Cornish Coastal Path North: Padstow to St Ives

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Cornish Coastal Path North: Padstow to St Ives information and booking

  • Duration
    8 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
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Schedule Details

  • 7 nights hotel/guesthouse/inn


  • Classic Cornish Coastal walking
  • Padstow’s old harbour and Rick Stein’s restaurant
  • Newquay, Britain’s surf capital and St.Ives the famous artist’s town

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

A beautiful part of the South West Coastal Path, this northern section undulates along the coast between the popular resorts of Padstow and St. Ives, visiting the surfer’s paradise of Newquay. These are of course popular epicenters for tourism in the summer months, but dotted along the coast are also tiny thatched roofed villages, old tin and silver mining towns and harbours, which used to throb with the business of shipping minerals and landing literally millions of fish. It is a landscape of beaches and tiny coves, which foster childhood recollections of summer. There are impressive cliffs and treacherous off shore reefs that have claimed many victims over the years. Now the economic landscape has totally changed, the area is more romantic and reflective, inspiring generations of artists and writers to describe in their various mediums the area the best that they can.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from inn to inn, not exceeding 20kg
  • Full route notes and map package
  • Emergency hotline


Day 1 Arrival in Padstow
The town is named after St. Petroc who came here circa A.D 500. The church of St Petroc is one of a group of three said to have been founded by the Saint. It is quite large and mostly of 13th and 14th century date. The old harbour usually has a nice ensemble of boats including the old pilot vessels. Nice pub fayre and a Rick Stein restaurant. Accommodation: Our first night is spent in Padstow. The inn dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest inn in the town. The inn has an open fire and parquet flooring. All rooms are ensuite. Alternatively we stay in a 4* guesthouse just outside of Padstow but is easily reached by local bus.
Day 2 Padstow to Porthcothan (13miles/21km)
Leaving Padstow’s busy little tourist harbour, we follow the shores of the picturesque Camel Estuary to Stepper Point, with views perhaps to Bodmin Moor inland and to the ‘Doom Bar’: an off shore sand bar which has wrecked hundreds of ships over the centuries, largely because the surrounding cliffs take the wind out of the boat’s sails as they try to enter the harbour. In fact it became so notorious that many vessels would risk being wrecked on the coast rather than negotiate the entrance to Padstow in poor weather. More coves pass by until you see the limestone and slate Porthmissen Bridge natural arch with colonies of Razorbills and Guillemots. From here we continue on to Trevone Bay, a beautiful sandy beach, popular with surfers when the conditions are right and onwards to Harlyn, another surfer’s paradise but once famed for fishing pilchards until fish stocks diminished. Once the coastal path reaches Trevose Head where on clear days you can see both St.Ives and Newquay. There is a lighthouse, which maybe open in the afternoon. The path then turns south and crosses more sandy beaches around Constantine, passing Trethias Island nature reserve, threading its way through coves to descend to Porthcothan Bay. Accommodation: In Porthcothan our bed & breakfast accommodation in this beautiful part of Cornwall is only a short walk from the stunning Porthcothan Bay and South West Coast Path. All rooms are ensuite and have wonderful sea views
Day 3 Porthcothan to Newquay (11miles/17.5km)
From the bay the path climbs up to Park Head, which provides wonderful views of Bedruthan Steps, a set of rock stacks that have been a popular tourist feature since the railway reached Newquay in 1875. Passing the village of Mawgan Porth the route follows the cliff top above Watergate Bay. Approaching Newquay, the path arrives at Trevelgue Head and the largest Iron Age fort remains in the county. Continuing over Barrowfields, with its three Bronze Age barrows, the path descends to Newquay. This is quite a shock after the day’s peaceful walk. Nevertheless the town overlooks fine golden sands, which cushion the Atlantic rollers which make this Britain’s surfing capital. Before people got washed away on planks of wood, Newquay was another famous fishing port, seining out the millions of pilchards that turned up every July until they were nearly all fished out, no controls in those days. It was also a silver and lead mining centre. Accommodation: In Newquay our 3* hotel is directly on the seafront with miles of stunning coastline and views across the harbour.
Day 4 Newquay to Perranporth (11.5miles/18.5km)
Leaving the harbour, the path climbs up Towan Head past the whitewashed Huer's Hut, where lookouts would shout the arrival of the pilchard shoals to waiting fishermen, and then follow the cliffs around Pentire Point to take the ferry across the Gannel River. The path winds around headlands and coves to Kelsey Head, the site of an Iron Age promontory fort, and then descends to the village of Holywell, named after an ancient well and equally aged inn called ‘Treguth’. Following golden sands along Perran Beach, we pass the tiny ruin of St Piran's Oratory, said to be oldest church in Cornwall (8th century) but reburied to protect it from erosion. Depending upon tide levels, you reach the village of Perranporth either by the beach or the cliff. Accommodation: The 4* country house offers all rooms ensuite. The country house is situated in its own grounds overlooking Perranporth and is only minutes from the coastal footpaths.
Day 5 Perranporth to Portreath (12.5miles/20km)
A fairly easy stretch today on well used paths occasionally dipping into valleys. The coast path follows the cliffs around Cligga Head past mineshafts, now home to horseshoe bats, and the remains of tin mines, with dramatic views of the mine buildings and chimneys dotting the landscape further on around St Agnes. Enroute you drop into Trevellas Porth and then Trevaunance Cove which has a waterside pub. It is then pleasant ascending to St Agnes Head past bird nesting cliffs, to the little village with the same name and terraces of miners' cottages including an interesting little museum in an old chapel. The path descends past the ruins of Wheal Coates Mine to the sandy inlet of Chapel Porth. Then back up to the cliff tops, the path goes past the Wheal Charlotte Mine, drops down to the beach at Porthtowan and then follows the cliff top path to the harbour at Portreath, from where minerals were exported from the mines at Redruth. Accommodation: In Portreath you stay at a small and friendly bed & breakfast, 2 minutes walk from a sandy beach and situated on the coast path.
Day 6 Portreath to Hayle (12.5miles/20km)
Leaving Portreath, there is a strenuous climb up Tregea Hill and 6 miles of National Trust land, and continues high above the sea along Carvannel and Reskajeage Downs. You then reach a rather sensational breach in the cliffs called Hell's Mouth. Then at Navax Point, you might be lucky enough to see grey seals. Walking on to Godrevy Point you will see the lighthouse perched on Godrevy Island, probably the inspiration for Virginia Wolf's ‘To the Lighthouse’. The lighthouse marks the landward end of a treacherous line of reefs, called The Stones, which have claimed many wrecks and many of their victims are buried in the churchyard at Gwithian, a sleepy thatched cottage village with an interesting old pub, The Pendarves Arms. The path then meanders exhaustingly through the Towans sand dunes to the busy port of Hayle. Accommodation: In Hayle you will find the elegant building of the White Hart Hotel, constructed in 1838. It is the oldest hotel in the town but all rooms are tastefully furnished and ensuite.
Day 7 Hayle to St Ives (5.5miles/9km)
A short day today, which should give you enough time for looking round beautiful St. Ives, its museums and galleries. Skirting the Hayle Estuary, which is noted for its seabirds and waders, the path passes along the dunes above Porth Kidney and then passes beautiful Carbis Bay to reach the town. St Ives dates back to AD460, when the missionary St. Ia, daughter of an Irish chieftain, landed here and gave her name to the settlement in a similar way to how St. Beda gave her name to St. Bees in Cumbria. Protected from Atlantic storms, St Ives was once the most important fishing port in Cornwall, but like elsewhere on the surrounding coast, by the beginning of the 20th century, the fish stocks became depleted and the fishing fleet largely disappeared. However as early as 1811 Turner visited to paint the seascapes and by the late 1880s there were several artists installed and the town became famous for its vibrant artists' colony. This perhaps reached its heyday during the late 1940s and the 1950s. Today their work can be seen in the St Ives Tate Gallery, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Bernard Leach Gallery. Accommodation: St Ives - We use a mixture of accommodation here but our 1st choice is a 4* guesthouse set in the quieter part of St Ives. IMPORTANT NOTE: It is very difficult to secure 1 night bookings in St Ives on a Friday or Saturday night please bear this in mind when organizing your start dates or consider an extra night here.
Day 8 Trip Concludes
Depart St. Ives after breakfast