Gwithian Towans Beach
Often swept by a breeze off the Atlantic, the magnificent expanse of beach at Gwithian Towans is a favourite destination for surfers as the constant swell coming in from the ocean provides good all year-round conditions. The surfers are often joined by colourful windsurfers and kite surfers, but don’t let this put you off, there’s plenty of room for everybody.
Backed by sand dunes tufted with wild grass, at low tide there is a vast amount of sand to enjoy and large areas of rock pools are uncovered around Strap Rocks, which are great for kids to explore.
Atlantic grey seals are a regular sight in the waters off the beach but should not be approached.
Full lifeguard cover from the 1st of May until the 26th of September along most of the beach. At the northern end lifeguard cover continues at weekends and for all of October half-term (2022). Please be aware of strong currents and avoid swimming near the mouth of the river.
Sand chairs, provided by Cornwall Mobility in partnership with Disability Cornwall and Isles of Scilly may be available from Riviere Sands Holiday Park. Telephone: 01736 795352
Please note: Dogs are welcome on this beach except during July and August (10am - 6pm) when a seasonal dog ban is in place (2022) between Ceres Rock and Red River. Please take note of local signage.
The main Gwithian Towans car park is close to the northern end of the beach, just south of Gwithian village. There's a short sloping path through the dunes to the cliff edge from where steps lead down to the beach which may be unsuitable for wheelchair access.
Gwithian provides consistent, quality waves suitable for all surfing abilities. It conveniently gets gradually bigger the further towards Godrevy you go - so you can find a wave to suit your ability. On a good day expect long walling lefts and rights with the possiblility of a few barrels thrown in at low tide. Optimum conditions are medium sized north coast swell and southerly round to easterly winds (south east is directly offshore).
Did you know?
Towans is the Cornish word for sand dunes. Here at Gwithian the towans are some of the biggest in Cornwall and hidden in amongst them is a remnant of Cornwall’s industrial past. Upton Towans, known locally as Dynamite Towans, used to be home to the National Explosives Company.
Started in 1888, the concealed site produced dynamite for the local mines, moving onto military requirements at the outset of World War One. With the buildings being hidden away amongst the towans meant there was less risk of damage should there be an explosion. However, in January 1904 four people working on-site were killed when two tons of nitro-glycerine exploded and it’s rumoured a window in the church in St Ives was blown in!
With the war over and mining in Cornwall in decline, the works closed in 1919. Their remains still litter the towans, but are reportedly safe to walk amongst, but it’s probably best not to pick any thing up you are not sure of!