17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

167. St Just to Treen (Gurnard’s Head)

Tuesday 10th April 2018

Took a taxi to the centre of St Just (GR371314) and walked past the clock tower war memorial down a narrow lane past a school and onto a track leading towards the coast. Cloudy today and is going to be hot I think like the last two days and apparently quite a chance of rain. The track soon becomes a path enclosed between two hedges and then over a stile and two or three fields to reach the hamlet at Bosweddan House (GR360319). Turned left through the houses to the road and then turned right. Approaching the isolated house with the golf course on the right turned right down a track which leads down to the official coast path just by Cape Cornwall (GR356320).

Cape Cornwall from Kenidjack Valley (GR358324)

Turned right up the path and climbed for a little while and then level going inland along the Kenidjack Valley and then fairly steeply down to an area of ruined mines and across a small bridge towards a house (GR359324). Just in front of the house turned left for a hundred yards and at the sign turned right to start the climb up the other side of the valley. The steep path climbed up to reach a level track. Turned left here for about a hundred yards and then right up a steep rough path and a stile that leads into the area of the ruined Kenidjack Castle (GR356325). Not much of a castle and I guess that it never really was a castle.

Kenidjack Castle with Cape Cornwall behind (GR358326)

Left the castle on a good path across flat open land and reached a wide track and turned left. Evidence of mining all over the place here, and started to rain on approaching some more mine workings. Passed through the mine workings keeping to the upper path and then turned right up some steps to reach a stony track (GR363331).

Ruined mines near Botallack (GR362328)
Looking back at same ruined mines at Botallack (GR363329)

Continued on this track for about a mile passing through areas of mining to reach the Levant Mine (GR369347) which is the undersea mine run by the National Trust and which can be visited. Passed through an area of considerable industrial devastation with the Geevor Mine (GR374346) to the right which although it is a visitor centre also looks relatively modern and maybe has been producing until recently. Reach the little wooden footbridge at Trewellard Bottoms (GR373349). Plenty of opportunities for some dramatic photographs, but unfortunately it is dark and grey and unsuitable for photography. The area looks a little like Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales with its lead mining.

Wild seas at Boscaswell Cliff (GR373350)

Over the footbridge entered Boscaswell Cliff National Trust. Now on a clifftop path rather than the industrial tracks that have been on for a while. Just past the footpath took a photograph of some pretty wild seas. Considering that it is not a bad day really god knows what it is like when it is rough. The path climbs steeply up stone steps with the roar of the roar of the waves crashing on the rocks beneath.

Wild seas at Boscaswell Cliff looking back to Levant Mine (GR374352)

At the top of Pendeen Old Cliff (GR378354) the lighthouse at Pendeen Watch can be seen and the path dropped down the other side, crossed a stream to climb up a path to reach the road by some houses (GR380355). This seemed like the end of the climbing which had not been as bad as expected so I am glad that I did not take the shortcut across the peninsula as these dramatic seas were well worth seeing.

Turned left on the road and carried on, realizing that I had actually climbed higher than the lighthouse which has the same big black foghorns as at The Lizard. Over to the right could see into the next bay and headland. Continued past the lighthouse (GR379359) and the road became a stony track that began to descend. The track went down Pendeen Cliff towards Portheras Cove but just before some rather ramshackle buildings a path goes up to the right to go along Portheras Cliff at the back of the cove.

Portheras Cove (GR384359)

After the climb up the path continued fairly flat along the top of the cove to a metal gate (GR388357) where I stopped and had some lunch.

Portheras Cove (GR390357)

Soon after the gate the path started a steep rocky descent to a wooden footbridge (GR390357) across a stream and then of course went straight up the other side. It was difficult to find a path here but continued on a gravel path inland to reach a signpost pointing left. This went up a very steep hill, hopefully the last of the day. A steel kissing gate marks the top of the climb and then continued on a fairly level path along Chypraze and Tregaminion Cliffs. Pendeen Watch and the lighthouse at last disappeared after what seemed like hours and in front could be seen Gurnard’s Head which was kind of the aiming point for today (actually the inland Gurnard’s Head pub was the final destination).

Gurnard’s Head (GR397360)

Approaching the descent towards Morvah the path became churned up and muddy as animals had been grazing there. Eventually reached a stream at a very muddy part (GR401359) and turned right towards Morvah. Followed the muddy path up to the road at Tregaminion.

Mine buildings at Rosemergy (GR420363)

Turned left on this minor road and then left on the main road to begin a three or four mile trudge along the road to the Gurnard’s Head pub at another place called Treen (GR436376). The surrounding scenery was quite pleasant but perhaps the most notable diversion was to come across cows wandering along the road.

Cattle on road near Bosigran Farm (the people are walkers, not farm workers) (GR429368)

Strangely, cattle do not seem at all threatening when they are in our environment, such as on a road, but it can be different in their environment of a closed field.

Cattle on road outside Gurnard’s Head pub (GR436376)

The Gurnard’s Head was another interesting pub which being prominent on a hill and brightly coloured can be seen from all around.  Very helpful staff who called a taxi to take me back to Penzance.

Gurnard’s Head Pub (GR436376)

Days from Chepstow   167

Miles today   10.5

Miles from Chepstow   2052.3

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