So here we are, back down on the South West Coastal Path again. The walkers this time ( our 7th visit – I think I may have got my numbers mixed up on past reviews!) are myself, my son, my 24 year old grandson and my 12 year old grandson. The 12 year old grandson is on half term and with his mother working has no choice but to join us. (A little begrudgingly I might say)!
Our route is Padstow to Newquay. Not too far this time as we had to bear in mind a knee problem I have at the moment and the grumpiness of a reluctant near-teenager!
We drove down to Padstow with an overnight stay in the Bristol area and found somewhere to park near the beginning of the Path. The weather forecast hadn’t looked great but it actually turned into a lovely day (intermittently with periods of low mist).
PADSTOW – TREYARNON BAY:
So we set off from Padstow and I have to say the Path along that route is absolutely stunning. It mainly follows the beach and Cornwall’s beaches (although all rather similar) are just gorgeous. There were a lot of colourful flowers and heather en route and when the sun came it they looked beautiful with their bright pinks and oranges. We headed past Gun Point and Trebetherick Point seeing along the way a stone tower, built in 1932 as a day marker to help guide ships into the Camel. Most of the rock along that part of the coastline is slate but at Marble Cliffs there is limestone. (Why not call it Limestone Cliffs you might wonder! I did!) There are some 80 beds of limestone here which give it a very Jurassic look. Another geological curiosity is the Round Hole, a collapsed cave which has no barriers and made me wonder if people, at night, have ever walked straight over the side!
After a fairly leisurely walk we arrived in Trevone, a small surfing cove. They had a beach cafe and after walking about 5 miles I then ruined it all by having cheesy chips and an ice cream!
Back on the path we came to Trevose Head Lighthouse (opened in 1847). It is now automated and the keepers cottages are all holiday lets. We also saw the very smart new Lifeboat Station near Merope Rocks. It is open to visitors but we didn’t stop.
We walked about 11 miles today and our last section was across Constantine Bay Beach. The mist which had been evident on and off all day was now very low and the swell was huge. Hardy surfers were riding the waves in a really aggressive surf. It can be dangerous to swim here and also at Treyarnon Bay which is where we staying that night.
For the first time in my life I stayed the night in a Youth Hostel. When we entered the Treyarnon Youth Hostel I felt very young and “down with the kids” ( an expression my grandsons made me promise to never use again!) We had a family room and there was a bar serving food. They also had live music that night so it was extremely busy and we ended up eating our food in the guests breakfast room. Great food and really helpful and friendly staff (who all looked about 12 years old to me!).
I would recommend a stay in a Youth Hostel to anyone but I would not recommend sharing a family room with 3 snoring males! I hardly slept at night, they all snored and the snoring wasn’t synchronised so as soon as one stopped another started. It was like a load of pistons going off all night!
TREYARNON BAY – MAWGEN PORTH:
So I was a tired walker the next day! After a great cooked breakfast at the Youth Hostel we headed off once more. Today was a lovely walk along the flat topped cliffs and the weather was bright and sunny. Most of the time we were looking down at a spectacular range of coves, caves and stacks. We walked past Pepper Cove, Warren Cove and Fox Cove. We passed Trescore Islands and in one small cove there were man made caves and various spikes embedded in the rock, believed to be relics of smuggling or for unloading and dismembering wrecks.
We walked over Park Head with warm breezy fresh air and more spectacular views. Then we arrived at Bedruthan Steps.. In an earlier visit to Cornwall we had visited here by car. It is a spectacular beach with the “steps” being various slate stacks. These all have names, one is Queen Bess (who lost her head a few years ago), another is called Samaritan Island. This was named after a shipwreck of The Samaritan whose cargo washed ashore and was gratefully received by the locals. It is a stunning beach and can be reached by very steep steps. Last time we visited it was high tide and we could only stand at the bottom of the steps to look at it. Today was low tide and my son and grandsons went down to walk around the stacks. (One has to be careful here as the tide comes in very quickly and people sometimes get cut off). Because of my annoying knee problem I watched from the top of the cliff.
We stopped at the National Trust cafe nearby for cake and then walked on to Mawgen Porth. We had done about 6.5 miles today.
We were staying at a B&B called “Dimore” (which I believe is a Cornish name for a guest house or hotel). When we found the B&B the owner who opened the door was a woman who we had chatted to up on Park Head! We had been playing with her dog unaware that she was our landlady for the night! What a small world it can be!
Tonight I had my own room and Dimore is a lovely B&B. Barbara and John are great hosts and my room was really beautiful and comfortable.
We walked into town and had dinner in The Merry Moor Inn which was really nice and then I enjoyed an early night to recover from the Youth Hostel experience!
MAWGEN PORT – NEWQUAY:
Today, after a lovely cooked breakfast we waved good bye to John and Barbara and followed the cliff path out of the town. We passed Beacon Cove, Stem Cove and Fox Hole. Looking down into rocky, deserted, white sand beaches was fabulous. This really is the prettiest part of the Coastal Path so far!
Supposedly there was a cliff castle along this stretch at Griffin Point but we couldn’t actually spot it. The next bay was Watergate Bay. This is a great expanse of beach which is popular with surfers and families. We walked above Watergate Bay for a long time before heading down into Porth.
As the tide was out we were able to walk across the beach to join the Path on the other side. After another 30 minutes we were in Newquay, our final destination. Just a 5.5 mile walk today, almost a leisurely stroll!
We then got the bus back to our car in Padstow and headed home.
We did about 22 miles in this trip so we now have done 187+ miles.
Only about 443 to go!