127b Mawgan Porth to Porthcothan

Mawgan Porth, Ruth Livingstone, SWCPI am hungry and looking forward to lunch as I walk down into Mawgan Porth.

Despite the bad start to the morning, it has turned into a beautiful day. Perhaps it’s the weather, or perhaps it’s because it is a Sunday, but I have met an unusual number of walkers along this section of the South West Coast Path.

I find a pub and sit outside, overlooking the beach. Unfortunately the fish cakes are ‘off’, but the cook kindly makes me a children’s size portion of fish and chips. Plenty big enough for me!

Beach at Mawgan Porth, Ruth walking the SWCP

The beach below looks crowded. Everybody is coming to spend a day at the seaside. I walk across the sands and find the footpath leading up the opposite cliff.

On the Way Dropped It, Ruth's coastal walkDropped it sign, Ruth Livingstone, Mawgan Porth At the top is a footpath sign and a board with a metal design fixed to it. On closer inspection, this seems to be a place where you can leave dropped objects you find along the path (lost gloves, scarves, etc, I imagine).

A great idea!

Sadly there is nothing on the board today. But maybe that’s a good thing.

Cliffs toward Park Head, Ruths coast walkingI walk around Trenance Point and look along the coast towards Porthcothan. The shoreline looks beautiful but straightforward. I am anticipating an easy stroll.

Little did I know that I was soon going to come across one of the most scenic parts of the north Cornwall coast.

Carnewas Cliffs, warning sign, Ruth's coast walkingPast Trenance Point and Trerathick Point, I come to Carnewas Point. This is National Trust land and they have put up large warning signs.


And then I am walking above an area whose features read like poetry on my map: Whitestone Cove, Pendarvas Point, Redcove Island, Bedruthan Steps, Queen Bee’s Rock, Diggory’s Island, Pentire Steps.

But it’s not just the names that are beautiful.

Carnewas, Bedruthan steps, Ruth walking around the coast, CornwallThis section of craggy coastline is studded with pinnacles of rocks, around which the waves crash, white and frothy. It is a lovely sight. And every fifty yards or so the vista changes.

I had never heard or this area before, although others clearly have because there are a number of people strolling on the top of the cliffs and admiring the views. The National Trust says this place has “views that are arguably some of the most impressive in Cornwall” – and I wouldn’t argue with that.

It would look different when the tide was out. Probably just as impressive, but different.

Porth Mear, Ruth's coastal walk, North Cornwall SWCP

In the middle of this bubbling cauldron is a cove where the water is calmer. And here is a surreal sight. Far below is a lone surfer. He is attracting some interest from the view-watchers on the cliff top. At first I think it is because he is alone in this wild place. And I suddenly see the reason why everyone is staring and pointing. He is naked!

nude surfboarder, Carnewas, North Cornwall

I continue onwards. Despite the wildness of the cliffs beneath, the top is a relatively tame walk through open landscape and farmland. I come across sheep.

sheep, Ruth hiking along the South West Coast Path, North Cornwall

And walkers enjoying the wonderful views.

people, Ruth hiking along the South West Coast Path, North Cornwall

There are numerous little coves indenting the cliffs below. I see surfers (wearing clothes) enjoying the waves.

surfers everywhere, Porthcothan, Ruth's coast walking

And finally I come round the coastline and I know I am at the edge of Porthcothan bay and the first of the two main beaches.

High tide, Porthcothan, Ruth walking round the coast, CornwallThere are plenty of rocks to look at. These two remind me of a pair of frisky sharks.

The tide is high and people are having to squash up on the narrow strips of sand that remain. It is amusing watching the territorial battles.

I walk onwards and soon find myself walking down the side of the narrow inlet that leads up to the village of Porthcothan.

The waves roll inwards and people are enjoying the low surf. When the tide is out, this would be a large expanse of sand. But now everybody is squeezed back to the apex of the cove and the small patch of beach at the top. The place is crowded with young families and children.

Porthcothan Beach, Ruth in North Cornwall

Beyond the beach are a series of high dunes, through which it is difficult to pick my way to the village beyond. I find a small café/shop, seeming almost overwhelmed by the encroaching waves of sand, but it sells everything from beach equipment to snacks. I buy a cold drink and sit outside in the sunshine, waiting until it is time for the bus to take me back to Newquay. The place smells of salt and suntan cream. A perfect spot to end the day.

Miles walked today = 10
Total miles walked = 1,260


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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8 Responses to 127b Mawgan Porth to Porthcothan

  1. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I stayed in Trenance for a week in September 2013 and walked part of the same path – from Mawgan Porth to Bedruthan Steps – the beach down there is just as beautiful as it looks from above. I also saw that metal design then and was wondering what its purpose could be. Your blog post brought back some nice memories of a lovely holiday!

    • When I walk at high tide, I often wonder what a place looks like when the tide is out. Sounds like the beach at Bedruthan steps is gorgeous whatever the tide is doing. So glad you enjoyed your stay there 🙂

  2. mariekeates says:

    I’ve always loved the Cornish place names too, so romantic sounding. What beautiful views you had too. Your description of the beach cafe/shop took me right back to all the holidays we had in Cornwall when the boys were young.

  3. paul and carol sennett says:

    Thank you for your guide on this walk.. a lovely one.. We alos really enjooyed the cram tea at the National Trust car park at Bedruthan Steps… scones warm from the oven!

  4. Pingback: Beaches and Walks near Porthcothan | Tams Tales

  5. Pingback: 174. Watergate Bay to Harlyn – Albion Ambulations

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