South West Coast Path - Kynance Cove to Lizard Point
Updated: Jun 8
Map: OS Explorer: 103
Distance: 2.1 miles/3.4 km
Steepness grade: Moderate
Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer
We set out on a glorious spring day which illuminated the stunning scenery on this walk. Starting with the awe-inspiring outlines of Gull Rock and Asparagus Island behind us, we set off from Kynance Cove heading towards Lizard Point. We climb up the cliffs to the plateau of the downs.
The cliffs skirt Pentreath Beach 200ft below. Known by some as Boiler Bay, the sea here recedes at low tide to reveal the remains of a large cylindrical ship’s boiler. The boiler, jutting out from the sand, is all that is left of the Maud, a trawler that was being towed from Fleetwood to Hull in February 1912. Sailing into monstrous swells, the Maud was never able to complete its journey and had to be cut loose, sinking to the seabed instead.
A large section of the cliff began falling onto Pentreath Beach on Sunday 31 January 2021 and continued to move over the next few days. The rock fall means the coast path has had to be diverted for safety, as tonnes of soil and rubble have plunged down the cliffs towards the sea. There was water building up at the top of the stone hedge at the top of the failure, this then percolated the ground, saturating it which then actually led to the collapse of the cliffs. An ancient Cornish hedge marking the coastal path also fell as a result.
Further along the path are the beautiful panoramic views centred around the iconic Lion Rock which stands at 150ft. You then descend to Caerthillian Cove which is a lush valley interwoven by two streams, Caerthillian’s green fields roll down to meet the grey and brown hues of exposed earth and rock, before disappearing under a cobalt blanket. At low-tide, rocky platforms protrude from the soft sand, veined with water-worn channels and sheathed in iridescent seaweed.
The Rill is a craggy headland from where the Spanish Armada were first sighted in July 1588, it sticks out like a bony finger into sea. Beyond this, you can just make out Land’s End Peninsula on a clear day.
Pistol Cove is a picturesque little spot dotted with wildflowers and is believed to be the site of a mass burial. On 25th November 1720, following a fatal run in with submerged rocks out at sea, a military ship called the Royal Anne suffered massive damage and was sucked beneath the churning waves. Tragically, over 200 of the men on board died and, as their bodies washed ashore, locals carried them into Pistol meadow where they would finally lay to rest. Although the burial hasn’t been confirmed, attempted excavations have been consistently halted as a mark of respect for the sailors. However, while the tale of the Royal Anne is a tragic one, it is by no means unique. All around the Lizard Peninsula’s coast, tales of raging storms and treacherous rocks abound, with over 500 shipwrecks documented and certainly many more unaccounted for.
Seals and basking sharks are commonly spotted on this route, we saw a few seals frolicking in the sea off Lizard Point at the end of our walk. Basking sharks can be nearly 30ft (9m) long but cruise these warm waters feeding on nothing more than tiny plankton. In summer 2007 more than 40 were spotted in one day.
We love to watch the sea from either Polpeor Café or Wavecrest, both of which you'll find at Lizard Point, serving lunches and the renowned Cornish Cream Tea. Lizard point is well known as the most southerly part of mainland UK and in the Lizard village itself, you can grab a barista coffee at Coast or a fresh fish supper from Smugglers, the village fish and chip shop. For a tasty takeaway you can't get more Cornish than a pasty. Our favourites are from Ann's Pasties, from their home/shop in the village. They even do mail order, so when you return home from your holiday you can still order a taste of Cornwall, delivered fresh to your door!
Lizard Adventure offers a whole host of on- and in-water activities. From sea kayaking, to coasteering, climbing and paddle boarding, there are so many new fun things to discover. Open all year round the centre offers a gentle introduction or a complete adrenaline rush, the choice is yours!