Walk - Porthgwarra and Gwenapp Head

1.0 miles (1.6 km)

Porthgwarra Carpark - TR19 6JR Porthgwarra Carpark

Easy - An easy walk, suitable for mobility scooters and prams, along a track out to the lookout station situated on a spectacular headland. The main walk is along a metalled surface which is generally of good quality. The return journey is along an uneven narrow path with steps.

A short, one mile, walk from the remote and picturesque sandy cove of Porthgwarra up to the lookout post and towering granite cliffs of Gwennap Head. It is very popular with birdwatchers, especially in autumn, with its hen harriers, merlins and short-eared owls, and the occasional American vagrant landbirds that turns up in the flocks of migrant birds.

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.

Porthcurno Barns Holiday Rentals

Family run holiday homes nestled in the peaceful seaside hamlet of Trendrennen, within walking distance of the stunning Porthcurno, Pedn Vounder and the Minack Theatre

The Studio

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.

Land's End Hostel and B&B , Trevescan

Family run boutique Hostel and B&B, 1/2mile from Lands End. Great for walkers, cyclists, Lejog. Close to The Minack, St Just Airport & Sennen.

The Dairy Barn

We offer self-catering accommodation in the centre of the Land's End peninsular, with multiple properties including 3 barn conversions (sleep 2). Single and 2 night stays available call to find out availability.
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.

Porthgwarra Cove Cafe

A welcome stop off on the Path for coffee, light lunches and cream teas. Open 10 am - 3pm 7 days a week (check facebook). so£pmip
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.

PK Porthcurno - Museum of Global Communications

Discover a museum experience that explores the story of our interconnected world, and how a tranquil valley in Cornwall became host to the past, present and future.

The Minack Theatre

Built on the cliffs above Porthcurno, the Minack is a Cornish landmark. Visitors can explore the theatre and enjoy performances in an iconic space.

Land's End Visitor Centre & Attraction

Find out everything you need to know to experience the unique heritage site of Land's End

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Leaving the car park near to Porthgwarra Cove, turn right back onto the road (no vehicles past this point, please), and follow it as it steadily climbs up the side of the valley. After passing through a gate, the track climbs more steeply through an area of open heathland to the lookout station on the headland.
  2. For a short walk, turn left at the lookout and follow the Coast Path back to the cove. Alternatively, turn right and it is about a 1½ hour walk each way to Land’s End.

The heath between here and Land’s End is crossed by a myriad of small paths, and as it is almost all ‘Open Access’ land you are free to take your pick, and so long as the sea is on your left hand side you shouldn’t get lost. One word of caution though, the cliffs are unfenced and some are crumbling and so you are advised not to get too close to the edge, and keep a close eye on children and dogs who may not be aware of the danger.

This is a very spectacular section of coast and there is plenty to see. The heathland and valley at Porthgwarra is a very popular spot for birdwatching, and in summer skylarks, stonechats, linnets and wheatears are commonly seen, and often rare migrants turn up. The headland is a great spot for seeing cetaceans with dolphins often passing, and basking sharks are frequent summer visitors. As you approach the headland, and the seas are rough you may hear an eerie moaning sound coming from off-shore.

This noise is created as a warning to shipping by water rising and falling through a tube in the buoy that marks the hazardous offshore reefs known as the Runnel Stone, on which many ships have been wrecked. Additional warnings are given by a bell and flashing light on the buoy, and the 2 cone shaped navigation markers (Day marks) on the headland. If the view from a boat of the inland (black and white) marker is completely obscured by the more seaward (red) marker, then the boat would be bang on top of the Runnel Stone, and so obviously skippers aim to keep them well apart.

The buildings on the headland were originally a Coastguard lookout, but cut-backs in the service led to their closure in 1994. In 1996, the charity, The National Coastwatch Institute took over the building and their dedicated band of volunteers continue the vital work of watching out for seafarers, climbers and walkers. A room beneath the station is open to the public and has displays on shipping, wildlife and the history of the area.

The treacherous nature of the waters around here is illustrated by the number of lighthouses that can be seen. 7½ miles off-shore in a south westerly direction is the Wolf Rock, mounted on an isolated outcrop of rock. Off Land’s End is the Longships Lighthouse, and roughly due west, and midway to the Isles of Scilly is the Seven Stones lightship, marking the Seven Stones Reef, which is infamous for causing the wreck of the oil tanker Torrey Canyon in 1967.

Porthgwarra was once a busy fishing cove, but now only one boat regularly fishes from here. There are two ways onto the beach – either down the very steep slipway, or if you continue along the road and take the next track on the right it leads to a tunnel cut through the rock to the beach. Whether the tunnel was cut by miners to enable farmers with their horse and carts to collect seaweed from the beach to use as a fertiliser on their fields or by smugglers, is something I’ll let you decide. Either way it’s a magical spot, and the shop at the top of the beach sells great pasties.

Public transport

Several buses a day run between Penzance and Land's End, with the nearest bus stop being the famous Minack Theatre, near Porthcurno about 1 mile further west along the Coast Path.

. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


Porthgwarra Car Park (Postcode for Sat Navs: TR19 6JR).


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