Bedruthan Steps in north Cornwall whilst walking The South West Coast Path
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Porthcothan to Watergate Bay: Walk the South West Coast Path

Rocks littering the coastline on the walk from Porthcothan to Mawgan Port along The South West Coast Path in Cornwall
Rock formations in the Atlantic Ocean

Distance: 6.8 miles

Severity: Moderate

Time it took us: 3hrs 40mins

Steps: 22,030

A short and easy leg in comparison to other sections but it certainly packs a punch with its sensational views, so it is worth taking your time over.

It begins with a steady climb out of Porthcothan past some quite impressive houses and round the headland before a short descent and climb at Porth Mear.

Bedruthan Steps in the distance

An easy grassy section to Park Head before giant rugged boulders jut out of the sea creating a fantastic view with Newquay in the distance. The South West Coast Path guidebook suggests an 11-miler from Porthcothan to Newquay, which should take five hours, but time restraints meant we cut this section in half.

And I’m glad we did, because as we reach Carnewas there's plenty of time to sit and soak up the dramatic rock formations of Bedruthan Steps on the beach below, lapped by rolling white waves and lit up beautifully on a sunny October day.

A bench at the top of the steps provided the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic overlooking this picture postcard section with Trevose lighthouse in the distance.

Stunning coastal views

A National Trust café and Information Centre are open throughout the summer but I fear it could get ridiculously busy then, so it might be one to keep in the back pocket for an out of season visit. However, the steps down to the beach are closed in the winter months, so that is something to consider.

After Carnewas, the path heads inland through gorse for a short distance and past a couple of dramatic drops, but the path is wide enough for me not to have hysterics.

Ah. I take that back.

Picnic bench with a view

Suddenly, as if The Path is having a laugh at my expense, it drop downwards as if heading into the sea. I send the husband down to take a peek to be informed ‘It’s ok, you’ll be able to do it. But you’re not going to like it’.

Luckily, I spy an alternative path that cuts across the gorse - more than likely created for acrophobes like me – which prevents my heart rate monitor from having a complete melt down.

A flat, grassy section then follows leading off to Trenance Point, where the vast golden sands of Mawgan Porth come into view. It then follows a long high level length to Watergate Bay with a couple of small descents, past Iron Age remains and eventually down into Watergate Beach, popular with surfers, with toilets and some refreshments.

A fantastic walk and one I can highly recommend.

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