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Exploring North Cornwall's Heritage Coast

For so many who choose to visit Cornwall, the biggest draw of all is pure escape. The same has been proved over the centuries, everyone from ramblers to famous poets fall for the wild and secluded character of the county. Whilst the popularity of Cornwall as a tourist destination is at an all time high, escape is still a definite possibility. Beyond the bustling resorts are countless miles of beautifully rocky coast, secret beaches, and many unique places to visit. Here's a handful that are within easy reach of our base at the Pentire Hotel.

Pentire Point

Dazzling, rugged sea views are only the start of this fascinating, photogenic focal point. A less well-known fact is that the area known locally as 'The Rumps' was once an Iron Age settlement. Along with sturdy defences, archaeological discoveries at the site include cooking pots, tools and a wealth of other equipment from day to day life. Today, this transformed landscape still has an eerie sense of the past as ditches, mounds and earthworks that once deterred attackers can all be seen.

While the Iron Age may be shrouded in the mists of history, today, you'll find a wealth of fascinating rock formations and bounteous wildlife. It is a place of peaceful contemplation. Indeed, a plaque marks the spot where the poet Laurence Binyon wrote his famous verses 'For the Fallen' whilst visiting the cliffs here.


Less busy than the main beaches of Newquay, Holywell is an iconic expanse of golden sand and imposing rocks beyond. The site has extensive, rolling dunes and plenty of space to escape the crowds even in the heat of summer. These rugged spaces contain many unusual and specially adapted native plant and insect species, not to mention the larger guests that frequent Holywell Bay through the year: colonies of grey seals and pods of dolphins and porpoises. 

Fans of the TV series Poldark, may have spotted Holywell's Gull Rocks in many a coastal camera shot. An excellent circular route takes in various highlights for those with a taste for coastal walks, including Holywell Bay. See the National Trust route for more info.

St Agnes

This pretty Cornish village is another somewhat unsung destination, offering a pleasant day excursion from Newquay with many curious corners to discover. Several mines provide sites of local historical interest, along with myths and legends stretching back many centuries. You could happily spend a day roving the village before taking to the South West Coast Path. An excellent starting point for any history enthusiast is St Agnes Museum, which has all manner of artefacts and curiosities to help discover the area's rich natural, industrial and maritime histories. 


Another of Kernow's pretty and intriguing resorts, the town of Perranporth, is a great day excursion with fine walks, bold Atlantic surf and some surprising history. Most mysterious among these is St Piran's Oratory, a seventh-century relic. On this site, at Perran Beach, St Piran, patron saint of Cornwall, is said to have landed in exile from Ireland and built the structure. Today, keen-eyed explorers will also find other curiosities, such as the Millennium Sundial, a freshwater lake, incredible sea caves, and intriguing natural architecture. While the main beach can get busy in the summer, a modest walk will soon grant you peace, quiet and plenty to find off the beaten trail.

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