Port Quin to Polzeath
Cornwall Coast Path

Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

Near Pentire Point - Port Quin to Polzeath Walk

Near Pentire Point - Port Quin to Polzeath Walk

PORT QUIN TO POLZEATH (5.6 miles - 9 km)

1. From the beach at Port Quin follow the road past the slipway, and uphill around the hairpin bend. Just after the house on your left there is a stile on the right where you can join the coast path.

2. Follow the coast path as it skirts the cliff above Port Quin Beach. After a short distance, the path bears to the left.

On your right is Doyden Point. You may wish to make a small detour onto the point to look at Doyden Castle (but not too close as the building is let as holiday accommodation). This tiny castle is a folly built in the late 1820s by Samuel Symons, a wealthy Wadebridge businessman who is reported to have used the building for drunken, gambling parties. The property is now owned by the National Trust. Doyden Point has steep cliffs and is peppered with old mine shafts.

Looking out from Doyden Point you will see two rocks. These are known as the Cow and Calf. They are the visible part of a reef which rises around ft (10 metres) from the sea floor.

In the 1970s adaptation of Poldark, Doyden Castle was featured as the home of Dr Enys.

3. Return to the coast path. After a short distance you are walking above the sandy beach of Gilson’s Cove. A spring rises just above the beach.

There were two mines at Port Quin. The mine shafts on either side of the coast path here belong to Gilson’s Cove Mine which produced lead, silver and antimony and a small amount of copper ore. One of the shafts extends to sea level and another even further. Between these shafts is the remains of the platform for the horse whim, a device which was wound to bring up ore from the mine.

Further inland is Port Quin Mine from where antimony was extracted. This toxic substance was used in alloys.

4. Continue along the coast path the small inlet of Pigeon Cove. The coast path bears to the left and you find yourself on Trevan Point.

Trevan Point is an excellent viewpoint for enjoying the whole of Port Quin Bay with fine views from The Rumps in the west, the island known as The Mouls and to Kellan Head in the east.

5. The path descends from Trevan Point and the sandy beach of Epphaven Cove comes into view. Just inland is the hamlet of Epphaven.

Epphaven Cove has no beach at high tide. It is quite rocky until low water when an expanse of sandy beach appears which connects it to Lundy Beach forming a long strip of sand around Lundy Bay. A fragment of a fossil, a small Ophiurid or brittle-star, which was found at Epphaven Cove. It was classified as a new genus and species and named Sympterura Minveri. The slates here contain other fossils including Styliola.

6. Follow the coast path above Epphaven Cove and onto Pennywilgie Point.

Below you are the remains of mining activity. Pennywilgie Point contains many interconnecting caves and the remains of mine adits but the tide rises quickly and will cut you off so do not venture into them.

7. The coast path is now above Lundy Beach. You may wish to make a brief detour onto the beach.

This lovely, secluded beach can be accessed down a flight of wooden steps or via a path carved in the rocks. At high water it is rocky but on a mid to low tide the sand is uncovered. A stream tumbles onto Lundy Beach creating a pretty waterfall. The beach is dog friendly all year round. You can access Epphaven Cove from here at low tide.

The National Trust manages this area for the benefit of the flora and fauna. During the winter months meadows are cut back to promote next year’s growth. The success of this can be seen in the numerous wildflowers which grow here which in turn attract butterflies such as the small copper and wall brown and other insects and provide sustenance for birdlife. Stonechats and whitethroats are found here. The National Trust have implemented a programme of wild thyme planting to support the growth in number of the Large Blue butterfly.

8. After rejoining the coast path, walk a little further to enjoy a view of Lundy Hole.
Take care not to climb on the wall.

Owned by the National Trust, Lundy Hole is a collapsed sea cave created by the force of the waves pounding into the confined area of a cave until the point that the pressure collapsed its roof. In local folklore it is believed it was made by the Devil as he fled from a local saint, St Minver (St Menfre or Mynfreda).She was one of the many children of the Welsh King Brychan. She is believed to have arrived here from Wales in the fifth or sixth century.

Lundy Hole is also called 'Pigeon Hole’.

9. Continue along the path, looking out for a cut in the face of the cliff which is known as Markham’s Quay.

Markham’s Quay is believed to have been used as a landing place by smugglers. Sand from the beach was also hauled up here by horse operated pulleys. Sand was used to improve soil quality for growing crops.

10. When the path forks, keep right to follow the coast path along the clifftop.

Below you is Great Lobb’s Rock which marks this end of Lundy Beach. Nearby is its diminutive partner, Little Lobb’s Rock.

11. A fairly straightforward section of path leads you to Carnweather Point.

Carnweather Point is a great place to stop and enjoy the view to The Rumps and to The Mouls offshore. It is a popular fishing mark with a large variety of fish during the year including bass, coalfish, cod, dab, dogfish, garfish, several varieties of gurnard, mackerel, plaice, pollack, rockling, scad, small eyed ray, turbot, whiting and wrasse.

12. Return to the coast path. After a short distance the path gets very close to the cliff edge and you are soon above Downhedge Cove.

Downhedge Cove is a narrow inlet with a rocky beach with towering cliffs on both sides. It is not accessible from the coast path.

Just inland from the coast path are the remains of an old quarry.

13. Continue along the coast path. After a short distance you’ll be above Pengirt Cove.

Pengirt is a rocky cove and is not accessible from the land. Kestrels can often be seen hovering above the cliffs here.

14. At the fork in the path bear right to keep to the coast path.

A little way inland are the tips associated with the lead mines which used to work here and the hamlet of Pentireglaze.

15. The path soon leads onto Com Head.

Com Head provides an excellent viewpoint. It is popular with rock climbers - there are 8 climbs here.

16. Continue on the coast path and within a few hundred yards you are above Com Beach.

Com Beach is sandy. Its slates have been found to contain fossils of corals and fragments of crinoids. There is a cave on the beach with a large mass of blue slate at its entrance. This rock has also yielded fossilized remains. Just inland is Pentire Farm, National Trust properties and the car park which is built on part of the former lead mines.

17. Follow the coast path as you head towards the Rumps.

Sandinway Beach is soon below you. The beach is only available at low tide. At other states of the tide is is entirely rocky. The beach can be accessed by a small path which winds down the cliff from the main coast path near the bench above the beach.

18. The coast path now cuts across the entrance to the headland known as The Rumps as it heads towards Pentire Point but it is well worth a small diversion from the main path to explore the Rumps.

If you take the diversion, follow the path onto the Rumps and bear right.

Note the change in geology. The rocks change from layers of soft slate to an almost black, volcanic rock on the double headland of The Rumps.

Archaeologically important too, The Rumps show evidence of having been used in the Iron Age as a cliff castle. The three ramparts, which can still be seen spanning the neck of the promontory, would have made it a highly defendable, secure site.

Excavations have been carried out and it is suggested that the outermost rampart could have been topped with a wooden palisade. Wooden bridges would have spanned the ditches and a gatehouse would have been constructed, initially from wood but later in stone. The remains of round houses have also been identified and evidence that the inhabitants traded with Mediterranean civilizations.

As you round the first promontory of the Rumps you will see a large rock offshore.

This is Sevensouls Rock. It is named after a shipwreck here where seven lives were lost. Shortly after the rock, in the indent which creates the twin headland, is Sevensouls Cove. This small, rocky cove contains the remains of a wreck at its entrance. The area is popular with divers. This whole area is in the Polzeath Marine Conservation Area. Crabs and lobsters abound.

The Rumps reef is the site of the wreck of the Maria Assumpta, a wooden ‘Tall Ship’ sailing vessel which was wrecked here in May 1995 while trying to enter Padstow harbour. Three of the crew were drowned. The tragedy was witnessed by the many sightseers, who had come to watch the Maria Asumpta arrive at Padstow.

Between The Rumps and Pentire Point is the location famous for being the place where, in 1914, the poet, Laurence Binyon, composed ‘For the Fallen’. The poem was first published by the Times newspaper in September of that year, at the beginning of the First World War. It is widely quoted today at Remembrance Services. A stone plaque quoting the fourth stanza of the poem was erected on the site in 2001 to commemorate the event:

“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.”

Off the eastern headland of The Rumps is a small island known as the Mouls or Puffin Island. Puffins have bred here.

The western headland is named Rumps Point. Rumps Point is popular with rock climbers and has 34 routes.

After walking around Rumps Point you will soon reach an area of cliff named Guglane which exhibits interesting geological features. There are caves in the cliff face below in the area near the ramparts of the the Rumps.

19. You soon rejoin the coast path as you approach Pentire Point.

Pentire Point and the peninsula is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of the Heritage Coast. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Pentire Point has a fascinating geology. The rocks in this area were probably formed on the sea bed in the Mid Devonian period, between 397-385 million years ago. In the following period, the Upper Devonian, volcanic eruptions occurred below the sea bed and when the lava cooled it formed the thick pillow lavas that can be seen here at Pentire Point. The point offers excellent views and has thankfully been protected by the National Trust who acquired it during the 1930s. In 1936 a property speculator put numerous plots of land here up for sale but there was opposition to the scheme and the National Trust raised enough funds to purchase the whole property.

The point is very popular with rock climbers. There are over 100 climbs at Pentire Point.

Looking offshore to the north-west you will see Newland Island. This provides a home to seabirds such as cormorants, shags, kittiwakes and on occasion you may see gannets and puffins. During the summer you may be lucky enough to spot basking sharks and dolphins from Pentire Point.

20. Continue along the coast path.

Looking out over Padstow Bay you are viewing a Marine Conservation Zone which was set up in 2013. This marine habitat includes rock foreshore, a kelp forest and more, providing a home for a variety of marine wildlife including the European Spider Crab, Pink Sea Fan and Spiny Lobster. The rare Celtic sea slug has been recorded at nearby Trebetherick. The Marine Conservation Zone includes the coastline around Trebetherick and Trevone on the other side of the Camel estuary.

21. The path begins to descend towards Hayle Bay where you will find the lovely sandy beaches of Polzeath.

You proceed through more fascinating geology, soon reaching the Gravel Caverns.

The Gravel Caverns will be of great interest to sedimentologists. The conglomerates show evidence of multiphase deformation and small fossils have been found here including two Cardiola retrostriata and a Goniatite. On the shingle beach in front of the Gravel Caverns, boulders and beds of the conglomerate are visible.

Find out more in the journals of the Ussher Society and the Geological Society.

22. Shortly after, the path passes the Tar Cavern.

An Orthoceras fossil was found in this cavern. You can see more evidence of the conglomerate as it runs towards the sea from Tar Cavern.

23. The coast path now passes behind Pentire Haven.

This small, sandy inlet joins to the main Polzeath Beach at low water. It has no safety equipment and dogs are not allowed during the summer. The conglomerate of sand and pebbles can be seen running westwards from Pentire Haven.

24. Pass Billy’s Cavern and Breakneck Cavern with its purple coloured slate. The granite seat here commemorates two surfers.

25. The coast path now skirts Pentireglaze Haven

This is small, sandy, west facing beach merges with both Polzeath and Pentire Haven beaches at low water.

Pentireglaze Haven has a small area of sand above the high high water mark. A stream crosses the beach. There is safety equipment here. Dogs are not allowed during the summer. A rocky outcrop shows interesting geological features with folding and cleavage.

26. The path now passes between New Polzeath and the sea and you walk past Slipper Point.

The area around Slipper Point can be good for snorkelling when the water conditions are right.

27. Soon after you walk past Cockett Haven.

Cockett Haven is a small, south-facing, sandy cove at New Polzeath. When the tide is low it merges with the other beaches within Hayle Bay but at high water it is separated from the larger beaches.

28. The path continues past New Polzeath.

If the tide is low there is a huge expanse of sand at Polzeath. It is a popular beach for surfers.

On its southern side is Trestram Cove, another small beach, tucked away from the main beach and cut off from it at high tide. Snorkelling is sometimes possible here.

There are many facilities at Polzeath which is a large resort with accommodation, restaurants and cafes. You may wish to break your walk here or continue with the next stage of the coast path.

Car Park

There is a National Trust car park at Port Quin.

Public Transport

There is no bus service to Port Quin. The closest service is the 96 which travels between Port Isaac and Polzeath.

Visit Cornwall Public Transport for latest timetable

OS Explorer map for this walk - 106

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