Walk - Stepper Point from Padstow

6.2 miles (10.0 km)

The Meadow, Padstow - PL28 8AG The Meadow, Padstow

Moderate - The walking is on tracks and footpaths on mostly level terrain.

Far-reaching views over the mouth of the River Camel and the Doom Bar, where mermaids wait to lure sailors to disaster!  Sandy beaches, secluded coves, holy wells, a daymark tower and some stunning rock formations. There's something here for everyone, including an abbreviated route for those looking for a shorter walk. The walking is on tracks and footpaths on mostly level terrain. Bring a picnic if the weather's good. The walk to the memorial is an easy access route.

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.

South Quay B&B

A house on the harbourside in Padstow. 2 double rooms, the en suite top bedroom has a tiny terrace under the gable of the house.

Cornish Horizons

One of Cornwall’s leading agencies with nearly 700 cottages in popular locations including Padstow, St Ives, Looe and Fowey. Book online today!

Coswarth House

A beautifully furnished boutique hotel in a listed building with breakfast served at Rick Stein's Cafe. Each room has a luxury bathroom.

Sunny Corner

Close to the sandy beach. Double/twin bedrooms both ensuite £85 per room (£60 single occupancy) includes full breakfast, wifi, parking

Ere-Tis B&B, Padstow

A warm welcome is guarenteed at our family run bungalow offering ensuite accommodation. Telephone 01841 532320 for details. Convenient for the Camel Trail and the South West Coast Path. 

Dennis Cove Campsite

Closest campsite to the harbour,10min walk from the Path via the Camel Trail. Serene site bordering the Camel Estuary. A perfect base to explore the Cornish coastline & beaches.

Mariners Lettings Ltd

Mariners Lettings - seven self-catering properties in Rock ranging in size from two to five bedrooms, 500 metres from the SW Coast Path

Penhalonga B&B

Family run B&B, full English breakfast. Single nights. Dogs welcome. [email protected] T:01841 521122/ 07815833158

Carnevas Holiday Park

Located in unspoilt countryside bordering the North Cornish coastline, a short distance from Padstow and wonderful beaches. Bar serving food available at certain times and shop.

Penlan B&B

Situated 250 m from Porthcothan Bay beach close to the coast path. We have 2 double ensuite rooms and­ a room with 2 single beds and a private bathroom. Free wifi. Dog friendly and can help with kit transfer.

Old Macdonalds Farm

Small family run Farm Park, B&B plus Campsite just ½ a mile from beautiful Porthcothan Bay, along the coast between Padstow and Newquay.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From The Meadow take the Coast Path northwards, by following the tarmac path through the park to the war memorial, ignoring the steps up to the left. 

The path up to the memorial is an easy access route. Wheelchairs and pushchairs can navigate the short route to the memorial.

  1. At the memorial, continue along the Coast Path and follow it along as it runs above the beach to Gun Point. If you want to go down onto the sand there are numerous small paths leading to the beaches along the way to Harbour Cove, but for this walk, stay with the main path around the dunes.

St George's Well, supposedly off the path above the beach, is one of many holy wells in Cornwall. In early times, sources of water were highly prized, especially by travellers. The Celts and Roman ascribed healing properties to their springs and wells. Saints arriving by sea a few centuries later would have had cause to bless these as welcome drinking fountains.
There is said to be another well, dedicated to St John, near the daymark tower later in the walk. This one is believed to have been marked by a beacon chapel, although nothing now remains of either.
Rather more recent (from the start of the 19th century, in fact), are the ruins of a Napoleonic gun emplacement and fortifications at Gun Point, a little further on from St George's Well.
Looking out across the estuary at low tide, the sand on this side of the water extends almost to Doom Bar. According to a traditional ballad, the Mermaid of Padstow fell in love with local lad, Tom Yeo, who mistook her for a seal (or so he said), and shot her. In the awful rage of a woman scorned, she called up a mighty storm. This wrecked all the ships in the harbour and threw a huge sandbar across the river to imperil all future sailors venturing in the estuary. Look out for her on the rocks at Hawker's Cove.

  1. From Gun Point the path turns slightly inland around the edge of Harbour Cove until it reaches a small inlet, where a track joins it from your left.
  2. Turn right to follow the track towards the beach for a short distance, until you come to a small gap in the bushes ahead of you, with the Coast Path acorn waymarker in among the vegetation. Follow the narrow footpath through the bushes, emerging a short while later onto another path which again hugs the shoreline above the sandy beach. Follow the path northwards to Hawker's Cove. 

The first Padstow lifeboat, built by the Padstow Harbour Association, was stationed here, before the Padstow branch of the RNLI was formed in 1855. In 1931 a new boathouse was built, and a roller slipway. By 1967 silting up of the river became a problem and the lifeboat was moved to Trevose Head, a few miles to the west.

  1. Ignoring the road to your left, follow the Coast Path waymarkers between the houses until you are on the footpath on the far side of the settlement. Carry on along this towards the point.
  2. At the quarry, a path joins from your left. Ignore this and carry on along the Coast Path as it heads uphill to the point. Carry on along the path around the point to the daymark tower.

At the quarry, the other path to the left, heading uphill, leads to the lookout station and a World War II pillbox beside it. If you walk this way, the path continues over the headland and will return you to the main path at the daymark tower.
The daymark tower was built, probably in the early nineteenth century, as a maritime navigational aid, designed to guide sailors into the River Camel.
From flint tools found on the headland it appears that people lived in this part of Stepper Point as far back as 6000 years ago, and possibly even earlier.

The dramatic headland at Stepper Point marks the entrance to the Camel Estuary and features prominently in the opening episodes of Poldark.

  1. Carry on along the Coast Path as it heads south above the sea, dropping downhill, until you come to the place where it turns sharply left around a rocky cove.

As you walk along here you will hear the hollow boom that tells of caves in the rock below your feet. These are carved out by the sea, which exploits weaknesses in the rock The sea then enlarges them with the power of its waves as they wash around the cave. Sometimes these collapse, leaving a sinkhole. Pepper Hole, Butter Hole and Fox Hole along this part of the coast were formed in this way. Note the other dramatic rock formations caused by wave erosion here.

  1. Leave the Coast path here, forking left to the track ahead and turning right on this track. Follow it around to the left shortly afterwards to join the road at Lellissick.
  2. Turn right on the road and then pick up the track on your left a moment later. This will lead you quickly back to 4, at Harbour Cove.

On the far side of the inlet take the track to the right and follow it back to Padstow, dropping onto the road southwards at Tregirls Farm. Ignore the tracks leading away on both sides shortly afterwards. When you come to the houses, follow Tregirls Lane around to the left as it becomes Church Street and then turn right down Duke Street to reach the centre of Padstow again. Walk around the northern side of the harbour, take the Coast Path northwards, up the ramp, to the start of the walk.

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Padstow

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