Walk - Penzance via Marazion Marsh

6.8 miles (11.0 km)

Marazion Station car park - TR17 0AA Marazion Station car park

Moderate - Coastal path, inland footpaths which may be wet or muddy, quiet roads, only gentle ascent and descent.

An inland walk to Penzance, following St Michael's Way across Marazion Marsh, which is particularly popular with over-wintering birds. It is an excellent place for catching Britain's earliest swifts and swallows, as well as occasional rare spring migrants such as hoopoes and spoonbills. The return route to Marazion follows the South West Coast Path along the sandy beach which has been used as the backdrop to many films and television series based on the novels of Cornish author Rosamunde Pilcher.

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.

AG Properties Cornwall

2 Bed self catering Apartment, Penzance. Walking distance to town centre and South West Coast path. Free parking.

Porthgwarra Holiday Cottages

Six holiday cottages in and around Porthgwarra. Porthgwarra Cove Cafe open 10-3pm daily.

Wheal Rodney Holiday Park Ltd

Small, family run holiday park in Marazion, free-to-use warm pool and free power showers. Camping and self-catering!

The Tremont Hotel

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. 1 x standard single and 2 x family ensuite rooms

Guest Lodge

Guest Lodge Penzance offers affordable, compact, en-suite accommodation with contactless self-check in just off the Penzance Promenade.

YHA Penzance

Shared and private rooms, bell tents, landpods and pitch-up camping. Dogs welcome at campsite.

St Ives Holiday Village

Set over 100 acres of woodland, the park is a haven for nature. Accommodation ranges from woodland chalets to luxurious lodges. Ideal for nature lovers and families who want to explore the great outdoors,the Path and nearby beaches of St Ives

Sunnyside B & B

Bed and breakfast budget accommodation. Contact Sue at on [email protected]

Boskerris Hotel

Located in Carbis Bay, Boskerris hotel is a family run oasis. We have 15 individually decorated bedrooms, most of which with an outstanding panoramic ocean views.

Tolroy Manor Holiday Park

With an Old Cornish Manor at its heart, the Park is a haven for wildlife & nature and a charming base for your walking holiday. Stay in a cottage or house and eat out in our conservatory style restaurant. Just 1 mile from Hayle Towans beach

The Old Chapel

With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this beautifully converted chapel has comfort, character and style. Ideally situated for walking the SWCP around the Lands End peninsula.

Trevalgan Touring Park

Located just 2 miles from St Ives town centre, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a wonderful peaceful atmosphere. Ideally situated to explore the delights of the West Cornwall peninsula.

Boswednack Manor B&B

Quiet B&B west of Zennor. April -.Sept. Lovely views from all rooms. Self-catering cottage weekly lets all year. Leave a message on our landline and email.

3 Rew An Borthva

Whole luxury townhouse appartment, sea views. Discount available to Coast Path Members

The Painters Cottage Bed and Breakfast

Small friendly guest house set in historic former artist's residence with arts and crafts period features. Ideal for exploring West Cornwall and the South West Coast Path. One night stays, 4 full ensuite rooms. Evening meal available
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 Godolphin

Located on the beachfront. Large restaurant with sea view terrace and 10 x en-suite rooms.

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.

St Michael's Mount

A tidal island, castle, family home, sub-tropical garden. History and adventure in every step

Penzance Welcome Centre

Penzance Welcome Centre is an accessible tourist and community information centre, conveniently located next to Penzance Rail and Bus station.

Jubilee Pool & Cafe

Jubilee Pool is Cornwall's much celebrated Art Deco lido, the perfect place for all to swim safely outdoors in fresh seawater. With a licensed Cafe at poolside, the pool is open from the end of May to Mid September.

Western Discoveries Walking Holidays

Unbeatable walking holidays in Cornwall provided by the local experts

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the Station car park turn right on Long Rock Road towards Marazion, and walk to the junction opposite, where a side road heads inland by the speed limit signs. Cross the road to take this side road, turning left onto the footpath a little way further on. Carry on along St Michael's Way across Marazion Marsh. The path crosses the railway line and travels through the trees around Bog Farm to cross the A394 road as well.

The RSPB Reserve at Marazion Marsh boasts Cornwall's largest reedbed, and more than 250 birds, 500 plants, 500 insects and 18 mammals have been recorded here. Species to look out for on the reserve are Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Grey Heron and Little Egret, while in the summer damselflies and dragonflies flit around the yellow flag and green phragmites reeds. Bitterns are regular winter visitors and some years starlings roost here between October and December, their dazzling aerobatic displays attracting buzzards and sparrowhawks too. It is also a stop-off point for many migrating species, with birds heading south in search of warmth for the winter and other flocks arriving from the north.

The reserve is open all the time and entry is free, although donations are always welcomed by the RSPB. Dogs should be kept under control and should not be allowed into open water.

  1. Continue on the footpath beyond as it skirts the small wood and follows the right-hand boundary of two more fields before coming out on the A30.

To the west of the road here is Varfell Farm, the world's biggest producer of daffodil bulbs and the home of the National Collection of Dahlias.

Varfell was also the ancestral home of Humphry Davy, the chemist and inventor best known for the Davy lamp of 1815, which allowed miners to work safely in the presence of flammable gases. He was a pioneer of electrolysis and through this discovered the elements sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, boron and barium.

  1. Cross the A30 with care and carry on ahead along the road opposite, heading towards Ludgvan, taking the footpath to the left opposite the workshop some 200 yards up the road. The path travels along the hedge to the road beyond, carrying on through the field opposite to come out on the B3309 through Ludgvan.
  2. Turn left here, and then left again opposite the church, staying with St Michael's Way as it heads down the road to Eglos. When the road turns to the left, carry on ahead along the lane to cross the lane beyond and head slightly to the left through the next field and then through the field beyond to Tregarthen.

St Michael's Way is a 12½ mile coast-to-coast walking route, starting in Lelant, outside St Ives. The only British footpath to be designated a European Cultural Route in modern times, the prehistoric route originally enabled sailors to avoid the treacherous waters around Land's End by travelling overland. It later became one of a European network of pilgrim routes leading to one of the three most important Christian places of pilgrimage in the world – the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela in north western Spain.

  1. Carrying on in the same direction, take the lane beyond the farm buildings, carrying on ahead through the next two fields to come out on the road.
  2. Turn left on the road and right at the next junction to follow the road all the way to the church.
  3. At the church bear left, turning left a moment later to follow Posses Lane down to Jelbert Way, where it comes out opposite the heliport.

On the hill behind you is the site of Lescudjack Castle, an Iron Age hillfort some 2000 years old, although there is little left to see. Although it was traditionally referred to as a castle, it was in fact a 'round', which was essentially an agricultural enclosure. Lescudjack was also known as 'The Giant's Round', and it was said to be the palace of a Cornish Princess. There was supposedly a small lead-copper mine just outside ramparts, while Chyandour, just below, was the site of large tin smelting works.

  1. Cross the road to carry on ahead along Posses Lane, crossing the A30 to pick up the footbridge over the railway line.
  2. Reaching the South West Coast Path, turn right to walk into Penzance. From the town retrace your steps to here and follow the Coast Path eastwards alongside the sea wall for a couple of miles to return to Old Station car park.

Lelant-born author Rosamunde Pilcher set many of her novels in Cornwall, and they have been extensively adapted for stage and screen. The area around Penzance, Marazion and St Michael's Mount provided the breathtaking scenery for the filming of 'The Shell Seekers', the 1989 Central TV adaptation of the novel of the same name which established her as one of Britain's best-loved storytellers, selling over 5.5 million copies. Its sequel, 'Coming Home' was also filmed here, as well as a number of her other stories, including many episodes of the 89-part series screened in the 1990s by Frankfurter Filmproduktion and launching Pilcher as a favourite author in Germany too. She was awarded the OBE in 2002 for services to literature.

St Michael's Mount, ahead of you in the bay, was a busy maritime centre as long ago as 350 BC, when trading ships exported Cornish tin to other European countries. In 495, the Archangel St Michael is said to have appeared to some fishermen on the island, and within a few years it had become a thriving religious centre.

After the Norman invasion of 1066 it was granted to the French Benedictine abbey of Mont St Michel. The chapel on its summit was built in 1135 by the French abbot Bernard le Bec and was dedicated to St Michael, who was the patron saint of high places, as well as being a dragon slayer (the dragon in question being the old pagan religion).

In 1193 the island was seized by Henry le Pomeray on behalf of the Earl of Cornwall (later King John), who disguised his men as pilgrims. After four miracles allegedly took place on St Michael's Mount in 1262-3 it became a major pilgrimage destination, but throughout the next few centuries it saw its share of action of a less contemplative nature. In 1473 the Earl of Oxford held it under siege for six months during the War of the Roses, while in 1549 Cornish rebels in the Prayer Book Rebellion were more successful and managed to seize it after Henry VIII pensioned off its clergy as part of his Dissolution of the Monasteries.

In 1588 the first Armada beacon was lit here, warning of the presence of the Spanish fleet in the English Channel; and during the English Civil War it was a Royalist stronghold between 1642 and 1646. After it was surrendered to the Parliamentarians, Colonel John St Aubyn was appointed Governor of the island and shortly afterwards bought it from the Bassett family. The St Aubyn family continued to own it until Francis St Aubyn gave it to the National Trust in 1954.

According to local legend, a giant by the name of Cormoran once lived on St Michael's Mount and waded ashore periodically to steal cows and sheep. A local lad by the name of Jack rowed out to island one night and dug a deep pit while the giant slept. Stumbling downhill the next morning, Cormoran was blinded by the light of the rising sun and fell into the pit and perished.


In Station car park, at the start of the walk.


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