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The South West Coast Path: Best Wild Walks Near Newquay

It's no secret that Cornwall, with its relaxed surfing culture and rugged beauty, is top of the list for UK holiday destinations. People come from all around the world to carve the Atlantic swells, experience wild coastline walks and enjoy iconic cultural events. What's also great about Cornwall, is that even at its busiest you'll still be able to escape the crowds and find peace in a legendary landscape. 

Cornwall has the lion's share of the SWCP, which Lonely Planet ranks as being alongside the world's most awe-inspiring trails. So, you can visit Cornwall knowing you'll never be disappointed. But of course, 300 miles is a fraction too long for an afternoon stroll. So here at the Pentire, we thought we'd present you with some suggested routes along our little section:

Bedruthan Steps (0.7 miles - Easy)

Bedruthan Steps

Photo: Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps is about as Cornish as the Cornish coast gets. Sheer cliffs, jagged stacks towering from the sea and crashing waves. A landscape evoking images of beardy, salt-encrusted smugglers and spooky shipwrecks. At the top of the cliffs is a car park, run by the National Trust (Carnewas), perfect for appreciating the view above. It's also a starting point for the SWCP, which runs just north of Bedruthan. Along this section of the path, you'll have an unbroken vista, all the way to Trevose Head.

Crantock & Penpol Creek (1.7 miles - Easy)

Crantock and Penpol Creek

Photo: Crantock Beach

Crantock Bay is a tranquil place, with over mile of sandy beach and dunes. It's a favourite with surfers and families looking to relax for the day. The best time to embark on this part of the SWCP is at low tide. From Crantock beach, the path winds its way through lush fields and pretty woods to Penpol Creek. As you're walking (if it's between May and October) look out for pink flushes in the hedgerows; Cornwall's mild climate makes it perfect for many flowers including Red Campion.

Trevelgue Head & Whipsiddery (4.5 miles & Moderate)

Travelgue Head and Whipsiddery

Photo: View from Trevelgue Head towards Newquay

This part of the SWCP is North of Newquay, high up in the hills. A windswept place, with panoramic views of the coast wending its way onwards. Trevelgue Head is one of the South West's finest examples of prehistoric civilisation. Here you'll find eight enormous earth and stone ramparts, two Bronze Age barrows and the remnants of many unique roundhouses. In fact, it's the first studied example of a coastal Iron Age settlement. Then follow forgotten green lanes to Whipsiddery, where if it's half-tide you may even see a blowhole spouting.

Newquay (5.0 miles & Moderate)


Photo: View from 3rd floor Pentire Hotel

Not only is Newquay one of Britain's surf capitals, but it's rocky headlands, pristine beaches, and epic views make it a brilliant place for a ramble. If you're planning a Cornish escape this summer, Newquay makes the perfect base to explore Cornwall. If you come, you'll not want any old accommodation either; you'll want a hotel overlooking Fistral beach - the UK's most famous surf spot. Whether you're trekking the SWCP, a painter, surfer, photographer, a family, going to Boardmasters it really doesn't matter. At the Pentire Hotel, you're more than welcome.

Tregurrian & Trevarrian (5.3 miles & Challenging)

Watergate Bay

Photo: Watergate Bay

The kind of walk that requires a little sit down afterwards, challenging, but well worth it. This stretch of the path passes high above Watergate Bay, a staggering two-mile, picture-postcard beach with the highest standard for UK bathing water (if you fancy cooling off). Watching the vast Atlantic swells roll in over the bay is magnificent, and the definition of sublime. Along your walk, you'll pass by some interesting archaeological sites, such as a Saxon settlement from the Dark Ages and a medieval chapel come wagon shed.

Constantine Bay to Mawgan Porth (7.0 miles & Challenging)

Mawgan Porth

Photo: Mawgan Porth Sunset

Seven miles is quite a way, especially when hills are involved. Make sure you've eaten your porridge. Although, if it does end up being too much, you can stop halfway at Porthcothan and catch a bus back. This part of the path is what Cornwall is all about; open ocean views, rugged rock formations, secret inlets with smuggler's caves and undulating farmlands. Also, for any bird watchers, look out for razorbills, fulmar and guillemots. They shouldn't be too hard to spot, considering they live in noisy colonies. It's always a pleasure watching seabirds soar over the blue waves below.

We hope you've enjoyed reading our post, but as previously mentioned this is a small slice of the full SWCP (and it's all lovely). For more detailed information about the path and walks included here, please visit the website.

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