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Section 6. Gwithian (or Hayle) to St Ives - Cornish Coast Path Route

Distance 10.5 miles from Gwithian (6 miles from Hayle)  Grade - Moderate to Hayle then easy - What these grades mean.

This morning start by crossing the wild west sounding Red River, named after the red iron oxide that turned it this colour from the mines inland, the colour extending out from the mouth of the river to create a mini red sea. From the Red River enjoy the end of day walk with a fabulous 3 miles of sands to Hayle

At low tide you can walk the golden stuff all the way to Black Cliff at other times take the way marked route through the maze of tracks across the pristine Towans (dunes). Watch for a huge variety of butterflies such as the meadow brown, six spotted burnet moths, glow worms and if you are lucky the odd lizard. The bunkers en route were part of a huge explosives factory, giving the dunes the local nickname of Dynamite Towans.

Overnight stops in Hayle on the South West Coast Path

From the back of the bay in Hayle the path joins the road along the Causeway, but is enlivened by the surrounding mudflats managed by the RSPB and home to an astonishing figure of over 250 species of birds. With plenty of time today you can make use of the RSPB hide at Ryan’s Field which has lots of information for those not too sure what they are watching out in the marsh.  

Your walk continues alongside Hayle lagoon to round the bay walking out to the St Ives headland past the popular Badger Inn and then the Lelant Church - the start of the St Michaels Way footpath across Cornwall. The Churchyard and Cemetery here are worth a quick stop, housing 4 old granite crosses and at the right time of year a stunning display of meadow fauna. After crossing the Golf Course it's back into more dunes behind Porth Kidney Sands with pleasant views back towards Godrevey Lighthouse and yesterday's efforts.  

From Carrack Gladden the Knill monument dominates the skyline inland, a 50 foot obelisk which still hosts 5 yearly festivals where ten girls and two widow’s dance round the monument to the music of a fiddler. A gentle end to the Cornish Coast Path now runs through Carbis Bay where you can drop down to the beach once again if desired and take a gentle walk onto St Ives and the chance to explore the artistic “capital” of Cornwall.

Overnight stops in stunning St Ives Harbour at the end of your South West Coast Path Walking Holiday

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