St Ives to Pendeen: 2 days (Category A)
Distance: 15 miles
Av. daily distance: 7.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate/difficult with rocky and hilly sections
Price: £245 for 2 days/ 3 nights*
(includes bed and breakfast, bag transfers, maps & info packs, arrival and departure transfers between accommodation and local train stations/car parks. B&B includes the night prior to starting the walk and the night after finishing the walk)
Consider: adding an extra day to explore the moors and ancient monuments
This short but beautiful walk takes you along the wild and windswept coast of West Cornwall.
It is rugged country with high cliffs tumbling down into the Irish Sea on one side and brooding moorland hills on the other. Often claimed to be the most isolated section of the entire Southwest Coast Path, there is a real sense of antiquity and natural power to the landscape.
Start: St Ives
Distance: 7 miles | Height gain: 1890 feet/576 metres
Time walking: 4 hours 30 minutes excluding breaks
Difficulty: Difficult. The distance is short but there are several steep hills and rocky/muddy sections.
Highlights: The Barbara Hepworth museum in St Ives, Porthmeor beach (and cafe), the view from Clodgy Point, Zennor Head and the mermaid chair in Zennor Church.
Leaving behind the Tate gallery and surf-lined Porthmoer beach (St Ives), the path soon heads along the empty and dramatic cliffs of West Cornwall. Here, the path winds along a narrow section between the rugged moorland hills and deeply incised cliffs. It is a harsh landscape, softened by the rich blue seas and summer flowers that somehow hang on in the thin soil.
This is the beginning of the isolated Lands End Peninsula and it is important to remember that long sections of the coastline are inaccessible and offer no refreshments or relief once you are underway.
The sea views are fantastic and high headlands are separated by the narrowest of coves cut out by the often violent waves.
Start Point: Zennor
Finish Point: Pendeen
Distance: 7.5 miles | Height gain: 1296 feet/395 metres
Time walking: 4 hours 15 minutes excluding breaks
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. The path is hilly, narrow and for the first 6 miles it is littered with rocks, making for slow progress.
Highlights: Bosigran cliffs, Portherras Beach, Pendeen Watch lighthouse, Geevor tin mine at Pendeen (underground tour of the mine workings).
As on the previous day, the Penwith moors run right down to the cliffs in this breath taking landscape. The ground is strewn with rocks that have tumbled down from the hill looming just inland (although legend states that they were thrown there by the giants that once roamed this wild terrain) and there are invigorating climbs into and out of the dozens of rocky coves.
Parts of the path takes you away from the cliff edge, although where the two meet, the views are great. Gurnards Head sticks far out in to the sea, confirming its selection for the cliff top castle that once kept guard there. Likewise the giddy heights of Bosigran and Brandys are superb.
It is a day that improves with distance and after a relatively uninspiring stretch, the path takes you to the beautiful Portherras beach; golden sands, heaving waves and only ever a thin scattering of beach goers.
Single Walker Price: £365
Easier Alternative Itinerary:
Pendeen to Porthcurno
*Price per person based on two people sharing a room. Prices may vary depending on availability and room requirements. A supplement may apply for those who require a room for one person only.