Walking the South West Coast Path from Padstow to Porthcothan
White paint splash

Padstow to Porthcothan: Walk the South West Coast Path

Rock formations near Trevone Bay whilst walking The South West Coast path from Padstow to Porthcothan
Rock formations just after Trevone Bay

Distance: 13.2 miles

Severity: Easy

Time it took us: 5hrs 40 mins

Steps: 29,737

On any other day a 13-miler branded ‘easy’ in The South West Coast Path guide book would have probably been a breeze, but with aching muscles and 21 miles already under my belt, today was tougher than I expected. To be fair though, walking 13 miles is never easy, even when relatively flat like this leg.

But once again, and becoming a regular theme with the north Cornwall coast, it didn’t fail to deliver on stunning coastline views as the North Cornish coast is famous for.

Indy jumps a style on The South West Coast Path from Padstow to Porthcothan
Indy negotiates a style

Today began through the charming little harbour town of Padstow, but today it seemed like the whole of Cornwall had descended and we were actually glad to hit the path. We climbed out for a rather lengthy, but easy, walk along the estuary past fields of giant cabbages on the opposite side of Rock and Polzeath. Gorgeous golden sandy beaches stretch for miles and, as I’m coming to learn with all estuary walks, it seems like we’re getting nowhere fast.

A steady climb up and away leaving the estuary behind us takes us along and up to Steppers Point with its Daymaker tower, which will become a visual ‘look how far we’ve come point’ for a good, many miles.

Lifeboat house at Mother's Ivey's Bay on the Padstow to Porthcothan stretch of The South West Coast Patha
Lifeboat house at Mother's Ivey's Bay

Across grassland high up on the cliff tops, it’s a pretty easy run along to Gunver Head and fabulous sea views to the northeast and south west.

The guide-book advises that the approach to Trevone ‘skirts the impressive Round Hole collapsed cave’ and to ‘approach with caution as the sides are sheer’. This sent me on a path that veered slightly inland on the approach to Trevone for the sake of my height fears and poor Bill’s sanity!

Down a steep hill to Trevone Bay stopped for a lunch of sandwiches and a hot flask of coffee on the beach wall before heading off on the next 7.9 mile leg.

Superb views - even in grey weather along The South West Coast Path from Padstow to Porthcothan
Superb views - even in grey weather!

Around to the wide and spacious beach of Harlyn Bay, a popular spot for surfers and today’s no exception with many a black clad body bobbing around in the waves.

At Mother Ivey’s Bay, a pale blue building comes into view. Padstow lifeboat station clings to the cliff face at Trevose Head and has a mechanical lift leading down to it.

Fox Cove on the walk from Padstow to Porthcothan along The South West Coast Path
Fox Cove

Here we find a small cut through route toBooby’s Bay saving us about a mile – and to save my aching legs!

After that you can countdown the miles as you tick off beaches including Booby’s Bay, Constantine, Treyarnon Bay before finally, and not before time, the final curve round past some spectacular rugged coastline and descending into Porthcothan Bay.

Picture Credit: 

More walks

Visit Widemouth Bay

White paint splash
Check 2022 availability

More musings

Cornwall Tourism Award 2020 / 2021Gwelmor - Cornwall Tourism Awards - Bronze 2019/20Gwelmor - Cornwall Tourism Awards - Commended 2019/20