Walk - Stepper Point, Padstow
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the Hawker’s Cove Car Park (seasonal - when closed, limited parking on the road) near Lellizzick walk back onto the lane, turn right, and after about 100 metres take the path leading off through the gate on the left. From here follow the track around the edge of the field.
The farmland around you has been managed under Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme for a number of years. Many of the fields that you will be passing through were once arable fields. These fields have been allowed to naturally revert to the wild grass meadows that ou see. Sheep graze these fields, and ground-nesting birds nest in the areas of rough grassland, so please keep your dog on a lead, particularly in the spring and early summer. Along with the coastal grazing slopes they are managed without fertiliser and sprays.
Late cutting for hay and silage protects ground nesting birds, as by the time the fields are cut the young have fledged. This is one of the best sites for skylark, particularly noticeable in early spring. There is also wider wildlife benefits associated with the management that is in place here. In addition underlying archaeology in some of these fields is protected as the fields are no longer cultivated.
Grazing has been introduced on the cliff slopes to open up the mat of grass and also to prevent scrub encroachment. There is a rich seed bank here, with many species of flowers. The grazing management here is helping to create to a diversity of flowing plants for which the Cornish cliffs slopes are famous. You can help support this work by purchasing meat from the Padstow Farmshop that comes from the animals that graze these areas. You pass the Farm shop on the way to the start of the walk and it has a great range of local produce to make a delicious picnic.
If you look inland from a vantage point you will see that most fields have quite wide margins where no crop is grown, again for the benefit of wildlife. Some fields have grassy margins; others are cultivated, but not sown with a crop, to encourage rare arable weeds. In one or two fields wild bird seed mixes are sown and in others over wintered stubble is left. This provides a source of winter food for farmland birds and helps them survive to the next breeding season.
- When you reach a gateway, branch off left towards the cliff top (unfenced, so take care of children and dogs), where close to Butter Hole you join the Coast Path. Following the Coast Path to the right the path leads along the cliffs to a Day Mark tower – erected to help mariners find the entrance to the Camel Estuary. This part of the Coast Path is a bit too steep and narrow for mobility scooters, but rugged scooters can get to the Day Mark by following the track leading towards the Coastwatch Institute and taking a left across the field once you are on the plateau. See the Photo Trails website for more details.
The dramatic headland at Stepper Point marks the entrance to the Camel Estuary and features prominently in the opening episodes of Poldark.
- Pass through the gap in the wall, just inland of the Day Mark and cross the field to reach the lookout hut manned by volunteers of the National Coastwatch Institute.
The waters around here have proved treacherous over the years, with the infamous Doom Bar – a ridge of sand close to the mouth of the estuary causing many ship wrecks over the years.
- From the lookout station a grass track leads back along the ridge and will bring you back to Butter Hole and the start of the walk.
Cream teas during the summer from Lellizzick Farm. Padstow Farm Shop which you will pass on the way to the start of the walk.