Cornwall isn’t just for surfers – it’s a walkers’ paradise with most of the South West Coast Path in the county. But if you don’t have the time (or the energy) to embark on an epic hike, here are three short walks in southwest Cornwall that will still get the blood pumping!
This is a mini walk but will certainly get your heart racing thanks to lots of steps and a stunning view! Start at the Minnack Theatre in Porthcurno – this is an amazing open air theatre that has been built into the rocky cliffs. You can watch a show, but even if you don’t you can pay £1 per person to access the pretty sub-tropical gardens and viewing platform with a sweeping view across the theatre and out towards the bay of Porthcurno.
Once you’ve taken in the view, take the steps down to the beach located to the left of the theatre entrance. These aren’t for the faint-hearted as some are slightly uneven, steep in parts and sometimes right on the edge of the path with a sheer drop to the sea on the other side. People will also be coming up so you have to shuffle around (with nothing to hold onto!) until they pass.
After the steps, you’ve a relatively gentle slope down to the lovely sandy beach with turquoise waters. Have a rest, a paddle (or swim), then get the blood pumping by doing the whole thing again in reverse!
Perranuthnoe to St Michael’s Mount
This nice coastal walk follows part of the South West Coast Path and if done as a circular walk covers around 5-6 miles. It’s mostly flat with just a couple of steep steps up and down onto the beach, and a steep walk up St Michael’s Mount to the castle.
Starting at the village of Perranuthnoe, take the coast path sign-posted to the right just before The Cabin Beach Cafe and simply follow it as it hugs the coast to the small town of Marazion. Enjoy the peace and quiet and the view as you turn the first corner and spy the Mount in all its glory in the distance. It then just gets bigger and bigger as you get closer with even more fine views. You can stop for a drink at The Fire Engine Inn on the outskirts of Marazion and soak in the view from the beer garden.
Once you get to Marazion, if the tide is out you can walk across to the Mount. If it’s in, take the short ferry ride over. St Michael’s Mount is a National Trust property so you have to pay to enter the castle gardens and climb your way up the steep path to the castle itself. You’ll be out of breath but rewarded with an excellent view across the bay to Penzance. Once you’re inside the castle walls, you can enjoy great views looking straight down onto the cultivated gardens which have been designed to be enjoyed from above.
Trencrom Hill, nr St Ives and Lelant
Another mini walk, make a pit-stop at Trencrom Hill just west of Lelant and south of St Ives. From the car park, take a swift walk up the path through foxgloves and heathers until you reach the top, 550 feet up. Here, large boulders, the remains of an old hill fort, are the stuff of legend – aparently the giant of Trencrom and the giant of St Michael’s Mount used to play a game of stone-throwing from here!
You get a fantastic view of both the south and north coasts, from St Michael’s Mount across to St Ives and the large sandy beach of Hayle.