Walk - Lamorna & The Kemyel Nature Reserve

3.7 miles (6.0 km)

Lamorna Cove car park - TR19 6XJ Lamorna Cove car park

Moderate - There are some stretches of steep ascent and descent, and the walk returns inland through fields and woodland on paths that may be muddy, so wear good footwear.

A good tramp with plenty of ups and downs and some low-growing trees to duck under in the Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve, this walk travels through the remains of more than 100 Victorian market gardens known as 'quillets'. In spring the area is alight with wildflowers: bluebells, wood sorrel and stitchwort in the woodland, thrift and campion on the cliffs. Older children with plenty of energy will love the sense of adventure as they tiptoe through the bushes on the trail of the wildlife in the reserve.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Glencree House

We're a friendly, award-winning B&B located 50 yards from the Promenade. Cozy beds and great breakfasts in an award winning B&B

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

Number Nine B&B

Number Nine offers extremely comfortable accommodation in a lovely Georgian house in central Penzance. Conveniently situated for the South West Coast Path.

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

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.

Sea View House

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

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

  1. In Lamorna Cove turn left above the car park (facing the sea) and pick up the South West Coast Path as it heads out around the cove and on to Kemyel Point. From here it passes through heathland and into low trees and bushes.

'Kemyel 'is derived from the Cornish 'ke', meaning hedge, and 'Myghal', meaning Michael. Crease means middle. 

The Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve is owned and managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, who bought it in 1974. The South West Coast Path splits the Reserve in two, travelling directly through it beneath a low canopy of branches which meet across the path in places, dappling it with shadows. Victorian gardeners brought in stands of Monterey pine from the central Californian coastline to plant in this exposed place to provide a little shelter. As well as being fast-growing, Monterey pine is able to tolerate the salt content of the winds blowing in from the sea. Monterey cypress, another rapid-growth evergreen from the same area, was also introduced as a windbreak.

Late in the nineteenth century fuchsia hedges were added to create small flower and potato gardens in the well-drained south-facing cliffs. These gardens were known as 'quillets' and there were more than a hundred of them. Donkeys were used to till the soil and carry seaweed up from the shoreline to fertilise it. Thanks to the mild climate, the flowers and potatoes ripened here much earlier in the season than anywhere else in Britain, and they were taken by train to market in London. As recently as the 1930s these gardens were still in production.

  1. The Coast Path makes its way through the Nature Reserve close to the coast. You can take the small path around the upper edge of the Reserve for views out to sea. The two paths join at the top of the Nature Reserve a little further on, to carry on along a lane to Raginnis Hill.

'Raginnis' means 'facing an island' (St Clement's Isle, just offshore).

  1. Just after you have passed the first farm building on your right, about half a mile ahead, a footpath heads through the small paddock on your left. Take this path  and turn left through the paddock, aiming for the far right-hand corner as you turn towards Lamorna again. From here the path heads rightwards, uphill along the hedge, to the far right-hand corner again. Going through into the next field, once more the path travels to the far right-hand corner.

Below you as you join this footpath is Point Spaniard. During the Anglo Spanish War in 1595, Carlos de Amésquita landed here with 400 men. Despite being posted here in adequate quantities to outnumber any potential invading party, the English militia turned tail and fled. They left just 12 local men to repel the invaders. Francis Godolphin, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall was the leader of the 12. Penzance was bombarded by the Spanish fleet, destroying 400 houses, and three ships were sunk. Mousehole householders fled up the hill to the church at Paul, above, but the Spaniards, having set fire to Mousehole and Newlyn, followed them up and set Paul alight too.

Beyond Point Spaniard is Mousehole, pronounced 'mowzel', named after a cave the size of a (very large!) Mouse. It is famous for its Christmas lights, its granite streets and the tiny harbour. The Knights of St John landed here on their return from the Holy Land during the Crusades. Poet Dylan Thomas called it the prettiest village in England, and it is thought that it could have been the inspiration for Llaregub, the fictitious village in his play 'Under Milk Wood'.

It is also the home of the Cornish delicacy, Starry Gazey pie. It is usually made of pilchards, eggs and potatoes beneath a pastry crust. The fish heads and tails poke through the crust and gaze skywards. The first such pie was made just before Christmas one year in the sixteenth century, when Tom Bawcock saved the starving population by taking his boat out in storm-force winds to bring home a mammoth catch including seven different species of fish. A starry gazey pie was baked, featuring one of each kind of fish, and Tom Bawcock's Eve is still celebrated on 23rd December every year with a lantern parade.
On 19th December, the Christmas lights are switched off for an hour in memory of those who perished on that night in 1981 in the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster. A cargo-carrying coaster, the Union Star, got into difficulties after its engines failed in winds gusting at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. It was eight miles east of the Wolf Rock off St Mary's in the Scilly Isles. The Sea King helicopter, scrambled at RNAS Culdrose to go to its aid, was unable to winch anyone to safety because of the winds, so the Penlee lifeboat was launched.

With a crew of eight, including no more than one from any family as was the custom in poor weather conditions, the Solomon Browne made several futile attempts to get alongside the Union Star in the 60-foot breakers. Eventually it managed to get close enough for four people to board it from the stricken coaster, but before anyone was carried safely to shore both vessels went down with all hands.

  1. Here another path joins from Raginnis Hill, travelling along the top hedge. Follow the path along the top right-hand hedge of the next few fields to Kemyel Drea.

'Drea' means a settlement of some kind. 'Gwillan' means 'with views'.

  1. Going through into the farmyard, follow the drive to the left of the buildings. Continue along the hedge beyond, taking the narrow path to the right of the gate ahead. Bear left beyond to follow the footpath alongside the trees, carrying on ahead through the trees and the field beyond to come out on the road by Kemyel Mill House. Carry on along the road past the buildings, taking the footpath on the right just beyond, bearing right in the field to go through the gate. 
  2. Carry on ahead through the next two fields, continuing in the same direction on the road ahead, bearing right with it around Burnt Toast Cottage and carrying on along the grass lane.
  3. When a footpath leaves on the right, carry on ahead on the lane, around a left-hand bend From here a footpath zigzags downhill to Lamorna. Turn left here to return to the car park.

Parking

Lamorna Cove. However, please ensure that you have enough change for parking, and put enough time on your ticket as we have had several reports of parking tickets being issued for minor overstays in the car park.

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