Circular Walks

There are a number of circular walks which follow the route of the South West Coast Path. Find out how long the route is, what facilities are nearby and whether the route is suitable for you.

Before you start your walk please check the current information on temporary closures on public rights of way.


A superb and not too strenuous walk following the edge of the sea and cliffs. Past Penlee Point and Rame Head with its 11th century monks' chapel and stunning views to the glorious sandy beaches of Whitsand Bay.

  • Distance: 9 km (5.5 miles).
  • Time: 4 to 5 hours.
  • Terrain: Easy/moderate, generally flat with two long gradual climbs and some flights of steps (one section of steps is short but steep).
  • Start: Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (OSGR) SX 431 502.
  • Ordnance Survey Map No/s (1:25,000): Explorer 108.
  • Nearest town: Torpoint.
  • Public Transport: You can use Traveline South West to plan your journey. For further information on the:
    • ferry between Admirals Hard, Stonehouse, Plymouth and Cremyll please see Cremyll Ferry
    • Seasonal ferry service operating April to October between Plymouth and Cawsand Beach please see Cawsand Ferry.
  • Parking: Cawsand.
  • Refreshments: Cawsand.
  • Public toilets: Please see Public toilets for information on ownership and current opening times.
  • Stiles/gates/steps: There are seven kissing gates, two stiles and two flights of steps.

Route description

Leave the car park at Cawsand and follow St Andrew's Place into the village. After about 200yds the Coast Path turns right up Pier Lane (the route signed Rame Head 3 miles). Proceed up the tarmac lane until it levels out as it enters the woods and past the cottages. Continue on the level path as it goes through woodland. Pass the waymarker post, meeting a junction with a narrow tarmac lane. Walk to the left of Bayfield Cottage and then bear right up into the plantation. The path continues to gradually climb, passing another waymarker post and a seat, below lies Pier Cove. Follow the road as it continues its way through the woods to arrive at Penlee Point.

Follow the signed route at a bend in the road to pass through the kissing gate alongside a field gate. The narrow hedged path continues west heading towards Rame Head. Ignore the small path leading off right to Penlee Point car park. Climb the stile and continue along the level path towards Rame Head. The ruined chapel on the top of Rame Head is in the distance.

Cross the neck of the headland at Eastern Gear via the wooden footbridge and proceed up the steps to the ruins of St. Michael's Chapel. The viewpoint is 97 metres (320 feet) above sea level. Look below right to see Polhawn Cove and west across Whitsand Bay to Freathy, Tregonhawke and Sharrow Point. Also situated on Rame Head is the Coastguard Station where toilets and an emergency telephone are available.

Continue on your journey traversing the small boardwalk at the western end of Rame Head and head downhill. In the distance below you will see Polhawn Fort. The Fort was originally built in the 1860s as part of the defences of the naval base at Plymouth.

Continue passing through the two kissing gates at either end of the small paddock. Climb down the steps and cross the access road to the Fort and continue down the steps and come out alongside Polhawn and Monk Rock Cottage. Follow the waymarked route up the track and turn left through the kissing gate. Follow the path along the bottom of the field and continue towards Wiggle Cliff. Go through the kissing gate and pass the whitewashed stone building (Wiggle Hut).

At the top of the hill the Coast Path continues towards Tregantle. Leave the Coast Path at this point, cross the coast road and head inland, taking the minor road to Wiggle alongside the car park. After about ½ mile take the public footpath and follow the well used lane until it exits into the open field. Follow the well defined path across the field and exit through the kissing gate where it meets the lane. Follow the lane to the road passing Wringford Farm and cross the road to access the footpath through the kissing gate. Follow the path down across the field with views of Plymouth Breakwater and its lighthouse and Drakes Island.

At the stile there are two options as the path forks at this point. Either follow the right hand fork downhill to the road and back to Cawsand village and the start point or take the left hand fork passing around the back of the Fort before descending the steps to the road. Turn left back down to Cawsand to explore the village before returning to your start point at the car park.

Short walk offering the walker beautiful views over a tranquil estuary and sweeping Atlantic coast as well as the chance to explore the pretty coastal village of Crantock.

  • Distance: 2.75km
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Terrain: Easy, one gentle climb (at the start) but otherwise reasonably level.
  • Start/finish: Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (OSGR) SW 788 608.
  • Ordnance Survey map no/s (1:25,000): Explorer 104.
  • Nearest town: Newquay.
  • Public Transport: You can use Traveline South West to plan your journey.
  • Parking: National Trust car park (sand not bitmac) at the start point.
  • Refreshments: In the village of Crantock and (during summer) above the car park.
  • Public toilets: Please see Public toilets for information on ownership and current opening times.
  • Stiles/gates/steps: 2 stiles and 2 kissing gates.

Route description

Leave the car park and walk up the road back into the village of Crantock.

Take a few minutes to look around the historic buildings before taking the lane to the right of the small antiquity shop.  Follow the lane up to the crest of the hill and climb over the stone stile as the road turns sharp right.  If stiles are difficult, follow the lane around to the right and join the path at the other end of the field. Cross the field and climb over the stone stile at the other side before turning left down the lane.  Pass the old farm of Penpol on the left before finding the coast path sign on the left hand side of the road.  Take this path through the kissing gate and follow the well worn path across the field and through the copse alongside the creek.  At the kissing gate emerge from the wood onto a more open area by the side of the Gannel Estuary, keeping the estuary on the right. Keep to the path which gently climbs before emerging at a crest of the hill where there are stunning views over Crantock Beach to the Atlantic.  Continue along the path until it drops down once more to the car park where the walk started.  Before leaving, it is possible to wander over the dunes to admire the beach or visit the little church up on the hill (to the left of the road up to the village).

The majority of this walk is fairly level and enjoys excellent cliff top walking. With mining heritage throughout as well as birdlife and wild flowers.

  • Distance: 6.5 km (4.4 miles).
  • Time: 1 hour each way.
  • Terrain: Easy/moderate, generally flat with one steep valley climb.
  • Start: Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (OSGR) SW 754 543, finish at OSGR SW 721 514.
  • Nearest town: St Agnes.
  • Public Transport: You can use Traveline South West to plan your journey.
  • Parking: Please see Cornwall Council car parks for further information.
  • Refreshments: Perranporth and Trevaunance Cove.
  • Public toilets: Please see Public toilets for information on ownership and current opening times.
  • Stiles/gates/steps: 1 stile and 1 set of steps.
  • Ordnance Survey map no/s (1:25,000): Explorer 104.

Route description

Head for Droskyn Point on the west side of Perranporth. Walk west through the first area of mining and take a look back at the cliffs below, once famous for smugglers.

Approaching Shag Rock turn around to see views of Perran Beach. Walking towards the heavily mined Cligga Head it is possible to enjoy the feeling of remoteness, whilst passing under high cliffs and over the vertical cliffs below. This path was once well used by miners to access the mine adits still visible in the cliff side.

In the quarry at Cligga note the black vertical lines rich in minerals in the greisenised granite.

Exiting the quarry look down to Hanover Cove. This is where the 'Hanover' lies, wrecked in 1763 and reputed to have gone down with valuable cargo. Now buried well beneath the sand.

Having rounded Hanover Cover, look back to the cliffs below Cligga. Dotted with mine adits and stained in colour due to the mineral rich geology.

The path continues alongside an airfield used during the war and passes through old aircraft shelters.

The path drops into Trevellas Porth situated at the bottom of a once heavily mined valley.

The steep track out of this valley known as 'Blue Hills' is famous for its annual motor trail event, meant to test both man and machine. The path runs alongside and is quite a climb even on foot!

At the top of the cliffs the village of St Agnes with its many mine engine house chimneys lies ahead. The ore from these mines was once taken to Trevaunance Cove harbour for export. Only sea demolished granite blocks at the foot of the cliffs remain of this harbour.

After dropping down to Trevaunance Cove it is possible to either walk back to Perranporth along the same path or wander to the centre of St Agnes.

A short walk from Perranuthnoe Village in West Cornwall that includes part of the South West Coast Path. The route includes magnificent views over Mount's Bay.  The inland return to Perranuthnoe Village and its church takes you through a landscape of small stoned wall fields.  These are typical of this part of the south coast of Penwith.

  • Distance: 4 km.
  • Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes .
  • Terrain: Easy, generally flat with one slightly steep climb.
  • Start: Perranuthnoe car park.
  • Ordnance Survey Map No/s (1:25,000): Explorer 102.
  • Nearest Town: Marazion.
  • Public Transport: You can use Traveline South West to plan your journey.
  • Parking: Perranuthnoe village, above the beach. 
  • Refreshments: Queens Arms Public House in Perranuthnoe village.  Refreshment kiosk above the beach (seasonal).
  • Public Toilets: Please see Public toilets for information on ownership and current opening times.
  • Stiles/gates/steps: 3 stiles and 2 kissing gates.

Route description

At the end of the car park cross to the opposite side of the road and go over two stone stiles that lead onto the South West Coast Path.

Follow the coastal path until it joins the track where the path forks.  Take the right fork past the National Trust sign for Trenow Cove and then proceed through a gap in the stone hedge.

Continue along the coastal path and then just before the large stone outcrop at Venton Farm look for a well walked path branching to the right that leads inland.  Take this path up the side of the field and into a grassy, walled lane.

At a wooden waymarker post turn right and follow the grass track to Trenow Farm, (more energetic walkers can lengthen this walk by proceeding straight on to explore historic Marazion).

At Trenow Farm go through a pair of kissing gates and straight across the next field which is usually planted with vegetables.  The farmer leaves the path clear for the public.

Pass over a well worn old granite 'coffin' stile, a design common in West Cornwall.  Proceed up the small hill and pass some old mined 'burrows' (waste tips).  Perranuthnnoe was extensively mined in the 19th century and there is evidence of this activity throughout the landscape.

The path now enters a farm track that passes two newly built houses.  Just beyond the second new house turn right down a grassy walled lane to Perranuthnoe Church.  From the Church proceed through the streets of the village back down to the car park at the beach.

Spectacular views of both the Lizard and Penwith Peninsulars' whilst surrounded by the remnants of the areas mining heritage. The inland sections also have superb views of the sea.

  • Distance: Approximately 6.5 km (4 miles).
  • Terrain: Moderate, undulating coast path with firm surface.  One moderately strenuous climb.
  • Time: 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  • Start: Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (OSGR) SW 591 271.
  • Nearest town: Porthleven.
  • Public transport: You can use Traveline South West to plan your journey.
  • Parking: At Rinsey Head. This is a National Trust car park
  • Refreshments: Praa Sands (summer only).
  • Public toilets: None nearby. Please see Public toilets for information on ownership and current opening times.
  • Stiles/gates/steps: 3 stiles and 1 gate.
  • Ordnance Survey map no/s (1:25,000): Explorer 102 and 103.

Route description

Leave Rinsey Head car park and take the coast path heading east towards Porthleven with views stretching along the Lizard peninsula.  This area was once a hive of mining activity, as evident from the impressive Wheal Prosper engine house, built in 1860, which stands ahead. Continue along the coast path for the next kilometre, rounding Trewavas Head, until it meets the junction of the coast path and the footpath just south of Trewavas Farm. Step over the stone block that serves as a stile and start to travel east. Ahead are spectacular views of Mounts Bay and the Penwith peninsular.  Continue along the path as it leaves the track and travels through a field to a stone stile.  Cross over the stile and continue along the well worn path.  There is another opportunity to look down on the engine house at Rinsey. 

The path enters the heart of the old mining hamlet of Rinsey.  From here locate the next part which is an inland section of the walk.  Walk along the road, as if leaving Rinsey, and head towards Ashton. Just past the last house in Rinsey there is a kissing gate.  Walk through the gate and continue along the path as it crosses a number of fields - keep a lookout for the old stone stiles in order to make sure you are following the right track.  Eventually it will come out at the hamlet of Hendra.

At Hendra, turn left and follow the road as it heads down towards Praa Sands.  The walk remains on this single track road for just over half a kilometre so be aware of oncoming traffic.  At the end of the road where it reaches the far eastern end of Praa Sands beach there is the opportunity to regain the coast path.  Rejoin the coast path and start to head back east to the start. As the path climbs up above Lesceave Cliffs there will again be evidence of mining activity. Continue until it eventually returns to the car park at Rinsey.

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