Porthpean to Par Sands
Cornwall Coast Path

Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

This section of the Cornwall Coast Path takes you through a variety of landscapes from a picturesque harbour featured in many films and TV series to pretty beaches and a modern industrial China Clay processing landscape.

Start the walk at Higher Porthpean above, Carnjewey Beach, the small, shingle beach south of the main Porthpean Beach. Carnjewey beach has a natural arch.

Porthpean is from the Cornish, 'porth' meaning 'cove' and 'bean' meaning 'little'.

Walk along the promenade above the beach. Robin's Rock is at the end of the small beach.

Porthpean Beach, as many others did had anti invasion devices installed during the Second World War. Local children used to swing on them. The metal structures on the beach were to prevent invasion from the sea. The slope above the beach was dotted with pyramids of concrete to stop vehicles . Bombing practice used to take place off the coast at Porthpean. Some years ago a mine was found on the beach. The bomb squad were called in from Plymouth and the mine was detonated on the beach.

You are now walking through Lower Porthpean. At the end of the promenade follow the path up the flight of steps and upwards towards Carrickowel Point. The path cuts across the point.

The Old lookout tower near the path dates from World War Two and provides an excellent view over St Austell Bay.

The path above the beach hugs the cliff top passing between gardens on the land side and bushes on the seaward side. You can see glimpses of Duporth's long beach and from time to time you find paths to access the beach.

Du Porth means Black Cove. The path continues above the beach rising slightly as you reach its eastern end.

As you walk towards Polmear Cliff you can glimpse Polmear Island. The cliff above Polmear Island is densely wooded and provides some shade on a hot day.

The path continues past the castellate wall of Crinnis Cliff Battery, also known as Charlestown Gun Battery. This was built in 1793 to protect Charlestown against possible French attacks. Volunteers from Charles Rashleigh's estate formed a company of artillery men that lasted until 1860. The Crinnis Cliff Volunteers later became the Cornwall Artillery Volunteers. The battery continued to be used for practice until 1898.

You can enter the old fort and have a look around. After returning to the coast path you walk through more trees before the path drops towards Charlestown. Walk down through a kissing gate, down a few steps and through another kissing gate.

Charlestown has two beaches (not dog friendly), one of them has a subway to gain access to it. You may choose to spend some time in Charlestown to look around and have something to eat and drink. The tall ships moored here have featured in TV and film productions including the new adaptation of Poldark. More location information on our Poldark in Cornwall page.

Continue the walk by crossing the lock gates and walk uphill following the coast path signs.

After a few hundred yards, the coast path heads inland for a while. keeping away from Appletree Point and Bay. Follow the path along the line of the field hedge and after a short distance the path returns towards the coast near the Porth Avallen. Follow the tarmac road for a few yards until the coast path veers off the road to the right and back to the cliff top.

The path now passes along the cliff top. There is a National Coastwatch Institution Lookout Station at Landrion Point. Continue along the path. There is a Disused Mine Shaft near the path.

Below you is a small beach with a rocky islet known as Gull Island.

The coast path now enters the area known as Carlyon Bay. There are many hotels and residential properties just inland but the path continues to hug the cliff and remains level. passing through a grassy area before descending to pass behind Carlyon Bay's three beaches - Crinnis, Shorthorn and Polgaver Beach.

Crinnis Island lies off the beach.

The coast path passes along the small cliff above the redevelopment of Crinnis Beach, the former Carlyon Bay entertainment complex which in the 1980s, was known as the Cornwall Coliseum.

The path now skirts the edge of a large golf course, as you pass above Shorthorn and Polgaver beaches.

As you approach Fishing Point, the view below changes to low rocky cliffs.

Continuing with the golf course on the landward side, the path descends gently above a small sandy beach known as Spit Beach.

There is an old mine admit just before the beach.

China Clay Dries dominate the area to the east of the beach.

The beach is very pretty and a pleasant surprise in a landscape that is suddenly dominated by a large industrial complex.

Pick up the path again after enjoying Spit Beach and head up towards Spit Point. Bream Rocks lie off the beach.

The path now turns sharply to the left and heads inland, skirting the Par China Clay Works. Follow the signposts. After following the fence the path crosses a metal walkway. The path then runs between the works fence and the railway track. After a while the path will bring you to the main road. (It is to be hoped that in the future the path may be changed to maintain its proximity to the coast and to emerge on Par Sands, without the need for taking to the main road at Par).

You are now in Par. Walk past the works entrance and follow the road to the left to walk under a railway bridge. When you reach the road junction walk to the right and underneath the railway line again. Follow the road until you reach a lane on your right which leads to Par Sands beach. Follow the lane across the china clay service track, being careful to look for lorries. Walk through the caravan park onto Par Beach.

There is a local nature reserve in the dunes behind Par Beach.

Enjoy the beach before returning to the coast path for the next section of the Cornwall Coast Path. At low water Par Sands covers a huge area extending for over half a mile, westwards to the harbour of the Par China Clay Works. There is a breakwater on the western side of Par Sands and at its southern point is Killyvarder Rock. On the eastern side of the sands is an area called Little Hell, a small sandy cove which can only be accessed at low water. The Capitaine Remy was shipwrecked off Little Hell.

Public Transport

The nearest bus services run between Pentewan and St Austell. Numbers 24, 471, G1, G3 and G4. If you are using public transport, you would need to walk to Porthpean.

Visit Cornwall Public Transport for latest timetables

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