Best walks in north Cornwall

It is no surprise why so many people come to Cornwall on an active holiday. With some of the UK's most impressive coastline and the fantastic South West Coast Path, there is no shortage of stunning walks through north Cornwall. 

Here are a few of our favourite routes to help you choose which to do first. 

Crantock, Polly Joke and Holywell

Encompassing three stunning beaches, this six mile walk makes the most of north Cornwall’s exquisite coastline. 

Starting from the carpark at the Bowgie Inn at Crantock, head up to Pentire Head, down to Porth Joke beach (or Polly Joke as it’s sometimes known). Then walk round Kelsey Point, over the dunes at Holywell and then looping back round through Cubert Common to form the circular route. 

During June and July, Pentire Point is carpeted with wild poppies and marigolds. Other points of interest include the natural well within the cave on the north side of Holywell Bay and the shipwreck, also at Holywell, which is visible at low tide. 

All beaches on this walk are dog-friendly, but cattle and sheep can roam some parts of the walk so a lead is advisable for these sections. Although rare, there can be adders in the dunes which should be treated with caution if you have young children or a dog.

Rock, Daymer Bay and Polzeath

The mouth of Camel Estuary transports you to tropical paradise with crystal clear waters and white marine sand. On a sunny day it’s hard to believe its in England at all. 

This circular walk starts at Rock and follows the sand dunes, before heading up to the Greenaway cliff path with its rocky coastline on the way to Polzeath. The return leg takes in countryside walks and golf courses to reach St Enodoc Church and back over the dunes to Rock.

The Camel Estaury is a notorious ship wrecking spot due to the presence of Doom Bar, a sand bar that extends across the mouth of the estuary leaving only a narrow passage for ships entering Padstow port.

Some fields on the inland section of this walk may have cows grazing so could be unsuitable for dogs. Greenaway Beach and Polzeath both exercise season dog bans on the beach during the summer months.

Morwenstow

Morwenstow is a wild outpost of dramatic and beautiful scenery with some fantastic routes to walk nearby. With scenic walks through high cliffs, deep grassy valleys, quiet woods and farmland, this walk offers real variety. 

This was once a base for wreckers who lured ships onto the rocks.  A one-time home of the eccentric Victorian parson-poet, Robert. S. Hawker. Hawker’s Hut, a small driftwood hut looking out to sea, was used by Hawker to write poems and letters. Hawker’s hut is the smallest building owned by the National Trust. 

Welcoming pubs are situated along the way for refreshments, or enjoy a spot of lunch at the Rectory Tearooms where dogs are also welcome.

Porthcothan, Bedruthan Steps and Mawgan Porth

Looking for stunning and dramatic coastal scenery? This is the walk for you. Ancient rock formations, known as the Bedruthan Steps, have created breathtakingly beautiful views - make sure you have your camera.   

The walk starts at Porthcothan and follows the coastal path along the beach, where you can see Trescore Islands from the headland. The walk then takes you past the incredible Bedruthan Steps, an area named after a legendary Cornish giant who used the rocks as stepping stones. Finally, you walk down to the picturesque beach at Mawgan Porth. 

All the beaches on this walk are dog-friendly. However, taking a lead is advisable as many of the cliff edges and the collapsed cave are unfenced. The National Trust teashop is located just over half way, making a great rest stop for refreshments.

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