Cornwall Coast Path - Penzance to Porthleven

Longrock Beach and Beyond
Coast path from Penzance
The path leaves Penzance from the seaward side of the train station, at the bottom of Market Jew Street. A paved footway is sandwiched between the railway line and the sea, although at low tide it is possible to walk along the beach. The Station Inn in Long Rock gives way to a large car park with an excellent café selling fair-trade coffee, paninis, home-made burgers and ice cream. St Michael's Mount is clearly visible.

A short walk along the dunes at the top of the beach, or the beach itself, brings you into Marazion. It is necessary to divert away from the coast and make your way through the town, which is busy at most times of the year and is home to numerous pubs, cafes and guesthouses. St Michael's Mount can be visited by walking along the causeway at low tide.

St Michael's Mount - Best View
St Michael's Mount
Follow the main road until you exit the town. There is a bus stop on your left. Go down a driveway on your right that belongs to a hotel, heading back towards the sea. This section of the path can be confusing and it may be worth asking someone for directions. Once on the beach, wait for some ugly metal steps, after which you should be able to pick up the cliff path again.

After Trenow Cove comes half a mile of National Trust coastal property, with dramatic views of the less familiar eastern side of the Mount. The landscape here is mostly small flat fields punctuated by an ancient network of Cornish hedges, often constructed using boulders from the beaches below. Native tamarisk provides shelter from the prevailing winds and the fertile sandy soils and mild climate are ideal for flower farming. Look out for a ramshackle boathouse on the low crumbly cliff above Trevelyan Cove, before the stark cliffs of Maen-du-Point lead down into Perranuthnoe.

Big Sky - Perranuthnoe Beach
Perranuthnoe Beach
Perranuthnoe is an attractive village with an extensive sandy beach, two cafes and a pub.
Go through the village, heading for the sea. Turn left at the footpath sign, just after the car park, going first through fields and then onto Trebarvah Cliff.

Soon you will reach Cudden Point, a long, narrow finger of rock that reaches straight out into the sea. The path cuts across the point, although the more adventurous among you might decide to scramble along its spine right to the end, taking care not to slip!

Pixies Cove near Prussia Cove
Pixies Cove

Piskies Cove is a picturesque affair, with the sandy bottom giving rise to particularly clear water, changing from deep blue to purple to azure.

On to the historic Prussia Cove, where the path runs for a short while between the walls of two large, old stone buildings. After you pass a row of granite coastguard cottages go through the gate and fork right at the first junction. At Kennegy Sands a steep climb (with ropes) is necessary to access the beach, or continue along the low crumbly cliff and around Hoe Point. Soon the path becomes a green track which leads into Praa Sands.

Praa Sands beach from the far end
Praa Sands beach
Praa Sands is home to another long, sandy beach, a bar/restaurant, campsite and various other options for accommodation. Popular with surfers, the once-pretty village has suffered from over-development. Nevertheless it is a perfectly pleasant stopping-point and the beach is great for swimming.

Continue along the top of the beach and up onto the wild and scrubby Lesceave cliff, which is altogether different. Waste mounds from past mining activity are visible under an overgrowth of hawthorn and gorse. Look out for a large concrete bunker left over from world war two.

Rinsey Head
Rinsey Head
The path bears slightly inland at Rinsey Head, cutting off the point, and heading straight to Porthcew. A pleasant sandy beach fronts the remains of Wheal Prosper Engine House, restored, without too much attention to aesthetics, in 1970. Half a mile further along and you will be able to see what some consider the most spectacular of all the mining remains in Cornwall. Two ruined engine houses from the Wheal Trewarvas mine perch precariously above sheer drops on a wild and rocky stretch of cliff. Do not stray from the path! These mine buildings are on private land with unstable structures and open mine shafts. Continue along the cliff until the path becomes semi-tarmac as it approaches the town of Porthleven.