17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

168. Treen (Gurnard’s Head) to St Ives

Wednesday 11th April 2018

Took a taxi out to the Gurnard’s Head pub (GR436376) and took the small road beside it heading for the sea.   Went on the road through houses and farms and as the road swung to the right ignored the footpath sign to Gurnard’s Head. Continued down the lane a little more and entered a field and crossed it towards an isolated house and down the side of the field heading directly for Gurnard’s Head. Could not find a path down there, even though is shown on the OS map, as it had been fenced off so I had to come all the way back to the Gurnard’s Head footpath sign (GR436377) and followed the path down the fields.

Started this morning with light rain which soon just about stopped, and the sun is coming out and the sky clearing so hopefully going to be a nice day as forecast. Walking down the field towards Gurnard’s Head and crossed a huge stile and then followed the path across another couple of fields still heading towards Gurnard’s Head. Went over another large stone stile to enter National Trust Gurnard’s Head. At a Y-junction in the path took the right fork which dropped down quite steeply to the official coast path (GR434383) near Gurnard’s Head.

Gurnard’s Head (GR434383)

Turned right on the path away from Gurnard’s Head and soon crossed a wooden footbridge and the path began to go down through a muddy section past some old mine buildings above Treen Cove to reach a track which I think was my original aiming point (GR435382) on the non-existent path.

From footbridge over stream to Lean Point (GR437382)

Crossed the track and continued to soon cross another footbridge (GR437382) across a stream where the path began to climb up. At the top of the climb entered National Trust Boswednack and walked high above Porthglaze Cove to reach a wooden footbridge (GR442384).

Gurnard’s Head from Boswednack Cliff (GR439384)

Just over the bridge the path dropped down through a rocky muddy area which was quite difficult around Porthglaze Cove and then climbed up to a single house (GR443388) which is up above Carnelloe Long Rock, and has good views forward. Went round the house to take its access track inland but had gone wrong here as needed to find the path that goes along the coast. Went back to house but could not see the path anywhere so perhaps it has long been diverted, or more likely when looking again at the map I think that I went too far up to the house and should have taken a lower path.

Climbing up the house access track going inland it was frustrating to see the Gurnard’s Head pub across the fields after walking 2½ miles. Reached the main road at Poniou (GR445379) and turned left towards Zennor. The great advantage of the road walk was that I got to Zennor and the Tinner’s Arms (GR454385), a well-known and attractive old pub.

Zennor (GR454383)

Had three beers and some fried squid, and then left the pub by the path behind the church across the fields. The stiles around here are a bit like cattle grids but made out of huge lumps of stone set over deep holes that made me thinbk of them as man traps.

‘Man trap’ stile (GR457387)

It turned a bit cold but otherwise this was a very pleasant grassy path through fields with boundaries of large boulders.

Stile and boulder field boundary (GR460389)

The scenes off to the right are kind of craggy peaks which I think in South Africa would be called Kopjes (although I have never been there my grandfather’s service in the Boer War has made me interested in the Boer and Matabele Wars). The next kopje had houses perched on top of it.

‘Kopje’  at The Carne (GR464390)

The path was a good one and, in terms of the surface, was a joy to walk on in comparison with the coast path and the road. First of all it was mainly across grassy fields then through wooded areas which were muddier and finally it climbed upwards back to grassy fields full of individual boulders. The path went past various farmsteads at Tremedda, Lower Tregerthento and Wicca (GR471394) and then on a metalled lane to Boscubben (GR473395). Just after the house at Boscubben turned left down a drive for about 100 yards and then right over a stone stile to cross the fields again.

Into a field of bellowing cattle but they were being moved into the next field so did not cause any problem. Crossed more fields, muddy round the stiles because of the cattle, to reach Trevaga (GR482397). Continued to the left on a narrow lane, and reached the main road (GR496397) beneath a prominent kopje, or a kopje with prominent rocks on it (Rosewall Hill). Turned left towards St Ives. Walked down the main road into the centre of St Ives and caught a taxi back to Penzance leaving the pleasures of St Ives until my next trip.

I had a leisurely night in Penzance and drove home to Nottingham the next morning.

Days from Chepstow   168

Miles today   8.6

Miles from Chepstow   2060.9


3 thoughts on “168. Treen (Gurnard’s Head) to St Ives

  1. Not sure I know what the ‘coffin route’ is. We have one past our cottage in Swaledale where coffins would be brought down the dale on their way to the only CofE church. They would rest overnight in a small building at the back of the cottage which is now a BT hub – still communications.


    1. Yes. And I gather there is a coffin route running just inland of the coastal path. Apparently there were flat stones on the walls next to the stiles, where people could rest the coffin as they climbed over. I didn’t walk that route, so just repeating the words of others,


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