Walk - St Ives to Pendeen

13.7 miles (22.0 km)

St Ives Pendeen

Challenging - Severe. This is one of the toughest sections of the entire Path, due to the rocky and sometimes boggy ground, and so progress is slower than you may anticipate - but the views make up for it.

A fairly gentle walk out of St Ives to Clodgy Point soon becomes a strenuous journey of roller coaster climbs as the Coast Path plunges down towering cliffs into beautiful coves and back up again. This is a particularly difficult section and there is a real feeling of remoteness here, unlike any other part of the Coast Path.

The landscape is beautifully wild and rugged and the area around the parish of Zennor is designated both an Environmentally Sensitive Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The path can be narrow and rough in places and all amenities require inland detours, so it is advisable to allow plenty of time and stock up on provisions at the beginning of the day.

Interactive Elevation

Highlights

  • Seal spotting from Mussel Point and watching the Atlantic crashing against the offshore Carrack Rocks.
  • Crossing the stream and looking at the rugged cliffs and giant fingers of granite above Wicca Pool.
  • Fantastic views from Zennor Head to Pendour Cove below. You may be able to see dolphins from here. The field systems in this area date from the Bronze Age and are still farmed sensitively so as to enhance wildlife and protect historic features.
  • Pendour Cove, with views beyond to Gurnard’s Head. This cove is also known as Mermaid’s Cove and legend has it that if you sit above the cove at twilight on a summer’s evening you may hear the singing of a man who fell in love with a mermaid and followed her out to sea.
  • Standing on the windswept rocky headland of Gurnard’s Head. There are remains of an ancient settlement and cliff castle here.
  • Bosigran Castle: the site of an Iron Age cliff fort. This rocky area is very popular with climbers.
  • Portheras Cove: there are often seals spotted around this secluded, sandy cove. Although incredibly beautiful and fairly unpopulated, please note that it is inadvisable to swim from this beach, or to walk on it barefoot, due to the possibility that there may still be metal fragments left from the dynamited wreck the Alacrity which ran aground in 1963.
  • Pendeen Lighthouse opened in 1900 to aid ships along what is said to be one of the most dangerous stretches of coast in Britain. Part of the lighthouse can be rented as holiday accommodation through Trinity House and Rural Retreats.

Places of interest

  • Zennor and the imposing rocks of Zennor Quoit, said to be Britain’s largest Neolithic portal tomb. The village of Zennor has a Norman church with a medieval bench carving of the famous Mermaid of Zennor. The author D.H. Lawrence lived in Zennor for a time, and it is here that he wrote his novel 'Women in Love'. Lawrence described Zennor as being “the most beautiful place, lovelier even than the Mediterranean”.
  • The Men-an-Tol: a remarkable holed stone on the moors beyond Madron. Said to cure aches and pains, children were also sent through the stone to ensure healthy growth.
  • The tin-mining relics of Pendeen. The Geevor Tin Mine Museum and Heritage Centre is open daily except Saturdays and conducts underground tours, and is a great introduction to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

Shorter option

There are a very limited number of settlements offering refreshments and accommodation close to the Coast Path and therefore if you wish to shorten the walk you would be better to walk a distance and then catch a bus to St Ives, Penzance or St Just.

Nearby refreshments

It would be a good idea to stock up on refreshments at the beginning of the day in St Ives as there aren’t any stops on the route to Pendeen. If you run short of supplies, you may want to take a detour to one of the pubs and tearooms in Zennor or Boswednack, or perhaps try The Gurnard’s Head Hotel near Treen, off the B3306, which has been awarded Cornwall’s Dining Pub of the Year for 2008 in the Good Pub and Hotel Guides. Otherwise continue walking inland to the village of Pendeen at the end of your walk.

Public transport

The nearest train stations are St Ives and Penzance. Buses go to Pendeen from both towns. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the train station and bus stop symbols, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

St Ives (Postcode for Sat Navs: TR26 1TG), inland from Bosigran Castle and Pendeen.

close
close

Walk Finder

Find...

Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

from this location

Difficulty

Length (miles)

Themes

close

Find somewhere to Eat & Drink, Sleep or Do

Find...

Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

from this location
close

Interactive Map