Priest Cove at Cape Cornwall is one of those places that you can only find in Cornwall, a rocky beach with the remains of the Victorian mining industry all around and fishermen’s sheds overgrown by wild flowers. In the winter, the Atlantic storms batter the beach and surrounding cliffs, whilst off shore the Brisons rocks stand firm, despite everything thrown at them by the elements.
The beach itself is mainly a rugged collection of rocks and shingle with a slipway giving easy access to the water. A small man-made pool has been built amongst the rocks for children to swim and paddle in. At high tide much of the beach is underwater.
A National Trust run car park sits just above the cove, the area being presented to the National Trust by Heinz (of Baked Bean fame) in 1987. Public toilets and a take away cafe are open seasonally in the car park.
Towering above the beach is Cape Cornwall itself with its iconic mine chimney stack dating back to 1894. The area was heavily mined in the 1800s for copper and tin and at the back of the beach fenced off tunnels can still be seen leading deep underground.
Offshore, the Brisons Rocks, known affectionately as 'General de Gaulle in his bath' are home to many types of seabirds and between them and the mainland is a dangerous reef that has claimed many a passing ship over the years.
The National Coast Watch have a lookout on the seaward side of the cape and welcome visitors as well as keeping an eye out for vessels going up and down the coast.
From Cape Cornwall the South West Coast Path can be followed towards Sennen Cove and Lands’ End or turn right and walk up the coast through some of Cornwall’s most stunning mining landscape, recently used in the BBCs Poldark series.