St Ives to Porthcurno: 3 days (Category B)
Distance: 30 miles
Av. daily distance: 10 miles
Difficulty: Moderate/difficult with rocky and hilly sections
Price*: £325 for 3 days/ 4 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: catching a performance at the Minack Theatre on your final night
This three day walking holiday covers a surprising distance and variety of landscapes as it rounds a good section of the Lands End Peninsula. Beginning in popular St Ives, the route soon passes along what is probably the most isolated section of the entire coast path. Between St Ives and Zennor there is little road access and the going can be tough. The scenery however is spectacular with granite cliffs, jagged outcrops and narrow coves.
From Pendeen, the route continues through the former heartland of the Cornish mining industry, where industrial remains still haunt the cliff tops at every corner. The dramatic scenery continues along the majestic west coast cliffs and opens up into beautiful bays as you approach the south coast.
Start: St Ives
Distance: 7 miles | Height gain: 1890 feet/576 metres
Time walking: 4 hours 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.
St Ives is a busy town of winding streets lined with art galleries, where summer time crowds converge on the harbour and shop keepers enjoy a swift trade. Zennor is a tiny village, with one pub, one church and little else. In between the two lies an empty stretch of coast, rocky, rugged and beautiful.
Here, following the edge of the Penwith moors, it is a wild and dramatic lanscape. There are inland hills crowned with strange granite formations, cliff tops where no soil or plant can cling on to the rocks and boulders litter the path for much of it length. It is a superb and remote region, distant and beautiful in its wildness.
Vertical cliffs plunge into the Atlantic Ocean whilst headlands resist the waves crashing below and steep sided coves separate promontories.
Start Point: Zennor
Finish Point: St Just/Cape Cornwall
Distance: 12 miles | Height gain: 2185 feet/666 metres
Time walking: 5 hours 45 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. Much longer than the previous day.
Highlights: Bosigran cliffs, Portherras Beach, Pendeen Watch lighthouse, Geevor tin mine at Pendeen (underground tour of the mine workings), the Corwns Mines at Botallack.
The coast path remains sandwiched between high cliffs and rocky moors as it passes ancient farms and field systems that date back to the Iron Age. This is a truly Celtic land that fires the imagination with its hard beauty.
Just ahead however lies a different scene, one equally as important as the ancient Celts in Cornwall’s history; tin mines. Abandoned workings perch on high cliffs while clear waters wash down below. The remains at Geevor, Levant and Botallack are impressive; a sudden tale of humanity after miles of empty coast path. This really is a beautiful section of the coast, and a favourite with artists from across the globe.
The days walking ends at Cape Cornwall where the Atlantic currents split; north towards the Irish Sea and south towards the English Channel. Walk out to the Cape for great views down the West coast, or even better, enjoy one the UK’s finest sunset from the solitude of its summit.
Start Point: St Just/Cape Cornwall
Finish Point: Porthcurno
Distance: 12 miles | Height gain: 2887 feet/880 metres
Time walking: 5 hours 45 minutes excluding breaks
Difficulty: Moderate with a little bit of scrambling required in one or two places.
Highlights: The raised beach and 'dinosaur egg' rocks at the Cot Valley, surfing at Sennen Cove, the sea arches around Lands End, the view from across to Treen headland and the Minack Theatre. To watch a performance on a summer’s night at the open air Minack Theatre is a magical experience.
Now on the West coast, the path heads round Lands End, on to the spectacular southwest coastline and the magnificent bay at Porthcurno. High empty cliff tops with only a sparse covering of low grass and hardy gorse give way to the deep and verdant south coast valleys.
The waters are the clearest you will find in Cornwall and the few beaches en route are just as spectacular. Porthcurno and Porthchapel are real gems and worth stopping off in. It is a common part of the coast to observe seals and basking sharks (summer time only) so keep your eyes open.
Well known spots such as the outdoor Minack Theatre and Lands End are surpassed by the natural beauty and it is with confidence that we say this one of the best three day walking holidays in Cornwall available.
Single Walker Price: £455
Easier Alternative Itinerary:
Start at St Just to avoid most difficult sections
*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.