Romantic walks in Cornwall

What could be more romantic than a stroll through Cornwall’s beautiful literary landscapes? Follow in the footsteps of Thomas Hardy on the north coast near Boscastle, the inspiration for his novel ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’, or take in Daphne Du Maurier’s south coast around Fowey, the setting for some of her most broodingly romantic novels. Here are some romantic walks from our friends at the South West Coast Path. All are available to download.

Gribbin Head, Cornwall (4.5 miles) This area of headland just west of Fowey is famed for its association with Daphne du Maurier, who lived for many years at Menabillly at Gribbin Head and used it as a model for Manderley in her novel Rebecca. The South West Coast Path traverses the peninsula and combines breathtaking natural beauty with wildlife and unique heritage.

Boscastle, Valency Valley and Fire Beacon Point, North Cornwall (5.4 miles) This challenging walk takes in coastal views, a waterfall, picturesque Boscastle Harbour, a wooded valley and the remote church of St Juliot, closely associated with Thomas Hardy, who was the architect taken on to rebuild the church. While there he met the sister-in-law of the rector, Emma, who later became his first wife. The romance led to the novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes, and to some of his finest poetry.

Porthcurno and Penberth, Cornwall (3 miles) A romantic cliff walk high above turquoise seas and sandy coves, passing a tiny harbour and a promontory fort from prehistoric times. The area is immortalised by the author Rosamunde Pilcher in The Shell Seekers and more recently has been used as a filming location for Poldark.

Polzeath to Porteath (2.6 miles) A famous wartime poem and a breathtaking sandy cove surrounded by gorse and woodland, with a rocky archway to a collapsed sea cave, this is a truly romantic setting. There are spectacular views out over Padstow Bay and beyond, as well as a puffin island and volcanic pillow lavas. Look out for the plaque, just around Pentire Point, commemorating the occasion when poet Laurence Binyon sat on these cliffs and was moved to compose “For the Fallen”, which was published by the Times newspaper in September 1914. The plaque quotes the fourth stanza of the poem:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”

Sennen Cove & Land’s End (3 miles) This is a bracing walk across the farmland above Sennen Cove, returning around the rugged and romantic coastline from Land’s End with its sandy beach and hidden caves. The lost land of Atlantis was once thought to lie offshore and the mythical world of Lyonesse is believed to have drowned just a few miles off the tip of the land. The legend and its Arthurian connections are immortalised in the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, describing it as the site where King Arthur fought his last battle, while long before him Thomas Mallory asserted that it was the birthplace of Tristan.

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