Walk - Pencarrow Head & Pont Pill

3.9 miles (6.2 km)

Lantic Bay Car Park - PL23 1NP Lantic Bay Car Park

Moderate - Paths, lanes and quiet country roads, with some stretches of ascent and descent, but nothing too steep unless you take an optional detour to the beach.

A high walk through heathland above the secluded sandy beach at Lantic Bay, rounding Pencarrow Head to head inland up an ancient donkey track used by farmers as well as smugglers. From here you drop to the medieval hamlet at Pont, by an old sawmill at the head of a creek ('pill' in Cornish). The walk follows the footpath used by villagers to reach the top of the hill and the fourteenth-century church, where novelist Daphne du Maurier was married.

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.

The Lugger Inn, Polruan

Just yards from the Polruan foot ferry, this 18th century pub with takeaway service is at the heart of the local community , offering local produce, real ales and fine wines. 4 rooms available.

Highertown Farm Campsite

Campsite sits 3/4 of a mile from the secluded beach of Lansallos Cove. A simple site with basic facilities where guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful setting without distractions.


Fox Valley Cottages, beautiful rural holiday cottages just a few miles from Lantivet, Lansallos & Lantic bays. With indoor pool, hot tub & sauna, plus dog & boot wash.

Par Bay B&B

Par Bay B & B is a large house overlooking St Austell bay. The B & B accommodation is on the second floor of the property & has a king size bed, drawer & hanging space,

Great Kellow Farm Caravan & Campsite

*Budget* Situated above the beautiful village of Polperro. We are a quiet family & dog friendly campsite. The campsite has sea views and easy access to country and coastal walks.

The Crow's Nest 38

The Crow's Nest is a self contained apartment just a few yard from the SW Coast path. A touch of luxury after a day walking.

The Cosy Loft

Situated directly on the coastal path we offer b+b with a spacious double bedroom, private bathroom and kitchen. With a separate entrance to the accommodation..

Landaviddy Farm B & B

Situated just a 10 minute walk from Polperro and close to beautiful Lansallos & Lantic beaches. 2 ensuite bedrooms, ample parking.

Snowland Leisure

Holiday Caravans, Touring Site, Diner, Gym & Bar

House on the Props

B&B & Restaurant.16th Century timber building 'propped' up over the river on old ships timbers. On the Path overlooking Polperro Harbour & Quay

The Conifers Self Catering Apartment

The Conifers is a new, self catering flat in Par Duck Pond Nature Reseve, 1.1 miles from the coastal path. It has a galley kitchen, double bedroom and bathroom.

Killigarth Manor Holiday Park

Nestled down a country lane, this Park offers a wide range of caravans and lodges. There's a direct path to the magical cove of Talland Bay and facilities for adults and children, including indoor pool, gym, sauna & tennis court.

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.

Flapjackery Fowey

Stop off and treat yourself or stock up for your trip along the Path with these delicious, award winning, gluten free flapjacks in a variety of flavours.

Readymoney Beach Shop

Beach shop selling hot/cold drinks, ice-cream, cake, pastries, locally sourced gifts. Open everyday except Xmas Day. Public toilet 24/7

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.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

If you are starting the walk at Frogmore, begin the walk at 6, continuing from 1 once you reach the Lantic Bay car park.

  1. From the entrance to the National Trust Lantic Bay car park turn left and walk up the road to the junction. Cross the road above to pick up the footpath through the field heading towards the coast at Pencarrow Head and Lantic Bay.
  2. Reaching the South West Coast Path, carry on ahead to follow it southwards and then eastwards around Pencarrow Head. Alternatively, turn right and then fork left shortly afterwards to visit the beach, carrying on along this lower path afterwards to climb steadily back to the main path at 3.

The steep climb up to the car park from the beach ensures that it never gets too busy; but dedicated Lantic Bay fans travel many miles to sunbathe and swim here despite the strenuous haul back up to their cars! At low tide there is a long stretch of sand, and the turquoise water is clear and clean (but beware of rip currents if you go for a swim). Behind the beach the salt air encourages unusual plants to flourish: sea bindweed with pink-and-white trumpet flowers, sea spurge with round leaves and tiny yellow flowers, low clusters of sea knotgrass dotted with delicate white flowers. Fulmars nest on the cliffs in the summer, and occasionally roe deer are glimpsed in the fields above.

On a clear day, looking out from Pencarrow Head you can see from Bolt Head, in the east, 70 miles westwards to the Lizard. The National Trust owns much of this part of the coast. They work with tenant farmers and use traditional conservation strategies to improve and maintain the cliffs and farmland to provide a habitat for a wide diversity of species. Clumps of pink thrift, blue sheep's-bit scabious, speckled sea campion and big bold ox-eye daisies flourish on the headland's rocky ledges. Dartmoor ponies and traditional breeds of cattle, such as Dexters, are used to graze the cliffs, controlling the scrub so that more delicate species can thrive.

  1. From either path carry on around Pencarrow Head, descending to the top of the cliffs at Watch House Cove and then Palace Cove.

The nineteenth-century Watch House is privately owned, so please respect the occupiers' privacy as you pass behind it. It was built in 1835, with a flight of steep steps cut heading down to a slipway at Watch House Cove, after the 'Lantic Hill Affair'. This was when two Polruan coastguards accosted a party of smugglers. In the rumpus that followed, one of the customs men was beaten unconscious. Nonetheless they managed to take five prisoners, and a revenue cutter found a hoard of 484 gallons of brandy. Often the whole community was involved in smuggling, including the landowners and magistrates. In the trial that followed, all five men were found not guilty. Afterwards, a permanent detachment of officers was kept in the Watch House to ensure that it did not happen again.

  1. After about a mile, as you approach Sandheap Point, the Coast Path ahead starts to climb above Palace Cove and a small path heads diagonally away to the left, also climbing, to the corner of the field. Turning onto this path, carry on along the lane up to the road.

Known as Sandingway, the lane was a packhorse track used by local farmers with donkey carts to carry sand and seaweed up to Frogmore to fertilise the fields. At Palace Cove, just beyond, there was a pilchard cellar, or palace (from the Cornish 'plas', meaning 'enclosed place'). Here pilchards were packed into barrels between layers of salt and pressed, using wooden beams weighted with heavy boulders, and the juices extracted were used as 'train oil' to light lamps.

  1. Cross the road to carry on along the road ahead, leading past the car park at Frogmore.
  2. At the junction turn left to walk past Pendower House and on to Pont.
  3. At the first junction bear left, turning left at the next, towards Pont. Ignoring the track on your right a little further on, carry on through the trees alongside the River Fowey, past the old mill, bearing left towards Churchtown.

Named from the Cornish 'pons', meaning 'bridge', the tiny picturesque hamlet of Pont sits beside the disused sawmill at the head of the creek, by St Wyllow's Bridge (hence its name). The fifteenth-century chronicler and antiquary William of Worcester mentioned a bridge here as early as 1478, when Pont was an important quay serving many scattered farms and hamlets. On a rising tide sailing barges would bring in coal and limestone. These would be burned in the limekilns on either side of the water at Pont to make lime. This was used as a fertiliser and for mortar. They also brought timber and roadstone, carrying out fresh local produce from the area's farms on their return journeys.

  1. After the cottages the road turns sharply right, while ahead of you is a drive, with a gate to the right of it.

St Wyllow Church at Lanteglos is best known as the church where novelist Daphne du Maurier was married, and she used it in her first novel, 'The Loving Spirit', renaming it 'Lanoc Church'.

Dating back to the fourteenth century, the church has a medieval lantern cross just outside the porch. Local legend says that St Wyllow was an Irish hermit who had a chapel near the head of the creek. He was murdered by a kinsman, but before he died he managed to walk up the hill to the site of the church with his severed head under his arm, his blood staining all the hedgerow flowers scarlet. Today the flowers include red campion, but there in spring and summer there are flowers of many other hues, including bluebells, primroses, stitchwort and herb robert.

  1. Coming out of the churchyard onto the road, turn left to walk back uphill to the car park.

Public transport

The Take Travel Cornwall bus 481 bus travels regularly between Looe and Polperro, stopping in Polruan and Lansallos. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the train station and bus stop symbols, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


Lantic Bay car park, at the start of the walk.


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