Porth Kidney Beach
Porth Kidney Sands is a north-facing beach to the west of the mouth of the Hayle Estuary. Despite being just two miles from the picturesque harbour town of St Ives, it is often very quiet. This is possibly because the sands cover a vast expanse, and at low tide the beach can stretch almost a mile out into St Ives Bay.
The beach is backed by picturesque sand dunes and the West Cornwall Golf Club, said to be the oldest golf club in Cornwall. There’s no parking close to the beach and no facilities. Access is on foot via the South West Coast Path from St Uny Church or Lelant Railway Station and does involve steps.
The neighbouring beach of Carbis Bay, which sits the other side of the Carrack Gladden headland, is a short walk further along the South West Coast Path.
The South West Coast Path behind the beach is also part of the St Michael's Way, a 12½-mile recreational walking route, leading from Lelant to St Michael’s Mount. It has been claimed it’s been in use since prehistoric times as an alternative route to sailing around Land’s End and takes its name from the pilgrimage route from Ireland and Wales to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia.
Lifeguard cover from the 9th of July until the 4th of September (2022). Swimming should not be undertaken in and around the mouth of the Hayle Estuary.
The beach is dog friendly all year. However, dogs are required to be kept on a lead on the footpath leading from St Uny Church to Porth Kidney Sands. (St Ives Town Council)
North facing over flatish sand, not classed as a surfing beach.
Did you know?
The well-known novelist Rosamunde Pilcher was born in nearby Lelant in 1924. She went to school in Penzance, where she started writing stories, publishing her first when she was 15. When she married, just after World War II, she moved to Scotland, but never forgot the land of her birth. She continued to write, but her big break didn’t come until 1987 with the publication of the family saga ‘The Shell Seekers’.
More books followed through the 1990s, by which time ‘The Shell Seekers’ had been adapted for stage and screen. In 1993 a German TV company filmed an adaptation of her novel ‘The Day of the Storm’, starting a craze in German speaking countries for her stories. At the last count there have been over 150 adaptations, the majority filmed in Cornwall using German actors.