This stretch starts at Cape Cornwall. If you have made a detour into St Just, follow the road past the school and continue for a mile or so until you reach the coast. If you have clambered across the rocks at Porthledden you will emerge directly at the northern side of the Cape.
Cape Cornwall is a gorgeous, wild, windswept place, well-known for passing migratory birds like shearwaters, gannets and kittiwakes, especially during the late autumn gales. The path skirts behind the headland but if you have time it is worth the short walk around this tiny peninsula, which was bought for the nation by H.J.Heinz Ltd and given to the National Trust in 1987. The jagged granite islands you can see a mile out to sea are notorious for wrecks and are said to have been used in the distant past as a particularly desolate prison. Every year locals race back from these granite outposts, called the Brisons, to Priest's Cove (on the more sheltered southern side of the Cape) in a long-established Atlantic swimming race.
There is a refreshment van and National Trust information point in the Car Park at Cape Cornwall from Easter until October.
Watch out for open mine shafts on the way down to Cot Valley (don't stray from the path), which is an attractive sheltered cove at the bottom of a lush valley. There is a youth hostel here, a little way upstream. Climb out of the valley on any one of a number of paths that lead to a lovely stretch of unspoilt cliff top mostly managed by the National Trust and riddled with pre-industrial mine workings (not all visible) that date back to at least the 17th century.
The path climbs just a little way to run along the base of the cliff to Sennen. (At low tide it is often possible to clamber over the rocks). The north end is backed by dunes and often deserted but as you approach the southern end, either along the sand, or following a footpath through the dunes, you are likely to encounter more and more people, and in the height of summer there will probably be hordes, clustering around the cafés, car parks, pub and surf shop of this remote cove, sheltered from the worst of the wind by the bulk of Land's End. There are two surf schools operating on this long, sandy beach, which is almost always smaller and safer than its neighbour, and it is usually possible to swim, with lifeguards operating in summer.
Land's End leaps in a surreal fashion out of the surrounding landscape like a Butlins in the Antarctic. It is possible to avoid the worst of the excess by remaining firmly on the seaward side and looking determinedly at the edge of the cliff (which is beautiful, especially the famous and much-photographed arch). Climb over a fence via a stile and once again you will find yourself on a deserted cliff top. If you do need the toilet, or food, or want to buy a tacky souvenir, you may wander the complex on foot without paying an entrance, although if you want to visit any of the 'attractions' an extortionate fee will be charged.
A few miles south of Land's End lies Najizal, a stunning beach protected from the crowds by extreme inaccessibility and inconsistent sand. Rock pools, arches and caves abound, creating an ideal habitat for seals. It is sometimes possible to swim here but beware of dangerous currents. Head inland from the beach after crossing a wooden bridge until you see a very long flight of wooden steps leading off to your right. These will bring you back to the top of the cliff.
This section of path is highly memorable. There is a profound sense of space. Big skies, heather, huge boulders and high cliffs with barely any sign of human habitation, give way to a restless deep blue sea that churns endlessly into countless inaccessible coves.
There is a small, seasonal café in Porthgwarra, and the cove is safe for swimming although often full of seaweed. The path crosses the top of a steep granite slipway and passes a few houses before ascending the cliff again. When you reach a large grassy field take the path closest to the sea, which gives way to another steep descent, past a holy well and down to the beach at Porthchapel. This is an unguarded, sandy beach with notorious currents and powerful waves. It is occasionally possible to swim but care should be taken.
When there is a choice of paths take the one closest to the sea, which leads to the Logan Rock, unless you wish to spend the night in what must be one of the best-located campsites in Cornwall, in which case follow the stony track away from the sea to the village of Treen and ask in the café or the pub.
Either detour to visit the famous Logan Rock (rocking stone), which is situated on another Iron Age cliff castle with well-preserved ramparts, or continue straight over the cliffs to the picturesque cove of Penberth, where the old granite slipway, fishing boats and fishermen's cottages have remained unchanged for centuries. There are toilets here but no shops or cafes.
Another, more gradual descent will bring you to a distinctive boulder-strewn beach at the mouth of a wooded valley known as St Loy. Home-made cream teas are available in season.