Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

Portreath beach and harbour

Portreath beach and harbour

Portreath is a North coast village nestled in a valley between imposing cliffs. It's fine sandy beach makes it an ideal place to holiday and its harbour is an indicator of its impressive history.

Ideal for bathing and for watersports because of its often sheltered situation, the beach has lifeguard cover throughout the year.(Please check details of times when you visit).

Portreath's history is primarily from the 18th century when it was an important port for the shipping of copper ore from the mines of the Camborne - Redruth area. In its heyday in the 19th century, over 100,000 tons of copper ore passed through Portreath bound for destinations around the world. Until the mid 1700s, the ore was loaded onto ships from the beach and it was only after the building of the quay by Francis Basset that the port had the luxury of being able to load the ships in a safer fashion.

A tramroad was opened in 1812 to carry the ore from mines in the Poldice area of St Day. The terminus of the Portreath Tramroad opened in 1819 at Crofthandy and provided the storage point for coal brought from Portreath harbour, bound for the mines and the precious cargo of copper ore while it waited to be transported to Portreath. The tramroad of 7 miles was used for around 50 years.

Portreath is also known as Bassetts Cove due to its association with the famous mining family who resided at nearby Tehidy.

In January 2016, after a powerful storm, the remains of a petrified forest, were uncovered on the beach. The tree stumps emerge every few years and are believed to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old.

It is thought that the forest was growing during the Neolithic period but it became submerged when sea levels rose around the Cornish coast.

Today, the village welcomes visitors who come to enjoy the natural environment, whether beach goers, watersports enthusiasts or cyclists and walkers who wish to follow the historical Coast to Coast Trail which joins the villages of Portreath on the North coast with Devoran on the South or the Portreath Branchline Trail which connects Portreath with the former busy centre of inland mines between Redruth and Camborne.

Details of the trail are available in a free leaflet published by Cornwall County Council, The Mineral Tramways Trails (Part of The Cornish Way series of leaflets) available in Tourist Information Centres. You can also download a Map of the Mineral Tramways Trails

Coastal footpaths towards Porthtowan or in the direction of Gwithian also offer splendid walking with magnificent views. Flowers carpet the cliffs during Spring and Summer with Spring Squill, Thrift, Dog Violet and Birds Foot Trefoil providing a colourful and fragrant display.

There are several circular walks all starting from the Square varying from 1.5 miles in length to 7 miles. These include Illogan Woods (3 miles) and Lighthouse Hill (1.5 miles) We recommend the OS Explorer map 104 available from local bookshops or click here to buy online.

General Information

The village has excellent local facilities including a range of accommodation and a number of shops.

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Located on the North Coast of Cornwall.

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Daymark at Portreath
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Portreath Beach

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Coastal footpath at Portreath
Coastal footpath at Portreath


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