17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

172. St Agnes Head to Holywell

Wednesday 31st October 2018

After a huge amount of sleeping I have rather apprehensively driven back out to St Agnes Head (GR702514) hoping that I can get the legs going today unlike yesterday. Another beautiful day, windier than previously but not as bad as Sunday, the sun is shining in a blue sky.

Set off towards Newdowns Head (GR708518) along a path that is quite level although quite rocky in places Soon after Newdowns Head the path drops rather steeply into Trevaunance Cove (GR722516) on a rocky pavement.

Trevaunance Cove (GR721516)

This is a quiet little place on the last day of October although there is a large hotel right down in the cove. Followed the road through the village to the Driftward Spar pub (GR721514) and immediately before the pub took a path to the left up some steps. Some good vantage points on the way up the steps many with very welcome benches.

Trevaunance Cove (GR722515)

After the steps a gravelly rocky path went up past some slag heaps and at the top starts to descend immediately into Trevellas Porth (GR728517). At the bottom of this very rocky path there is a wrought iron gate with ‘The Motor Cycling Club 1901’ on it. Others that have passed this way say that it really is used for motor cycling – actually hill-climbing with bikes and cars.

Motorcycling Club gate Blue Hills Tins (GR727517)

Continued on the road past the mine buildings of the Blue Hills Tins that can be visited.

Climbed steeply up steps followed by further climbing on a track up to the top of the unnamed cove that contains Green Island (GR729525).  The path was fairly flat along here alongside the airfield which seems to be used (judging by the noise) for go-kart racing or motorcycling.

Cligga Head (GR733528)

There was a very rough and barren landscape up on Cligga Head (GR738537) and signposting needs to be followed carefully, but from the top and looking ahead the beach at Perranporth can be made out. Descended around Droskyn Point (GR7852543) to reach the road. The first sign of civilisation on the road is the wonderfully located youth hostel overlooking Perran Beach which for the walker comes into view just round the corner of the road.

Perranporth from Droskyn Point (GR752544)

Continued down the road into Perranporth and the Tywarnhayle pub (GR756542). Stopped for a lunch of beer and a good crab sandwich made of so much bread that I left most of it (bread not crab).

The beach at Perranporth with Ligger Point in the distance (GR757581)

After leaving the pub walked the beach for a couple of miles which was OK as the sand was fairly firm but then it started to rain. This is one of the beaches that on the 100th Remembrance Day had one of Danny Boyle’s 32 ‘Pages of the Sea’ sand-carved portraits of WW1 heroes – Archibald ‘Archie’ Jewell in this case. A further five locations on the South West Coast Path included Weymouth (Robert McDougall), Lyme Regis (Kulbir Thapa), East Looe (Kenneth Walton Gregson), Porthcurno (Richard Charles Graves-Sawle), Porthmeor St Ives (Edward Hain) and Saunton Sands (Ralph George Griffiths Cunine-Robson). Details

At the end the end of Perran Beach and approaching the cliffs need to keep your nerve and avoid leaving the beach too early by crossing the dunes as just before the cliffs the official path turns right at a stone signposted path marker (GR764575). Climbed the steep path and part way up by some MOD warning signs turned left on a path (could probably have turned off on earlier side paths).

Perran Beach from Ligger Point (GR763577)

Continued to climb up to Ligger Point (GR759581) at which point a couple of helicopters come over low presumably, I assumed to land on the MOD property that had now come into view.

Penhale Point from Ligger Point (GR759581)

Walked around the unattractive MOD site on a path enclosed by fences on both sides. It all looked pretty desolate and apparently is closed awaiting development for housing so the helicopters must have been heading elsewhere.

Reached the strange structure at Penhale Point (GR759590) which is the radio sending station for the receiving station passed on Portreath Airfield.

Military radio structures at Penhale Point (GR759590)

Holywell and Holywell Beach came into view and beyond that Newquay. The path descended gently to Holywell which is set quite a long way back from its beach.

Holywell Beach from Penhale Point (GR760591)

Reached the St Piran’s Inn (GR767588) and the end of the day.

The end of the day, St Piran’s Inn, Holywell (GR765590)

Holywell had seemed very close at the point of leaving the beach but this final stretch felt very much longer than it actually was and it started to get cold, dark and overcast and eventually rained all contributing to the demoralising discovery that the St Piran’s Inn was closed for refurbishing. Anyway I had managed another 10 miles with none of the problems of yesterday and a taxi soon came to take me back to the hotel in Newquay. Returned home the following day.

Days from Chepstow   172

Miles today   10.0

Miles from Chepstow   2098.8


One thought on “172. St Agnes Head to Holywell

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