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The St Michaels Way - Inland Return Option from Penzance to St Ives

Distance 12 miles

History of the Trail

The St Michaels Trail is an inland coast to coast Pilgrim's route perfect for those wanting to complete a circular walk from Penzance or St Ives around the Lands End Peninsular. The route is part of the much wider Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Way - a highly symbolic and significant European Cultural Route that follows the pathway of Pilgrim's and their Saints.

Landing from Ireland at Lelant, close to St Ives, Pilgrims crossed Cornwall by land to avoid the treacherous seas round Lands End. Leaving the UK at the breathtaking island of St Michaels Mount, which was formally an important port, the route continued on through France over the Pyrenees and finished at St James's Shrine in Santiago Northern Spain.

Overnight stops in Penzance at the start of the St Michaels Way

The St Michaels Way Route Description

Leaving Penzance it’s an easy start to your walking following the national cycleway (or the pebble beach if you prefer) around the sheltered and striking Mounts Bay. At Marazion you will take in Cornwall’s iconic image – the fairytale looking St Michaels Mount  which dominates everything here, a Benedictine Priory, fortress and a major port for tin and copper and that’s only half its story  - you can visit by wandering down its cobbled causeway at low tide of take a ferry boat if the water is in. Those who want to spend as much time as possible visiting this stunning island can opt to stay overnight in Marazion instead of Penzance and see the Mount and its causeway at all stages of tide and sunlight - just tell us when you book.

Overnight stops in Marazion at the start of the St Michaels Way

This is the start of the St Michaels Way and you now turn inland to cross Cornwall's interior. The first section follows the Red River through Marazion Marshes, a well known RSPB site for aquatic birds and the rare Cetti's warbler. At the village of Ludgvan you find the White Hart Inn and St Pauls Church both worth exploring for different reasons! Medieval pilgrims gathered here at the Church to wait for a guide to find the route through to St Michaels Mount and help them avoid the robbers that were prolific in the wooded marshes.

The next section crosses several streams with pretty, meadow sided valleys. Fording the Red river once more, a very steep climb on a path through wilder and more gorse ridden landscapes heading towards the imposing rocky summit of Trencom hill ahead. The summit is slightly off the official path but is a breathtaking short detour. 

Trencrom Hill at 550ft is one of the finest viewpoints in Cornwall and a great spot for those completing the Lands End Circle as you see much of the last 4 days walking from here. Stunning views to St Ives and onto Zennor Head one way and out past Mousehole towards Lands End the other.   Trencrom was another Cornish Hill Fort and on the ramparts hut circles can still be seen as slight hollows. Legend is that The Trencom Giant and his cousin at St Michaels Mount created the massive mounds of boulders hereabouts in sporting boulder fights. 


A quick drop to the golden sands of Carbis Bay brings you to meet the Coast Path once more and a particularly pleasant stroll alongside St Ives Bay to end up back in St Ives with your circle of the Wild West of Cornwall now complete. Please click below if you need accommodation or information on exploring St Ives for the end of your walk.

Overnight stops in St Ives at the end of the St Michaels Way

Continue on along the South West Coast Path to Zennor and Lands End

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