Walk - Mousehole to Lamorna and back

4.7 miles (7.6 km)

Mousehole Mousehole

Challenging -

A good yomp to blow away the cobwebs, with plenty of ups and downs and some low-growing trees to duck under in the Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve, this walk travels through the remains of more than 100 Victorian market gardens known as 'quillets'.

Starting at the small fishing village of Mousehole, this walk is a circuit to the enchanting Lamorna Cove, much-loved by artists and film-makers. The outward leg is through fields and woodland on paths that may be muddy, so wear good footwear.

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.

Lamorna Pottery B&B

We offer an en-suite Twin or King Size rooms. Evening meal by arrangement. Seating area and outlook onto patio and woods.

Sunnyside B & B

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

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.

Guest Lodge

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

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

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.

YHA Penzance

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

AG Properties Cornwall

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

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.

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.

Porthgwarra Holiday Cottages

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

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.

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.

Penzance Welcome Centre

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

Western Discoveries Walking Holidays

Unbeatable walking holidays in Cornwall provided by the local experts

St Michael's Mount

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

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

Pronounced 'mowzel', Mousehole is named after a cave the size of a (very large!) mouse, and it is famous for its Christmas lights, as well as its granite streets and the tiny harbour. The Knights of St John landed here on their return from the Holy Land during the Crusades. Poet Dylan Thomas called it the prettiest village in England, and it is thought that it could have been the inspiration for Llaregub, the fictitious village in his play 'Under Milk Wood'.

It is also the home of the Cornish delicacy, Starry Gazey pie, usually made of pilchards, eggs and potatoes beneath a pastry crust, with the fish heads and tails poking through the crust and gazing skywards. The first such pie was made just before Christmas one year in the sixteenth century, when Tom Bawcock saved the starving population by taking his boat out in storm-force winds to bring home a mammoth catch including seven different species of fish. A starry gazey pie was baked, featuring one of each kind of fish, and Tom Bawcock's Eve is still celebrated on 23rd December every year with a lantern parade.

On 19th December, the Christmas lights are switched off for an hour in memory of those who perished on that night in 1981 in the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster. A cargo-carrying coaster, the Union Star, got into difficulties after its engines failed in winds gusting at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, eight miles east of the Wolf Rock off St Mary’s in the Scilly Isles. The Sea King helicopter, scrambled at RNAS Culdrose to go to its aid, was unable to winch anyone to safety because of the winds, and the Penlee lifeboat was launched.

With a crew of eight, including no more than one from any family as was the custom in poor weather conditions, the Solomon Browne made several futile attempts to get alongside the Union Star in the 60-foot breakers. Eventually, it managed to get close enough for four people to board it from the stricken coaster, but before anyone was carried safely to shore both vessels went down with all hands. 

  1. Once you’ve explored the harbour follow the narrow Fore Street (between the Ship Inn and the telephone box) with its fishermen’s cottages on either side. Take the first left (when you reach Regent Terrace) onto Mill Pool. Turn right and follow Virgin Place uphill to Cherrygarden Street. Turn right here and follow the narrow winding lane uphill, passing Treen Villas on the right and continuing to climb alongside the mill leat, coming out on Love Lane. 
  2. On Love Lane walk a few yards to the left to pick up the footpath opposite, following this through four fields to Raginnis. Turn left in front of the buildings to take the lane ahead to Raginnis Hill. Turning right briefly, go over the stile to the right of Gwillan Drea and follow the footpath to the far right-hand corner, going through to follow the path along the right-hand hedge through several fields to Kemyel Drea.

'Drea' means a settlement of some kind. 'Gwillan' means 'with views'.

  1. On arriving at Kemyel Drea farm, do not enter the farmyard but take the footpath that runs to the right of and behind the stone barn, passing through the middle of the wooden cattle barns and emerging onto the private track at the end. Cross this track and keeping the hedge on your right, pick up the footpath through the trees, carrying on ahead through the trees and the field beyond to come out on the road by Kemyel Mill House. Carry on along the road past the buildings, taking the footpath on the right just beyond, bearing right in the field to go through the gate. 
  2. Carry on ahead through the next two fields, continuing in the same direction on the road ahead, bearing right with it around Burnt Toast Cottage and carrying on along the grass lane. When the lane turns left, leave it to carry on through the gate on your right and diagonally across the field to the far right-hand corner.
  3. From here a footpath zigzags through the woods down to Lamorna Cove.

Lelant-born author Rosamunde Pilcher set many of her novels in Cornwall, and they have been extensively adapted for stage and screen. Lamorna Cove provided some of the breathtaking Cornish scenery for the filming of four of her stories – 'The Empty House', 'Another View', 'Voices In Summer' and 'Snow In April – screened by Frankfurter Filmproduktion in 1995. Pilcher was established as one of Britain's best-loved storytellers in 1987 when her novel 'The Shell Seekers' sold more than 5.5 million copies. This was also filmed in Lamorna Cove and elsewhere in Cornwall by Frankfurter, in 1989, and – combined with the runaway success of an 89-part series of Pilcher's stories screened by ZDF Television in the 1990s – this launched Pilcher as a firm favourite in Germany too. In 2002 she was awarded the OBE for services to literature.

  1. Facing the sea, turn left before the houses to pick up the South West Coast Path as it heads out around the cove and on to Kemyel Point. From here it passes through heathland and into the low trees and bushes of the Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve.

The Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve is owned and managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, which bought it in 1974. The South West Coast Path splits the Reserve in two, travelling directly through it beneath a low canopy of branches which meet across the path in places, dappling it with shadows. Victorian gardeners brought in stands of Monterey pine from the central Californian coastline to plant in this exposed place to provide a little shelter. As well as being fast-growing, Monterey pine is able to tolerate the salt content of the winds blowing in from the sea. Monterey cypress, another rapid-growth evergreen from the same area, was also introduced as a windbreak.

Late in the nineteenth-century fuchsia hedges were added to create small flower and potato gardens in the well-drained south-facing cliffs. These gardens were known as 'quillets' and there were more than a hundred of them. Donkeys were used to till the soil and carry seaweed up from the shoreline to fertilise it. Thanks to the mild climate, the flowers and potatoes ripened here much earlier in the season than anywhere else in Britain, and they were taken by train to market in London. As recently as the 1930s these gardens were still in production.

'Kemyel' comes from the Cornish 'ke', meaning hedge, and 'Myghal', meaning Michael. Crease means middle. Presumably, it was once Michael's middle hedge!

  1. The Coast Path makes its way through the Nature Reserve close to the coast, or take the small path around the upper edge of the Reserve for views out to sea. The two paths join at the top of the Nature Reserve a little further on, to carry on along a lane to Raginnis Hill.

 'Raginnis' means 'facing an island' (St Clement's Isle, just offshore).

  1. Meeting the road to Raginnis, carry on ahead and into Mousehole.

Below you as you approach the road is Point Spaniard. During the Anglo–Spanish War in 1595, Carlos de Amésquita landed here with 400 men. Despite being posted here in adequate quantities to outnumber any potential invading party, the English militia turned tail and fled, leaving just 12 local men to repel the invaders. Their leader was Francis Godolphin, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall. Penzance was bombarded by the Spanish fleet, destroying 400 houses, and three ships were sunk. Mousehole householders fled up the hill to the church at Paul, but the Spaniards, having set fire to Mousehole and Newlyn, followed them up and set Paul alight too.

Public transport

There are frequent buses from Penzance to Mousehole and Lamorna.


Mousehole Harbour - though it gets very busy in the summer and the roads are very narrow in and out of the village.

Lamorna Cove. However, please ensure that you have enough change for parking at Lamorna and put enough time on your ticket as we have had several reports of parking tickets being issued for minor overstays in the car park.


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