16. South West Coast Path (South Cornwall)

159. Coverack to The Lizard

Wednesday 1st November 2017

Looks like another bright and quiet morning and yesterday it actually it got quite warm. Leave the Paris Hotel today to walk to The Lizard and return for the car.

Dawn from bedroom window of Paris Hotel, Coverack (GR785181)

Set off on the path on the seaward side of the hotel. At the end of the first cottage turned right up some steep stone steps to reach the road where there are signs for a path diversion so followed the road steeply up. Turned left down a signposted track to reach the official path and turned right. At the fingerpost decided to take the slightly more inland route rather than the one along the cliffs that was labelled as being strenuous. Judging by the signpost both routes are ‘official’ which makes me wonder, as it frequently does, what actually constitutes the 630 miles of the official path. Given that there are frequently diversions and many alternatives there must be a very large number of ways of completing the path. Personally I feel that this is my walk and I don’t feel too constrained by ‘officialdom’.

Coverack (GR782179)

Continued up the hill, reached a road (GR782178) and turned left. Just path a large bungalow the path was again diverted off to the right. The path dropped down through woodland to reach stepping stones across a small stream and then a path junction where I took the left fork. Crossed the field and entered a piece of woodland with a sculpture park to the right. The sculptures here are by Terence Carpenter (GR781175) and are mainly of wildlife.

Terence Carpenter Sculpture Park (GR781175)

Reached the clifftop and soon entered National Trust Chynhalls Cliff (explaining the name of my room –Chynhalls at the Paris Hotel). This is an area of gorseland where all the paths have been terribly churned up by animals, I guess wild ponies but there were none around. This is quite muddy now and to my knowledge there has been no rain for three or four days so this could become a really difficult stretch at times. Reached a wooden footbridge across a stream to what appeared to be better ground.

Eventually left National Trust Chynhalls Cliff by a stile near to the lookout point on Black Head (GR778164). This has been quite a tough start to the day really with the climb out of Coverack and then through all the mud. The next section to The Bees was relatively easy going, good underfoot and a level path. At The Bees (GR771162) the view opened up across the bay almost to The Lizard but probably just to Hot Point which is about a mile before The Lizard.

Black Head (GR778163)

Soon after entered National Trust Beagles Point. Many outcrops of rock along here but the path was still very good. Near an isolated house the path dropped steeply down to the left to a wooden footbridge across a stream (GR768165).

Beagles Hole (GR770164)

After The Bees the path goes up and down a bit over rock formations and then leaves the National Trust area. Immediately the path begins to descend steeply on steps down to Downas Cove (GR764168) and then of course it immediately goes steeply up the other side. This stretch from Coverack to Downas Cove was the toughest over the three days of this trip and must be the ‘strenuous in parts’ rating by SWCP Association guide for the Coverack – Lizard section.

Downas Cove (GR765168)

After climbing out of Downas Cove the path became quite level as it goes across the clifftop above Lankidden Cove with farmland to the right hand side.

Downas Cove looking east (GR762168)

It is the first day of November and the sun is out and it is really quite warm. The Lizard can be seen quite clearly now. A bit up and down to Poldowrian and then it seems to level out a bit and begin a slight descent. Dropped down to cross the wooden footbridge at Kennack Sands (GR739167). [My rather eccentric taxi driver who took me back to The Paris Hotel to collect my car believes that the treasure from Treasure Island is buried here]

Continued on the footpath around the little headland to reach the second beach at the ford. Walked across the beach and got bitten by a Jack Russell.  Not the first time I have been bitten by a dog whilst walking and in each case the owners seem to think that it is somehow my fault. No apologies from the owners on this occasion, just a cheery wave as they drove past me while I struggled up the hill out of the cove.

Cadgwith Cove (GR722145)

It looked like there might be a beach café here so went to have a look but it was closed. Climbed the road out of Kannack Sands and at the footpath sign decided to carry on up the road to Kuggar. I had had enough of the coast path really, probably because of the energy-sapping bit from Coverack to Downas Cove, and also there is a pub up here. The Potters Bar (GR726165) was shut so carried on along the road.

Cadgwith Cove (GR722145)

Followed the lanes to Ruan Minor, which was quite attractive in places. At the school and church turned left (GR720152) and took the road, footpath and then road again down into Cadgwith. Had lunch in the Cadgwith Cove Inn (GR722146) – orange juice and lemonade, pint of Sam Miguel and an expensive crab sandwich.

Cadgwith Cove (GR722145)

The usual steep climb out of the village and at the top turned left into National Trust Devils Frying Pan. This is an impressive large collapsed cave with an archway out to sea. Turned a corner after the Devils Frying Pan and The Lizard comes into view. Now on top of the cliffs the path is quite good meandering and undulating quite a bit. On approaching Church Cove there was quite a steep descent on steps and steps up the other side. Reached a large stile next to a sea navigation landmark to immediately go downhill again to Church Cove and reach the concrete road (GR714127).

Decided that I was tired and could do the rest of the walk to Lizard Point in the morning so went up the road through the village of Church Cove to The Lizard (GR703125).

Top House, The Lizard (including car) (GR704125)

Went into the Top House Inn for a quick pint, but really to order a taxi. Much like a taxi driver at Bridport who wanted to tell me about his involvement in Broadchurch and Far from the Madding Crowd the journey seemed to be timed to match the length of the story he had to tell. In this case it was all about Robert Louis Stevenson and how the settings for Treasure Island were to be found round and about Kannack Sands. Actually it was very interesting and he seemed to be very knowledgeable but he seemed to be confusing an interesting theory of how Stevenson was inspired by the locality with the belief that the treasure really existed – or he was testing my credulity.

Caerthillion House (blue & white), The Lizard (GR703125)

Collected the car and stayed at Caerthillion House, a large B&B in the centre of The Lizard and spent the evening at the Witches Ball pub – a friendly place where it was difficult to tell the difference between the permanent and Halloween decorations.

Witch Ball, The Lizard (GR704124)

Days from Chepstow      159

Miles today                        10.0

Miles from Chepstow    1984.6

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