With soft sand, tall cliffs and a great surf break, Portreath Beach is hugely popular amongst swimmers and surfers alike.
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Portreath Beach Portreath Cornwall TR16 4LA
Surf and swim at Portreath
Portreath Beach is a popular sandy cove loved by watersports enthusiasts and swimmers alike. Over on the north side of the beach is a tidal pool sheltered by the harbour wall, where swimmers who want to stay out of the swell can bask in peace. The beach itself produces a half decent wave, but it's "The Vortex" that really makes a name for itself, with a powerful reef break coming off the harbour wall, famous among bodyboarders.
Walking at Portreath
There's numerous walks located all around Portreath, providing you ample opportunity to explore the history and scenery of the area. The famous South West Coast Path travels through the area, and there's truly spectacular views from the tops of the headlands. Walk along the North Cliffs westwards to Bassets Cove, about five miles there and back and admire the wild flowers, various sea birds and slate and sandstone cliffs.
Portreath lies at one end of the Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast cycle path, a peaceful, historical route that travels all the way to Devoran on the South Coast. At 11 miles long, why not hire a bicycle and enjoy the old mines, creeks, and viaduct that populate the route?
The History of Portreath
The name Portreath, which means sandy cove, was first recorded in the late 15th century. At the time, and for a couple of centuries following, the town was a small settlement, with most people making a living from agriculture, fishing, and tin streaming. However, this was all soon to change.
For many years, Portreath had suffered the effects of a lee shore, where winds blowing towards the coast would make shipping highly dangerous in rough weather. A mole was built on the western side of the beach in 1713, but was later destroyed sometime before 1749. It wasn't until 1760 that the problem was resolved, for a breakwater pier was built to give ships a safe space to land.
Portreath soon became a major port, and began exporting copper to Wales for smelting. As these exports grew, so too imports of coal, which were needed to power the steam engine pumps. In 1812, a tramway was opened between Portreath and Poldice to ease the traffic created by mules. Only a decade later, Portreath was described as Cornwall's most important port.
The copper industry collapsed in the 1860s, and while the imports of coal continued to Portreath, this too died down after the Second World War. Nowadays, the port attracts leisure and fishing boats on a seasonal basis, while the beach is very popular amongst surfers.
A gorgeous harbour town, a rich history, and a soft sandy beach suited to swimmers, surfers, and sunbathers. You really can't ask for much more.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know about getting to Portreath Beach.
Portreath Car Park is a medium-sized pay and display car park that overlooks Portreath Beach. If this is full, there is also roadside parking nearby.
Buses stopping in Portreath include: the 48 between Troon and Truro; the 49 between Troon and Redruth; and the 400 bus, between Redruth and Truro.
Everything else you might need to know about Portreath Beach.View all
- RNLI Lifeguards
RNLI Lifeguards patrol Portreath Beach from the 13th of May to the 24th of September, between 10am and 6pm (2023).
There is a seasonal dog ban in place at Portreath Beach from the 1st of July to the 31st of August, between 10am and 6pm. Dogs are welcomem at all other times.
The large beach has soft fine sand, with shingle below the shore line, that is popular with families.
Please note: Dogs are welcome on this beach except between July 1st and August 31st (10am - 6pm) when a seasonal dog ban is in place (2022).
RRH Portreath is an RAF-operated air defence radar station just under a mile from Portreath. The white dome is the radar itself, which provides long-range coverage of the south western approaches to the United Kingdom.
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