Section 1. St Ives to Zennor – Cornwall Coast Path
Distance 7 miles - Grade - Severe - What this grade means.
As this section of path is demanding walking on our standard route we keep a short day allowing plenty of time for more exploring in St Ives Town or the Tate Gallery before walking or for exploring at Zennor with its unique museum and moorland quoits at the end of the day.
Today starts as a pleasant amble out to “the Island” or St Ives Head, the commanding rocky outcrop above the town, passing the ancient Chapel of St Nicholas, patron saint of seafarers and then more modern guardians in the coastguard lookout en route.
With a backdrop of fine views across the bay to Hayle Sands and Godrevey Lighthouse of Virginia Woolf fame, you turn to drop down to the golden sands at Porthmeor Beach where you can watch the surfers battle the waves that crash in here as you head out of St Ives.
Make sure you are stocked up... from the last view of St Ives at Clodgy Point (Cornish for Leper Point) you won’t find any other facilities on the path until Sennen, over 20 wild miles ahead of you. Immediately you enter the Rocky, Boulder lined ruggedness of West Penwith and England’s last peninsular.
On the hills above you the depressions and hollows are the first signs of your approach to mining country, shallow pits dug to get to the tin bearing rock below the moors of heather and gorse. It’s a tough section but with stunning views ahead and the coast just gets wilder and wilder.
After rounding Hor Point, well known for its plentiful Orchids in summer, granite rocks line a string of ever more stunning rocky coves as you pick your way on a rough and unforgiving trail. From the white Trig Point at Cam Naun pause to look out to out at sea to The Carricks, also known as Seal Island due to the Grey Seals that gather to lounge on the sea washed rocks. Looking back “upcountry” on a good day you can spot Trevose Head close to Padstow, a good 6 days walking from here.
At River Cove you can take a short inland diversion up a thickly wooded valley to find the tumbled foundations and remains of Treveal, a lost village of around 100 people who gave up on the fishing and mining and moved out en-mass in the 19C. Back on the coast, after the dark sounding Wicca Pool, you reach the impressive Zennor Head Promontory. Walk out to the rocks for vertigo inducing glimpses down 300ft cliffs into churning Pendour Cove and listen here for the bewitching singing of the Mermaid Sirens of Zennor... of which you will hear more during your overnight stop.
From the crashing coast your goal is ½ mile through a tumbled network of fields with hedge and rock boundaries that date back to the Bronze age and are now protected now under the Environmentally Sensitive Area Scheme, where local farmers actively protect such Historical features.