Around Portreath

Before we look at the Portreath area, have a look at this beautiful 'from the air' video of Cornwall:


Chapel PorthPortreath is situated on Cornwall’sNorth Coast which is more rugged than the gentler South Coast.  In both directions spectacular views across the Atlantic Ocean can be had from high, rocky cliffs. Many seabirds can be seen on ledges in the cliffs and in the air, skimming the surface of the sea in search of their next meal.   Seals are resident all along the coast, with visiting dolphins often seen playing in groups of six or eight some way from the shore. 

When family and friends visit us, our favourite trip is to Godrevy Head, whereseals can usually be seen on an inaccessible beach. There can be up to sixty of them.  Take a pair of binoculars to get a better look and stand well back.  It’s a long way down!

St Ives - Porthminster BeachBetween Godrevy and Portreath are many attractive coves, although some are inaccessible.  Follow one of the tracks from the road down to the cliff edge and take your sandwiches (or a pasty from the Portreath Bakery), or walk from Portreath along the coastal path.

Godrevy has a lovely, sandy, family beach, with views around the bay to St. Ives.  Try Gwithian too – a couple of miles further along the coast.  Both were favourite destinations at weekends when I was young.  If you have young children, look out for Sheep’s Pool at Gwithian – deep enough to be fun but small enough to be safe (with supervision of course).

Wheal CoatesA few more miles take you to the Hayle Estuary, where as many as 18,000 birds have been seen taking refuge in cold winters.  In spring and autumn you can see migrant wading birds, gulls and terns.

At the end of the ‘three miles of golden sand’ of St. Ives Bay you’ll find St. Ives itself.  It’s impossible to describe the charm and beauty of this amazing little town – just go and visit it yourselves!  St. Ives is full of galleries and workshops and still attracts artists of all kinds because of the quality of the light.  Visit Barbara Hepworth’s house or Tate St. Ives. The best way to get to St. Ives, especially in summer, is to park at Lelant Saltings and take the little train into the heart of the town. The views across the bay are quite breathtaking.

Aerial view of Land's EndHeading ‘up country’ from Portreath is a stunning selection of beaches and coves.  First comes Porthtowan – amazing surfing and safe swimming (but be guided by the lifeguards of couse).  Chapel Porth is tucked away but well worth a visit.  Walk to the edge of the sea when the tide is out and you’ll be able to see for miles in both directions.  In winter this is the place to come to experience the true fury of the Atlantic Ocean. If you're feeling a bit more energetic, walk the mile and a half back to Portowan along the cliffs - a nice level walk once you've puffed up the first incline!

Trevaunance Cove comes next, like Chapel Porth calm and welcoming in the summer, spectacular in the winter.  Inland is the pretty village of St. Agnes, with its cafes, craft shops and museum – and a free car park (at the time of writing at least!).

Of course, Cornwall is more than its coastline.  Truro has shops, galleries, the County Museum and an imposing cathedral.  It also has the largest theatre in Cornwall – the Hall for Cornwall - with an impressive programme of concerts, plays and musicals.

TrescoEveryone who comes to Cornwall wants to visit the Eden Project (which is amazing).  If you have the time and the energy, try to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan as well.  The gardens were discovered and recovered by Tim Smit, creator of Eden and have an fascinating history. 

 

Spend a day in Porthcurno with its glorious beach, the faccinatingTelegraph Museum Porthcurno (where you can hear Gareth giving a talk about communication) and the famous Minack Theatre, built into the cliffs.

Closer to Portreath is Redruth, centre of Cornwall’s mining history and part of the UNESCOWorld Heritage Site.  Visit Kresen Kernow - the Cornwall Centre- and spend time looking through the archives and viewing the fifty-eight Tregella tapestry panels, which depict the story of Cornwall in modern embroideries.  Soon there will be an ambitious new Cornwall Centre on the site of the old Redruth Brewery. Redruth is surrounded by old stacks and engine houses from its industrial past and a number of walks and cycle trails have been created in recent years. 

Godrevy LighthouseIf you'd like a trip further afield, think about a day trip from Penzance to the Isles of Scillies. We spend a few days there at least twice a year and the islands are just magical. Go by sea on the Scillonian or fly,enjoying an aerial view of the Cornish coastline and Land's End before heading directly to the Islands. The flight takes only about thirty minutes. Watch for special offers. Rumour has it that the helicopter service is going to be reinstated - even easier.

For lovely walks with lots of wildlife - squirrels, birds, ducks, swans, coots etc. - try Tehidy Country Park - a short drive from Portreath up Tregea Hill.

On a really sunny day, though, walk the few hundred yards down to the beach at Portreath and sit against the harbour wall and relax. It really is the best place in the world.

For more information on the coastal path go to the website of the South West Coast Path Associationwww.swcp.org.uk

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