St Ives - Penzance

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St Ives to Penzance

Walking through our industrial past

Distance : 43.6 miles over 5 days.  Difficulty: Easy, but along rugged paths

The start and finish points on this route have great links with the trains services. In between the two main towns, the Coast Path leads you along a wild and rugged landscape that gives you a real feeling of remoteness. The remains of tin mines are dotted all along this stretch of coast as a reminder of its industrial past and form part of the UNESCO designated Cornish Mining World Heritage site.

Highlights

After a fairly gentle walk out of St Ives the route becomes more strenuous with lots of ascents and descents. There are some fantastic views from Zennor Head to Pendour Cove below and beyond to Gurnard’s Head.

The Coast Path then leaves the remote lighthouse at Pendeen Watch to follow the rugged paths of the Granite Coast. You pass the Levant Mine and Beam Engine and the ruined engine houses of Botallack, before taking a tour of Cape Cornwall with views out to the rocky outcrops known as The Brisons and as far out as the Scilly Isles on a clear day.

There are many birds that inhabit the cliffs and offshore rocks on this stretch of coastline, including peregrine falcons, shags, herring gulls and rock pipits. On the approach to Land’s End, the most westerly point of England, look out for the rare Cornish Chough, that has recently returned to these shores.

As you make your way around the peninsula, there are many more highlights including the Minack Theatre, Logan Rock and the fishing ports of Mousehole and Newlyn. Upon reaching the final destination at Penzance, St. Michael’s Mount appears like a mirage on the horizon and is well worth a visit as an additional short walk at low tide from nearby Marazion.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: St Ives to Zennor (7.5 miles  - includes 1mile inland to Zennor)
  • Day 2:  Zennor Head to Cape Cornwall (12.2 miles - includes 1mile inland to St. Just)
  • Day 3: Cape Cornwall to Sennen Cove (6.1 miles - includes 1mile to Coast Path from St. Just)
  • Day 4: Sennen Cove to Lamorna (11.7 miles)
  • Day 5: Lamorna to Penzance (6.1 miles)

Relevant section guides

We have split the path into 52 sections, and for each one have produced a section guide. These pages do not aim to replace the guidebooks, but aim to give a flavour of what each section is like, and show you about the highlights and places of interest along the route, along with links to accommodation information and much more. The relevant section guides for this walk are:-

Travel

The easiest way to reach St Ives is by train (generally change at Plymouth and St Erth), and return is from Penzance which is on the mainline to London and the north.

As there are regular bus services around the Penwith peninsula, you can also use Penzance as a base. There is an hourly bus service (17A) from St Ives to Pendeen, via Penzance. The First Cornwall 300 bus service runs three times a day between St Ives and Pendeen, stopping at Zennor and Boswednack, while the Western Greyhound 504 runs once a day from Sennen to Lamorna, stopping at Porthcurno. There are a number of buses from Lamorna to Penzance.

For further information visit Traveline or phone 0870 6082608.

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  • End of the day at Portreath more
  • On the way to the beach more
  • South West Coast Path Association added a new photo. Lovely to meet Peter and Jane Sillet who travelled down from Essex for the AGM and to walk the The South West Coast Path with guide dog pup in training Candy more
  • Godrevy Lighthouse, St Ives Bay, Cornwall. Built in 1858/9 Godrevy Lighthouse guards the eastern edge of St Ives Bay. Its octagonal tower is 26m high. Virginia Woolf first visited St Ives on 12 September 1892, staying at Talland House. It is said that she was so captivated by the view of the lighthouse across the bay that it inspired her to write the novel 'To the lighthouse', though in her book she relocated the lighthouse to the Isle of Skye! Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
  • Andrew Poyner wrote on The South West Coast Path's timeline. My Big Walk starts on Monday 13th April. Doing the whole path in one go. Updates will follow.
  • Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps. This impressive piece of coastline is found on the North Coast of Cornwall on the South West Coast Path between Newquay and Padstow. (The National Trust owns and maintains the car park, shop, cafe and steps to the beach, though not the beach itself). The shop and cafe are former mine buildings of Carnewas Mine. The rocks here include mid-Devonian slates and are one of the few places in Cornwall that fossils can be found. Although not very common, fossils of fish, corals, trilobites have been recorded. The name Bedruthan Steps is said to be taken from a mythological giant called 'Bedruthan' who used the rocks (stacks) on the beach as stepping stones. There are no ancient records of this being traditional folklore however, and the consensus seems to the that the tale is a late nineteenth century invention for Victorian tourists. Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
  • Thrift (Sea Thrift, Sea Pink) or Armeria maritima can be found growing on most cliffs throughout Cornwall where its low growing habit and tolerance to salt give it an advantage. Unlike many plants Thrift is very also tolerant to metals, particularly copper, in the soil and is one of the first plants to colonise former mining areas. While, as the name implies it is usually pink in colour it can range from almost pure white to a vivid red and even purple. Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more
  • The Brisons from the South West Coast Footpath at Roscommon Head. The Brisons is a small twin-peaked island about a mile offshore from Cape Cornwall. They and are said to resemble General Charles de Gaulle lying on his back In 1851, the ship 'New Commercial' ran aground on the Brisons. Despite rescue attempts all but two of the crew were lost. As a result, the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (later the RNLI) established a lifeboat in Sennen Cove and one is based their to this day. Look out for the Brisons in the background on Poldark! Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return more
  • The South West Coast Path shared a link. South Devon's coastline between Hope Cove and Salcombe is Clare Balding's favourite stretch of the Coast Path! Hear all about it from her interview with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 2's drive time. Go forward 1 hour 18 minutes. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05mqdy8 www.bbc.co.uk more
  • Covered Mineshaft, Chapel Porth, Nr St Agnes. Cornwall is littered with old minshafts and the coast around St Agnes in no exception. The abandoned shafts are often home to colonies of bats. This covered shaft is just off the south west coast path on the cliffs at Chapel Porth. This type of conical cage seems to have been been preferred throughout the old Kerrier district council area, making the shaft safe while still allowing the bats to have access. Please feel free to share/comment/tag or like, this photo and any other photos from my facebook page. All I ask is that you credit www.facebook.com/KernowPhotos and, if you feel inclined, like my page in return. more