Hey everyone! My name is Hauke and after a magical hiking trip on the Cotswold Way, I was back on the trail in February 2019 – accompanied by my fellow hiker Luisa – to discover another stunning hiking gem of England: the South West Coast Path! Are you ready to read about our incredible adventure in Cornwall?
DAY 1 – Arrival in Padstow
The excitement was growing as we finished packing our bags for our 11-Day Moderate South West Coast Path hiking tour and we headed to Dublin Airport to catch our early flight to Cornwall. England, here we come!
One hour later, we could see the trail from the plane window, as we were making our way down to Cornwall Airport Newquay, located only a few kilometers away from the South West Coast Path. How convenient was that!
Time for us to collect our luggage and take a taxi (a bus was also available) to get to our first B&B in Padstow, only a 25-minute drive away from the airport!
DAY 2 – Padstow to Porthcothan Bay
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we were all fueled up for our first day of walking along the South West Coast Path. We walked out of Padstow following the mouth of the River Camel up to Stepper Point, where we got our first views and breath of fresh air of the Atlantic Ocean!
From there, we followed the crashing waves of the ocean and passed Trevose Head Lighthouse and so many beautiful hidden bays and coves that we lost count – including Trevone Bay and Rowan Cove – all the way to Porthcothan Bay.
Our first impressions after only one day of walking alongside the ocean were already far beyond our expectations (we knew it was beautiful but not THAT beautiful!) and we couldn’t wait for our second day of walking!
DAY 3 – Porthcothan Bay to Newquay
Shortly after leaving Porthcothan Bay in the morning, we passed the tiny, but no less beautiful, Trescore Islands. It set the scene for today’s walk, as shortly after, we took in views of the spectacular and magnificent Bedruthan Steps that were waiting for us a little further down the trail.
And to make this hike even more memorable, we decided to treat ourselves with a lovely lunch break at the award-winning restaurantJamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall in Watergate. Facing the ocean and enjoying some delicious local seafood: can it get any better than that? 🙂
On a full stomach, we hit the trail again and made our way to Trevelgue Head, a beautiful headland and the site of an old Iron Age promontory fort. Our daily walk ended in Newquay, the surfing capital of the UK, where we enjoyed a nice ice cream before arriving at our lovely B&B where our luggage was waiting for us. “Relax, we‘ll care of the rest” as they say on Hillwalk Tours website 🙂
DAY 4 – Newquay to Perranporth
The next morning, we crossed the River Gannel at low tide on a wooden boardwalk and headed to the magnificent grassy sand dunes of Holywell Bay.
Walking on sand dunes is never an easy thing to do but the view over Gull Rocks was definitely worth the extra effort. We’ll let you judge for yourself:
The wind started to pick up when we were walking between Holywell and Perranporth:
Further on, we met some wild ponies along the trail before ending the day with a pleasant stroll on the long sandy Perran Beach.
DAY 5 – Perranporth to Portreath
Time flew by so fast as we were already about to embark on our 5th of 10 days of hiking. We started the day by walking along Perranporth Beach and the giant and intriguing Perranzabuloe Millennium Sundial overlooking the sandy beach certainly caught our attention.
Further on the trail, we enjoyed a stunning cliff walk before entering the rich mining history area of St. Agnes Heritage Coast, including the famous and picturesque Wheal Coates, a former tin mine.
After taking in the view, we continued our walk to the beautiful Porthtowan Beach before heading south to the lovely village of Portreath and its 18th-century pier, where our daily walk finished up for the day.
DAY 6 – Portreath to Hayle
We started the next day with a beautiful walk along Godrevy Heritage Coast before getting to Godrevy Island and its picturesque lighthouse in St Ives Bay.
The day was highlighted by the many seals we spotted along the way – most of them were taking naps on the beach but we actually saw a few of them swimming!
After that, we strolled along a stunning three-mile stretch of golden sand on Gwithian Beach to the village of Hayle, known for its important role in the Industrial Revolution. And we couldn’t go to Cornwall without trying their delicious and local delicacy: the famous Cornish pasty!
DAY 7 – Hayle to St Ives
This next walk was the shortest of our 11-Day moderate hiking tour (only 10km – 6mi) and the weather was just incredible (it’s a good thing we packed shorts!)! It was February but it felt like summer, as you can see:
The coastal path from Lelant was stunning and led us to the beautiful seaside town of St Ives, where we chilled out and had plenty of time to explore the picturesque harbour and cobblestone streets.
DAY 8 – St Ives to Pendeen Village
After leaving the village of St Ives behind, the trail became more rugged (but no less scenic) and we passed a few highlights on our way, including the mysterious Trevalgan Stone Circle and the beautiful ruins of Gurnard’s Head Mine.
This walk from St Ives and Pendeen Village was for us the most demanding of the tour due to the repetition of climbs and descents, but nonetheless within our abilities. It’s good to know that Hillwalk Tours provide options to shorten the walk (just in case).
Towards the end of Day 9, we spotted a few dolphins on our way to Pendeen Village! What a sight, what a day!
DAY 9 – Pendeen Village to Porthcurno
Day 9 was probably the most memorable day of our tour as we entered the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – on our way out of Pendeen Village. We really enjoyed the picturesque ruins of Levant Mine and Botallack Mine and learned a lot about the mining history of the region thanks to the extra notes in our walking pack.
Later on that day, we walked to the majestic headland of Cape Cornwall – where the Atlantic Ocean meets the English Channel!
DAY 10 – Porthcurno to Penzance
The end of our hiking tour was just around the corner but we still had one last chance to enjoy our experience on the South West Coast Path.
After that, the trail became quite remote with picturesque little coves and small fishing villages, and we stopped in the lovely village of Mousehole to enjoy one last ice cream! From there, we could spot the shape of St Michael’s Mount in the distance, a sign that we were close to completing the last leg of the trail.
Soon after, we made it to Penzance – the end of our amazing hiking tour along the South West Coast Path! These 10 days were just incredible and here’s a little recap with our favourite moments:
DAY 11 – Departure from Penzance
We hope you enjoyed reading about our hiking tour If you want to go on the same adventure, check out the itinerary we picked on the Hillwalk Tours website.
Hauke & Luisa