Walk - Land's End Hostel - Sennen Cove and Land’s End
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- Leave Land’s End Hostel in Trevescan along the B3315 towards Land's End. Take care as there are no pavements on this section of road. At the junction with the A30 carefully cross the road and follow the public footpath, down a track past Treeve Moor House, through 3 fields towards Sennen Cove.
- Nearing Sennen Cove, the path passes some houses and then changes to a tarmac surfaced road. When you reach the junction, turn right into Maria’s Lane.
- Follow the road and turn sharp left into Stone Chair Lane. Head down to the tiny granite fishing harbour at Sennen Cove.
Sennen Cove still has a small fishing fleet as well as a few pleasure boats, but it does not offer anchorage to other seafarers, because the frequent heavy swells make it a hazardous destination. Visit it on a windy day, and you will see why!
Leave the harbour through the car park above the slipway. Take the South West Coast Path climbing westwards towards Land End.
There are stunning views over Whitesand Bay northwards towards Cape Cornwall and the Brisons. At the top of this moderately steep section, rounding the headland of Pedn-mên-du, the National Trust has refurbished a former Coastguard Lookout. This is open from Easter to October and contains displays and information about the local area as well as a telescope available for use.
The walk continues along granite clifftops criss-crossed by well-preserved prehistoric field boundaries, past Maen Castle, an impressive Iron Age cliff castle and a number of Bronze Age burial cairns. The heathland in this section is spectacular when in flower, and is home to a variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife, whilst the cliffs are popular nesting sites for fulmars, shags and other seabirds. Peregrine falcons and kestrels can often be seen hunting here, and during the summer it is worth scanning the water below the cliffs for basking sharks and other cetaceans.
A mile and a half out to sea, the Longships Lighthouse guards the busy shipping lanes around Lands End and there are usually some interesting ships to be seen making their way up or down the Bristol Channel.
The granite around Land's End was formed some 275 million years ago.
Cornwall has always been an important mining area. Tin mining made Cornwall one of the world's biggest mineral traders even as long ago as the Bronze Age. Copper, for which it was particularly famous during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, lead, zinc and silver were also mined in the county. China clay which is still one of Cornwall's main industries is also derived from an altered form of granite.
Granite in this area has very large white feldspar crystals in it: a sign that the magma cooled down very slowly after it was formed.
The action of the sea on the hard granite has resulted in the large rectangular blocks and long narrow buttresses in the cliffs here, forming a classic castellated coastline, the best and most spectacular of its type in Britain. As the Atlantic hurls its massive breakers at the cliffs, air is compressed from the impact. This is forced into lines of weakness in the rock, resulting in new caves, fissures, blowholes and zawns.
- The Coast Path continues through the remains of further prehistoric fields to Land's End with its wide-ranging views.
Refreshments and other facilities are available all year round at the nearby hotel and visitor centre.
Land's End is England's most westerly point, and looks out over the mythical Arthurian lost lands of Lyonesse. It is a great place for wildlife. In spring and summer it is a riot of colour when the gorse and heather are in bloom, and the pink thrift and white sea campion grow in banks between them. Dolphins and basking sharks can often be spotted offshore, and sometimes a chough, Cornwall's “national” bird. In early 2001 three Choughs arrived on the Lizard peninsula in south-west Cornwall. Two of the birds paired up, the third left the area. The pair nested successfully in 2002, the first breeding in England for fifty years. They have bred annually since, raising a total of 20 young.
- Reaching Land's End you can simply return to Trevescan directly along the A30 and B3315. You may choose to turn around and walk the way you came via Sennen Cove back to Trevescan.
- Alternatively you may wish to follow a route that uses part of the National Cycleway route. This section is well surfaced and level enough for wheelchair access as it winds its way back towards Sennen Cove.
- At the old Coastguard cottages at this end of Maria’s Lane, turn right back onto the tarmac road. Follow the path back across the fields to the A30 and thence on the B3315 to Trevescan.
Several pubs and cafes in Sennen Cove. Refreshments at the Land's End Visitor Centre.