Walk - Perran Sands - Perranporth

3.3 miles (5.2 km)

Perran Sands Holiday Park Perran Sands Holiday Park

Easy - There are gentle ascents and descents and the paths are mostly sandy and fairly easy underfoot.

Take a soothing stroll through the dunes, spot the abundant wildlife, cross the golden sands and explore the bustling village of Perranporth. There are gentle ascents and descents and the paths are mostly sandy and fairly easy underfoot.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Perran View Holiday Park

An ideal place to escape everyday life, with lots of sports activities for kids and a recharging dip in the pool and sauna for you.Just 2 miles from Perranporth beach, great for surfing, snorkeling or sailing. Range of self-catering options available.

Parkdean Resorts Holywell Bay Holiday Park

Whether you want peaceful relaxation or family fun, you’ll find it all here. Located just 10 minutes stroll from the beach.

Trevornick Holiday Park

Trevornick offers a range of 5* accommodation from camping to luxury lodges, onsite restaurant/cafe and bar, entertainment, golf courses, fishing, swimming pool and more.

Parkdean Resorts Crantock Beach Holiday Park

Overlooking the sea, the caravan park is just 5 minutes’ walk from the beach, the Path and the village of Crantock. A fantastic location with brilliant facilities.

Wavelength - luxury self-catering eco accommodation

Luxury self catering eco lodge. Sleeps 4 (2 bedrooms, 1 en-suite & family bathroom) with parking, countryside and sea views. Approx 0.5mile to SWCP at Wheal Coates

Pentire Hotel Ltd

•Award-winning breakfasts and 75 rooms, some with Fistral Bay views. Relax in our indoor pool. Enjoy a drink with dinner. Some rooms are dog-friendly, so all welcome!

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Breakers Beach Cafe Ltd

Cosy cafe on the beach at St Agnes. Hot drinks, Cornish pasties, great food, cakes, chips & ice cream

Bowgie Inn Ltd

With unrivalled sea views, lots of seating inside & out, The Bowgie Inn & the surrounding area is the perfect place to explore all year round!

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Koru Kayaking - St Agnes

Koru Kayaking offer 2 hour stunning guided Kayak Adventures along the St Agnes Coastline & Helford River and creeks. Tandem sit on top kayaks. All equipment provided.

St Agnes Taxis

30 years' experience of transferring walkers across the North Coast of Cornwall. Travel in comfort to or from the start or end of your walk. Luggage transfer service available. 4 - 8 seater available.

SUP in a Bag

Paddle Boarding Tours and Lessons. Enjoy the stunning back drop, learn and explore, spot starfish, seals and occasionally dolphins.

NCI St Agnes Head

NCI St Agnes Head is situated on the coastal path between Trevaunance Cove snd Chapel Porth It is the Eyes of the coast looking out for vulnerable people and vessels on t

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the Reception in Perran Sands Holiday Park take the path towards the beach, passing the car park on your left. Head through Chy-An-Mor (Cornish for House of the Sea) until you meet up with the South West Coast Path.
  2. Turn left to walk through the dunes to the path inland near the end of the beach. Alternatively, instead of walking through the dunes, carry on down to the beach and turn left to walk along the sand.

Penhale Dunes are Britain's highest sand dunes, 90m above sea level, and at 650 hectares, Cornwall's largest dune system. They are thought to have been formed over 5000 years ago, when changing sea levels changed caused sand to build up on a rocky plateau.

The dunes here are a what is known as a 'hindshore system': a dune system which develops above a beach with a good supply of sediment, exposed to strong onshore winds strong enough to drive large quantities of sand onto the land in huge arcs or ridges until they become stabilised, often some distance from the sea.

At Penhale these winds are strong enough to blow sand onto the higher ground behind the dune system, leading to unusual communities of plants and insects.

The passage of these waves of sand can leave behind areas that have been eroded to the water table, leading to the development of extensive dune slacks which are seasonally flooded and low in nutrients. The whole area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its wildlife, and is a candidate Special Conservation Area (it has been submitted to the European Commission, but has yet to be formally adopted).

To the north of the dunes there are well-protected humid dune slacks with interesting plant communities growing in these marshy areas and pools: scented meadowsweet and water mint, as well as greater willowherb and water horsetail.

The drier slacks have short turf kept well-grazed by rabbits and  ponies. Plants supported by the thin soil and of especial note here are shore dock, petalwort and early gentian. Pyramidal orchids also thrive, as do silverweed and common centuary. Elsewhere there are sedge and fern-dominated communities, and scrambled egg lichen.

Sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons hunt overhead, and skylarks hover, singing their chirruping song high above. Wheatears and stonechats sing from the gorse and thorn bushes, while sanderlings and golden plovers thrive on the abundant supplies of insects.

Butterflies also flourish: look out for the silver-studded blue, the small copper and the brown argus. Of especial note is the grizzled skipper, a rare butterfly found in only two colonies in Cornwall.

The rock formation ahead, below the cliff as you approach Perranporth, is Chapel Rock. Although some of the chapel was still visible in the seventeenth century, most of it has been eroded by the sea.

In front of you can be seen the  coastline leading to Cligga Head. To the right of Chapel rock is Droskyn Point.  The Millennium sundial is located on the point of the Droskyn mine overlooking Perran Bay. The dial shows 'Cornish times' which are 20 minutes behind GMT. Then Shag Rock can be seen and behind it before the coastline turns southwards Cligga Head.

As well as tin, the mines at Cligga Head produced tungsten, used in World War II for armour-plating and armour-piercing shells. The conical mesh caps over the mine workings here are known as 'bat castles'. They are designed to prevent people from falling into the old shafts while still allowing access to the colonies of bats living here, including the rare greater horseshoe bat.

  1. Keeping to the left of Chapel Rock, cross the beach. Don't get your feet too wet in the river. Explore the village of Perranporth.

Perranporth's  name is Cornish for Saint Piran's cove (Saint Piran is one of the patron saints of Cornwall). It is believed that Saint Piran founded a church at Perranzabuloe near Perranporth in the seventh century. Buried under sand for many centuries, it was unearthed early in the twentieth century, but again left to the mercy of the sands in the 1970s.

Perran Beach, extends northwest from the town for nearly 2 miles to Ligger Point. There are lifeguard beach patrols from May to September and the beach is generally safe for bathing although there are dangerous rip currents around Chapel Rock at ebb tides.

The author Winston Graham lived in Perranporth for many years. His Poldark novels are based on the area).

In past times the weather and sea claimed many vessels.  The remains of the clipper ship La Seine can still be seen at low spring tides.   Alma House was built using timbers from the wreck of that name and Hanover Close was named after another local wreck.  When the sailing ship Voorspoed was wrecked on the beach the captain commented: - "I have been wrecked in different parts of the world, even the Fiji islands, but never amongst savages such as those of Perranporth".

  1. Having explored and enjoyed the village of Perrnaporth retrace your steps on the South West Coast Path. The path turns inland before Cotty's Point.
  2. Turn right onto the footpath and follow it through Perranporth golf course to the main road at Tollgate.
  3. When you reach Tollgate Road you will see the entrance to Perran sands Holiday Park. Turn left onto the path back into Perran Sands.

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