Walk - Tregurrian & Trevarrian

5.3 miles (8.5 km)

Watergate Bay car park - TR8 4AA Watergate Bay car park

Challenging -  There is plenty of ascent and descent, some of it steep and some of the route may be muddy or wet.

A coastal walk high above the two-mile stretch of golden sand at Watergate Bay, passing a prehistoric fort along the way, before looping through Mawgan Porth to return via fields and lanes. The area is littered with the remnants of previous populations, including barrows from the Bronze Age, a Saxon settlement from the Dark Ages, a medieval chapel which became a wagon shed and the course of a half-built canal meant to run from Mawgan Porth to Newquay. An excellent walk for older children with plenty of energy.

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.

Higher Pendeen Camping

Award winning, rustic, family-run, friendly, off-grid and ecologically considerate back to basics site with five pitches and Bell Tents.

Porth Beach Cottage

Luxury 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom holiday cottage with hot tub.

Porth Sands Penthouse

Porth Sands Penthouse is a beautiful romantic beach apartment, situated right on Porth Beach in Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, with stunning views across the bay

Penlan B&B

Situated 250m from Porthcothan Bay beach close to the Coast Path, midway between Padstow and Newquay on bus route. Twin ensuite .

Trewan Hall Campsite

Located between Newquay & Padstow, find a unique campsite in a historic location, ideal for exploring the best of North Cornwall.

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.

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.

Carnewas Tearooms

The family run Carnewas Tearooms and Garden is on the coastal path overlooking Bedruthan Steps with views onto Parkhead.
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.

Visit Newquay Tourist Information Centre

We are dedicated to both the promotion of Newquay and to help you make the most of your visit to Newquay and Cornwall! Open 7days a week.

Cornish Wave Surf & Adventure

Small group Surfing & Coasteering experiences, Wild Camping Adventure Weekends, Yoga retreats & Equipment hire in Newquay.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Turn left out of the Watergate Bay beach car park, walking steeply uphill to pick up the South West Coast Path on the left, heading towards Mawgan Porth. Follow the path along the coastline, past Stem Point and Stem Cove just beyond it, to the promontory at Griffin's Point.

Warm and cold currents mix in the water off Watergate Bay, making it a good habitat for a wide range of species. Herring gulls and fulmars nest on the cliffs, surrounded by clumps of tufty sea pinks, while on the tideline sand hoppers and beach bugs known as sea slaters clean up the rotting seaweed. Limpets, mussels and winkles feed on the algae in the rock pools, where you can sometimes see a shanny, a remarkable fish that can survive out of water. Out in the open sea, the Gulf Stream brings in plankton, food for jellyfish and sun fish, sometimes even drawing bottle nosed dolphins and harmless basking sharks.

On Griffin's Point you can see the remains of an Iron Age cliff castle. There are many of these on the northern coastline between Newquay and Clovelly, usually dating from between the second and first centuries BC. Also known as promontory forts, cliff castles were fortified enclosures built on headlands, using the natural defences of the vertical cliffs on the seaward side and protecting the landward side by means of ditches and ramparts. The local area was widely populated throughout prehistory, and archaeologists have found traces of flint tools from Stone Age days, as well as burial mounds from the Bronze Age, which followed immediately afterwards.

  1. Cross the stream on the footbridge to carry on above Beacon Cove, ignoring the paths inland, to descend to Berryl's Point, climbing again to round Grange Point and drop to the road at Mawgan Porth.

The coastguard cottages on the hillside overlooking the cove were built in 1894. Originally set up to combat smuggling around the British coastline, by the end of the nineteenth century the role of the coastguard service was changing. The increase in merchant shipping meant that the number of shipwrecks was also rising dramatically, and coastguards were ordered to add lifesaving to their customs and excise duties.

  1. Turn left on the road to walk through the village, taking the road on the right to walk about a mile towards St Mawgan.

On the hill above the beach at Mawgan Porth are the remains of a Saxon settlement, dating from around AD 850-1050, in the Dark Ages. Archaeologists investigating the site in the middle of the last century discovered three courtyard house complexes, two of which are still visible on the hillside. The stone-clad walls were built of soft slate and earth, and in each building a series of small rooms enclosed one long room opening into a courtyard. This long room was partitioned, to accommodate livestock while still separating the animals from the central living area. There was also a hearth and wall cupboards.

In the field to your right, just before you reach 4, are the remnants of a fourteenth-century chapel, although it is not certain how much of the present tumbledown structure is from the original building. Over time it was used a house and then a wagon shed, and it is said that an arch and mullioned windows were removed to Lanherne Mill.

  1. A couple of hundred metres after you start dropping downhill, by the farm, a lane leaves on the right, marked 'Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles'. Turn onto this lane, descending rapidly to the footbridge at the bottom of the valley before climbing up into the trees below Tolcarne Merock. Turn right on the minor road and follow it around the farm to climb steeply uphill for about two hundred metres.

In the Lanherne and Menahyl river valley below, the twelve lakes and ponds of the Polgreen Fish Farm are fed from natural springs flowing into the valley from the hills on either side. The farm is one of the UK's biggest producers of carp, tench and roach, reared to stringent standards in the aquatic equivalent of a free-range farm.

In 1773, work began on the Edyvean Canal, intended to run from Mawgan Porth via St Columb Major to Lusty Glaze in Newquay, with tub boats carrying seaweed and sand inland to fertilise the fields. Designed and mostly funded by Cornish engineer John Edyvean, in the end only this first section was put to use. It was found that the sandy bed of the canal allowed the water to leak away, and this section closed after just three years, while the rest of the canal was never built.

  1. Take the footpath on the right towards the top of the hill and follow it through fields to the main road into Trevarrian. Turn right on the road and walk into the village, forking left when you reach the houses.
  2. About a hundred metres on, take the footpath signed along a lane on the left before the end of the road, respecting the privacy of the residents as you follow it through to the field beyond. Make your way to the far end of this field, walking through the field ahead along the right-hand hedge, following the path through into the next field to cut across the corner and out into the farmyard, to walk down the lane to the road.
  3. Turn right and follow the road to Trevarrian Hill. Turn left here, taking care on the road, and drop back to the car park at the start of the walk.

Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Restaurant on Watergate Bay is run by a charity set up by the TV chef to ‘empower those who deserve a second chance in life’. Every year the restaurant takes on a group of disadvantaged youngsters, aged 16–24, to work in the restaurant, giving them training in the catering trade to help them find work afterwards. Over 80% of the food served in the restaurant is sourced from Cornwall, including fish from St Ives, pasta made from wheat grown in Padstow, eggs from a traditional breed of hen in Liskeard, cheese from Bude, cream from Redruth and mussels from St Austell. Even the seasalt comes from the Lizard!

Public transport

For details visit www.travelinesw.com or phone 0871 200 22 33 


In Watergate Bay


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