Cornwall Walking Holiday
What to expect
Experience an incredible self-guided walk around mainland Britain’s most south westerly cliff tops and beaches. From wild cliffs and heath-land on the north coast to majestic cliffs in the west and deep tree-lined valleys on the south coast.
The trail takes you past such well known land marks as Cape Cornwall, Sennen Cove, Land’s End, the Minack Theatre and Mousehole. It is one of Britain’s most isolated and unique regions.
Transfer from from your West Cornwall arrival point to your St Ives accommodation
Start: St Ives
Distance: 7 Miles/11 Kilometres; Height Gain: 1890 feet/576 metres; Time Walking: 4 hours 30 minutes excluding breaks; Difficulty: Difficult - the distance is short but there are several steep hills and rocky/muddy sections.
This first stage of the walk is a dramatic introduction to the Cornish landscape. Beyond the narrow, sheltered streets of St Ives the path soon leads out into one of the wildest sections of the entire Southwest Coast Path. Rugged granite moors rise inland, while the narrow strip of land between the windswept cliffs and the hills is studded with tiny farming hamlets and stitched with stone walls dating back to prehistoric times.
The views are spectacular from the craggy headlands, with buttresses of weathered stone dropping dramatically to an often restless sea. In sheltered spots flowers find sustenance in the thin soil, while myriad seabirds make their homes on the cliffs, facing the full brunt of the Atlantic Ocean.This is an isolated area, and it is important to remember that long sections of the coastline are inaccessible and offer no refreshments or relief once you are underway.
Distance: 7.5 Miles/12 Kilometres; Height Gain: 1296 feet/395 metres; Time Walking: 4 hours 15 minutes excluding breaks; Difficulty: Moderate to difficult - the path is hilly, narrow and for the first 6 miles it is littered with rocks, making for slow progress.
Along rocky paths and moorland fringes, the route passes through hard countryside littered with blocks of granite, towards the Pendeen and St Just mining districts. The harsh landscape maintains a beauty in its wildness, one that inspires countless stories of piskies and giants (how else can you explain the lumps of granite thrown across the land?).
Sections of the path take you away from the sea edge and there are grand views of the granite hills (carns) that back the coast. Particularly impressive are the Carn Galvers and Watch Croft. Finally, passing by beautiful Portherras beach, the coast path winds past Pendeen Watch lighthouse.
Finish: Sennen Cove
Distance: 9 Miles/15 Kilometres; Height Gain: 1903 feet/580 metres; Time Walking: 4 hours 30 minutes excluding breaks; Difficulty: A moderate start with few hills but some rubble on the path. Several moderately steep hills are encountered later on and there is some scrambling over/around rocks towards the end.
Along this exceptional stretch of coast, the natural beauty competes with human history for your attention. Proud headlands are crowned with Iron Age hill forts, towering cliffs are home to Bronze Age burial chambers and at every turn are reminders are of Cornwall’s mining heritage.The end of the north coast is rugged and impressive, with high cliffs cut by zawns and moorland hills rolling away in land. This is the St Just mining district, perhaps the birth place of the Cornish tin mining industry and a world leader in tin production in its heyday. Engine houses perch in the most precarious of positions and the remains of stamping mills and arsenic works are found in sheltered valleys.
Moving on to the West coast, the scenery remains grand and impressive. From the treacherous Brisons reef to the golden sands of Sennen beach, it is the seascape that dominates. With lovely sheltered valleys and a path that constantly rises and falls, one minute you are at sea level and the next way up above, looking down on the gulls as they circle below.
Start: Sennen Cove
Distance: 6.5 Miles/11 Kilometres; Height Gain: 1854 feet/565 metres; Time Walking: 3 hours 30 minutes excluding breaks; Difficulty: Moderate - just one or two hills of note.
A short walk packed full of incredible scenery. Some of the most photographed and most acclaimed Cornish landscapes are to be found here. From the vaulted cliffs and sea arches of Lands End to the outstanding pink hued cliffs of Porthcurno Bay. Add to this crystal clear waters and a profusion of wild flowers and the region’s popularity is easily understood.
The coast path can be busy at either end of this walk, but remains relatively quiet in between. With Lands End and the Minack Theatre, it is a region that draws many visitors but it doesn’t take long to get away from the commotion. With just over six miles to cover, it is an easy walk with plenty of time to stop off and enjoy the incredible views.
Distance: 8 Miles/12.5 Kilometres; Height Gain: 1693 feet/516 metres; Time Walking: 5 hours excluding breaks; Difficulty: A difficult start with several steep hills to climb. It remains relatively difficult until Lamorna, where boulders litter the path but from then on it is quite straight forward.
Leaving behind the beaches and windswept cliffs of the West coast, there is a significant change upon reaching the more sheltered South coast. Numerous deep valleys here are filled with palms, fuscia and gunnerera and even the highest cliff tops proudly display a good selection of wild flowers.
The rocky sea line between Lamorna and Mousehole is lovely and the last section of open countryside until after Marazion. Mousehole is a working fishing village every bit as picturesque as the post cards suggest. Narrow streets run down to the tiny harbour where visitors enjoy the sea breeze.
Arrival and departure transfers between Penzance train station and accommodation
Price includes bed and breakfast, luggage transfers, initial and final transfers from/to Penzance train station, maps and info packs and help and support.