Birdwatching - Porthgwarra

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Porthgwarra is famous for its unusual seabirds, migrants which often turn up in spring or autumn after a southerly storm to take refuge in the sheltered hollows of this long and unspoilt valley.

Porthgwarra Cove
View back to Porthgwarra Cove

Culminating in Gwennap Head, a large, rocky promontory uniquely situated at the meeting point between the English Channel and the Celtic Sea, some of Porthgwarra's more exciting past rarities include Soft-Plumaged Petrel and Black-Browed Albatross, while a pair of Hoopoes took up residence for several days in 2002 in a tiny patch of woodland known as the '60 foot cover'.

The valley offers a variety of habitats. The top, north-westerly side, is composed of open access heather moorland, a typical rugged Cornish cliff top which plays host to breeding Skylarks in summer, as well as resident Stonechat, Linnet and birds of prey, passing Wheatear and the occasional Autumn Snow Bunting. Tucked away among the heather at the landward edge of the moor is a tiny pool, dry in summer, and popular with Shrikes in autumn. The grassy car park at the mouth of the valley regularly produces rarities such as Yellow-Browed or Dusky Warbler and Red-Eyed Vireo, while Gwennap Head is a top site for Cory's Shearwater.

Just under three miles from Land's End, the valley is accessible via a long narrow lane that leaves the Land's End to Porthcurno road at Polgigga (signposted). There is a tiny shop in the cove, open April to October, and a car park.