With such a stunning coastline and vast countryside on offer, it will come as no surprise that walking is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Cornwall. West Cornwall, with its historic fishing villages, secluded coves and stretches of unspoilt beaches, is one of the best places in the county to stretch your legs - so lace up your walking boots and take a look at our selection of five of the best walking routes in West Cornwall.
Porthgwarra to Porthcurno
Beginning in the tiny picturesque village of Pothgwarra, this short route takes in beautiful scenery, wildlife and one of the most iconic structures in Cornwall, the Minack Theatre, before concluding at Porthcurno. There’s plenty to enjoy along the way, as Porthcurno Beach is considered to be one of the most spectacular beaches in the county with its soft, white sand and turquoise waters; and the Minack Theatre enjoys one of the most magical locations of any theatre - so you’re sure to enjoy exploring both. The area is also popular with birdwatchers, and along the route you might be lucky enough to spot a red kite or honey buzzard. This route does involve a litlle scrambling and some steep hills but as a whole, it’s easily do-able and extremely rewarding.
Distance: 2.3 miles / 3.7km
More information: www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walksdb/54/
This gentle circular stroll from Lizard Green to one of Cornwall’s most beautiful coastal sights, Kynance Cove, is perfect for a sunny day. The walk follows part of the South West Coast Path, winding through the beautiful Cornish heath above Kynance Cove to Tor Balk. From Tor Balk, you’ll find breath-taking views of the cove and its towering serpentine stacks, including the imaginatively named Asparagus Island, where wild asparagus grows in abundance. If you're planning on visiting Asparagus Island, then make sure you read the tide times, as it is usually cut off at high tide. Once you’ve reached the beach, we’d recommend stopping to fill up on pasties, sandwiches and ice cream at the Kynance Cove Café. This is generally a relaxed route, perfect for an amble around the coastline although there are some rough paths and some slightly steep ascents.
Distance: 2.9 miles / 4.7km
More information: www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walksdb/659/
The Redruth and Chasewater Railway Trail
Follow this trail along the original route of the Redruth and Chasewater Railway, to explore the heart of Cornwall’s mining heritage. The railway was Cornwall’s first to use wrought-iron rails and was built in 1825 to serve the mines in the Redruth area and to transport copper ore; unfortunately, the deterioration of Cornwall’s mining fortunes forced it to close in 1915. This delightful walk follows an historic route through beautifully contrasting woodlands and moorlands, passing by former mining villages and points of interest such as Carn Marth and Gwennap Pit. The route itself is mostly level and off road.
Distance: 7.7 miles / 12.4km
Beacon on the Coast
If you’re looking for a walking route in West Cornwall where you can bring your dog along, then this circular coastal walk is perfect. The route begins and ends in the small mining village of St Agnes, climbing to the top of St Agnes Beacon, and then meandering down to the pretty cove of Chapel Porth before stretching out along St Agnes Head to the beach at Trevaunance Cove, which is dog-friendly year-round -although they must be kept on leads. There is a couple of dog-friendly pubs on the walk where you can stop for a refreshing drink or a bite to eat; try The Driftwood Spars, The St Agnes Hotel or The Taphouse, all of which will extend a warm welcome to both you and your four-legged friend.
Distance: 6.3 miles / 10.1km
More information: www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walksdb/201/
Be prepared and plan in your pit stops with our guide to 10 of the best cafés in Cornwall.
This walk through Gwendreath Valley is ideal for families, as the route mainly travels along footpaths, quiet country lanes and a sandy beach. Gwendreath Valley itself is part of The Lizard National Nature Reserve and boasts a plethora of wildlife for you to discover; the rich variety of plants and wildflowers on offer provide the perfect habitat for wildlife including butterflies, lizards and woodpeckers. Kennack Sands Beach is also a fantastic place to see lots of different geological treasures, as there are many types of rocks and pebble for you to find, providing fascinating hints at the colour and texture of an ancient landscape.
Distance: 1.6 miles / 2.5km
More information: www.southwestcoastpath.com/walksdb/541/
If you’re planning on holidaying in West Cornwall, don’t forget to take a look at our fantastic collection of holiday cottages in the area which would make the perfect base from which to explore this beautiful part of the country.