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Cornish Coastal Path: St Ives to Mevagissey

Cornish Coastal Path: St Ives to Mevagissey

Trip Highlights

  • Visit magical St. Ives, a town of art, ice creams and fish ‘n’ chips.
  • Walk to Land’s End, the furthest Westerly point on the English Mainland
  • Naval History and Castle at Falmouth
  • Picturesque Ports & Fishing Villages

Trip Summary

This section of the Coastal Path encompasses a vast array of coastal landscapes from the dramatic cliffs of Lands End, the impressive coves of Mullion and Kynance, famous resort towns of St.Ives and Penzance, and smaller fishing villages of Sennan Cove, Portloe and Mevagissey. In St. Ives enjoy wandering the cobbled lanes with small shops, restaurants and pubs. The walk passes the 'Carracks' - rocks where you may see Atlantic Grey Seals, before going inland to Zennor. The trail returns to the coast threading its way through the coves and the old tin mines skirting inland beside Cape Cornwall, and to the pretty fishing village of Sennan Cove. Spend time at Land's End which has natural ambiance with the Atlantic pounding around Wolf Rock and the Long Ships. There are beautiful places to pause at Penberth Cove before reaching Lamorna with its old smuggler's pub, the 'Lamorna Wink'. Passing Penzer point you gain views to St. Michael's Mount and visit the pretty village of Mousehole before entering the busy resorts of Newlyn, Penzance and on past Marazion and Mounts Bay. The coast is deeply indented by the valleys of the Helford and Fal Rivers, whose steep slopes are clad with dense forest. You will need to take a couple of ferries on your day to St. Mawes, which along with Portloe are fascinating fishing villages with great smuggling histories.

Suitability

A Moderate grade walk with some long days. The Coastal path is hilly and many climbs are made each day, returning again to sea level. Some trails are rough under foot.

Itinerary

Make your own way to St Ives. This beautiful cobble lane fishing village dates back to AD460, when the missionary St. Ia, daughter of an Irish chieftain, landed here and gave her name to the settlement in a similar way to how St. Beda gave her name to St. Bees in Cumbria. Protected from Atlantic storms, St. Ives was once the most important fishing port in Cornwall, but like elsewhere on the surrounding coast, by the beginning of the 20th century, the fish stocks became depleted, and the fishing fleet largely disappeared. However as early as 1811 Turner visited to paint the seascapes and by the late 1880s there were several painters in residence and the town became famous for its vibrant artists' colony. This perhaps reached its heyday during the late 1940s and the 1950s. Today their work can be seen in the St Ives Tate Gallery, with its popular roof restaurant, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Beranard Leach Gallery. A great place for fish & chips and extra nights are recommended. Accommodation: We use two guesthouses in this busy town, one is the 4 star Old Vicarage and the other a boutique B&B called Villamorva. If these are full you may be booked into Carbis Bay 15 minutes walk away.

Meals:  Nil

Enjoy a hearty breakfast as there are some tough up and down and occasionally boggy walking for the next two days, but fortunately the days are quite short in distance and the seascapes are beautiful! Around St. Ives Head, the walk passes St. Nicholas’s Chapel (patron saint to seafarers) and a hut that was used for spotting pilchards from the cliffs. As you leave St.Ives the number of walkers rapidly diminishes, as does your pace as the path roller-coasts through a series of steep dips. After the River Cove, you descend to rocks where you can sometimes see seals basking off the rocks. There is then a final steep climb, from where you have to take a path going inland half a mile to the village of Zennor, which has a quaint church, a small museum on Cornish life, a great old pub called The Tinner’s Arms. *D.H Lawrence, arrived here in 1916 and wrote ‘Woman in Love,’ inviting Katherine Mansfield over, but she was frightened by the seagulls and had to leave! Lawrence who had failed to pass the army medical and was married to a German, raised local suspicions. They presumed that the pair were spies signaling German submarines and they were officially ordered to leave! You might want to look out for the standing stones, ringed ‘quoits’ and other prehistoric remains on the moors above the village. Accommodation: Our accommodation The Tinners Arms is the only Inn in Zennor and was built in 1271 to accommodate the Masons who constructed St Senara’s church which is famous for its mermaid.

Meals:  B

Returning to the coastal path, thread your way through beautiful coves to Gurnard’s Head. Being wary of tin mine shafts you can look around the prehistoric fort site at the head. Just before you reach Pendeen, there is Geevor tin mine which is open March to October for guided tours and at Pendeen Watch an afternoon visit to the lighthouse is possible. Accommodation: Pendeen Watch, The Old Manse dates back to 1860 and has been carefully restored to bring the old and new together.

Meals:  B

The first part of the walk is quite easy, following the cliff tops around the old lead and tin mines, through the detritus of hundreds of years of activity. You pass Levant Mine that closed down in 1919 after an accident there killed 31 miners. However there is a restored steam engine which can be visited in the summer. Next is Crowns Mine at Botallack perched on the rocks. The path skirts inland beside Cape Cornwall, once thought to be England’s most westerly point, until they worked out that it was in fact Lands End. Continuing you pass Carn Gloose where a walled pit could be a Neolithic shrine. Then it is past the village of St. Just which has a square where ‘miracle plays’ were performed in Mediaeval times, then past the beach at Whitesand Bay to Sennan Cove, a pretty fishing and tourist port. Accommodation: We stay at The Old Success Inn which dates back to the 17th century.

Meals:  B

Start your day early to enable you to visit the sights of Land’s End, the most westerly point in England. This is a highly developed commercial site, with various ‘attractions’ including a theme park! There can also be big crowds milling around the centre and car parks, however, there are some great seascapes with views as far as the Scilly Isles and towards Long Ships and Wolf Rock lighthouses. You continue your walk passing the attractive hamlets of Porthgwarra and St. Levan reaching the open air theatre at Minack point, dramatically situated and built by Rowena Cade. The South West Path follows the cliffs there follows a more challenging walk towards Penberth Cove and Porthguaron which are lovely places to pause before you reach Lamorna, a tiny harbour village with a famous once illegal old pub the ‘Lamorna Wink.’ Accommodation: We stay in Tregurnow Farmhouse a granite farmhouse, where you can relax in the landscaped gardens watching the swallows.

Meals:  B

Today the walk starts around Penzer Point and views over Mounts Bay and towards the island of St. Michael’s Mount. Next you arrive at Mousehole (pron’Mowzl’), another picture postcard village, with a history of pilchard fishing and now has a small artists community. The path from here to Newlyn is beside the road but you can go inland via the village of Paul to see the monument erected to Dolly Pentreath (died 1778) regarded as the last native Cornish speaker who spoke no English. Newlyn and Penzance are quite built up being ports as well has important vacation destinations. Although Newlyn has some nice galleries, you may want to bus into Penzance from here. The latter has more attractions including some Georgian and Regency housing, the exuberant Egyptian House, Maritime Museum and National Lighthouse Museum. Accommodation: We use a number of guesthouses in the busy town of Penzance.

Meals:  B

This is a short walk today because there is so much to see and do in Penzance if you didn't get a chance to do it all the day before and also in Marazion. The town claims to be the oldest town in Britain and was called Ictis by the Romans which goes someway to indicate that the area was a trading post for tin in ancient times. The town has an active community of artists whose work you can see in many of the galleries. We recommend a visit to the iconic St Michael’s Mount. Accommodation: Mount Haven Hotel - A highly commended boutique hotel, with interesting views of the Mount.

Meals:  B

Today takes you from Mounts Bay with St. Michael's Mount sitting in the sea. This old abbey now a manor house has an ageless appeal and was traditionally linked to Mont St. Michel in Brittany. Round the corner from the Bay follow 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 reach Porthleven, a pretty fishing and boating harbour that is closed by wooden baulks during storms. You can enjoy fine seafood at the inn or venture along the quay to a famous seafood restaurant. Accommodation: Stay in the 4 star Harbour Inn 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 here on a Saturday there will often be entertainment as well.

Meals:  B

Via the stunningly beautiful Kynance Cove and the pretty village of Mullion, which is at the heart of some of the finest walking. The sea at the Lizard has some interesting rock type’s country. The remote southernmost point of Britain will hopefully reward you with an unforgettable sunset, and will certainly offer fine views of the sea. Accommodation: The Caerthillian at The Lizard, 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.

Meals:  B

Today pass Coverack, a fine example of a totally unspoilt traditional fishing village. You may wish to make a detour from the coast to visit St Keverne to view its pleasant village square and remarkable churchyard where over 400 shipwreck victims of the nearby Manacle Reef are buried. Accommodation: Gallentreath a 3 star guesthouse where your host will make you more than welcome.

Meals:  B

This is quite a long day, which could be shortened by taking a taxi to Gillan. From Gillan walk to Nare point and then across the Helford Passage You could have a lunch stop at the pub near the Frenchman’s Creek made famous by Daphne Du Maurier, before following part of the beautiful Helford River and the coastal path to the impressive Trebah Gardens. You then walk into Falmouth, the biggest town on our route. Accommodation: We use a number of guesthouse/B&B in this busy town.

Meals:  B

A lovely walk with fantastic scenery throughout the day. You start with a ferry ride from Falmouth 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 pass by Caerhays Castle, designed by John Nash, and its beautiful gardens. Then through Veryan noted for its thatched round houses. You arrive at the understated beauty that is Portloe, a tiny sheltered harbour with old streets. Accommodation: Caradale B&B on the cliff tops beyond Portloe, a unique shell fishing hamlet on the almost unknown Roseland peninsular.

Meals:  B

Walk from Portloe to Mevagissey via Portholland Cove and Dodman Point, quite a lot of ascent and descent on the last day, but great coastal views. Accommodation: Our usual accommdoation is Honeycombe B&B, however this is a busy village and we will use a number of guesthouses here.

Meals:  B

Depart Mevagissey after breakfast.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 13 breakfasts
  • 13 nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 20kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline

What's Not Included

  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:14 Days
Countries:England
Starting Point:St Ives
Finishing Point:Mevagissey
Activities:Self-Guided Walking
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:WTS
Prices From:GBP£1030 Per Person
single supplement:GBP£330  Click for more information