17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

174. Watergate Bay to Harlyn

Monday 28th January 2019

Left the Great Western Hotel which was OK having had breakfast overlooking the sea and drove to Watergate Bay parking in the car park by the beach (GR841649). The car park was very full, mainly with the vans of people working on building and refurbishment projects.

Back along Watergate Bay towards Newquay (GR844659)

Left Watergate Bay by climbing steeply up onto the cliffs overlooking Watergate Bay. A good grassy cliff top path with good views ahead past Strasse Cliff towards Park Head.

Strasse Cliff (GR843664)

After another significant climb at Beacon Cove and several descents reached Mawgan Porth (GR850672). The weather today was breezy rather than horrendously windy as it was yesterday, cloudy but with occasional sun and temperatures of about 5 or 6 degrees.

Mawgan Porth Beach (GR848664)

Mawgan Porth is not particularly attractive really dominated again by a couple of large apartment blocks and a lot of modernish houses going up the hill. This is becoming a regular complaint of mine but really only Padstow and Port Isaac on this trip were intrinsically attractive. All other towns and villages are no doubt extremely popular in the summer because of the wonderful surfing beaches but look rather sad at this time of year. This is of course amply compensated for by the outstanding coastal scenery in between.

The path goes round the back of the beach and then climbs up and down a little to a footbridge over a small stream to begin the proper climb out of the village. The climb ends round about the last house and continues another really good cliff top walk to Trenance Point (GR846683) and past little rocky coves with waves dashing into them at High Cove and Trerathick Cove.

I always read Ruth Livingstone’s blog as part of my preparation for the coastal walk and it is always good to find the same places such as here at Carnewas (photograph below) even if the weather always seems kinder to Ruth than it is to me.

Carnewas, towards Park Head and Dinas Head (GR847668)
Bedruthan Steps and Park Head (GR 848689)

After Carnewas Point (GR884690) after another climb above Whitestone Cove the path eventually came near a car park and visitor centre where there was a really well constructed stone pavement which was actually quite difficult to walk on. Followed the path for a while and then left it as it continued towards Pendarves Point (GR849693) and continued on the coast path above Redcove Island, Bedruthan Steps and Samaritan Island eventually leading out onto the wide open grassy area of Park Head (GR845709). Planes, mainly Flybe, were frequently taking off over the sea from Newquay airport which was only a few miles away.

On Park Head (GR846708)

Continued on a gentle descent along the wide open spaces of Park Head past High Cove to reach a path down into Porth Mear, a rocky little cove.

Porthmear (GR849715)

Back up the other side and then continued along the quite dramatic coves and offshore rocks to eventually meet the beach at Porthcothan (GR853720). Followed the path around the beach into the village where there seemed to be nothing really except the beach, a car park and a closed summer café. Couldn’t see a pub. Stopped for some lunch in the car park (GR859719).

Porthcothan (GR856723)

The path climbed out of Porthcothan but not as steeply as some of the earlier climbs and then follows a quite spectacular stretch along the top of the cliffs, weaving and winding its way above a series of small rocky coves with the sea smashing into them and large rocks immediately offshore with seagulls nesting on them. Eventually after a couple of miles past Minnow’s Islands, Fox Cove, Warren Cove and Pepper Cove dropped down into Treyarnon (GR858739), another little inauspicious place really.

Will’s Rock (GR854727)
Minnow’s Island (GR854727)

At Treyarnon there was a large beach I guess used for surfing and there was surf at the time. Stopped here at the youth hostel (GR859741) for a cup of tea. Youth hostels have changed a lot since I regularly used them over 50 years ago, this one has got a bar, did meals and had barbeque tables outside.

Dinas Head from Treyarnon (GR856739)
Treyarnon Point (GR857742)

Followed a good path through the sand dunes at Constantine Bay into Booby’s Bay where I decided to shortcut Trevose Head and left the coast path to pass between a couple of houses (GR859754) and follow a footpath to reach a road by some caravan sites. Followed the road to Lower Harlyn Farm and Harlyn (GR873752).

Called a taxi back to Watergate Bay to collect the car and travel to the Metropole Hotel in Padstow.

Days from Chepstow   174

Miles today   12.1

Miles from Chepstow   2121.5

2 thoughts on “174. Watergate Bay to Harlyn

  1. The weather is my fault for going at this time of year gives you morere dramatic seas but the resorts are never at their best in winter. I’m looking forward to reading of your adventures when you resume the Scottish walking,



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