The South West Coast Path: St Ives to Mevagissey

This spectacular, two-week 200km trek follows the Path around the tip of Cornwall, exploring a series of wild and windswept headlands overlooking the Atlantic Ocean before rounding Land’s End and following the fascinating estuaries and inlets of Cornwall’s sub-tropical south coast.

This section of the South West Coast Path encompasses a vast array of coastal landscapes, from the dramatic cliffs of Land’s End, the impressive coves of Mullion and Kynance, resort towns of St Ives and Penzance, to the smaller fishing villages of Sennen Cove, Portloe and Mevagissey.

The walk passes the ‘Carracks’ – where Atlantic grey seals are often found basking on the rocks, before going inland to Zennor. The trail threads its way through the coves and the old tin mines, skirting inland beside Cape Cornwall and to the pretty fishing village of Sennen Cove. Spend time at Land’s End and watch Atlantic rollers pound Wolf Rock and the Long Ships.

Pause at Penberth Cove before reaching Lamorna with its old smuggler’s pub: The Lamorna Wink. Admire amazing views to St Michael’s Mount and visit the pretty village of Mousehole before discovering the busy resorts of Newlyn, Penzance and on past Marazion and Mount’s Bay.

Continue across the densely wooded valleys of the Helford and Fal rivers to the atmospheric fishing port of Mevagissey.

Tour Overview

The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.

Distance

204km

Days

14

Grade

Moderate

Theme

Coastal / Villages

Landscape Type

By Water - Coastal and Estuary

The South West Coast Path: St Ives to Mevagissey

Every step of the journey has been carefully planned to help you make the most of your walking adventure. Click on the blue tabs below for more information.

Tour Details

This itinerary has been created by Sherpa Expeditions, which specialises in guided and self-guided walking holidays in the UK and Europe. Established in 1973, the Sherpa team has extensive experience in planning walking tours and itineraries in both the UK and Europe.

To find out more about this itinerary and make an enquiry or a booking, click on the Enquire Now button at the top of the page. The Save to My Rucksack button allows you to save itineraries to view later, or to download them as a PDF.

Included

13 nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available

13 breakfasts

One piece of luggage per person transferred from inn to inn, not exceeding 20kg

Information pack including detailed route notes and maps

Emergency hotline

Not Included

Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip

Lunch, dinner and drinks

Entrance fees

Travel insurance

Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls

Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

Itinerary

Starting among the cobbled streets of St Ives, this itinerary traverses a remote and wild section of coastline to Land’s End then swings back east among the sub-tropical estuaries and inlets of the south coast. The route includes a couple of ferries at Helford and Falmouth which along with Portloe are fascinating fishing villages with great smuggling histories.

 

Day 1 - Arrive St. Ives

Acclimatise to the bracing Cornish air with a wander around the cobbled streets of this beautiful old port. Bask in the naturally luminous coastal light which attracted artists to this gorgeous stretch of the Cornish coast. You can see the influence of this elemental environment on the British arts movement at Tate St Ives – a purpose-built contemporary art gallery overlooking Porthmeor Beach.

Day 2 - St Ives to Zennor

A gentle walk out of St Ives to Clodgy Point soon becomes a strenuous journey of roller coaster climbs as the Coast Path plunges down towering cliffs into beautiful coves and back up again. Zennor is designated both an Environmentally Sensitive Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is a particularly difficult section and there is a real feeling of remoteness here, unlike any other part of the Coast Path. 11 KM / 7 miles

Day 3 - Zennor to Pendeen Watch

Another demanding day along the clifftop paths overlooking a succession of rugged coves and exposed headlands. Admire the views from the rocky promontory of Gurnard’s Head and explore the remains of an ancient settlement before moving onto the Iron Age hillfort of Bosigran Castle. Overnight beneath the lighthouse at Pendeen. 11 KM / 7 miles

Day 4 - Pendeen Watch to Sennen Cove

Today’s walk takes in part of Cornwall’s oldest mining district and leads around Cape Cornwall, where the Atlantic currents split. The path is a mixture of easy open walking along the high cliff tops and short, rough ascents and descents with many attractive spots for a picnic with spectacular views. Lookout for seals, choughs and peregrines. 14.5 KM / 9 miles

Day 5 - Sennan Cove to Lamorna

This particularly beautiful section of Coast Path certainly feels like it begins at the very edge of the England, as the Path leads you along high cliffs and exposed, windswept heath. On a clear day, there are fantastic views across the sea out to Bishop’s Rock Lighthouse and the Isles of Scilly. The natural land-bridge of Tol-Pedn-Penwith at Gwennap Head adds to the drama of the landscape – some of the best of the entire Coast Path. 17.5 km / 11 miles

 

Day 6 - Lamorna to Penzance

A relatively short day’s walk begins in the sub-tropical cove of Lamorna, passing through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Path changes quite dramatically as it crosses rugged cliffs, with some difficult ascents and descents, and then turns to easy walking on tarmac through Mousehole and Newlyn to the first significant town since leaving St Ives: the historic old port of Penzance. 9.5 km / 6 miles

Day 7 - Penzance to Marazion

An even easier day’s walk following the well-surfaced cyclepath around the spectacular horseshoe of Mounts Bay today, meaning there should be ample time to cross the causeway at low tide to explore the tidal islet of St Michael’s Mount – less than kilometre offshore from your overnight stopover in Marazion. 5 km / 3 miles

Day 8 - Marazion to Porthleven

Travelling through a landscape littered with the legacies of the region’s mining history, the Path passes tempting sandy beaches, followed by rugged scenery beyond Rinsey Head. Here, the granite turns to slate, steepling up into dramatic vertical cliffs. The stretch on the approach to the pretty fishing village of Porthleven is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 17.75 km / 11 miles

Day 9 - Porthleven to The Lizard

Another classic day on the path, where the benign scenery of Mount’s Bay gives way to the altogether wilder landscapes of the Lizard Peninsula. Here rare heathers and wildflowers add colour and drama to the spectacular views. Kynance Cove is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the vivid turquoise seas are particularly dramatic at high tide on a windy day. 24.15 km / 15 miles

Day 10 - The Lizard to Porthallow

A long day on the trail through the outstanding landscapes and unique geology of the most southerly peninsula in mainland Britain. the Path crosses serpentine, granite and schist. Serpentine is a dark green rock veined with red and white which is easily carved and polished. A steep climb up to join the seabirds around Beagles Point provides far-reaching views of the Coast Path ahead. 25.75 km / 16 miles

Day 11 - Porthallow to Falmouth

Another long day includes two river crossings: the beautiful Gillan Creek and a short ferry ride across the Helford River – once the haunt of pirates and smugglers. After passing the Swanpool Nature Reserve, exhilarating views from Pendennis Castle await. There is much to see in the busy harbour of Falmouth – including the red brick chimney known as the King or Queen’s Pipe, which was used to burn confiscated contraband tobacco. 26.5 km / 16.5 miles

Day 12 - Falmouth to Portloe

Set off across the Fal, passing the unique cloverleaf fortress of St Mawes Castle to alight on another of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: The Roseland Peninsula. Look out for seals at Zone Point and Dartmoor Ponies at Treluggan Cliff before stealing yourself for the steep ascent of Nare Head followed by the welcome descent to Portloe. 21.75 km / 13.5 miles

Day 13 - Portloe to Mevagissey

The rugged Path out of Portloe eases around the more pastoral landscape of Caerhays Castle, before becoming tougher again on the approach to the 375ft headland of Dodman Point, affording extensive views out to the Eddystone Lighthouse. The bustling port of Mevagissey, with its double walled harbour, offers a good range of refreshments to celebrate completing this exhilarating section of the South West Coast Path. 19.35km / 12 miles

Day 14 - Departure Day

Depart Mevagissey after breakfast.

Accommodation

Accommodation where available is in locally owned and operated B&Bs, hotels, inns and farmhouses to provide you with a charming local experience. Among the venues visited on this itinerary are the following characterful coastal inns: The Tinners Arms, Zennor; The Old Success Inn, Sennen Cove and the Harbour Inn, Porthleven.

Travel

 

 

Air / Rail / Coach

From London by rail: Regular train service from London Paddington to St Ives (usually with a change of trains at St Erth – total journey time approximately 5.5 hours) and then it’s a short taxi to your guesthouse.

Return journey to London: Nearest train station is St Austell, which is well connected with the rail service to London Paddington (journey time approximately 4.5 hours). Your final night’s accommodation is a six-mile taxi ride from St Austell. National Rail website: www.nationalrail.co.uk

Flights are possible to Newquay Airport, then onward travel by bus or taxi connecting up with rail services to St. Ives. Details of flights to and from Newquay Airport can be found at www.cornwallairportnewquay.com

Coach: National Express has a network of non-stop rapid routes, by day and overnight. The services from London Victoria and Heathrow Airport run several times a day. The nearest stop to St Ives is Hayle, and then it’s a 15-minute taxi to the first night’s accommodation in St Ives.

 

Advice

The route is fairly easy to follow and well way-marked. It’s a moderate grade walk with some long days. The coastal path is hilly and many climbs are made each day, returning again to sea level. Some trails are rough under foot.

Cliff path rock falls and erosion does mean that the path may change slightly over the years.

The weather on the south west coast of England can be changeable and unpredictable, and so walkers should be prepared for all conditions with their clothing and attitude.

Season: March October. Best months: May, June, September.

Food & Drink

Excellent seafood is abundant on these sections of the path and will feature extensively on the menu in most local inns and restaurants. Look out for locally landed fresh fish from ‘day boats’ operating out of the fishing villages; Cornish Pasties, Stargazy Pie and Cream Teas are local specialities. Sample distinctive local ales from Cornish Chough Brewery and Black Rock Brewing. Cornwall’s very own lager: Korev is especially refreshing after a long day on the trail. The larger fishing ports usually offer lively nightlife in the harbourside taverns.

Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

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