Walk - The Cove - Carn Barges

1.7 miles (2.8 km)

The Cove Cornwall - TR19 6XH The Cove Cornwall

Easy -

A gentle stroll, but on a rough path with steps and some fairly steep ascent, around the rocky point of 'Buzzard Tor' and through the patchwork remnants of nineteenth-century flower gardens. People have been living on the hillside above the turquoise sea since the Stone Age, and the walk passes beneath two hamlets dating back to medieval days. It celebrates the breathtaking scenery and the clear bright light that brought many artists and writers to Lamorna.

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.

Bosula House, Lamorna

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.

The Lookout

Set in Mousehole, The Lookout offers everything you need for a short stay. Ideal for those who are looking for a boutique hotel experience, but would like to self cater.

Treen House B&B

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

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

Sea View House

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

Tremont, Penzance

The Tremont is approx. 300 metres from the South West Coast Path offering quality bed & breakfast, packed lunches and drying facilities. Walkers welcome.

Keigwin House

Popular 'home from home', 5 minutes from the Path and town centre. Great breakfasts and a warm welcome awaits. 2 x standard single and 2 x family ensuite rooms

Porthgwarra Holiday Cottages

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

Honeydew Guesthouse, Penzance

5 mins from the Coast Path, bus/train stations, town centre, pubs, and restaurants.  Ideal location. We aim to make your stay a comfortable and memorable one. Dog friendly.

Cornerways Guest House

Close to the Path & bus/rail stations, Silver/Breakfast/Rose Awards. All rooms ensuite. Ideal touring base.
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.

Western Discoveries Walking Holidays

Western Discoveries are the local experts for walking holidays in Cornwall. They are based in West Cornwall and specialise in providing self-led walking holidays along Cornwall’s stunning coast path. Accommodation, luggage transfers, maps, their own detailed route notes and arrival/departure transfers from local transport terminals are all provided with an unparalleled attention to detail.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

The Cove at Lamorna provides walkers with afternoon teas, lunches, dinners and free car parking. The House itself is of historical interest as it was built in 1854 for John Freeman, who owned the quarry in the cove. In the late 1800s it  became a temperance hotel and in the early 1900's was home to Alfred Munnings. The book “Summer in February” by Jonathan Smith details the story of Munnings and other famous Newlyn artists when they used Lamorna as base for painting and partying. The book has been made into a film with Dan Stevens.

 

  1. From The Cove Cornwall take the path through the grounds towards the cove, turning right on the road to walk to the quay.

In the 1920s, the itinerant Welsh poet W.H.Davies wrote of Lamorna:

'I see at last our great Lamorna Cove
Which, danced on by ten thousand silver feet,
Has all those waves that run like little lambs
To draw the milk from many a rocky teat,
Spilt in white gallons all along the shore.
Who ever saw more beauty under the sun?
I look and look, and say: “No wonder here's
A light I never saw on earth before –
Two heavens are shining here instead of one.”
And, like the wild gulls flashing in my sight,
Each furious thought that's driving through my brain
Screams in its fresh young wonder and delight.'

Lamorna has long been a source of granite for construction work, and London buildings using the stone include Lloyds Bank, New Scotland Yard, the National Gallery and the Embankment, as well as docks, lighthouses and breakwaters outside the capital (see the Boskenna & St Loy Walk). The quarries to the west of the cove were owned by Col Thomas Paynter, of Boskenna, who built the quay in the nineteenth century. Flat-bottomed boats docked here to take the stone out to ships with a larger draught, anchored in the bay, to be transported to London and elsewhere.

  1. Carry on through the car park above the quay to pick up the South West Coast Path at the end. Follow this around the coastline, past Carn Mellyn and Lamorna Point, beneath Tregurnow Cliff, and up steep steps to the rocky outcrop of Carn Barges. From here a path leads away uphill to the right.

'Carn Mellyn' is Cornish for 'Yellow Tor'. The underlying rock here is granite, formed between 290 and 270 million years ago. The tremendous heat and pressure which forced the granite through the peninsula's existing bedrock resulted in the mineral seams which for several centuries were the basis of the Cornish economy, as tin and copper were mined and other minerals extracted.

Flint fragments have been found on the downs above Tregurnow, evidence that people have lived here since the Stone Age, and there are many monuments in the area dating from prehistoric times (see the Merry Maidens Walk). There were no written records of settlements until late medieval days, however, and the first documentary evidence of a hamlet at Tregurnow, on the hillside above, is from 1306, when it was described as a settlement and manor, spelt 'Tregornou'. The eighteenth-century Cornish historian William Borlase wrote of a stone circle on the downs above Tregurnow, but by 2006 this was much depleted, and in that year the last remnants were crushed and removed.

Along Tregurnow Cliff, and continuing through Rosemodress Cliff and westwards from there, are the fragments of small field systems once enclosed by high hedges. These were used for growing flowers gommercially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, capitalising on the warm climate.

'Gazell' is from the Cornish 'gasel', meaning 'armpit', describing the shape of the inlet to the west of Carn Barges at low tide.

'Carn Bargos' means 'Buzzard Tor', and the birds of prey can often be seen wheeling overhead in search of rabbits.

Carn Barges was the subject of one of the pictures by Samuel John 'Lamorna' Birch, painted in 1918 and now on display in the Beverley Art Gallery in Yorkshire. Born in 1869 and one of many artists who moved to West Penwith early at the start of the twentieth century, Samuel Birch dubbed himself 'Lamorna' Birch to distinguish himself from another artist working in the area, Lionel Birch. Samuel moved here originally to join the Newlyn School of Artists, but before long he had started another group of artists centred on Lamorna, where he lived. It is said that he produced more than 20,000 pictures before he died in 1955.

Other writers inspired by the Lamorna area include the society author Nancy Mitford and thriller writer John le Carre, as well as artist Alfred Mullings.

A short distance ahead, along the Coast Path, is Oliver Land, a nature reserve whose full name is 'The Derek and Jeannie Minack Chronicles Nature Reserve'. The Tangyes moved here in the 1940s, turning their backs on a chic London lifestyle to set up a flower farm above the cliffs at Dorminack (from the Cornish meaning 'stony ground'). They bought 20 acres of wild land above the sea and set it aside as a 'place for solitude' for anyone wanting to wander through this tranquil place above the turquoise water. Formerly a Fleet Street journalist, after their move to Cornwall Derek wrote instead about the life they shared here with a number of cats and donkeys. The Minack Chronicles extended to 20 bestselling volumes and were illustrated with Jeannie's line drawings. Jeannie turned her hand to writing too, producing first a book about her time in the Savoy and then penning a trilogy of novels set in a large hotel. 

  1. Turn right onto this path, climbing steeply up Rosemodress Cliff to the wooded area towards the top.

Rosemodress, too, dates back to medieval times, and in 1201 was recorded as 'Rosmoderet'. William Borlase wrote of a medieval chapel here in the eighteenth century, and a dovecote, but there is no sign of either today.

  1. Turn right with the path here and follow it alongside the hedge to Well Lane.
  2. Turn left onto Well Lane, bearing right when a lane leaves on the left, and walk back up to The Cove Cornwall.
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