Gribbin Head is a lush, green headland on the picturesque south coast of Cornwall, near the harbour town of Fowey. It’s topped by an iconic red and white stripped daymark tower which over the years has helped countless boats avoid disaster.
The surrounding estate of Menabilly is also well worth exploring. If you’re an avid reader of Daphne du Maurier, you may even get a sense of déjà vu; the novelist once lived in the area and it heavily influenced her work.
To check out Gribbin Tower, follow signs for Menabilly. Drive to the end of Menabilly road and you’ll see a field car park on the right. Head down the footpath towards the beach and don’t forget to put 50p for parking in the honesty tin en route. It’s about half a mile down a footpath to Polridmouth beach and the coast path.
This is a great beach to bring dogs to as they’re allowed all year. Do bear in mind this is a fairly secluded bay and there are no toilets or other such facilities. If you’re planning to stay for a while it’s worth bringing along some water for your furry friend.
There are two bays here and at low tide you can walk from one to the other along the sand. At high tide they are split in two by a rocky outcrop, but you can follow the coastal path around to access both.
To find Gribbin Tower, just look up and over to the right – you won’t miss it! Simply head back up towards the coast path and follow it around and up the hill.
The striking red and white striped square beacon tower was built in 1832 to distinguish Gribbin Head from Dodman Point and St Anthony’s Head. This made the navigation into Fowey and the harbours of St Austell much easier, during the day at least. Gribbin Tower was never used as a lighthouse; instead its bold colours made it an effective daymark. Today it remains a very prominent landmark on Gribbin Head and well worth the trek up the hill to have a gander close up.
Once you’ve hiked up the hill, potter along the coastal path if only for the excellent views. This headland boasts some spectacular scenery; it’s easily some of my favourite of the whole county. With pristine white sand and near-clear water, the tiny slips of bay – inaccessible from the coast path – don’t even look like they belong in the UK (particularly true if you are fortunate enough to score a sunny day such as this).
We passed by a field of cows which caught Monty’s attention. They weren’t particularly interested in making friends with a dog, despite his best efforts!
You can keep going along the coastal path until you reach Polkerris (around two miles). Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach over the summer season, but The Rashleigh Arms pub is dog friendly and plonked right on the beach, so you can enjoy views and good food in the company of Rover!
We only walked half a mile or so; the call of the sea became too strong to ignore. So with a paddle in mind, we turned around and headed back down to the beach. Monty decided paddles were for wimps and went the whole hog with a couple of laps of the bay instead.
It was still a tiny bit too nippy for this wimp.
Maybe next time.