June 5, 2020
Hitting the beach is going to be a bit different this summer. With some lockdown restrictions lifted and everyone keen to hit the Cornish coast, it’s time to re-think a typical day out. But there’s no reason you can’t feel carefree and have all the fun while staying safe and abiding by social distancing measures. We’re experts in beach life and know every nook and cranny of Cornwall, so we’ve got some great ideas about how to enjoy the natural environment in wide-open spaces.
If you’re going surfing or bodyboarding with your family, make sure you head to one of the lifeguarded beaches. But if you want to dip your toes in the breakers and unpack a picnic in a secluded cove, wander off the beaten track to discover some of Cornwall’s more secret beaches. You don’t have to stray far from the heart of Newquay to find the cobalt waters of Polly Joke, backed by miles of rolling heathland. Or nudge north from the main beach at Crackington Haven to witness the staggering rock stacks of The Strangles. Another of our favourites is Nanjizal, a mile or so from Land’s End, with its crystal clear waters and magnificent rock arch. Get an OS map, make it an adventure, and check out a few more of our secret beaches here.
The beach isn’t the only place to enjoy the Great Outdoors and dip your toes in the water. Why not head away from the coastal honeypots and explore the woodlands and waterfalls? Tunnel through a wooded valley alongside the River Fowey and you can climb trees, tiptoe across stepping-stones and cross little bridges on the way to the magical Golitha Falls. Take the plunge in one of the pools, picnic in a shady glen and hunt for Cornish piskies in the fairytale landscape.
Climb the peaks of Rough Tor and Brown Willy, and you’re bound to leave the crowds far behind. Rising from the wild and spacious territory of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall’s two highest peaks offer a different perspective of the coast. At just over 400m above sea level, you get eye-popping coastal and countryside views and can see the beaches of the north and the south coasts from a bird’s eye view. To reach the peaks it’s a relatively easy stroll across the rolling moorland, where you can also witness ancient sites including stone circles, quoits and the remains of Bronze Age settlements.
Instead of sitting around on the beaches, get in the saddle and hit some of Cornwall’s cycling trails. While the Camel Trail is perhaps Cornwall’s best-known biking route, it does get busy, so why not head out along the web of mineral tramways criss-crossing the county? Of these the Coast-to-Coast between Portreath and Devoran is our favourite. Tick off sea views, woodland, engine houses and quarries, as you follow 15 miles of disused mineral tramways through a World Heritage Site, from the Atlantic coast to the south coast. With plenty of off shoots and sections to play or picnic, it’s definitely a route where you can escape the crowds and reward yourself with a sundowner on beach at the end.
The South West Coast Path
Most of our properties are just footsteps from the South West Coast Path, where you can step out and enjoy the sea views and salty air, while only passing a few other souls on route. If you’re staying in Porth or Watergate Bay, stroll along the cliff tops between the two and you’ll spot more seabirds that people. Push on along the rugged section from Watergate to Mawgan Porth, eyeing up coastal views to Trevose Head and beyond. If you’re staying anywhere near Padstow, make sure you stand on Stepper Point and stare across the Doom Bar to Pentire Point and The Rumps. And if you’re up in Bude tackle the challenging coast path towards the border of Devon, stopping to peer out to sea from the Hawker’s Hut, built by an eccentric poet.
Discover more of our favourite walks along the South West Coast Path.
The National Trust have started re-opening their car parks, gardens and parklands across Cornwall, where you can delve into the natural surroundings whilst maintaining social distancing. So whether you tumble through sub-tropical foliage to a pristine beach at Glendurgan, hit the bike trails at Lanhydrock or park at Carnewas to clap eyes on the rock giants at Bedruthan Steps, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the natural wonders of Cornwall.
Top tips for staying away from the crowds
- Get up early to explore Cornwall before everyone else. Or have a lazy day and head out to later to enjoy an evening adventure and sunset on the coast.
- Don’t head to the usual spots – get out a map and discover places off the beaten track.
- Leave the car at home and venture out on foot or bike. This way you’ll avoid the busy car parks and find footpaths and coves away from the busiest attractions.
- Stay local – all of our Beach Retreats are in stunning locations in easy reach of the coast and cafés. Don’t feel like you have to explore the whole of Cornwall on your visit, you’ll find plenty to do right on the doorstep. This year is all about micro adventures.