There’s little doubt that on their day, English beaches can rival some of the best in the world, but what usually lets them down is the weather. The spectacular summer of 2013 has provided a showcase for our beaches to strut their stuff, and there can be none better than Bedruthan Steps on the rugged Cornish coast.
WHERE IS IT?
Bedruthan Steps is located midway between Newquay and Padstow on the B3276 coastal road in North Cornwall. You can either park in the National Trust car park for £2.50 (free for National Trust members), or £2 in the campsite car park next door.
You’ll then have to descend 149 slippery and steep stone steps from the cliff-top car parks to sea level – it’s not these that are the Bedruthan Steps.
This is the only way up and down, and is probably not suitable for the elderly or unfit – we saw plenty of pensioners enjoying the views from their deckchairs in the car park.
Although dogs are allowed on the beach, make sure they’re able to get back up the stairs before you go down. I had to carry the in laws’ ten-stone West Highland Terrier back up, and have only just recovered from the trauma.
WHAT IS IT?
When the tide is out, there is over a mile of clean, golden sand scattered with stacks, stumps and caves reminiscent of GCSE geography days.
Stacks are vertical pillars of rock, eroded over time by the power of the Atlantic Ocean. The series of stacks gives the beach its name – legend has it that they were stepping stones for a giant called Bedruthan. Each stack has its own name, the most famous is the triangular Queen Bess, pictured below.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO?
Because of the effort required to get there, the beach is never heaving. Visitors are advised not to enter the water, as there are dangerous riptides, but that didn’t stop the handful of surfers when we were there. There’s enough space to play football or cricket, and disposable barbecues seemed to be the accessory of choice.
The beach is popular with photographers and painters, while crabbing in the many rockpools left by the changing tides is always an option so bring a fishing net along. Bedruthan Steps is unsupervised with no facilities or shop, so take water and snacks with you.
We parked in the campsite car park so missed out, but there’s a café at the National Trust car park – I could have done with a cuppa and a cake after carrying big Benji back up the steps.
Now it’s over to you – have you been to Bedruthan Steps? Do you agree with me that it is the most beautiful beach in England? Or are there others more worthy of that accolade? Have your say in the comments box below…