Walk - Sennen Cove to Lamorna

11.7 miles (18.8 km)

Sennen Cove - TR19 7DA Lamorna

Challenging - Moderate to strenuous. This section is undulating but mostly good underfoot. The strenuous rating is for the last mile appoaching Lamorna, where the Coast Path negotiates its way through a jumble of granite boulders, and so care is needed to pick your way.

This particularly beautiful section of Coast Path certainly feels like it begins at the very edge of the land, as the Path leads you along high cliffs and exposed, windswept heath. Once past the Land’s End complex, forget the tourists and enjoy the rugged peace and seclusion of the South Cornwall coast. There is much to see here, so do allow plenty of time.

On a clear day, there are fantastic views across the sea out to Bishop’s Rock Lighthouse and the Isles of Scilly. Birds such as fulmars, shags, rock pipits and occasional peregrine falcons can be seen along this stretch and the incredible geological formations, including offshore rock stacks and rippling cliffs, as well as the natural land-bridge of Tol-Pedn-Penwith at Gwennap Head, add to the sheer drama of the landscape, undoubtedly some of the best of the entire Coast Path.

Interactive Elevation

Highlights

  • The rocky islet known as The Irish Lady: this offshore rock is named after the sole survivor of a wreck, who was seen clinging to the rock but drowned before help could reach her. Fishermen still report sightings of a lady perched on the rocks with a rose in her mouth!
  • Maen Castle: dating from around 500BC, this Iron Age fort is one of the oldest cliff castles in Cornwall and has two visible ditches across the neck of the headland.
  • The exhilarating feeling of standing on Land’s End and looking out to sea. You may spot dolphins or basking sharks from here.
  • The Wildlife Discovery Centre at Land’s End, which is staffed by the RSPB during the summer months and has telescopes to help you identify the seabirds and wildlife. Entrance is free, open from Easter to October, 10.00-17.00, Sunday to Thursday.
  • Watching the seabirds around the Armed Knight and the stunning Enys Dodnan - an offshore stone arch best appreciated when looking back at it.
  • The view to the Longships Lighthouse, a mile west of Land’s End. Once manned by four men who had to deal with raging seas swamping the lantern, it was replaced in 1875 by a 35 metre tower and eventually automated in 1988.
  • National Coastguard Institution - Gwennap Head: a cliff castle once stood here and now it is the site of a National Coastwatch Station, undoubtedly due to the fact that this headland provides an extensive view of the rocky coast and busy shipping route. There are also navigation markers on the headland to warn ships of the rock pinnacle known as The Runnel Stone (or Rundle Stone) which is situated about a mile south of Gwennap Head and has been responsible for several wrecks. This area is popular with bird watchers and the granite cliffs make it ideal for climbers.
  • St Levan Holy Well: a pre-Christian holy well. The clear water is still sometimes used for baptisms and was once believed to cure eye and tooth problems.
  • Resting on the secluded sands of Porth Chapel Beach.
  • The stunning location of the world famous open-air Minack Theatre carved into the rock.
  • Logan Rock headland and stone: the Logan Rock is an eighty ton granite boulder on the edge of the cliffs south of Treen. It used to easily rock back and forth if pressure was applied in the correct place, however a group of sailors under Lieutenant Goldsmith dislodged it in 1824 and it fell crashing to the sea below. After much outcry from the locals, the sailors were ordered to replace it at their own cost, which took nearly seven months. The bills for the work and drawings of the procedure can be seen in the Logan Rock Inn in Treen.
  • The beautifully unspoilt Penberth Cove, which still has a small fishing fleet.
  • The lush, exotic woods around St Loy.
  • The hamlet of Lamorna: still popular with craftsmen, potters and writers, including John le Carré and Derek Tangye, it was a favoured spot of some Post-Impressionist artists who came to stay here in the early part of the twentieth century. These included Lamorna Birch, Laura Knight, Alfred Munnings and Augustus John.

Places of interest

  • St Levan Church: legend tells that the world will come to an end when a donkey laden with panniers can pass through the cracked granite rock near the churchyard!
  • The valley behind the cove of Porthgwarra: a beautiful spot visited by many migrating birds.
  • The Museum of Submarine Telegraphy in Porthcurno, open daily from 16th March to 3rd November, then Sundays and Mondays from 9th November to 30th March, Tel: 01736 810966.
  • The Merry Maidens and Pipers west of Lamorna near the B3315. According to legend the stones, which form a perfect circle, were once 19 maidens who were dancing in the fields to the tunes played by two pipers (the nearby standing stones). They should have been attending vespers and so were turned to stone for their sins.

Shorter option

Porthcurno (6.3 miles, 10.1 km).

Longer option

Mousehole (an additional 2.4 miles, 3.9 km).

Nearby refreshments

There are refreshments available in the shops and cafes of Sennen Cove. Further refreshments can be found at Land’s End, Porthgwarra and Porthcurno. There are a few facilities in Lamorna, including a cafe, pub and hotel with restaurant.

Public transport

From Penzance, which has a mainline train station, you can take bus service direct to Sennen. This service also runs between Sennen and Lamorna via St Buryan.  TFor 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

Sennen Cove (Postcode for Sat Navs: TR19 7AW), Land’s End, Porthgwarra, St Levan, Porthcurno, Treen, Penberth and Lamorna. If parking in Lamorna, please ensure that you have enough change for parking, and put enough time on your ticket as we have had several reports of parking tickets being issued for minor overstays in the car park.

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