Penzance to Helford Walk Blog

A 5 day walk in November 2011 around the Lizard Peninsula.

Penzance to Porthleven

13th November: Stayed in Penzance Hotel overnight set off at 10:15. There was a strong wind blowing into our faces. The first 3 miles to Marizion are a bit dull, alongside the railway track and the road. We passed the Remembrace day parade in Marazion. Just the other side of the village the path turns right off the road and down to the coast. After we had passed the 3 coves that make up Prussia cove we arrived a lovely little cafe at Perranathue where we stopped for a delicious cup of latte.
Some sandy coves and rocky headlands and then we arrived at Praa Sands where we had lunch at the beach bar. (Note if you ever go to Praa Sands by car, the car park behind the bar is run by a very aggressive private company, always pay and display, we didn’t once and it cost us over £50!) Two crab bisques later and we were off across the sands. This last stretch to Porthleven proved quite hard work, a few down and ups, and quite a lot of wiggling before finally arriving.

Porthleven to Mullion Cove

14th November: A bit of a late start, we drove from Penzance to Mullion Cove, dropped off the car and were picked up by a taxi and driven back to Porthleven. Picked up sandwiches for lunch at the fantastic Deli and set off at 11:30.
Along the cliff tops and then down onto Loe Bar, where the Environment Agency were trying to rebuild a section of cliff. Then back up onto the cliffs and on around the corner. We ate our sandwiches looking down onto Church Cove and watching a few brave surfers tackling the breaking waves. After lunch down to the little church yard and Church right down on the beach tucked safely away behind a huge rock.
The sun was shining by now and these isolated sandy coves with roaring surf looked and sounded magnificent. We approached a large white building on a prominent headland which turned out to be a nursing home. The other side of this was a memorial to Marconi and this was the site of the first radio transmitter to transmit signals across the Atlantic.
A short way further and we arrived at Mullion Cove a little harbour, quite well protected by an island a few hundred metres offshore. The harbour contained half a dozen little fishing boats pulled up the slipway and a pile of lobster pots.

Mullion to Cadgwith Cove

15th November: We decided any earlier start would help so after a hearty breakfast we set off from Mullion Cove at 10:00. The sun was shining, it could have been summer! Those first few miles along from Mullion to Kynance Cove were absolutely stunning, turquoise seas, breaking surf and the sun shining down on everything. We walked past wild ponies and barren moorland that reminded us off our old favourite walks on Ilkley moor, in far away Yorkshire.
We had lunch in the cafe in the car park at Lizard and then on out of Lizard and past the new lifeboat station, quite a feat of engineering. They were just putting the finishing touches to the vernicular railway that allows access to the station.
Cadgwith was a lovely spot to end the day and we managed a swift one at the Cadwith Cove Inn before going up to out b&b for the evening.

Cadgwith Cove to Coverack

16th November: The good weather deserted us, rain, rain and more rain. Cadgwith Cove still looked lovely and the coast path along to Kennack Sands, where a sandy beach was overlooked by a tidy little beach cafe (closed) and a smart lifeguard hut (also closed), mind you we did see are only other two walkers of the day by the beach (getting into their car!). The path then climbed up and after some quite hilly coves we rounded the corner and Coverack comes into view. However the path winds around and was very steep and slippy so the last half mile was hard work. Lunch at The Paris Hotel failed to dry us out so plans were changed and we ended the day there.

Coverack to Helford

17th November: The sun returned and the walk from Coverack and around Lowland Point was superb. Lowland point is a an old reef that rose up after the last ice age and allows you to walk very close to the sea as the waves break on the rocks. The path then passes a disused quary before cutting inland to avoid an active quary. The inland walk required us to take a lot more notice of the map than we had been used to. The path took us back to the coast at Porthallow, the half way point on the south west coastal path. The cliffs along the coast to Nare Point from Porthallow are smaller and the path has that more gentle feel we associate with the coastal path through the Roseland.
After lunch in the sunshine at Nare Point overlooking the entrance to Helford River we walked to Gillan Creek. To avoid the long walk round we waded across, the water being no more than knee deep. The path then runs along the side of the Helford river to Helford. We arrived tired but exhilarated in to the car park at Helford – a beautiful walk along a great coastline. My abiding memory will be those isolated coves.