Walk - Boswinger YHA - Mevagissey

6.2 miles (10.0 km)

Mevagissey - PL26 6SB Mevagissey

Moderate -

Having left the old fishing village of Mevagissey the route follows an attractive wooded valley inland then climbs around the edge of the estate of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. It then descends into the Pentewan Valley which is followed to the old port of Pentewan. From here the coast is followed round the headland of Penare Point, with its views over Pentewan Sands, and back to Mevagissey.

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.

Menagwins Farm

Pop-up site with direct path to SWCP. Cold showers, composting toilet & spring water.

Portholland Escapes

Fabulous converted horse trailer ‘Sea Biscuit’ (sleeps 2) outdoor kitchen, hot shower shed , fire pit… all in an area of outstanding natural beauty! 50 metres from the beach
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.


Coffee Shop, bakery and village store with friendly welcome and delicious bakes dnein p

Coast Path Cafe

Right on the Coast Path at beautiful Gorran Haven. A village co-operative, we serve fresh, local, homemade food with wonderful harbour views.

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Route Description

To reach Mevagissey by car leave Boswinger YH along the road heading inland. At the junction by Seaview International Holiday Park turn right.Take the next left and stay on the road, joining the Gorran road by forking left. Keep going passing the Lost Gardens of Heligan,eventually reaching a crossroads. Turn right on the B2273 towards Mevagissey. The fee paying car park is on your left as you enter the village.
Mevagissey is an attractive village on the south coast of Cornwall. Its narrow streets clustered round its harbour with houses rising steeply around make it the perfect example of the Cornish fishing village.
The village is first recorded in 1313 and has been involved in fishing for many centuries. The first pier was built here as early as 1430 and the current inner harbour in 1770-73. In the late 1800s the outer harbour was added. The mainstay of the fishing fleet was pilchards, but these largely disappeared at the end of the 19th century. Nevertheless, fishing remains an integral part of Mevagissey's life.

  1. The walk starts from the Valley Road car park. Turn left out of the car park and head into the centre of Mevagissey along Valley road and River Street. 
  2. Turn left into Church Street, pass the Post Office, and keep going along Church Street. Keep ahead at the junction then when the road forks keep left on the lower, narrower road.

A little way along this road is Mevagissey's church. There are traces of Norman work in the building, but most of it dates from the 1400s. It is now dedicated to St Peter, but historically to two more obscure Cornish saints, giving rise to the settlement's name from the Cornish “Meva hag Issy” (meaning Meva and Issy, the names of the two saints).

  1. As the road bears right around the church and begins to climb, turn left down the narrower lane which soon arrives at the B3273 St Austell-Mevagissey road. Cross this carefully (be careful of traffic coming round the bend from the right), then bear left along the lane signed as a footpath and cycleway to Heligan.

This is part of the Cornish Way cycle route. This is part of route 3 of the National Cycle Network, and is itself split into sections, this one the Coast and Clay Trail, and all these titles are found on the various signposts. Although a cycle route there is plenty of space for walkers.

  1. Follow this excellent path along the attractive valley, forking left just after Cheesewarne Farmhouse. Keep along the valley bottom to another fork, at a gate, and bear right here, slightly uphill on the cycle route.

Through the gate straight ahead the public footpath leads to the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
This estate was owned by the Tremayne family for 400 years and it was they who established gardens here in Victorian times. When the staff were called to service during World War I most failed to return and the gardens fell into disrepair. They were discovered and restored in 1990 and are open to the public.

  1. Continue uphill, out of the valley, gently at first then a little more steeply.

From the top there are excellent views over much of the Heligan estate. Among the work done there is a wildlife project specialising in ensuring conditions are right for the local barn owl population; keep aware, you may be lucky enough to see one of these magnificent birds.

  1. The path curves around the head of the valley then forks again. Go left here, over a wooden bridge and still on the cycle route, then continue parallel to the Mevagissey-Gorran Haven road. 
  2. Shortly after passing some ruined farm buildings (keep specially alert for barn owls here) there is another junction. The path bearing left is another route into Heligan, but for the Coast Path circular bear right to pass underneath the road.

This overbridge would have been built for the Tremaynes in the 19th century to ensure the privacy of the estate.
The path descends steadily through a quiet wooded landscape towards a valley visible through the trees, eventually reaching the valley floor.
This is the Pentewan Valley, cut by the St Austell River on its way to the sea. It was a major transport corridor in the 1800s between the St Austell china clay area and a harbour at Pentewan on the coast.

  1. At the valley floor the path comes parallel to the B3273 St Austell-Mevagissey road. Continue ahead, crossing the road with the cycleway at the nurseries. A little further on, just past the caravan site, the path turns right away from the road and crosses the St Austell River to a junction on the far side. At this point the Cornish Way turns left on its way to St Austell and points north and east. However, a branch of the cycleway goes right, to the sea at Pentewan, and this is the route now followed.

Note that the river has been straightened and its banks strengthened. In former times it used to run white with discharge from the china clay pits inland of St Austell.

  1. When the riverside track divides keep left on the main route, away from the river and into the woods.

The track now followed through the wet woodland is on the line of an old horse-drawn tramroad, built in 1830 to carry china clay to the harbour at Pentewan. In 1874 it became a proper narrow-gauge railway, but closed in 1918 because of the silting up of the harbour.

  1. Approaching Pentewan the track diverts to the right away from the line of the tramroad, then bears left past a cycle hire business to arrive at a road.

At the road turn left for a short diversion into Pentewan village and its pub, refreshments and toilets. Here will also be seen the old harbour. A first harbour was built here in 1744 but the present one dates from 1820. However it became blocked by natural sand build-up and by china clay silt coming down the St Austell River and was last used in 1929. The basin is now separated from the sea and is filled with fresh water.

  1. To continue, return to the cycle hire and continue along the road (if missing the diversion to the village, turn right at the road after the cycle hire). At the main road turn left, now on the line of the Coast Path for the return to Mevagissey. Leave the road along the footpath next to the entrance to Pentewan Sands Holiday Park. After skirting the holiday park keep an eye open for a kissing-gate on the left which takes the Coast Path off the hedged path and along a field edge to the cliff top. On the cliffs, the path descends almost at once to the little cove at Portgiskey.

The ruined buildings are pilchard cellars and boatyards, all abandoned in the late 1800s.
The path now begins the climb to the headland of Penare Point.
From this length there are superb views back over Pentewan Sands to the prominent Black Head. Beyond, on the far side of St Austell Bay, it should be possible to see the red and white striped landmark on Gribbin Head, built in 1832 to mark the entrance to Fowey Harbour. Beyond, the coast continues away, with views possible as far as Rame Head, at the mouth of Plymouth Sound, if it is really clear.

  1. Follow the Coast Path up and round Penare Point.

Rounding Penare Point the harbour at Mevagissey comes into view ahead, the regular walls contrasting with the jagged rocks. This is the outer harbour, built in the late 1800s to increase the village's fishing potential. Just north of Mevagissey you pass the path leading down to Polstreath Beach with its fine golden sands. Dogs are permitted on this beach all year round.

  1. The Coast Path descends steeply into a narrow valley, climbing out again to the outskirts of Mevagissey. Cross a grassy recreation area then descend on a tarmac path and down steps past cottages on The Cliff, above the harbour.

This is among the oldest parts of Mevagissey, with cottages below built into the cliff rock next to the harbour wharves.

  1. Nearing the bottom fork left to return to the harbour.

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