South West Coast Path - Cadgwith Cove to Gwendreath
Updated: Oct 5
Map: OS Explorer: 103
Distance: 1.9 miles/3.1 km
Steepness grade: Moderate
Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer
Cadgwith was looking handsome in the morning sun as we set off up the hill to skirt along the top of
the cove via the coast path. At the huer’s hut (a small hut on the cliff for a member of the
community to keep a look out for pilchards) we took a look back for a great view of the village. This
is the last place in Cornwall where fishermen fish full time straight from the cove and their boats are
hauled up onto the beach at the end of each day.
There are some steep rises and falls in this section of the coast path correlating with the many small coves
that dot the area. Just out of Cadgwith we pass a deep cut in the rock protected by large outcrops.
This is frequented by seabirds and battered by huge waves and looks all the more spectacular for it.
The National Trust manage large sections of the path around here and prevent the undergrowth
from getting too wild with a small army of Shetland ponies. One small section is maintained in a
particular way as it provides a safe haven for glow worms on summer evenings.
Dropping down into another National Trust owned area we end up on the beach at Poltesco called Carleon Cove where the local rock, Serpentine, was quarried to make fireplaces and decorative trinkets back in the mid nineteenth century by the Lizard Serpentine Company. It is still possible to buy some Serpentine items at Lizard village where some small stone carving industries still survive. Some of the old
buildings remain at the cove but it is a much quieter place now. The pebble beach is a great place to
spot wildlife and is a much overlooked gem of this stretch of coast.
After ascending up to the top of the cliff overlooking Kennack Sands we followed the road down
to the beach. The rock here is made up of many different varieties and is a wonder for geologists and
inquisitive stone collectors alike. Kennack is divided into two beaches by a large hill called Carn
Kennack and the west beach is the most popular as it has parking at the back. The east beach is dog
friendly all year round and is a little more dramatic. Overlooking the beach is a pill box built in 1941.
The date of construction is revealed by some graffiti on the top left by one of its builders!
As well as being our closest beach Kennack is a great option for a families as the water is excellent
for swimming, there is plenty of space and there are two cafes next to the car parking. For the more adventurous of you we are really lucky to have our very own surf school almost on the doorstep. The experienced instructors at Kennack Sands Surf School will have you up and riding in no time. Lessons include equipment hire and car parking. If you prefer to explore under the water then Kennack Diving offers dive courses for all abilities, from beginners to more experienced divers. There is access to a heated indoor training pool, equipment hire and air fills.
To get to the beach from Gwendreath you follow a stony path through a valley which has naturally rewilded itself. This land was farm land not too long ago and since all the farmers left the trees have taken over.
Wildlife enthusiasts are often seen hunting around looking for a rare bird that might have been
spotted, a Silver Washed Fritillary butterfly or the occasional Roe Deer.
Once back through the valley we arrive at Little Gwendreath Holiday Cottages and put our feet up!