South West Coast Path walks: Trevone to Padstow


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Last month the record for the South West Coast Path was obliterated – someone managed the whole 630-mile stretch between Minehead and Poole (covering all of Devon and Cornwall, plus parts of Dorset and Somerset) in 14 days, 8 hours and 2 minutes. I may not be in danger of troubling the Guinness Book of Records just yet, but my time for walking the five miles from Trevone to Padstow recently was pretty impressive.

The South West Coast Path is one of the world’s great walking trails. I stress the word walking, as the recent record-breaker was crazy enough to run it – in fact he ran the equivalent of two marathons every day for two weeks with no rest day. Not only would his legs have hurted like hell, he’d have missed out on enjoying the best coastal views in the UK.

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I made the most of these views at my leisure on a recent walk between Trevone and Padstow in North Cornwall. Fans of the BBC TV series Poldark will have seen its hero Ross galloping along the Cornish coast on his trusty steed making his way to see his wife, Demelza. I was horse-less, but still made good progress as I had a lunch-date with my wife to look forward to in Padstow.

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Starting at a deserted Trevone beach, the path rises steeply past an old blowhole and with views of the rocky formation in the top photo. I shared the path with fellow walkers and the occasional sheep – dog-walkers are asked to keep their dogs on leads so as not to scare the sheep into falling off the cliffs. What a way to go.

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Although it was a fairly overcast day, I could feel my face burning up and knew I’d be needing the aftersun later. Soon I could see what looked like a chimney in the distance, although once I got there I could see that it wasn’t a remnant of Cornwall’s mining days but a daymark tower, used like a lighthouse to warn passing ships that they were close to land. This daymark was on a headland known as Stepper Point.

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Sidestepping the sheep, I peeped inside the daymark, which is essentially a lighthouse without a light. It was built in the early 19th century, and looking through the ‘window’ I could imagine spotting smugglers bringing contraband to shore.

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Once past Stepper Point, I was on the home straight to Padstow. Here the Camel Estuary is at its widest before the River Camel meets the sea, and you can walk along the estuary’s dune-backed beaches until you hit the town itself. Padstow’s RNLI lifeboat launch station once stood here, but moved to its gorgeous home near Trevose Head in 1967 so boats could launch whatever the tide. Be sure to look out for the dreaded Doom Bar – a sand bank across the estuary which has caused many ship-wrecks and has given its name to the famous beer, made by local brewers Sharp’s.

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Sharp’s is based in Rock, directly across the estuary from Padstow and although now owned by Molson Coors, the Sharp’s Brewery shop is worth a visit if you want to stock up on beer or t-shirts. The Black Tor Ferry takes you to Rock and back for £4, and leaves either from the harbour steps or the town’s beach depending on the tide.

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After my exertions, there was only one place I was heading – I had a lunch date with the wife at Cherry Trees, probably the best cake shop I’ve encountered on my travels. Having wolfed down a delicious triple-decker slice of home-made Victoria sponge cake (washed down with a chocolate milkshake), I just about had enough energy to walk back to the car park and was grateful for a lift home.

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Categories: CornwallTags: , , ,

22 comments

  1. As usual an excellent set of photographs

  2. What was the previous South West Coast path record?
    I’d ban dogs completely – but then I just don’t like dogs!
    Villa took a mauling this afternoon!

  3. Preaching to the converted here Richard – now that’s another Cornwall walk to add to the ever-growing list!

  4. Looked distinctly murky till you got towards the end, Richard! I think I can compete with those views 🙂 🙂 But I love the sign for the dog owners and that stretch along the estuary 🙂 What kind of nut runs it? And why??? I’ll just plod and enjoy.

  5. Popped over for a look from Jo’s site as I am hoping to move to Cornwall and interested in having a go at some of the coastal walks. This looks very nice and a cake shop at the end is not bad either, though I’d have to walk back to the car! Unless there is a bus? Which is why I prefer a circular walk 🙂

    • The only downside to coastal walks is the need to retrace your steps to get back to the car park. There are some bus routes to save you having to do this – Id recommend Watergate Bay to Newquay, and then get the bus back or Perranporth to St Agnes. To be honest, any route you pick would be a stunner! Enjoy!

  6. Did the same section as part of a circular walk from Padstow in March. Couldn’t agree more re Cherry Trees, lost count of the number of cakes we had from there! Food, walking and Cornwall – perfect.

  7. ow, sheep falling of the cliff, sad :-/
    nice photos!

  8. Thanks for liking our post! You’ve got some amazing travel pieces here and we’re actually off to Cornwall soon so your posts will be helpful 🙂

  9. I love coastal walks and this one looks superb. You are so lucky to be able to regularly explore this part of the country. I had never heard of a daymark tower before- really interesting and it is fun to come across stuff like that when out walking. That cake shop sounds superb- have you got any photos of it?

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