47. Coverack to Lizard

September 2012

Transport on my last walk was a bit of an issue, and organising this walk also proved tricky. There is no direct bus between Lizard and Coverack. Both places have bus services, but they are infrequent and the ones to Coverack in particular end earlier, with the last bus to Coverack at 17:42. Both buses serve Helston, so this is the obvious place to change, but I couldn’t make the connections work. In the end I settled on parking in Helston, taking the bus to Coverack in the morning and then returning by bus from Lizard village at the end of the walk, as the buses run later from Lizard.

This plan works, and the bus arrives on time at Helston and arrives on time at Coverack. Result! It’s a glorious sunny day too, with the beach rocks and pebbles at the high tide line, but with sand further out. Despite the good weather, there are few people on it.

Coverack

Coverack

Coverack

Coverack

The village itself is also quite pretty, with some birghtly coloured thatched cottages behind the road. The coast path initially follows the minor road through the village and approaches the small harbour, which is absolutely packed with boats.

Coverack Harbour

Coverack Harbour

There is a lifeboat station here too, presumably making use of the fairly sheltered east-facing location. This one is launched by along a slipway with rails along it. Probably fun to watch, but at the same time I don’t get the chance, which is a good thing since it means no one is needing to be rescued.

At the end of the harbour I reach a small car park and the Paris Hotel. I have a good squint out to sea but despite the clear weather I can’t make out the Eiffel Tower, or even France.

The path rounds a house and then heads slightly inland into the grounds of the village hall and then up to a minor road. It then follows a path right in front of the doors of some cottages, whose front door opens out onto this path, rather than the road. They are very well kept, with lovely gardens and fine sea views.

Cottages in Coverack

Cottages in Coverack

Near the end of the houses, I am faced with an unexpected choice. The coast path marked on ther map follows one route, but here there are two routes signed. According to the sign I can choose “Inland Route – Easy Going with steps” or “Coastal Route Challenging with rocky surface”. I chose the latter obviously, as an inland coastal path is not a coastal path.

The warning about the rocky surface turns out to be true, but I don’t find the path all that challenging, and it’s certainly easier than some on the coast path. Other than the rocky surface, it starts of along the low and fairly flat cliffs, in a mixture of gorse and bracken. The coastal coastal path goes to Chynhalls Point, a flat headland which gives me a nice view back to Coverack. But the view ahead is more what draws me. If I was in any doubt I had chosen the right path, I’m not any more – I’m sure I have.

Perprean Cove

Porthbeer Cove

The near deserted white sands of a lovely beach – yes, definitely the right choice. I headed down onto the beach to enjoy a closer look and particularly enjoyed the patterns in the sands around the rocks where the sea had gone out. Heading back up to the coast path, it follows the low cliffs initially, but soon begins to climb up Chynhalls Cliff, offering a good view back to the beach I’d just been on.

View back to Perprean Cove

View back to Porthbeer Cove

The path soon gained more height and I was beginning to get the “Challenging” part of the path description, too. Thankfully once at the top of the cliffs, the path stayed fairly level out to Black Head, which is a cliff, rather than something you might find on a teenagers face.

This marks the point where I stop heading south and start heading west, at least for a while, which means I get one last view back towards Coverack.

Black Head

Black Head

At the end of Black Head is a white painted hut with a National Trust logo telling me it is Black Head. Surely they’ve missed a trick not painting this hut black?

The path ahead looks over Dinas Cove, a rocky beach which is inaccessible from the path.

View from Black Head

View from Black Head

Both routes of the path have now merged again, and stick to the now fairly level cliff top heading west, and soon offering good views back to Black Head.

View back to Black Head

View back to Black Head

Rounding the next headland, Treleaver Cliff, I head towards the oddly named Beagles Hole and the rocky island of Meludjack. Odd place names aside, it is a lovely view.

The coast ahead

The coast ahead

The path takes a very steep drop ahead though, down into the little valley, where a stream has cut a deep valley. There is a wooden footbridge over the stream and then I know what is coming next, a steep climb back up, and a quick rest to look back where I’ve just come.

Beagles Point

Beagles Point

Ahead is another steep drop this time to Downas Cove.

Downas Cove

Downas Cove

This is a shallower valley than the previous one though, meaning the path is less steep. Once down I head down onto the beach, which has a small amount of sand marked on the map, but is entirely rocks and pebbles when I went down.

Once more, it is a climb back out of the valley and I only stay up for a short distance, as there is another beach ahead, Lankidden Cove.

Lankidden Cove.

Lankidden Cove.

Beyond this is another headland, with it’s own little island off the tip, Carrick Luz. As I’m walking the path ahead there is a horse grazing the path and seeing me it decided to walk along the path too, so I soon end up following it, though it doesn’t stay on the path for long.

There is a path out to Carrick Luz, so I follow it and get a pleasant view back where I’ve just walked.

I can see the coast ahead is rocky and looks a bit unstable, as there is eveidence of rock falls on the cliff face.

I can see the cliffs get gradully lower though, which must be Carn Kennack. The path is fairly easy going on top of the cliffs, Eastern Cliffs which turn out to be more stable than they look. Soon I can see the sandy beach of Carn Kennack ahead.

Kennack Sands

As I descend down and reach sea level there is a Natural England sign telling it is in fact called Kennack Sands. I head down onto the beach which has an interesting mix of sand at low tide and lovely brightly coloured pebbles further back, some of which are pink.

Kennack Sands

Kennack Sands

The path then climbs again along a track and descends down to a second beach. This one is busier, as it has a car park and toilets. It also has more sand.

Kuggar

The coast path follows the road briefly here, but I take the oppurtunity to walk on the beach and take the footpath up from the beach at the far end. Then I have to join the road and near the top pass a free car park, an unusual feature on the Cornwall coast! Thankfully the path soon veers left off the road and I can stop worrying about traffic. Inland there are a large number of caravans, which is a shame.

Once I am up I am then descending gradually again to the small hamlet of Poltesco. The coast here has very unusual geology, with the grass covered cliffs all uneven and looking like it is a piece of paper that has been screwed up and unfolded.

Near Poltesco

At the bottom of the hill the coast path passes the most beautiful little wooded valley, with the bushes on either side looking particularly ancient.

Wooded valley at Poltesco

It’s a steep climb back up though but it does give a nice view back around the wide sweep of the bay. There are horses grazing on the cliff top again, but these ones don’t seem bothered by my presence. As I reach Kildown Cove, it looks like some of the land has slumped, creating a lower ledge below the coast path.

View to Enys Head

I follow the path around this back, approaching Cadgwith, which turns out to be a really pretty village, tucked into the valley so I don’t really see it until I’m pretty much there. It consists of white painted houses and cottages, some thatched, hugging the side of the valley.

Cadgwith

The path soon joins the narrow road heading down to sea level through the village, which continues to charm now with bunting out above the streets (I’m not sure why though).

Once at the bottom of the village, as is usual, it’s time to head up, initially on the road, but soon the coast path leaves the road and the sign tells me I’m heading to somwhere called the Devil’s Frying Pan, which is a bit concerning.

When I see it though, it’s lovely.

The Devils Frying pan

The sea has cut a gap through the rock and formed a little circular cave behind it, through which the sea swirls around, a bit like a frying pan.

The coast path stays at a similar level for a while, and I can just see the last few houses of Cadgwith on the cliff top, with most of the village now out of sight again. The coast path is now particularly lovely, running right along the cliff tops past some oddly named rocky beaches, Dollar Ogo and Chough Ogo. I’ve no idea what Ogo means.

View back towards Cadgwith

Soon looking ahead, I can see the lifeboat station at Kilcobben Cove, a sign I am nearing the end of my walk, as Lizard Point is just around the corner.

Lizard Point ahead

I round the beach at Parn Voose Cove, which is marked as sandy, but the tide has been coming in and it’s now covered. Just around the corner is Church cove, a rocky inlet with a few houses along the road on either side, the road heads inland to Lizard now less than a mile away to the west.

IMG_1575

The path soon passes the lifeboat station, which is rather unusual. The station itself is at the bottom of the cliffs and looks quite new and I suspect was a challenge to build in such a remote location. However the cliffs are so steep the lifeboat is reached by a cliff railway, which runs out about a 45 degree slope down to the bottom station. Quite a feat of engineering indeed.

The view from the cliff tops above the cove is also rather nice.

View north from Hot Point

Ahead I can make out an unusual castellated building and some more traditional houses on the cliff top.

At the base of the cliffs, I make out a man in a red shirt who looks very exposed to the elements and I can’t work out how he got down there, or how he will get back up since the rock he is on is almost surrounded. He doesn’t look in distress though so I presume has a way back up.

This is the oddly named Hot Point, not to be confused with a brand of cooker, although what with the Devils Frying Pan earlier, there does seem to be a culinary theme to this walk. The terrain has changed a little now with rocky outcrops of granite, being reminiscent of Lands End I passed a few walks earlier. I can soon see the lighthouse at Lizard Point ahead, too.

Before I reach it though, the castellated building I saw earlier reveals itself to be the Lloyds Signal Station, below which is a Coastwatch station. This is Bass Point and just past it, I come to another rocky inlet, Pen Olver.

View west from Bass Point

It looked for a minute as if it would be another drop back to sea level but I soon see it is just a small drop and back up, which is a relief as I’m getting quite tired now and also concious a bus is due quite soon. Rounding the corner I am into Housel Bay with the lighthouse at Lizard Point ahead.

Lizard Point

The path hugs the cliffs again and descends down into the bay, passing along the back of the gardens of the Housel Bay Hotel, which looks like a nice hotel although I didn’t go inside to see. The path still has quite a few undulations to come on the way to Lizard Point, though.

Lizard Point

There is another fairly steep valley just after the hotel and then the last climb up to Lizard Point. I like Lizard Point, it has all the atmosphere and charm I hoped, with the beautiful lighthouse standing guard on the cliff top and lovely unspoilt scenery on either side. The path passes the lighthouse on the right and then comes to the very tip itself.

I head down to this, but I have to say it’s a bit of a disappointment. There is a large car park and souvenier shop and the car park is full of lycra-clad cyclists and their cars congratulating themselves on their ride, but I don’t find out where from (although they end here, obviously), but given the number of cars, I suspect they started from here.

Lizard Point

Checking the time I see there is a bus due in 20 minutes, with the next one after a little over an hour later, which I would rather not miss. So I head rather rapidly along the road heading north into the village of Lizard. My hurrying meant I actually arrived about 5 minutes before the bus was due, so perhaps there was no need to hurry at all. There are a few people waiting already and one couple take it in turns to smoke cigarettes inside the telephone box alongside. Charming! The bus arrives on time and soon gets me back to Helford.

I enjoyed this walk a lot. I expected the Lizard peninsula to be lovely and it was, with a nice mix of rocky coves, sandy beaches and spectacular cliff tops.

Here is details of the public transport needed for this walk.

First service 36 : Truro – Helston – RNAS Culdrose – Mawgan – Goonhilly – Coverack – St Keverne. This bus runs roughly 6 times a day, Monday – Saturday only. This route does run on Sundays, but only between Truro and Helston.

First service 37 : Redruth Station – Helston – RNAS Culdrose – Poldhu Cove – Mullion – Lizard – Kuggar. This bus runs roughly once every two hours Monday – Saturday, with a few additional buses. It runs 5 times a day on Sundays.

Here are the complete set of photographs for this walk : Main Link | Details | Slideshow

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