Walk 1961 - printer friendly version
Porthcothan to Watergate Bay Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 6.8 miles / 11.1 km
Ascent - 1200 feet / 364 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SW858720
Lat 50.5085150 + Long -5.0223384
Postcode PL28 8LW (approx. location only)
This linear walk from Porthcothan follows the South West Coast Path along the north Cornwall coast to Watergate Bay. The route passes sandy beaches, rocky headlands and includes the Bedruthan Steps. The route follows a good path and depending on season you are likely to encounter varied wildlife. Unlike some sections of coastal walking there are many choices of refreshments along the way.
The walk starts from Watergate Bay from where a bus, route 56 to Padstow, is used to reach Porthcothan. There are two car parks close to the bus stop (grid ref. SW843649). After parking catch the bus from near the public toilets. The journey time to Porthcothan is about 30 minutes and you should alight at the bus top near the entrance to the main car park (grid ref. SW858720). The path is waymarked with an Acorn symbol.
After arrival take the South West Coast Path along a track signed by the telephone box opposite the car park entrance. Initially the path runs along the beach (on your right) before turning south passing Trescore Islands on your right. The path descends into a valley, crosses a footbridge, and then climbs up to Park Head. The path veers left along the cliffs passing several rock formations including Pentire Steps, Queen Bess Rock, Samaritan Island and Bedruthan Steps.
Beyond Bedruthan Steps a short diversion to the left leads to a National Trust tearoom at Carnewas (grid ref. SW850690). The next landmark is Trenance Point where the path reaches its maximum height above the sea. Continue downhill towards the sands of Mawgan Porth. Just before the beach cross a footbridge before continuing along the clifftop path before descending steps onto the beach. Continue along the beach to exit onto a road in Mawgan Porth.
Turn right across the bridge, and then take the first footpath on the right (signed Watergate) still following the South West Coast Path. The route rounds two headlands before the sands of Watergate Bay come into view. Continue to reach Trevarrian Hill in Watergate Bay. Turn right downhill back to the start.