Walk - Perranporth YH - Crantock

8.1 miles (13.1 km)

Crantock Perranporth Youth Hostel

Challenging -

Take the bus to Crantock and walk back around the rocky coastline, above golden beaches and through dunes that are a haven for wildlife. Listen out for the mythical Gannel crake, and look out for real-life seals and dolphins.

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.

Treago Farm Caravan & Camping Site

Small family run farm site, just off West Pentire Headland, with footpaths to Coast Path. Open from Easter to 1st Oct. Modern washroom facilities, laundry & well stocked shop and takeaway.

Smarties Surf Lodge

We offer a personable and comfortable stay, situated in a quiet street, perfect for relaxing after a long day walking. Our selection of double, triple and bunk rooms are mostly en-suite.

The Three Tees Hotel

Family run licensed hotel, off street parking. Situated in quiet Lusty Glaze area of Newquay. Short walk from Coast Path and town centre.

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.

C-Bay Cafe

Dog friendly Cafe with beautiful views sitting on the Coast Path at West Pentire Head. Also offer Self-Catering Crantock Bay Apartments

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.

Newquay Zoo

Get close to over1000 rare & endangered animals in 13 acres of tropical gardens. Run wild and release your inner animal.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Take the 587 bus towards Newquay from the bus stop at Perranporth Wheal Leisure on Liskey Hill and get off at Crantock. Head down Halwyn Hill to the square.
  2. Turn left down Green Lane to take the footpath on your left, forking left again to walk to the South West Coast Path, above Crantock Beach.

Crantock is said to be the site of the Lost City of Langarrow, buried by a sandstorm after the hedonistic lifestyle of its inhabitants brought the wrath of God upon their heads. It is named after the sixth century Celtic saint, Carantoc, who supposedly arrived by sea on an altar and built an oratory here. This blossomed into a College of Priests, a major religious centre until it was dismantled under Henry VIII's Dissolution of Monasteries in the sixteenth century.

The 'Round Orchard' in the centre of the village is thought to be the site of St Carantoc's sixth century chapel. There are also two medieval holy wells in the village.

On the far side of Crantock Beach is the mouth of the River Gannel. In the fifteenth century the mouth of the River Gannel was a thriving port, and until as late as the end of the nineteenth century it was used extensively by shipping. Vessels brought their cargoes of coal, fertiliser, limestone and earthenware into Fern Pit on the Newquay bank of the river. This was then transferred to shallow-draught barges to be carried on the flood tide up to Trevemper, an important commercial centre three miles upstream.

Listen out for the Gannel crake, a mythical bird whose desolate howl has been heard all around Crantock Beach. The name is attributed to two brothers who were once working beneath West Pentire, gathering seaweed to use as fertiliser. One of the brothers described the sound, which frightened their horses into galloping away, as 'like a thousand voices in pent-up misery with one long-drawn wail dying away into the distance.’

  1. Reaching the South West Coast Path, turn left and follow it around Pentire Point West and on to Porth Joke ('Polly Joke' as it is known to the locals).

'Porth Joke' comes from the Cornish 'Porth Lojowek', meaning 'cove rich in plants'. Traditional conservation techniques used here have encouraged an astonishing 154 species of wildflower to flourish. In summer the headland is ablaze with the vivid heads of poppies and corn marigolds, also providing seeds for birds like buntings, partridge and finches.

  1. Carry on along the Coast Path as it continues around Kelsey Head and drops into the dunes behind Holywell Beach to come out by the first houses in Holywell.

Kelsey Head is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with a wide range of habitats, the most extensive being the sand dune system and the maritime grassland which has grown over wind-blown sand around the fringes of the headlands and on Cubert Common. Other important wildlife areas are the wet meadows alongside the stream as you walk to Porth Joke and the brackish marsh at Holywell Bay.

A number of rare plants grow around here, including sea holly in the sand dunes and Babington's leek in the area of marshland.

The particularly unusual and beautiful silver-studded blue butterfly has also been seen at Kelsey Head, and the stripe-winged grasshopper spotted here is one of only three sightings in Devon and Cornwall in recent years.

The headland and the offshore islands are also noteworthy for the colonies of breeding seabirds including guillemots, shags and razorbills.

The small island just offshore as you round the headland is known as The Chick. Look out for grey seals here, especially at low tide. Sometimes dolphins can be seen too.

Evidence of human activity has been found around Kelsey Head dating back to Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) times, around 8000-4000 BC. There are also tumuli, or burial barrows, dating from the Bronze Age, around 3000 BC, and archaeologists have identified two Iron Age cliff castles here.

  1. Reaching the road in Holywell, turn right to pick up the South West Coast Path heading to the right again. Follow it around Penhale Point and on past the military camp, the masts and the mine workings, to Hoblyn's Cove.

Carry on around Ligger Point and on to the dunes at Penhale Sands.

A striking feature of this part of coastline is the extent of the mine workings on and around the cliffs. The earliest records of Penhale Mine show it as producing some 41 tons of lead ore in 1777, but undoubtedly the area's mineral resources were exploited for many centuries before this.

Ligger House, on Penhale Point, is the former count house for the mine. Auctions were conducted in the building, and miners would bid for underground leases (or pitches).

  1. The path passes a disused quarry with an old cave nearby and then carries on along the edge of the dunes. It is important to take heed of the notices along here requesting that you stay on the Coast Path.

There is no right of way in the dunes behind, which are used by the MoD for firing practice.
Either follow the Coast Path or walk on the sandy Perran Beach. The route is interchangeable with prominent access points. Either way, the route passes Crotty’s Point and heads into Perranporth. Depending upon the tide, you can cross the beach or walk the shore and link roads to enter the town. Follow the Coast Path back to the Youth Hostel.

Public transport

The Western Greyhound Bus 587 travels frequently between Newquay and Truro, stopping at Winstowe Terrace Hail & Ride in Crantock, as well as at Perranporth Liskey Hill.

For details visit www.travelinesw.com or phone 0871 200 22 33

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