We’ve completed our second week on the Cornish Coast Path and managed a respectable hike from Port Isaac to Gwithian, Hayle. It’s been another fantastic week on the trail and we’re continued to be blown away by everyone’s generosity – we’ve nearly reached our fundraising goal already! Without further ado, here’s our second weekly roundup of the path, featuring all the high’s, lows and everything in between.
Port Isaac to Polzeath: 9 Miles
We started our week in Port Isaac, a quaint fishing village made popular by the BBC series Doc Martin. I picked up a pasty as we walked through and hit the trail. The walk promised to even off a little this week. Of course we still had plenty of cliffs to climb but they were far kinder than last week’s stretch between Crackington Haven and Tintagel! We passed through Port Quin, a beautiful village with its own dog friendly beach. I stopped for lunch at low tide, while Woody and Hen enjoyed exploring all the rock pools.
We fell a little bit in love with Lundy Bay beach, which is just outside Polzeath. It’s a bit of a clamber down to the sand but it’s well worth it if you can manage it. Woody somehow cut his face, I assume on a rock in his excitement to get to the sea. We camped just outside Polzeath for the night, at Southwinds Campsite, which is family friendly. I did research a cheaper alternative before we left but didn’t feel safe when we arrived. Fortunately Southwinds was only up the road and though a little pricier I felt much more at ease.
Polzeath to Bedruthan Steps: 19 Miles
I had a bit of a panic the following morning, when I realised it would take far longer to complete our walk than I had planned. I’ve set myself a deadline of the end of September, which is a respectable 6 or so weeks. Of course, I have to bear in mind the dogs’ abilities and happiness throughout this adventure. That’s why we’re taking rest days at weekends and going at our own pace. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the terrain levelled off significantly from Port Isaac to Gwithian and we were able to fit in a couple of longer hiking days.
Our original plan was to stop at Treyarnon and stay in the YHA hostel campsite. However, it was fully booked when we arrived so I had to continue walking. After a quick Google Search with limited signal, I found out about Bedruthan Steps Campsite. It’s essentially a field that’s open in July and August each year. You simply turn up, camp and pay the following day. It was a little further away than I had hoped but we persevered and arrived just in time for sunset. I met Tom and Ollie that night, two friends who were visiting from Devon. They kindly let me set up my tent behind their van to shield me from the wind, before cooking me dinner (and breakfast the following morning), giving me beer and lending me a second sleeping bag for the dogs. We spent the night chatting under the stars and listening to music together. It’s by far one of the best nights I’ve experienced this year!
Bedruthan Steps to Crantock: 10 Miles
We said goodbye to Tom and Ollie after breakfast and were greeted by fellow Spaniel Aid UK fosterer, Bev. She was joining us for our hikes over the next couple of days and kindly let us stay at her house for two nights. She brought her Springer Spaniel Jess along for the hike, as well as Tilly the terrier, who’s heelwork definitely put Woody and Hen to shame!
Bev lives in Newquay and was the perfect tour guide. She showed us all the dog friendly beaches. We stopped at Watergate Bay for lunch, while the spaniels were as sassy as ever. Hen’s got a new habit of barking incessantly at the beach if you’re sat down. It only started a week or so ago but he’s 100% dedicate to his new hobby. Jess on the other hand, decided we needed to be splattered with sloppy mud, as she dug holes right at our feet! We continued our walk through the town, treated ourselves to Roskilly’s ice-creams at Fistral Beach before finally arriving at Crantock.
Crantock to Perranporth: 10 Miles
This is arguably one of my favourite stretches of Cornish Coast Path so far. Admittedly I have been saying that about the majority of the walk (I mean 300 miles counts as a singles stretch, right?!) but the coastline here is just phenomenal. The path passes some of my favourite beaches in Cornwall; Crantock, Polly Joke and of course Holywell Bay. The dogs enjoyed sprinting through the dunes throughout the day and it was lovely to be able to walk them off lead for a change.
The stretch between Perran Sands and Perranporth was incredible. We swapped the path for the beach as the tide was low. We were the only ones for miles, until we reached Perranporth, which is one of Cornwall’s most popular beaches. I was saddened by the amount of washed up plastic at Perran Sands. There was everything from fishing lines to bottle caps and sanitary items in the sand. I’ve wanted to organise a beach clean for a while and will definitely keep Perran Sands in mind as a potential location. Watch this space!
Perranporth to Gwithian: 19 Miles
Our last day took us through mining country. The landscape here was far more industrial than we’ve seen before on the path. Remnants of engine houses, mine shafts and stacks scatter the St. Agnes Heritage Coast, which mined tin and copper through much of the 1800s. The transformation of the landscape was incredible, a stark reminder of how extreme our impact is on our environment. The heather, marigolds and gorse were in full bloom along this stretch, a beautiful contrast to the intense human activity over the years.
We stopped a few times throughout the day. It was fairly hot, despite the sea breeze and I didn’t want the dogs to overheat. We had lunch at Trevaunance Cove, which is dog friendly. Dogs are to be kept on leads during summer on the main beach, however if you take a short walk north on the Coast Path, you’ll find an unrestricted beach, which is equally as beautiful! I swapped my hiking boots for flip flops the past few days, my feet were constantly overheating. Though flip flops weren’t the best alternative (I had no other footwear with me) it was great to let my feet breathe. I did manage to slice my toe on a rock though, which called for some first aid at the top of St. Agnes Head!
Where’s your favourite stretch of South West Coast Path? Have you walked Port Isaac to Gwithian before?
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