Walk - Port Quin & Pine Haven

4.2 miles (6.8 km)

National Trust Port Quin car park - PL29 3SU Port Quin car park

Challenging - A lot of steep ascent and descent including flights of steps. Take care near the unfenced cliff edges.

A strenuous rollercoaster walk from the twice-abandoned fishing village of Port Quin, where the mineral-stained caves echo with the eerie call of nesting pigeons, to Pine Haven, on the edge of Port Isaac. Head inland up a steep-sided valley before returning across farmland where peregrines can be seen diving at high speed in pursuit of the small birds that flock around the hedges. There are breathtaking views up and down a rocky coastline dramatically sculpted by the pounding waves.

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 Slipway

The Slipway, overlooking the sea front is a Terraced Bar & Restaurant with a B&B above, in the centre of Port Isaac.

Seascape Hideaways at Port Isaac

Perched above Port Isaac harbour, The Fo’C’sle is an enchanting Grade II listed fisherman’s cottage hugging the headland to the SWCP and this beautiful stretch of coast.

Home By The Sea

No frills accommodation - but comfortable warm welcome, allowing people to walk the path and explore port Isaac on a budget. Call 07814 370650/07837 849009 or email [email protected] for walkers rates

Lowen Lodge

Perfect dog friendly cottage for 2 between Rock and Polzeath. gweengtweevgage ggtfectCornish Traditional Cottages offer self-catering holiday homes throughout Cornwall. Find your perfect base for exploring the Cornish Coast.

Parkdean Resorts St Minvers Holiday Park

Set in the grounds of an old manor house, St Minver Holiday Park, near Rock, offers plenty of opportunities to explore Cornwall and its lovely fishing ports and nearby villages. Woodland setting in close proximity to 3 glorious beaches.

Tom's Cottage Cornwall

Idyllic rural cottage perfect to explore the Boscastle to Padstow coast. Woodburner, private parking/garden/EV charger. Highlights: Port Isaac, Tintagel Castle & Polzeath

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
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.

The Golden Lion

In in the heart of Port Issac we are a traditional pub with beautiful sea views. With open fires and terraces, we have the perfect spot to sit, eat and drink anytime of the year

Beach Box Polzeath

Polzeath Beach Box, located right on Polzeath Beach, offers delicious food and drinks prepared in their St Minver kitchen. They have a diverse menu with vegan and gluten-free options for drinks, cakes, food, and gelato. Open year-round, i

The Pityme Inn

Just 1 mile from Padstow beach and incorporating a village shop and takeaway, the Pityme Inn serves up the best of local produce from 9 am each day. Garden with heating pods and 4 rooms available.

Rest A While Tea Garden

A delightful Tea Garden where you can relax enroute with outstanding views just 50m off the Coast Path. Serving hot & cold drinks & Cream Teas (traditional, savoury, vegan, gluten-free). Outside seating only. 11 am -3.00 pmsavou

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.

Stepper Point NCI, Padstow

Situated above the Coast Path with commanding views out to sea and over the Camel river. Visitors most welcome.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Turn left out of the main entrance to the Port Quin car park to take the South West Coast Path up the steps between the two cottages on your right. Follow the path as it winds above the harbour and on to Kellan Head.

If the tide is low at Port Quin, have a look at the rocks on the foreshore, especially around the cave to your left as you approach the sea. The black rocks at the base of the cliffs are pillow lava, formed by underwater volcanic activity in the Upper Devonian Period (see the Pentire Point & The Rumps Walk). Another volcanic rock to be seen here is dolerite. The brightly-coloured seams and streaks on the rock faces indicate the presence of mineral ores, such as lead, copper and zinc, and there is evidence of antimony mining in the hillside above.

Pigeons nest on the ledges inside the cave, and the acoustics of the rock distort the sound of their cooing, so that it is easy to understand the origin of the Cornish legends of the mythical birds and tormented spirits said to haunt the the county's coastal caves.

In the fifteenth century, granite from quarries on Lundy Island (some 35 miles out to sea) was landed on Port Quin beach and taken up to St Endellion, above, to build the church there. Viking longboats were also rumoured to have landed here a few centuries earlier, and locals claim that there is one still buried here under the sand.

On the hill to the west of Port Quin is Doyden Castle, a folly built in 1830 by Wadebridge businessman Samuel Symons as a venue for the wild parties he frequently hosted. A 1909 map showed an inscribed Chi-Rho stone nearby, moved here by Symons, but in 1932 it was returned to its rightful place at Long Cross, where it can still be seen beside the road to St Endellion. The Chi-Rho is the Christian Christogram symbol denoting the Greek word for Christ, formed from a long-tailed 'P' drawn through an 'X', and it indicates a site that has been in use as a holy place since some time around the fourth century. Another Chi-Rho was found near St Helen's Oratory, at Cape Cornwall.

Port Quin was one of the locations used for the filming of the 'Poldark' TV series, first screened in 1975 and based on a series of novels by Cornishman Winston Graham. Doyden Castle was used in the series as The Gatehouse, residence of Doctor Dwight Enys. The folly also featured in an episode of the TV series 'Doc Martin'.

Doyden House was built in 1900 as a gentleman's country retreat by a former prison governor, who was sailing around the area in search of a place to build his retirement home. As he approached Port Quin he realised instantly that his search was over, because he knew that the hillside above the beach would certainly have the spectacular sea views that he craved.

  1. From Kellan Head the Coast Path rounds another small headland before plunging steeply to Reedy Cliff, only to climb out again above Downgate Cove. Carry on along the path as it veers sharply left to head out above Scarnor Point.
  2. From Scarnor Point the Coast Path continues above Greengarden Cove and cuts across the back of Varley Head before turning south again. It rises and falls a couple more times before it finally drops abruptly to Pine Haven.
  3. At Pine Haven turn right onto the path heading inland and follow it up the valley to the junction of paths as it reaches the woodland.
  4. Take the path to the right that crosses the footbridge and doubles back above the valley, climbing through the gorse bushes. As you head towards the buildings at Roscarrock, the path veers to the right to carry on along a track through fields before descending to a green lane running along the valley back to Port Quin.

Roscarrock was named from the Cornish meaning 'rocky promontory', and it was first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. The current buildings date from the early sixteenth century and have been remodelled several times since. It is thought that at one time the manor may have been partly fortified, possibly during the English Civil War.

  1. Coming out on the road, bear right to return to the car park.

In the hedge to your right you can see the ruins of some old fishermen's cottages. Port Quin is sometimes called 'The Village That Died Twice'. The first time it was abandoned, it was after the supply of pilchards in Port Quin Bay had failed; and the second time was in 1697, when all the men of the village drowned in a storm while out fishing, and the women and children went home to their families. They must have returned, however, because the 1841 census told of a population of some 93 people living in Port Quin, in 23 houses. It listed their occupations as antimony miners and market gardeners, as well as fishermen. The old pilchard cellars still stand beside the car park.


In Port Quin


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