Walk - Land's End Hostel - Porthcurno

5.8 miles (9.3 km)

Land’s End Hostel,Trevescan Porthcurno, Main Valley Car Park

Moderate -

A trip from Land's End around the spectacular granite cliffs, taking in cables, lighthouses and shipwrecks, the theatre, ancient artefacts and abundant wildlife- all in a few miles!

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.

Sea View House

Long standing B&B offering comfortable accomodation, conveniently situated for Coast Path.

The Studio, Treen

The architect designed Studio is located on the west side of Penberth valley in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 8 mins walk from the Path

Treen House B&B

Newly renovated vegetarian/Vegan, eco-friendly B&B in an unspoilt, magical location. All rooms en-suite. Use of guest lounge.

Porthgwarra Holiday Cottages

Six holiday cottages in and around Porthgwarra. Porthgwarra Cove Cafe open 10-3pm daily.

Lands End Hostel and B&B

Family run boutique Hostel and B&B, 1/2mile from Lands End. Great for walkers, cyclists, Lejog. Close to The Minack, St Just Airport & Sennen.

Sunnybank House B&B

Comfortable B&B close to SWCP. Free WiFi. Sea Views. Packed Lunches with prior notice. Refreshment trays. Hair Dryers, TV

Bosula House

Bosula House, set in a peaceful location. Val & Paul offer a warm, friendly welcome, comfortable night’s sleep, ensuite rooms and a good breakfast to start your day.

Lamorna Pottery B&B

We offer an en-suite family room sleeping 4 as well as double & twin rooms available. Single night stays. Evening meal by arrangement. Seating area and outlook onto patio and woods.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From Trevescan turn right along the B3315 walk towards Lands End.  Take care as the road does not have any pavement. At the junction with the main road (A30) turn left towards Lands End.Keep to the pavement on the left hand side and walk to Lands End. At the headland follow the South West Coast Path as it hugs the coastline southwards.

The granite around Land's End was formed some 275 million years ago. 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, the compressed air resulting from the impact is forced into the lines of weakness in the rock, resulting in new caves, fissures, blowholes and zawns.

The heath between here and Porthgwarra is crossed by a myriad of small paths, and as it is almost all 'Open Access' land you are free to take your pick, and so long as the sea is on your left hand side you shouldn't get lost. One word of caution though, the cliffs are unfenced and some are crumbling and so you are advised not to get too close to the edge, and keep a close eye on children and dogs who may not be aware of the danger.

A number of artefacts have been found in this area. Archaeologists have been able to date them to prehistoric times. These include flint tools from the Middle and Late Stone Ages, as well as a cup-marked stone and a socketed stone, both from the Iron Age, and traces of Bronze and Iron Age middens, an iron Age courtyard house and a Romano-British Round

  1. Between Lands End and Nanjizal are a series of small headlands, running between a number of carns (crags) and zawns (gullies) to reach Land's End. At the last, Trevilley Cliff, the path drops to the little cove at Zawn Reeth and then climbs past Carn Cravah to Nanjizal. Cross the stream at Nanjizal.
  2. From Nanjizal beach the path ascends to the promontory fort at Bosistow Island and the Bronze Age tumulus before it carries on through the boulder-strewn landscape and past the outcrop of Carn Trevean.
  3. Head out around Ardensawah and Rôskestal Cliffs before dropping downhill above Porth Loe. Climb up and around Gwennap Head, travelling over the top to Hella Point.

At Gwennap Head, both Soft-plumaged Petrel and Black-browed Albatross have also been sighted.  The headland is a great spot for seeing cetaceans with dolphins often passing, and basking sharks are frequent summer visitors. As you approach the headland, and the seas are rough you may hear an eerie moaning sound.

Offshore is the Runnel Stone, a hazardous rock pinnacle which became invisible to passing vessels after a steamship struck it in 1923. It is now marked by a buoy fitted with a flashing light and a bell which peals with the movement of the waves. In the buoy there is also a whistle set in a tube. In a heavy swell, water  rises and falls through the whistle creating a mournful noise. There are also two cone shaped navigation markers on Gwennap Head to warn sailors of the rock's position. If, from a boat, the view of the inland (black and white) marker is completely obscured by the more seaward (red) marker, then the boat would be bang on top of the Runnel Stone, and so obviously skippers aim to keep them well apart.

The buildings on the headland were originally a Coastguard lookout, but cut-backs in the service led to their closure in 1994. In 1996, the charity, The National Coastwatch Institute took over the building and their dedicated band of volunteers continue the vital work of watching out for seafarers, climbers and walkers. A room beneath the station is open to the public and has displays on shipping, wildlife and the history of the area.

From here the path carries on above the beach to  Porthgwarra

The tiny secluded cove at Porthgwarra is known to be one's of Britain's best birdwatching sites, with frequent sightings of rare species, including Yellow-Browed and Dusky Warblers and Red-eyed Vireo. In summer skylarks, stonechats, linnets and wheatears are commonly seen.

The tunnel from the slipway towards the road at Porthgwarra was excavated by miners from St.Just to enable farmers to gather seaweed for fertilising the fields.  A second tunnel, leading seawards, gives access to the tidal 'hulleys' built in the rocks to store shellfish.

  1. Climb up from the hamlet of Porthgwarra. Turn right after the houses. Keep ascending steeply, scrambling over granite boulders in places. Fork right to carry on to the hillside above Porthgwarra before forking right again to walk around Carn Barges ('buzzard crag'). On the other side fork right once more above Porthchapel. As the path descends towards Porthchapel Beach, it passes St Levan's Well.

St Levan was a sixth-century Celtic saint who built a chapel  on the site of the present-day Parish Church in St Levan, and a hermit's cell at the side of a well which was already considered a sacred spring with healing properties. Both the cell and the well can be seen beside the path.

The path climbs turning the corner above the headland. From here the South West Coast Path travels around Carracks and Pedn-mên-an-mere and then heads through the Minack theatre car park.

"Minack" in Cornish means a rocky place, and the unique Minack Theatre has the Logan Rock headland as a stunning backdrop. During the summer months it hosts a range of plays, (weather permitting!), from Shakespeare to contemporary works. The theatre was the brainchild of Rowena Cade, daughter of the owner of a Derbyshire cotton mill and great great granddaughter of Joseph Wright, the painter of the industrial revolution. Past performers here include Michael York, Sheridan Morley, John Nettles and Sue Pollard.

  1. As the path heads down towards the beach keep bearing left. Take the road into Porthcurno and find the bus stop.

As well as its gloriously remote and beautiful beach with its turquoise waters and white beach made of crushed seashells, Porthcurno has two other famous features: its importance in the history of international communications, and its open-air theatre set high on the cliffs above the bay.

The hamlet was the British end of the first submarine cables laid between England and its colony in India in 1870. The 14 cables used the binary code which much later became the basis for the internet. Porthcurno was chosen rather than Penzance, because there was no chance of the cables being snagged by shipping. It remained the hub of international cable communications for the next 100 years and was the largest cable station in the world.

To return to Trevescan take either  the First in Devon & Cornwall 1A Penzance bus or Western Greyhound 504 to Lands End and Penzance. The journey should only take about 15 minutes.  Detailed timetable information is available online at www.travelinesw.com Travelinesw’s code for the bus stop in Porthcurno is coradgmw Text it to 84268. You'll get a text back showing the next three buses due at that stop. The Bothy bus stop is 50 yards away from Trevescan.

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