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Willerby Walks: Eight of the best circular walks in Cornwall

Cornwall Walks

 

Walking is one of the most popular activities in Cornwall, drawing visitors throughout the year to enjoy its stunning 300 miles of coastal path and 2000 miles of footpaths crisscrossing the county.

From towering cliffs, sandy beaches and picturesque harbour villages to wild moorland, Cornwall’s diverse natural landscape includes many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

There are also some truly amazing visitor attractions that are well worth a visit, so we’ve woven a few of those into our eight circular walks for you to try.

 

North Cornwall

 

Tintagel (4 miles)

 

Tintagel is steeped in Arthurian legends and stories.

This circular walk sets out from the Visitor Centre car park and heads to King Arthur's Great Halls, which were built in the 1930s and have since featured in many films and TV programs and have been visited by over two million people.

It continues on to Tintagel Old Post Office, a 600-year-old Cornish Longhouse set in cottage gardens, retaining its mediaeval slate-paved hall and fireplace, before heading out along the coastline to Tintagel Castle and Merlin’s Cave, well worth a visit.

According to Arthurian Legend, Merlin lived in a cave below the fortress of Tintagel during Arthur’s childhood and was his teacher.

The cave is 100 metres long and passes through the island beneath the castle. At high tide, the cave is flooded but at low tide, you can walk through from Tintagel Haven to the rocky West Cove on the other side.

The route then follows the coast to Barras Nose, the first coastal land ever purchased by the National Trust, and continues past the Iron Age hillfort at Willapark to the sandy beach at Bossiney Haven.

There is no beach at Bossiney at high tide, but when the tide is fully out, there is a beach of golden sand which stretches around the other side of the headland (Benoath Cove).

After passing Benoath Cove, the route follows the river up Rocky Valley through the ancient woodland before returning to Tintagel via Bossiney.

For step by step route details click here.

 

Pentire Head (3.5 miles)

 

This walk around the wild coastline of Pentire head, follows a coastal path all the way, with views over Padstow Bay and the Camel Estuary.

Home to greater horseshoe bats, grey seals, breeding puffins (in summer) and a wealth of wildlife, there’s plenty to take in along the way.

For more information click here.

 

Mid Cornwall

 

Eden Project and Trethurgy (3.5 miles)

 

Dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by some, The Eden Project houses the world’s largest Rainforest Biome with steamy jungles and waterfalls, a Mediterranean Biome with olive groves and gnarled vines and 30 acres of outdoor garden. More than just a huge, tropical garden, it explores the relationships between plants and people and is a resource for education and working towards a sustainable future.

To explore the attraction properly is a good walk in itself, but if you’d like to arrive car free, you can add on a beautiful 3.5 mile walk that takes in some of the scenic countryside and stunning views over St Austell Bay from Mevagissey to the Gribbin Head.

The walk starts from St Austell bus station and if you present your bus ticket, you will receive a discounted entry to the Domes.

Download the full walk here.

 

Pentewan, Heligan and Mevagissey (5.3 miles)

 

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are set in one of the most mysterious and romantic estates in England. A genuine secret garden, it was lost for decades, hidden by bramble and ivy. A chance discovery of a door in the ruins led to the restoration of this once great estate and today the 200-acre gardens take pride of place as among the finest in Cornwall.

With so much to see, you can easily spend the whole day exploring the gardens but if you have a little more time in the area, this beautiful walk takes in the sandy beach at Pentewan, along a cycle track near the Lost Gardens of Heligan and on to the historic fishing port of Mevagissey. The return route follows the South West Coastal Path, pasing Polstreath beach on the way back to Pentewan.

For step by step route details click here.

 

West Cornwall

 

St Ives (1.5 miles)

 

Access to St Ives by car is restricted in the summer so we recommend parking at Lelant Saltings Station and enjoying the scenic three-mile train journey to St Ives railway station.

Once there, this short walk around the town takes you from the station up to the Malakoff, to enjoy spectacular views of the harbour, and on to Westcott’s Quay where you can take in views of St Ives Bay.

The walk meanders through lanes and cobbled alleyways passing churches, the lifeboat station, the Tate St Ives, artists’ studios, a pilchard cellar, The Salthouse Gallery and on to a coastal track with splendid views across Porthmeor beach. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of seals, porpoises or dolphins and at low tide, parts of the SS Alba shipwreck can still be seen.

The final stages of the walk take you out to The Battery, built during the Napoleonic Wars, and on to St Nicholas Chapel, before heading back into the town and past the St Ives Museum and Smeaton’s Pier on your way back to the station.

For step by step route details click here.

 

Hell’s Mouth to Godrevy (5 miles)

 

Just along the coast from St Ives is Hell’s Mouth, a craggy Cornish cove surrounded by dramatic cliffs and expansive views.

This five-mile circular walk begins at the Hell’s Mouth, where you can park in the lay-by. Turning left onto the coastal path you will head down a steep path to the beach and on towards Navax Point, an area that is maintained by the National Trust and has some of the best heathland for butterflies and birds.

The walk continues around Mutton Cove, home to a large grey seal colony which you can observe from the cliff top, and on to Godrevey Head with excellent views of the lighthouse.

The path passes some small coves before turning inland up the Red River Valley, following a small lane to the Gwealavellan cross before returning to Hell’s Mouth along footpaths through the wooded valley below Carlean.

For full directions click here.

 

South East Cornwall

 

Lanhydrock Gardens (3.3 miles)

 

Lanhydrock is a National Trust property with extensive gardens and a wooded estate.

This fairly short and easy circular walk takes you through the gardens with plenty of picnic spots along the River Fowey and you can combine it with a visit to the house.

The walk starts from the gatehouse into the formal gardens and climbs through the magnolia arch to the Higher Gardens overlooking Lanhydrock. It then descends through the woodland gardens and the Great Wood to the river.

Following the River Fowey to Respryn Bridge, the walk returns via the drive passing through the gatehouse and the parkland back to Lanhydrock house.

For step by step route details click here.

 

Golitha Falls to Trethevy Quoit (7.3 miles)

 

The Golitha Falls Nature Reserve follows the River Fowey along a series of cascades and rapids. In spring, the valley is carpeted with bluebells, in the summer it is home to woodland butterflies and in the autumn, the trees are vivid colours and there are plenty of fungi.

This walk starts from Draynes Bridge and loops through the Golitha Falls Nature Reserve. It then crosses the Bulland Downs to the hamlet of South Trekieve and passes King Doniert's Stone, an ancient memorial to Dungarth, the last King of Cornwall.  

The route then continues along footpaths and tracks to reach St Cleer, beside the Holy Well, whose water is reputed to cure madness.

Some small lanes and a bridleway lead to Trethevy Quoit, a 9ft tall 4000 year old burial chamber, also known as ‘King Arthur’s Quoit’.

From there the route cuts back through the centre of St Cleer past the pub to the church. The return route is on a tiny lane through the farms of Treworrick to Redgate.

For full directions click here.

 

Where to stay in Cornwall

 

Cornwall is a popular region for holiday homes thanks to its breath-taking scenery, sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and beautiful coastline.

With a Willerby holiday home or lodge, you could explore every walk in the area with a home away from home and the freedom to visit whenever you like.

To explore all our parks in Cornwall try our park finder tool here or for more information contact our friendly team here.

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