Walk 1226 - printer friendly version
Porthcurno to Land's End & Sennen Cove Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 6.5 miles / 10.6 km
Ascent - 1355 feet / 411 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SW383225
Lat 50.044959 + Long -5.6566855
Postcode TR19 6JX (approx. location only)
This walk includes a visit to Land's End and the spectacular Gwennap Head with its amazing rock architecture. As with many of the coastal walks featured on the "Walking Britain" website, it has been designed to make the best of local public transport so you can concentrate on the delights of coastal walking on the South West Coast Path. As with any coastal walking, do not underestimate the time taken as there are many ups and downs and the path is never straight!
It is suggested you park at Sennen Cove and catch a bus to Porthcurno. This service is relatively frequent but is quite complex and it is important that you make sure the bus you catching goes to Porthcurno on its way to Penzance. Assuming you have got your homework right, alight at the main bus stop in the centre of Porthcurno village (grid ref. SW383225)and head through the main car park down to the beach.
The onward route could easily be described as "follow the South West Coast Path back to Sennen Cove" but the route is worthy of a more detailed description. The SWC Path climbs steeply up the cliffs on leaving Porthcurno beach and skirts round the inland side of the world famous Minack Theatre, which you sadly don't get to see, to enter the theatre's car park. Cross this and exit at the western end to regain the coastal footpath, which stays at cliff top level before dropping down to go across the back of Porth Chapel beach.
The next section through to Porthgwarra is pleasant and you make good progress to reach this hamlet with a small, sandy beach. The temptation on the next section is to take the short cut across the back of Gwennap Head to Porth Loe but to do so would mean that you have missed one of the highlights of the Cornish Coast. Instead stay on the path nearest to the sea, passing the Landmarks on your right, and enjoy the rocky cliffs, which act as a magnet for rock climbers. Rock stacks and an arch add an extra dimension to this spectacular section of coast. In wet weather care is needed on some sections as a slip could be fatal.
Continue on the main footpath always staying as near as you can to the sea. Most of the minor headlands are worth visiting even though a short diversion from the path is necessary. Leaving Gwennap Head Land's End seems a short walk away but remember coastal walking always take longer. Continuing west, Nanjizal is the next highlight being a beautiful bay edged with rocky cliffs and shortly after the buildings on Land's End start to become more obvious.
Despite the large numbers of visitors to this most westerly point of the English mainland, few venture very far from their transport and you can walk undisturbed to within a half of a mile of the theme park. Notices abound warning visitors of the dangers of getting too close to the cliffs. Passing Dr Syntax's Head (the true most westerly point) the number of people suddenly decreases and you are back to typical Cornish coastal walking for the remaining stretch to Sennen Cove.