Places to Go

The best walks in Cornwall

Walks in Cornwall are one of the most popular activities for holidaymakers and locals alike. And is it any surprise when the county is lined with the south west coast path providing us with easy access and endless views?

Whether you’re a fauna and flora fan, history buff or simply seeking solitude, you’ll find the perfect walk for you in Cornwall. From the drama of the north coast, and the scenic bays of the south, to the west coast steeped in heritage, there’s no better way to enjoy Cornwall than by lacing up your walking boots and heading off on a hike.

Ready to plan your next adventure? In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best walks in Cornwall. Binoculars and water bottles at the ready…

 

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North Cornwall

South Cornwall

West Cornwall

North Cornwall

Perranporth to St Agnes walk

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes

-    Distance: 3.6 miles

-    Time: Allow 1 hour 45 minutes

-    Difficulty rating: Moderate, flat with one steep climb

-    Starts/ends: Perranporth Beach/ Trevaunance Cove

-    Parking: Perranporth Beach car park

-    Landmarks: Iconic engine house at St Agnes and panoramic views

 

If you're looking for a flattish, dog friendly north coast walk then look no further. Other than one steep valley climb, this clifftop walk is fairly level. The linear route starts at Perranporth Beach and ends at Trevaunance Cove, both of which are dog friendly - hurrah!

After having a mooch around Perranporth, head for Droskyn Point to the west. The cliffs around here were once popular with smugglers and around Shag Rock was once miners’ territory - look out for the mine adits and mineral-stained cliffs.

As you continue on, you'll pass an airfield used during the war, the last tin stream works in Cornwall and the famous St Agnes engine house chimneys.

Continue down into the quaint village of St Agnes where Breakers Beach Cafe does excellent coffee. Or set off back to Perranporth and feast upon your return – you can’t beat a drink at The Watering Hole, the UK's only bar that’s actually on the beach.

View holiday cottages in Perranporth and St Agnes.

 

Boscastle to Tintagel walkTintagel

-    Distance: 5.5 miles

-    Time: Allow 4 hours

-    Difficulty rating: Moderate

-    Starts/ends: Boscastle/King Arthur’s Café

-    Parking: Cobweb car park or Boscastle car park

-    Landmarks: Tintagel Castle and the legend of King Arthur

 

Sandwiched between two charming towns, this walk is big on dramatic views. Plus, you don't have to work too hard for those vistas as it's a relatively easy walk with only a few climbs.

After a wander around the harbour and a nosey inside The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, it’s time to set off from Boscastle. Walk to the west side of the river and begin the climb while enjoying beautiful views of the harbour.

You'll pass numerous rocky islets that are home to seabird colonies along the way and you might even spot a seal or a dolphin!

As you head down the Rocky Valley, you'll walk by Benoath Cove and Bossiney Haven, both dog friendly and a great place to cool tired paws. Carry on along the headland of Willapark before heading on to Tintagel and its iconic medieval castle. Afterwards, it’s got to be King Arthur’s Café for a cream tea or a huge fry up.

View holiday cottages in Boscastle and Tintagel.

 

Newquay to Watergate Bay walkNewquay

-    Distance: 3.5 miles

-    Time: Allow 1 hour 45 minutes

-    Difficulty rating: Easy/moderate

-    Starts/ends: Towan Beach/Watergate Bay

-    Parking: One of Newquay’s many car parks

-    Landmarks: Blowhole and Iron Age fort on Trevelgue Head

 

If you're after a convenient coastal walk, head to Newquay! There are plenty of dog friendly places to eat and drink in town, as well as at Watergate Bay.

When you're ready to head off, start at Great Western beach if you have a dog with you and it’s during the seasonal ban, or from Tolcarne Beach if you don't. Head up the cliff path to the bronze age Barrowfields and take in the expansive views over the Atlantic.

Next, join the coast path that snakes around past Lusty Glaze beach and continue on to Porth. Dogs aren't allowed on Porth beach from the 15th May to the 30th September between 10am and 6pm, but there is a short road detour available.

From here, take an undisturbed coast path to Watergate Bay. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along here as the cliffs are home to nesting peregrine falcons. You'll then descend into Watergate Bay for a tasty refuel.

View holiday cottages in Newquay.

 

Rough Tor and Brown Willy

 Looking out over Bodmin Moor as the sun sets

-    Distance: 5.2 miles

-    Time: Allow 2-3 hours

-    Difficulty: Moderate/challenging in places

-    Starts/ends: Poldue Downs

-    Parking: Poldue Downs car park

-    Landmarks: Highest point on Bodmin Moor, 360 degree views

 

This walk is all about rugged moorland and incredible views from the highest point on Bodmin Moor.

Starting off climbing to the summit of Rough Tor, you’ll continue along to Showery Tor (hopefully without any showers), where you can stop for a picnic with a view. 

It’s then downhill for a short reprieve before climbing up to the heights of Brown Willy, a mere 420 metres above sea level. At the top, it’s time for a breather so whip out a flask of tea and a wedge of cake before heading back to the car.

After your stomp, why not wind down at the Jamaica Inn, a famous smuggler’s inn that found fame in one of Daphne du Maurier’s novels.

While this is a great walk for dogs, they must be on leads between 1 March and 31 July when ground-nesting birds will be breeding.

View holiday cottages on Bodmin Moor.

 

Explore all that North Cornwall has to offer in our complete guide.  

South Cornwall

Hall Walk FoweyFowey Hall Walk

-    Distance: 4 miles

-    Time: Allow 2 hours 30 minutes

-    Difficulty rating: Moderate

-    Starts/ends: Bodinnick slipway

-    Parking: Bodinnick car park

-    Landmarks: Ancient port towns of Fowey and Polruan

 

More interested in woodlands and creeks? This partially wooded circular walk is dog friendly with a fair few steep climbs and a ferry ride. It's worth noting that public toilets are a rarity on this one. 

To start, either head to Fowey and catch the ferry over to Bodinnick or head straight there. From the slipway, walk up past the Old Ferry Inn and you'll find a slender footpath with a sign saying Hall Walk. You’re walking along a real piece of history here; this footpath dates back to at least the 16th century. Follow this to the 'Q' memorial, which celebrates the novelist Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. 

From here you'll walk alongside the northern bank of Pont Pill and through the woods. Continue along into the tiny quayside hamlet of Pont, where you'll cross a wooden bridge before heading toward Polruan. Once there, explore this ancient fishing village before hopping aboard the ferry back to Fowey where you're surely deserving of something tasty.

View holiday cottages in Fowey.

 

Looe to Talland Bay walkLooe

-    Distance: 5 miles

-    Time: Allow 3 hours

-    Difficulty rating: Moderate/strenuous

-    Starts/ends: Talland Bay car park/East Looe

-    Parking: Talland Bay car park

-    Landmarks: 6th Century Giant’s Hedge

 

If you're up for a short and sweet challenge, look no further than this 5 miler. It might not sound too long, but be warned: it's rough and steep in places.

Start in Talland Bay, where you can park up, use the public toilets and grab a coffee from the Talland Bay Beach Cafe before joining the coast path. After a while, you'll arrive at Portnadler Bay Viewpoint and the scenic Portnadler Bay, a slender sand and shingle dog friendly beach with rockpools.

Head back on the path and just before you arrive at the first houses near Looe, you'll see Looe Island, which is a haven for wildlife and well worth a boat trip.

Head down the coast path into West Looe, before taking the bridge across into the bustling centre of East Looe where you can head to the dog friendly Daisy's Café for a cracking fry-up in retro surroundings.

View holiday cottages in Looe.

 

Saint’s Way walkFowey

-    Distance: 27 miles

-    Time: Allow 12-15 hours (2-3 days)

-    Difficulty rating: Moderate/strenuous

-    Starts/ends: St Petroc’s Church, Padstow/Fowey

-    Parking: Padstow Harbour Commissioners car park

-    Landmarks: Helman Tor and countless historical sites, religious connections and standing stones

 

If you're a keen walker on the search for a new mission, consider the Saint's Way. This epic 27-mile journey follows what is believed to have been a route ancient Celtic missionaries favoured when they left Ireland and Wales for Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

This walk, well signed with Celtic cross markers, passes through the centre of Cornwall making it an ideal route for anyone keen to explore the less trodden inland parts of the county. As you pass through parishes, there are plenty of opportunities to refuel with pasties, cream teas or a hearty pub meal. There are lots of dog friendly options too, if your four-legged friend is fit enough to handle 27 miles of course.

Given its considerable length, many walkers choose to split it in two and stop overnight in Bodmin. If 27 miles in a day sounds too much like hard work for a holiday, check out holiday cottages around Bodmin.

View holiday cottages in Padstow and Fowey.

 

Discover more of South Cornwall in our guide.

West Cornwall

The Lizard Coastal walkKynance cove

-    Distance: 7 miles

-    Time: Allow 3 hours

-    Difficulty rating: Challenging

-    Starts/ends: Lizard/Kynance Cove (or Lizard for a circular walk)

-    Parking: The Lizard car park

-    Landmarks: Kynance Cove and the most southerly point in Britain

 

The Lizard Peninsula is a must-visit destination for landscape lovers, wildlife fanatics and science buffs alike. And as for walkers? You’ll be in paradise. 

Starting out in the Lizard village, head out to Bass Point Old Signal Station. Here you head right along the cliffs to Lizard Point where you can take the 2.5-mile coast path to Kynance Cove, which is famous for its sandy beach and eye-catching islands of serpentine stone. Fill up with a pasty or a proper wedge of cake at Kynance Cove Café before turning inland and following the beautiful country path back to Lizard village. 

If this stunning stretch of Cornwall takes your heart, why not return and tackle the Mullion Cove to Kynance Cove walk. Mullion is only around 5.5 miles from the Lizard Point and though it might not seem far, there are lots of steep climbs and you'll swap clifftops for shoreline on more than one occasion.

View holiday cottages in The Lizard.

  

Zennor to St Ives WalkSt Ives

 

-    Distance: 6.5 miles

-    Time: Allow 3-4 hours

-    Difficulty rating: Moderate with some challenging climbs

-    Starts/ends: Tinner’s Arms/St Ives

-    Parking: Zennor village car park

-    Landmarks: Pendour Cove and Godrevy Lighthouse

 

If you'd like to discover the bountiful bays, artistic heritage and world-renowned light of St Ives, why not walk there? 

Starting in the village of Zennor, walk past the Tinners Arms (if you can resist the call of the 13th-century pub) and head down to the sea and Zennor Cliff. If your dog would like a swim, take a quick detour to Pendour Cove, which is home to the well-known Cornish tale of the Mermaid of Zennor.

Keep going along the coast path and soon you'll see St Ives, with views over the town and out to Godrevy Lighthouse. Check out the weather in St Ives on our webcam before you head off.

Once in town, most of the beaches operate a seasonal dog ban - but if your furry friend is keen for a dip, you can head to Bamaluz beach. Read more about dog friendly beaches in Cornwall. You can pick up some more tips for this walk here.

View holiday cottages in Zennor and St Ives.

 

Porthleven to Loe Bar walkPorthleven

 

-    Distance: 2 miles

-    Time: Allow 1 hour

-    Difficulty rating: Easy with some steep slopes

-    Starts/ends: Porthleven Clock Tower

-    Parking: Kittos Field car park

-    Landmarks: Looe Bar

 

Starting off in the quaint port town of Porthleven, head to the Clock Tower (made famous by the 2014 storms) and follow the road round. 

While the lower coast path route is currently closed due to cliff falls, you can turn up the road to take the higher path, which hugs the fields before sweeping back onto the coast path. 

After about half an hour you'll arrive at The Loe, a freshwater lake that was once the mouth of the River Cober. Now, it’s a strangely beautiful scene with sea, sand and lake backed by woodland. Paddle with caution on either side as the sea here has a gnarly reputation thanks to its strong waves, steep bank and powerful current and the lake is poisonous to dogs, so be sure to keep them away from the water. Back in town, why not stop for a meal at The Ship Inn or try Kota for Cornish Asian fusion cuisine. 

 

Mousehole to Lamorna walk

Walking around Lamorna Cove

 

-    Distance: 4.7 miles

-    Time: Allow 2-3 hours

-    Difficulty rating: Challenging

-    Starts/ends: Mousehole harbour

-    Parking: Church Car Park

-    Landmarks: The remains of 100 Victorian market gardens or ‘quillets’

 

If you've got the calves to hack it, you can't beat the Mousehole to Lamorna circular walk. It's just under 5 miles, but with the hills and climbs, it'll feel like more.

You'll start off in the lovable fishing village of Mousehole. Once you're done exploring its granite streets and harbour, head to Love Lane where you'll find a footpath that winds through four fields to Raginnis. After passing over stiles, alongside farms and through a woodland, head down to Lamorna Cove and discover why artists love this place so much. 

Head up to Lamorna Wink for a proper ploughman’s before heading on. Now it's time to head back via the coast. You'll turn left to pick up the coast path to Kemyel Point.

You'll notice heathland and low trees, which indicates you've arrived at the Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve. As you keep going, you'll eventually arrive at the road to Raginnis, which takes you back into Mousehole.

 

Find out what else there is to do in West Cornwall in our guide here.

 

Explore Cornwall from one of our idyllic holiday cottages - the perfect place to unwind after a day of hiking and sightseeing. 

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