South West Coast Path - Gwendreath to Coverack
Updated: Jun 8
Map: OS Explorer: 103
Distance: 5.1 miles/8.2 km
Steepness grade: Moderate-Strenuous
Recommended footwear: Walking boots
The coast path continues up the hill after Kennack Sand's East beach. The back anti-tank wall of the beach is now being threatened by the sea and is slowly falling over after seventy-five years. At the top of
the hill is a long stretch of clifftop walk surrounded by gorse, heather and various wildflowers
growing in the Cornish hedges that border the path.
The first stop of note is one of our favourite beaches but also one of the hardest to get to. Lankidden
Cove is accessed down a small hidden turn off the coast path that drops very sharply down a steep
hill. If that wasn’t enough to put you off, the final rope assisted climb down a rock side might. All the
effort is worth it however as the beach is a beautiful mix of rocky outcrops, golden sand and turquoise
sea. It is almost always abandoned so is marked by the wild swimming community for its slow
shelving beach with a sandy bottom. The underwater landscape has been described as one of the best snorkelling locations in Cornwall both due to the marine life and the underwater serpentine rock formations. There is also a large cave accessible when the tide is out.
Above Lankidden Cove is a promontory that holds the remains of an Iron Age fort. This may have been a
spot where trade was done with passing ships although, to the uninitiated, the remains are very
hard to make out.
After Lankidden Cove there is another long stretch of clifftop walking before the coast path offers you two options. The lower part of the path passes through Porthbeer Cove before taking you into Coverack.
Porthbeer Cove is a hidden gem of Coverack and is a short walk round a headland (also hiding an Iron Age
cliff top fort). Like Lankidden Cove and Coverack village beach, the main sandy section of the beach is
covered at high tide which also makes it a great swimming beach.
The other, higher, section of the path takes you through the Terence Coventry Sculpture Park above Coverack. This outdoor gallery is free to all and comprises of around 25 sculptures spread over three peaceful meadows. The sculptures are mostly of animals and human forms and suit the environment they are placed in. Their creator gave up an art career to work as a farmer and eventually returned to his passion, incorporating the influences of working on a Cornish coastal farm. We went back on ourselves to see both of these highlights!
Coverack is a large village stretching over the hills surrounding the central beach. It has a small, very
photogenic, harbour and a selection of tea rooms and cafes so makes for a great location for
exploring with the family. Coverack harbour was built in 1724, the remains of an old slipway, which predates the harbour, can still be seen between the lifeboat station slipway and the harbour wall. A few years ago it was hit by a large flood of water that powered into the village from the downs above. A number of properties were damaged and some people had to be rescued by helicopter. Nowadays the chance of flood has been minimalised but you can still see the pile of rock and concrete debris left on the beach by the force of the water. The beach is occasionally visited by seals and is a great spot for watersports such as stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.