Little Gwendreath Walk the South West Coast Path - Day 9 - Roskillys - Porthallow
Updated: Apr 8
Map: OS Explorer: 103
Distance: 2.5 miles/4.0 km
Steepness grade: Moderate
Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer
After grabbing an ice cream we set off from Roskillys farm towards the hamlet of Rosenithon. Roskillys have been making ice cream since the late 1980s and have now expanded to supply all over
the country using their own milk from their own cows. The farm is now a major tourist attraction
that, as well as ice cream, features a restaurant, BBQ takeaway, toy and art shop, gallery and pottery
amongst other things.
The Giant's Quoits are situated just outside the village of Rosenithon. However, they were not always located here; in fact up until 1967 the stack of granite had stood on the nearby cliffs of Manacle Point. The rocks were moved when the St Keverne Stone Company expanded the quarry at Porthoustock. The Giant's Quoits are actually a natural rock formation. Like the well known Cheesewring rocks on Bodmin Moor, the formation is the result of a single granite tor being shaped by the elements, with the softer rock eroded away completely.
Slowly descending down the gradient towards Porthoustock and its pebbly beach we pass through
farm fields and along quiet country lanes before arriving in the centre of the small village. Porthoustock is dominated by the quarry that sits to the south of the beach. The beach itself has been developed over time to allow large ships to dock next to the quarry in high tide and there is a huge abandoned concrete silo that sits quietly on the other side that still holds tonnes of graded gravel. There is a path that leads away from the beach on the opposite side to the quarry that takes you past further abandoned quarry workings that are slowly being reclaimed by nature but we take the coast path up the steep hill away from the village
towards the junction with the road to Porthkerris.
Porthkerris is a small privately owned pebble beach that has become a hub for divers who come to
explore the Manacles reef just offshore. The barely submerged rocks are the remains of nearly 200
ships that have foundered here which, coupled with the abundance of marine life and crystal clear
waters, makes the area of great interest for divers. Perhaps the most famous wreck here is of the
Mohegan which struck the manacles at top speed in 1898 just as the first-class passengers had sat
down to dinner. The impact tore a hole in the ship and she hit more submerged rocks before sinking
within 12 minutes. 106 people died that day and many were buried in a mass grave that can still be
seen at St Keverne churchyard. The coast path now bypasses Porthkerris, but the beach is worth visiting for fishing, visiting its café or just exploring the caves there even if you are not a diver.
Just as we leave the turning for Porthkerris we skirt down a path behind apple orchards but if you
followed the road to Porthallow instead you would come across Fat Apples Café which is a local gem.
The Café does a good selection of healthy meals and has a great outdoor area as well as its own shop
selling local products. In previous years this area was a vineyard but now opposite the café is a
Christmas tree farm that featured in a Christmas special episode of ‘Devon and Cornwall’ on Channel
four in 2020.
Porthallow is known locally as ‘Pralla’ and has its history, like many Cornish towns and villages, in
Pilchard fishing. Nowadays the beach is mainly used for water sports and the village is a pretty mix of
thatched cottages and holiday lets. The village pub, the Five Pilchards, has recently been renovated
and sits right by the beach so is a great one to visit if you need space for the kids to play whilst you
have a drink!