St Ives to Perranporth: 4 days (Category A)
Distance: 32 miles
Av. daily distance: 8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to easy with very few steep hills
Price: £440 for 4 days/ 5 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: starting at Hayle and finishing at Newquay to avoid urban section around Hayle estuary
Continuing our exploration of the north coast, this four day walk extends out of West Cornwall and into the more accessible region of Mid Cornwall. One thing that doesn’t change however is the grandeur of the cliffs, the golden beaches and the crashing of the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline remains a rugged victim of the waves and abandoned mines haunt this atmospheric landscape.
Expect to see a few fellow walkers, sheers cliffs plummeting into clear blue seas and incredible beaches. With vibrant resorts at either end and barren cliffs in between, this walk shows at least two of Cornwall’s many faces.
Start: St Ives
Distance: 8 miles | Height gain: 663 feet/ 202 metres
Time walking: 3 hours 30 minutes excluding breaks
Difficulty: Easy. A short first day with only one steep hill.
Highlights: Porthminster beach, Carbis Bay, the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives.
Leaving behind St Ives town centre, the coast path immediately encounters one of the region’s finest beaches, Porthminster. With golden sands, calm crystal waters, views of St Ives harbour and backed by Cornish palm trees, it really is spectacular. Only one mile ahead lies Carbis Bay; equally beautiful and with views of Hayle towans and beaches. With Porth Kidney sands just in front, this is an easy and charming first day.
The walk into Hayle however is along busy roads and the beaches are replaced by mud flats (this is unavoidable for any north coast St Ives walking holiday). There is however great bird watching here and the pasties in Hayle are some of the best in Cornwall!
Start Point: Hayle
Finish Point: Portreath
Distance: 11.5 miles | Height gain: 1371 feet/ 418 metres
Time walking: 4 hours 30 minutes excluding breaks
Difficulty: Moderate. There are only one or two hills (towards the end) but the sand dunes/beaches at Hayle can be tiring.
Highlights: 3 miles of golden sand, Philp's pasties, Godrevy Lighthouse, Hell's Mouth cliffs, seal spotting.
The first section of this day follows the sandy expanse of Hayle Towans, and Gwithian and Godrevy beaches. Either through sand dunes or along the beach, this is a great start to the day and within minutes, the streets of Hayle have disappeared.
Upon reaching Godrevy lighthouse there is a significant change as the path climbs up on the cliff tops, where it stays for the remainder of the day. This is an easy walk across hard and rugged terrain. Mighty cliffs plummet into the sea and huge jagged rocks point up from tiny coves. It is a superb section of coast for birds and wildlife, with grey seals, gulls and gannets commonly sighted.
Start Point: Portreath
Finish Point: St Agnes
Distance: 8.5 miles | Height gain: 1424 feet/ 434 metres
Time walking: 3 hours 15 minutes excluding breaks
Difficulty: Moderate. Mostly along level cliff tops.
Highlights: Wheal Coates tin mine, Driftwood Spars own brewed beers at St Agnes.
Much like the previous day, there is a hard beauty to this coastline where high cliffs drop into inaccessible coves and jagged rocks reach out from the sea. A good part of the path is undulating but there are one or two serious climbs as the walk progresses.
The mining remains just outside Porthtowan, surrounded by gorse and heather, are reminiscent of those of the Lands End Peninsula and the large expanse of RAF Portreath limits road access, reducing the number of walkers and lending a feeling of wilderness to the coast. From here on it is by abandoned engine houses and broken rock all the way to St Agnes.
Porthtowan, Chapel Porth and St Agnes provide relief in this rugged landscape, and can even be busy in the high season.
Start Point: St Agnes
Finish Point: Perranporth
Distance: 4 miles | Height gain: 1030 feet/ 314 metres
Time walking: 2 hours excluding breaks
Highlights: The Blue Hills tin streaming works just after St Agnes, Wheal Kitty, Perranporth beach.
This is an easy last day that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours excluding breaks. Continuing through the rocky landscapes of St Agnes, the coast path often dips down into steep coves, where shale lined valleys lead off inland and yet more mines can be seen nestled on the edge of cliffs.
Arriving at Perranporth, the coast suddenly opens to reveal a huge stretch of golden sand, running right the way up to Pentire Point. This is understandably a popular holiday resort to where surfers, sun seekers and families flock in the summer months.
Single Walker Price: £630
*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.