand, Ruth walking on the South West Coast Path

It turns out I have misread the bus timetable – again! The next bus is due at 17:26, not 16:26. I have an hour to spare. I have a late lunch in a nearby café – and munch my way through a most enormous cream tea.

waiting for the bus at Perranporth, Ruth on her coastal walk, Cornwall

Then I sit in a pretty park next to the bus shelter and wait for the next bus to arrive.

Miles walked today= 12
Miles in total= 1,237


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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6 Responses to 124b St Agnes to Perranporth

  1. zuludelta45 says:

    I liked the patrol boat part. I liked your blog…….here’s a small sample of mine, Zulu Delta

  2. jcombe says:

    This is a lovely stetch of the coast and brings back happy memories for me. I stayed the Blue Hills campsite when I walked this part of the coast, which is on the eastern side of that steep valley with the motorbike track along it. I’d walk down to the beach at Trevaunance Cove and have dinner at the Driftwood Spas pub there (and some of their home brewed beer too), then walk back up and sit on the cliff tops watching the sunset. The public road through the Blue Hills valley is “interesting” too. Not quite as steep as the motorbike track, but I only drove back that way once!

    The cliffs colours there are amazing too. All those minerals colouring them. Some look rusty, I expect there is some iron ore in the cliffs there too.

  3. A great account and excellent pictures of your passage through this spectacular section. I’m hoping to revisit this area in 2015, can’t wait.

  4. Karen White says:

    The views really are breathtakingly beautiful. The video of the cars and bikes going along that narrow track makes me think the drivers must be bonkers!

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