South West Coast Path - Porthallow to Saint Anthony-in-Meneage
Updated: Oct 1
Map: OS Explorer: 103
Distance: 3.0 miles/4.8 km
Steepness grade: Moderate
Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer
Setting off from Porthallow we start ascending some stairs between old fisherman's houses up onto the coast path above the beach. The coast path skirts along the edge of farmers fields with great views of the sea to our right. Across the bay we can see some of the land that makes up Porthkerris Cove and perched on its own is the Cornish Sea Salt factory. The factory pumps in sea water through a crack in the rock below it and refines it to produce a variety of salt-based products. The founder, Tony Fraser, was inspired to start the business after seeing iron-age salt works, possibly those at Lowland Point which we passed in our Coverack to Roskillys walk.
Rounding the corner at Nare Point we arrive at the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) outpost perched on the rocks. The NCI is a voluntary organisation 'keeping a visual watch along UK shores' and the volunteers here are keeping an eye on the busy waters approaching Falmouth. There is a small beach below the NCI building that is worth a look around if you enjoy beachcombing like we do.
Seventy years ago the fields here were a lot more busy with life than they are now. They were filled with decoy warehouses and port buildings in an attempt to draw fire from German bombers who were attacking the strategic port of Falmouth. Nothing remains from that time apart from a pillbox perched at the top of the hill.
The views out onto the headlands that divide up the creeks and rivers here are pretty spectacular and are often completed by the inclusion of small sailboats and kayaks. The water here is great for oysters and there are numerous oyster beds in the Helford River that are harvested by hand the traditional way in order to not damage the environment.
Gillan has a small beach and is a very peaceful spot with many large houses dotted amongst the surrounding woods. We were forced to detour for ten minutes before arrival as part of the cliff had collapsed and taken the path with it.
Continuing up the other side of the quiet beach we pass a few houses before arriving at Flushing Cove. Like Gillan it is a sandy beach which rarely has anyone using it. The roads here are almost all single lane and hard to navigate which probably contributes greatly to the area's unspoilt nature. Walking around here is to explore nooks and crannies of the Lizard where the sea meets oak woodlands and therefore is one of our favourite areas to go for a walk.
Shortly after Flushing our walk ends at the stepping stones crossing at St Anthony. At low tide you can cross over the creek to get to St Anthony-in-Meneage village but on this occasion our path was blocked by a fallen tree. We will be back to start a new walk tomorrow from the other side.