Walk - St Anthony Head and Place
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
A circular walk of either 4½ or 6 miles can be started from the ferry landing stage at Place. Alternatively, you can start from the car park at St Anthony Head. This also gives you the option of the shorter, easy, level ‘there and back’ walk to the stile above Porthbeor Beach just before Porthmellin Head. Whichever alternative you take, there are magnificent views as well as plenty of historical and wildlife interest to enjoy along the way.
If you are starting from the ferry landing stage at Place, the service from St Mawes is seasonal - see our Ferries page for details).
- From the landing stage, walk up the lane past Place House.
The house (built in 1840 on the site of an Elizabethan building) is privately occupied and looks strangely un-Cornish.
- The Coast Path turns right off the lane and goes to St Anthony Church before wending its way past Cellars Beach and along the edge of the fields to Carricknath Point. A little further on, the twin sandy beaches of Great and Little Molunan provide an ideal stopping or picnic spot before beginning the steep ascent to St Anthony Head.
From the headland, you will enjoy magnificent views across the Fal Estuary – the world’s third largest natural harbour. The toposcope beside the gun emplacement will help you to identify the various landmarks including Manacles Point, Carrick Roads and St Mawes. It’s also worth spending some time exploring the military remains commanding the harbour entrance. These include the 19th-century fortifications and second world war features such as the battery observation post. By following the pathway along the ditch and rampart you will reach the bird hide, from which you may see fulmars, gulls, shags, cormorants and if you’re lucky, the St Anthony peregrine falcons.
- Return the way you came to rejoin the Coast Path.
The walk to and around Zone Point will start to open up views of Nare Head and Dodman Point away to the east. The thick scrubland of this area soon gives way to open fields and arable farmland. The ‘White Alps’ of the china clay country around St Austell can be seen to the northeast.
- Before the next headland (Porthmellin Head), take the short link path to the road. Turn right and then left to go through the tiny hamlet of Bohortha. Ignore the path going off to the right and continue straight on to return to the bottom of the lane near Place House and the ferry landing stage.
The walk can be extended to some six miles by continuing from Point 4 along the Coast Path past Porthmellon Head to Towan Beach. Killegerran Head follows around the corner from Porthmellon, and wider views of Gerrans Bay start to open up. Killegerran is being grazed by cattle and Shetland ponies to reduce the amount of bracken and scrub and encourage a more diverse flora and fauna. Beyond the Point, grey seals can sometimes be seen gathering in the small cove during the winter months.
- Finally, you reach the open sweep of Towan Beach, and about halfway along a bridle path to the left will take you the 200 metres to the road near Porth Farm. Turn right and follow it for a short distance to a footpath on the left-hand side – this will take you around the edge of Porth Creek and back to the ferry.
St Mawes, Portscatho. Occasional ice cream van at St Anthony Head in summer.