• At a glance
  • Locality & Walks
  • Accommodation & Meals
  • Travel options
  • Photos
At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


   
Independent Walking Holiday
  • South Cornwall Coast:
    Historic Ports &
    Fishing Villages

Dates for 2019
  • March to October (subject to availability)
Price
  • 8 nights, 7 days walking: £820
Grade
  • moderate to challenging walking holiday
Profile
  • 8 nights, 7 days walking between guest houses
  • Walking from Falmouth to Plymouth
Highlights
  • Traditional fishing villages huddled around small harbours, such as Charlestown, Portscatho, Portloe, Polperro & Mevagissey
  • Peninsulas with far ranging views such as the infamous Dodman Point
  • Wonderful estuaries with ferry journeys
  • Option to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Accommodation and Meals
  • A range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible we choose bed and breakfasts which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation.
What's included
  1. 8 night's accommodation on B&B basis
  2. Transport of luggage between guest houses (1 bag per person)
  3. Detailed walking notes with information about the local sites and suggestions for places to eat lunch and dinner
  4. OS walking maps
What's not included
  1. All lunches and evening meals
  2. Drinks (except at breakfast)
  3. Ferries: St Mawes, Place, Fowey & Cremyll
  4. Transport to Falmouth and from Plymouth
  5. Travel insurance
  6. Any entrance fees
 
  1. Take a look at our other coastal trail walking holidays in Europe
Walks

Locality & Walks

On the last stretch of the Cornish Coastal Path there are high cliff top views, picturesque fishing villages, beautiful estuaries and sandy beaches aplenty to enjoy on route between the historic maritime centres of Falmouth and Plymouth. Although there's plenty to see along the route, this is one of the more quieter sections of the South West Coast Path as well as being one of the more gentle. You can escape from it all around some of the prominent headlands with far reaching views without being too far away from a fishing village and harbour or secluded beach.

This self-guided walking holiday provides an interesting and varied experience which includes witnessing the beautiful estuaries as you cross them by ferries (4 in total.) The cliff top path passes gorse-covered granite headlands and through wooded valleys and along rocky coves. In between you will discover tiny fishing villages, bustling harbours and sleepy hamlets, such as St Mawes with its castle, the unspoilt Portloe, the georgian port of Charlestown, sometimes the location of a tall ship or two, and the busy old port of Mevagissey with its narrow streets, once the haunt of many a Cornish smuggler. You can understand why this part of the coast has featured in films and TV as well as inspiring writers such as Daphne Du Maurier. From Mevagissey it is possible to take an inland diversion to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. Fowey, where you will take one of your ferry crossings, is a beautiful harbour town with many medieval and georgian buildings. What follows is a steep climb up to Pencarrow Head and one of the toughest sections of the walk, but you are rewarded with delightful views, on a clear day you can see as far as Lizard Point. The profusion of gift shops does not spoil the old Cornish fishing village of Polperro whose narrow streets are free of cars making Polperro an ideal place to explore on foot. Further on you will reach the town of Looe which prides itself on its fresh fish; it is still a working fishing port. Here as well as many places along this stretch of the coast there is a delightful sandy beach.

On Day 7 you will reach Portwrinkle, a wonderful spot on this section of the route, especially for birdwatchers. There are plenty of other places on the coast path that are excellent for birdwatching including St Anthony Head on Day 1 of your holiday. The walk along the top of Whitsands Bay beach then offers stunning views. Your holiday ends in a country park and a ferry journey across the Tamar to Plymouth. Additional nights can be booked in Falmouth and Plymouth to allow time to explore these important maritime centres.

Walking Profile

This independent walking holiday covers a reasonably challenging section of the South West coastal path. The overall walking holiday is graded Moderate to Challenging. Despite the relatively moderate distances involved - between 14km and 22km per day, the amount of ascent and descent is considerable, with an average of over 700m each day. The maximum ascent and descent in any one day is 950m. The walking ranges from some easy level walking to strenuous ascents and descents on steep ground with paths which in places are narrow or on rough and muddy ground where you need to be sure-footed. Walking experience on hilly terrain is advisable. Although there are no easy days it is possible to catch the bus in certain places to shorten the days.

 

south cornwall map

Day to day

Day 1: Arrival

Welcome, and night at Falmouth. Explore this historic harbour town, the gateway to the beautiful Fal River.

Day 2: Falmouth - Portloe

There are 2 ferry journeys, first to St Mawes and then to Place. There are some magnificent views back to Falmouth and the River Fal from the windswept stretches around Carricknath Point and St Anthony Head as well as opportunities for birdspotting from St Anthony Head, Zone Point and Nare Head. The Path offers easy walking until the approach to Nare Head and Portloe beyond, where you will find several steep ascents and descents and walking becomes a lot more strenuous. You will come across the beautiful sands of Porthcurnick Beach. The Path twists and plummets in places through wooded areas and across high open fields until the descent into Portloe. 22km, +860m

Day 3: Portloe - Mevagissey

The slight clamber across rocks out of Portloe eases to more pastoral landscapes, before becoming tougher again on the approach to the secluded sands of Hemmick Beach. From here the route climbs to Dodman Point, where the views are fantastic, on a clear day they extend to Lizard Point in the west and Berry Head in the east. There is also a lovely sheltered beach at Porthluney Cove, clean and safe for swimming. The landscape of the Path varies between a mixture of wild scrub and soft pastures as well as some road walking around Gorran Haven. The Path opens out on the approach to Chapel Point and walking is easy with rewarding views in all directions. Mevagissey, with its double walled harbour, is an active fishing port which attracts the tourists. 20km, +890m

Day 4: Mevagissey - Charlestown

Today, you have a choice: you can take a break from the coast path, by taking an inland diversion along woodland footpaths via the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This misses out a section between Mevagissey and Pentewan. Both options allow you to visit the white sands of Pentewan Beach. The coastal path itself is a bit of a roller coaster. High cliffs pass rocky coves between Pentewan and Charlestown producing dramatic scenery, but tiring walking. There are many steps to climb along this stretch as the Path continues to rise and fall past Phoebe's Point and Silvermine Point. There are extensive views from the humped, wind-swept promontory of Black Head. The walk goes through the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Reserve woodland of Ropehaven Cliffs before descending to historic Charlestown, with its beautiful historic harbour and quay. 11 or 14km, +600m

Day 5 Charlestown - Fowey

An easier start today along the coast to Par with its large expanse of beach and on to Gribbin Head with its red and white daymark. You then follow the path along high cliffs passing coves such as Coombe Hawne and Readymoney, and walking out to headlands with fantastic views before reaching Fowey, which sits on a beautiful estuary with tidal creeks full of families of birds such as herons, curlews, redshanks and little egret. 17km, +350m

Day 6: Fowey - Looe

The day starts with a ferry crossing to Polruan with beautiful views of the estuary. Much of the next stretch from Polruan to the picturesque fishing village of Polperro and then on to Looe is owned by the National Trust and the path climbs and zig zags over rugged cliffs and dips down to rocky coves, providing fantastic scenery but strenuous walking. 19km, +950m

Day 7: Looe - Crafthole

The path passes through the holiday village of Millendreath and onto Bodigga Cliffs, where the views open to Rame Head. The path twists and climbs to heights with spectacular views on the approach to Battern Cliffs, one of the highest points on the south coast of Cornwall at 141m. From here there's fantastic cliff walking to the fishing village of Portwrinkle with views of the 4 mile long expanse of Whitsand Bay ahead. There maybe some diversions in place; this section has suffered from several landslips in recent years. 14km, +600m

Day 8: Crafthole - Plymouth

This last stretch of the South Cornwall Coast Path is, for the most part, easy. Although there are some short, steep ascents and descents in places. You follow the cliffs of Freathy to the promontory of Rame Head. Towards Penlee Point the path becomes quite wild in appearance but this changes as you go through sheltered woodland to the villages of Cawsand and Kingsand. After Cawsand Bay, you reach the landscape of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park with fantastic views of Plymouth Sound. A short ferry trip takes you into Plymouth. 22-24km +700m

Day 9: Departure

Departure after breakfast

cornwall beach

coast path sign cornwall

cornwall beach

cornwall beach

cornwall beach

cornwall beach

cornwall beach

cornwall beach

See full list of independent walking holidays and other Coastal Trails

See other walking holidays along the south west coastal path - Jurassic Coast Dorset - North Cornwall's Dramatic Coast

Bed

Accommodation & Meals


This independent walking holiday in Cornwall includes a range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible, we choose guest houses which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation. Below you'll find an example of the type of guest house we use.

Name Type Details Rating  
The Lugger Hotel Small hotel On the slipway of the harbour at Portloe the Lugger has 23 rooms with a 2 AA rosette restaurant   Accommodation at Farham in cranborne chase dorset wiltshire in south England walking tour
Sea Breezes Guest House B&B Luxury boutique guest house in Plymouth with 6 tastefully decorated rooms. Breakfast has a choice of warm pastries, sizzling cooked breakfasts, light smoked salmon and more.   Accommodation at Farham in cranborne chase dorset wiltshire in south England walking tour
Travel Options

Travel Options


To Falmouth

Train: Great Western operate services from London Paddington, South Wales & Cotswolds. Arriva Trains operate services from the Midlands, the North & Scotland. You need to change at Truro and take Maritime Line, twice hourly service. Coach: National Express serves Falmouth from throughout UK. By air: Newquay Airport is closest with car hire available through Europcar & Hertz. Ferry: Plymouth is the closest. Brittany Ferries offer services from Roscoff and Santander into Plymouth.

From Plymouth

Train: Travel from London 4hrs 30mins & from Manchester 5hrs 15mins. Coach: National Express London Victoria to Plymouth is about 5hrs. By air: Bristol airport about 2hrs by car or 2hrs 50mins by Stagecoach. Exeter airport is about hour by car or 2hrs 10mins by National Express. Newquay airport about an hour by car & reached by train with taxi from Newquay to airport. Ferry: As above

More travel information will be provided with your walking holiday information pack

Photos

Photos


fal estuary falmouth st mawes
st mawes
west portholland cornwall
beach cornwall coast
south west coast path cornwall
cornwall coast path