||Travel to St Mawes
||St Mawes to Portloe
|| 13 miles / 21 km
|| Portloe to Mevagissey
|| 12 miles / 19 km
|| Mevagissey to Charlestown
|| 7 miles / 11 km
|| Charleston to Fowey
|| 10 miles / 16 km
|| Fowey to Looe
|| 13 miles / 21 km
|| Looe to Portwrinkle
|| 9 miles / 14.5 km
|| Portwrinkle to Plymouth
|| 12 miles / 19 km
|| Depart Plymouth
Day 1: Travel to St Mawes where your first nights accommodation has been booked.
Day 2: St Mawes to Portloe. 13 miles (21km)
From St Mawes you take a short ferry across the Percuil River to the start of the trail. From the beautiful little church of St Anthony, the path winds around St Anthony Head, with glorious views across Carrick Roads from St Mawes to Pendennis Castles, to the pretty village of Portscatho. From Portscatho, the coast path meanders around Gerrans Bay past Veryan Castle, the largest Bronze Age barrow in Britain, to Nare Head, which provides sensational views across Veryan Bay to the rocky headland of Dodman Point, notorious for its shipwrecks. After Nare Head the path winds around secluded coves to the beautiful and unspoilt fishing village of Portloe. Fronted by jagged black rocks that throw up fountains of spray, its tiny harbour is very cramped - which explains why in the 17 years a lifeboat was stationed here it did not perform a single rescue: in stormy weather the narrow entrance was too dangerous to negotiate.
Day 3: Portloe to Mevagissey. 12 miles (19km).
Passing the twin villages of West and East Portholland, each crouching before a beach and in its own valley, the path continues along the cliffs to Porthluney Cove, a beautiful sandy beach overlooked by the picturesque mansion of Caerhays Castle. After another beautiful and secluded sandy cove, the path reaches Dodman Point, crowned by a stark granite cross erected by a local parson as a seamark in 1896. On the headland is an extensive Iron Age fort, defended by a great earthwork or Baulk cutting right across the point. Skirting Vault Beach, the path winds around Maenease Point to the harbour and old fishing village of Gorran Haven. Pleasant walking along cliff top paths lead around Chapel Point to the bustling fishing port of Mevagissey. Its attractive harbour, lively waterfront, quaint shops and maze of narrow backstreets, make it a captivating place.
Day 4: Mevagissey to Charlestown. 7 miles (11km)
From Mevagissey, the coast path winds around Penare Point to the small harbour at Pentewan. Beyond Pentewan exhilarating walking along cliff top paths around Black Head, a glorious viewpoint crowned with an impressive Iron Age cliff castle, ends at the picturesque Georgian harbour of Charlestown filled with square-rigged sailing ships. Behind the harbour is the fascinating Visitor Centre and Shipwreck Museum.
Day 5: Charlestown to Fowey. 10 miles (16km)
Rounding St Austell Bay, the path arrives at the charming and quite unspoilt fishing village of Polkerris. From here cliff top paths lead around Gribbin Head, a fine viewpoint crowned with a huge red and white candy-striped Daymark, to the sandy coves at Polridmouth. The beach house here was the inspiration for Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. 'Manderley' is actually Menabilly, up the valley from the cove, where the author lived for several years. Just before Fowey, the path passes the ruin of St. Catherines Castle, another of Henry VIII's coastal defences. Situated at the mouth of a deepwater inlet Fowey
has a long maritime history. In the 14th and 15th centuries, ships from Fowey, the 'Fowey Gallants', constantly raided the French coast - and continued to do so even after Edward IV had made peace with the French! Today, ships enter the estuary to load china clay and the harbour throngs with yachts and cabin cruisers.
Day 6: Fowey to Looe. 13 miles (21km)
After crossing the Fowey Estuary by ferry to the attractive village of Polruan, which provided glorious views of the historic port, the coast path meanders around a series of little headlands and combes to the village of Polperro. Once heavily involved in fishing by day and smuggling by night, the village is a picturesque jumble of tightly packed whitewashed cottages that spill down the hillside to the quay on the inner harbour. From Polperro another outstanding stretch of coastline ends at Looe. Looe consists of two towns, East and West Looe, joined by a seven-arched Victorian bridge across the River Looe. West Looe is built around the 14th century church of St. Nicholas. The tower has a campanile belfry that contained, up to the early 19th century a 'scolds cage' in which nagging wives were placed. St Mary's Church in East Looe has a 13th century tower that used to be whitewashed as a landmark for ships entering the port. The Old Guildhall Museum is a fascinating building containg prisoner's cells, raised magistrates benches and a display of local history; outside are the old stocks and pillory.
Day 7: Looe to Portwrinkle. 9 miles (14.5km)
Beyond Millendreath Beach the path climbs up to the top of Bodigga Cliff to follow a path through delightful woodland before descending to the sea at Seaton. From here the path follows the beach past the village of Downderry, and then zigzags up to the top of Battern Cliffs, at 461ft (141m) the highest in South Cornwall. From here the path continues around Whitsand Bay to the pleasant little fishing village of Portwrinkle.
Day 8: Portwrinkle to Plymouth. 12 miles (19km)
From Portwrinkle the coast path follows the broad sweep of Whitsand Bay to the fine viewpoint of Rame Head, which is crowned by a sturdy chapel and an Iron Age fort, and then continues around the headland, with some fine views over the huge breakwater in the middle of Plymouth Sound, to the attractive fishing village of Cawsand and its neighbour, Kingsand. After meandering through the beautiful gardens of Mount Edgcumbe House, the path arrives at Cremyll and the ferry for Plymouth.
For more than 700 years, Plymouth's fortunes have been linked to the sea. The Elizabethan sailors and adventurers Hawkins, Raleigh and Frobisher began their voyages from here and Sir Francis Drake is said to have finished his game of bowls on The Hoe before setting sail to defeat the Spanish Armada. The Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth in 1620, as did the explorer James Cook in 1772. Places of interest include Plymouth Hoe, a vast esplanade dotted with reminders of the great events in the city's history; Smeaton's Tower; the Royal Citadel, built in 1666 to intimidate the people of the only town in the southwest to support the Parliamentarians during the Civil War; Sutton Harbour, the old town's quay; and the Elizabethan House, a captain's house with a beautiful pole staircase.
Day 9: Depart from Plymouth after breakfast.