Walk - St Agnes Head

4.0 miles (6.5 km)

Trevaunance Cove Car Park - TR5 0RU Trevaunance Cove Car Park

Moderate - There are short stretches of ascent and descent, but nothing steep or prolonged.

Walk with giants around the colourful St Agnes scenery, featuring blue seas and purple-and-yellow heathland, with wide-ranging views over green pastureland from the top of St Agnes Beacon. Older children will love to see where Giant Bolster stood to throw his rocks, pick out the enormous bulwark he built and admire the vivid red stains on the cliffs where he bled to death after being tricked by young Agnes, who was made into a saint after she released the town from the tyranny of this child-eating monster! Visit in springtime, when the heath and grasslands are bright with the blue stars of spring squill and the yellow flowers of bird's-foot trefoil and kidney vetch.


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.

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

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.

Camp Kovva

Peaceful off-grid camp site with eco shower blocks, Earth-friendly toilets & camp fire. A short walk from beach and local amenities. Email us directly to book.

Portreath Arms

The Portreath Arms is a family owned and run Bar, Restaurant and Hotel located in the centre of the village. The menu features good home cooked food with ever changing specials and daily locally caught fish dishes.

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

The Unicorn on the Beach

Perfectly positioned for sensational sunsets, the Unicorn on the Beach sits in the surfing paradise of little Porthtowan on the rugged north Cornish coast.

Portreath Arms Hotel

The Portreath Arms is a family owned and run Bar, Restaurant and Hotel located in the centre of the village. The menu features good home cooked food with ever changing specials and daily locally caught fish dishes

Tideline Cafe

A SMALL CAFE SERVING BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, LUNCH AND CREAM TEAS. Also daily specials and afternoon teas.
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.

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

SUP in a Bag

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

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.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

If you are starting the walk in the Quay Road pay-and-display car park, turn left out of the car park and walk down the road to Trevaunance Cove.

  1. From Trevaunance Cove Car Park bear left on the road towards the Watch House, climbing with it past the Watch House and on around the headland to carry on along above the cliffs.

The RNLI shop on the right hand side of the Trevaunance Cove Car Park is a reminder of the history of the lifeboat in St Agnes. In 1968 the RNLI established an inshore lifeboat station here for the summer months only. The lifeboat was funded by the BBC children's programme Blue Peter and was named Blue Peter IV. In 1977 crew also received The Ralph Glister award for the bravest inshore lifeboat rescue. An injured surf lifesaver was trapped at the base of the cliffs in Flat Rocks Cove close to Porthtowan Beach. The Inshore lifeboat was taken through a very narrow channel through 14 foot of surf to rescue him. A Silver Medal and The Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum were awarded to the crew members. In 1996 due to the increase in incidents around the coast the lifeboat was placed on all-year service.

Almost 300 million years ago, the collision of continents caused great heat and pressure, melting the Earth's crust and forming granite, which was then forced upwards through Cornwall's slate bedrock. The separate masses of granite merged and formed a long 'batholith', the granite backbone which runs through the county now. The intense heat also caused water to circulate through the fissures in the granite, dissolving minerals from the rocks around them and creating Cornwall's tin, copper and tungsten deposits. About 50 million years later, further earth movements created lead, silver, iron and zinc, leading to the great mineral wealth which made Cornwall a world leader in metal mining right up to the end of the nineteenth century.

Looking along the coastline in either direction, you can see that the cliffs are a vivid red as a result of their mineral content. Local legend, however, puts the colour down to a completely different cause (see below).

  1. There are a number of small paths heading away across the open access land, but stay with the Coast Path as it continues ahead, carrying on alongside a few fields at Newdowns Head before making its way across another section of open heathland to St Agnes Head. Carry on as it turns to the left around the headland and walk about half a mile, to where a number of paths converge and a track heads inland to a parking area.

Much of the walk is through areas of open heathland, a feast of colour and aroma throughout most of the year. In spring the thorn bushes are bedecked with tumbling white scented blossom and sharp green leaf buds, while beneath them bluebells and primroses are a riot of colour in the fresh bracken unfurling between them. In summer the coconut scent of the flaming yellow gorse flowers wafts through the warm air, and the flowers beneath are now the spotted white of the sea campions, the tufty pink of the thrift and the bright yellow of the bird's-foot trefoil winding among them. In autumn the ling and bell heather form purple carpets beneath the black pods of the gorse cracking open in the sun.

Coastal heathland is a scarce and declining habitat as a result of intensive agricultural practices. Throughout the South West, bodies such as Natural England and the National Trust are working with local landowners to reintroduce traditional methods of land management such as allowing grazing animals to reduce scrub, enabling more delicate species to thrive.

  1. Make your way to the car park. Leave the Coast Path as it continues to the right,. Take the footpath heading across the open ground. Carry on to the left of the hedge ahead and bear left to follow the path to the lane. Turn right here, to come out on the road at the foot of St Agnes Beacon (Beacon Drive).
  2. Walk a few metres to the left and cross the road to head towards the beacon, bearing left almost immediately to contour around the bottom of the hill; or if you detour to the top of the beacon for the far-reaching panoramic views over coast and countryside return to this spot and turn right to follow this path around the foot of the hill.

If you stand on the top of St Agnes Beacon and look eastwards, towards St Agnes town, and then turn just a little to the right, you can just make out the remains of a massive earthen bank, in the fields below you, around Bolster Farm. These are believed to date from around the fifth or sixth century, when the Romans had left Britain and waves of Anglo-Saxons were pushing Celtic overlords further south into Cornwall. The bank, in places as high as ten feet above its ditch, once enclosed the whole of this district by extending as far as Chapel Porth at one end and Trevaunance Cove at the other.

One theory suggests that the bank's name comes from the description of a remnant of the bank shaped like a boat: 'both lester' (shortened to 'bolster') is Cornish for 'boat-shaped hump'; but the locals know better!
According to the legend celebrated every spring in the St Agnes Bolster Pageant, Bolster was a wicked giant who ate children and passed the time by building his bank and throwing rocks. He forced his unfortunate wife to carry these rocks to the top of the beacon for him, and she became old and stooped before her time, causing him to go off in search of a better wife. He fell in love with young Agnes, singing as she worked in the fields, and demanded that she marry him. She agreed to do so, if he proved his love by filling a small crack in the rock above Chapel Porth with his blood.

Unbeknownst to him, it was a sea cave, and his blood flowed endlessly out to sea, staining everything red, until finally he collapsed and fell over the cliffs and was killed.

  1. The path drops to the left, passing on the right-hand side of the houses. Cross the road and carry on along the footpath as it heads towards the top right-hand corner of this field, carrying on ahead through the next, and then follows the left-hand hedge to pick up the lane beyond. Carry on ahead when another lane joins from the left.
  2. The lane bears right and comes out on a road. Cross the road and carry on ahead along the footpath to the main road beyond.
  3. Turn left on the main road, following it around to the right past the church, turning left just afterwards onto Stippy-Stappy Lane. Bear left towards the bottom, turning left onto Quay Road to return to Trevaunance Cove Car Park.

The steep terrace of picturesque houses in Stippy Stappy Lane was built for ships' captains in the eighteenth century, when St Agnes was a major port, and the whole row of houses, complete with their communal garden wall, is a listed building.


Trevaunance Bay - fee payable


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