Godrevy Beach is a sandy cove that joins with Gwithian Beach at low tide to create one immense, golden crescent. Boasting prime positioning within St Ives Bay, the beach has spectacular views right out to St Ives one way and to Godrevy Lighthouse the other.
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Address: Godrevy Beach, Gwithian, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 5ED
There's plenty to do for everyone at Godrevy. On hot days, laze about on the beach while the sun bathes you from overhead and the kids play in the sand, or take a relaxing dip in the ocean,. When the tide's out, go out and explore the rock pools in search of marine stragglers waiting for the next wave out. At the same time keep an eye out for the seals who love to keep an eye on you from a safe distance.!
Take a stroll along the cliffs beyond Godrevy, part of the Godrevy to Portreath Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On the headland you can gaze out at Godrevy Island, the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s novel 'To The Lighthouse'. Follow the South West Coast Path east, looking down into Mutton Cove where the seals mass, and eventually you'll find yourself at Hell's Mouth, where dramatic cliffs drop down 300 feet into the sea.
Staring right out into the ocean, Godrevy Beach is one of the more exposed beaches of the North Coast and takes the brunt of the Atlantic swell. Take advantage of the tall surf with your board, or simply admire the sheer power of the sea spray.
A light on the rocks
In the early 19th century, the presence of cargo and passenger ships massively increased along the North Cornwall coast. A large factor in this was commercial growth of St Ives, which was already a successful fishing port.
There was, however, a sinister side effect to the growth of the North Coast shipping routes. Stones Reef, situated underneath the surface near Godrevy Island, became a deadly hazard, claiming numerous ships for the sea over the decades. The cargo of these ships would be left to be stripped bare by looters lying in wait on Godrevy Headland. For many years there were calls for a lighthouse to be built, but it wasn’t until the sinking of the SS Nile in 1850 which saw forty lives lost, that these calls gained traction.
Planning for a lighthouse began shortly after, and in 1859 Godrevy Lighthouse was completed on the Island, about 300 yards off the mainland. Originally manned, the lighthouse became fully automated in 1995 and was converted to solar power. In 2012, a new light structure was built on the rocks adjacent and the lighthouse was retired, its watch ended.
Did you know? Godrevy Lighthouse was the main influence for Virginia Woolf’s book "To The Lighthouse," after she spent many summers as a child in St Ives looking out over the structure. Though set in Scotland, there are a number of other references to the landscape of St Ives Bay in the novel.
From the beach to the headland, the entire Godrevy area is a unique place for wildlife, with important habitats ranging from the heathland to the sand dunes to the cliffs. The diversity in the area creates a landscape rich in flora and fauna, where even a quick stroll along the coast might have you spotting a skylark or a grey seal.
Its exposure to the Atlantic Ocean means that Godrevy Beach is one of the best surfing locations in Cornwall. On calmer days, the waves provide a gentler experience for any beginner surfers, but on days with a bit more of a swell the waves can stretch up well past twelve feet, creating an exciting surf for experts.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know about getting to Godrevy Beach.
There are two main car parks at Godrevy Beach, both owned by the National Trust and free to all members (pay and display otherwise). One is conveniently located just inland of the beach, though can be very busy in the peak months. There are many more spaces located further up the headland in the second car park.
The closest bus line to Godrevy Beach is the S2 bus, which starts in St Ives and terminates in Godrevy. The T2 between Truro and St Ives stops in Hayle at Bar Lane, which is a little over a mile’s walk from Godrevy Beach.
The nearest train station to Godrevy Beach is Hayle railway station, around 4 miles away. The station is on the Cornish main line, which connects Penzance to Plymouth.
Everything else you might need to know about Godrevy Beach.View all
Throughout most of the year, dogs are welcome on Godrevy Beach. However, during July and August from 10am to 6pm there is a total dog ban in place.
There are two car parks at Godrevy Beach: a smaller, busier car park just inland, and a larger car park north of the beach near the headland. Both are free for National Trust members, or pay and display otherwise.
Godrevy Lighthouse became automated in 1995, and was later retired in 2012 after a new light structure was built on the rocks adjacent to the tower.
At Godrevy you can spot the largest seal colony in Cornwall. You need to walk out to the east side of the headland and look down into Mutton Cove.
The cove is home to a large colony of North Atlantic Grey Seals. The best time to see them is in the winter but even in the summer you will probably see a few seals hauled up on the beach.
Please take notice of the signage around the top of the cove, keep quiet, keep dogs on leads and make no attempt to climb down the cliff.
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