Hayle and The Towans – 3 miles
Going for a hike doesn’t always have to be a chore. For some, like me now and then when I’m not being lazy, there is nothing better than getting up early and being out all day. Miles upon miles of coastline or woodland, up and down valleys and in and out of wrong turns following endless paths and views. Nothing beats it.
But sometimes, a lengthy hike is not what you need. Sometimes, all you want is a couple of miles after work to release the tension of being sat at a computer, or the stockpile of information loading your brain, before going home and putting your pjs on. Sometimes, an hour out on foot has the exact same benefits as a day out hiking. You may not be doing an incredible amount of mileage, but the physical and mental reactions to being outside for an hour is just as great as hiking up and down hills all day.
One route which has become a popular Cornish Ramblings destination after work, is Hayle and The Towans. Located near to the popular Gwithian and Godrevy, Hayle is a small town in west Cornwall. Hayle is situated at the mouth of the Hayle River and is near to popular tourist locations Penzance and St. Ives.
Hayle, meaning estuary in Cornish, or ‘Heyl’ if you’d like the Cornish spelling, was predominately built during the 18th Century and was an important center for the Neolithic tin industry. Hayle was initially a coal importing and ore exporting port, but nearby village Angarrack built a tin smelter which was constructed to process the ore. Hayle became just a convenient point to land coal before being taken to Angarrack by mule.
With Hayle positioned by the sea and with it’s 3-miles of delicious golden sandy beaches, it has become a popular holiday destination. The sand dunes, or The Towans has they’re known to us local folk, are a great place for adventuring and a perfect place to spend some time for a Cornish Ramble.
The Hayle and The Towans route is a gentle 3-mile circular walk that you can do in about an hour. It starts at the quay and takes you along to the coast where there are some remarkable views to take your breath away. Even on a murky day, it won’t disappoint. Although this is a short walk, it still gives you the opportunity to breathe in massive gulps of that delicious Cornish air and add another 5000-6000 steps to your daily quota. It also means you can squeeze it in between your busy plans whilst visiting west Cornwall.
Other than the wonderful views along the coast, this route will also take you through The Towans. The Towans, or ‘Tewyn’ meaning sand dune in Cornish, stretch for 3-miles from Hayle River to Gwithian and have been formed from dry sand blowing up from the beach. Passing a couple of kissing gates, you will enter a part of the dunes that is of special scientific interest and includes a number of nature reserves. Making your way through the kissing gate with your back to the sea, you’ll begin to make your way inland.
Although I am not religious, I do enjoy visiting churches and having a nosy around inside. This route takes you through the grounds of Phillack church and is a glorious quaint structure to gaze at and admire. If you have the opportunity and the time, be sure to peek around inside! On leaving the church grounds, you will make your way down a steep hill which leads to the King George V Memorial Walk, the last leg of the ramble. This flat and straight pathway overlooks the Hayle estuary where you’ll find a myriad of birdlife and is beautifully maintained all year round by volunteers, with a sensory garden and fish pond to entertain you and/or the little ones.
Although cars can drive down (apart from on a Sunday) there is a pedestrian pathway to keep you safe and allows you to happily continue the final part of this short but sweet route. Being accessible to all, this ¾ mile stretch really does have it all. With plenty of benches along the Memorial Walk, if you’re not quite ready to finish your ramble, take a seat and watch the world go by. And whilst in Hayle, don’t forget to pick up one of Cornwall’s famous Philps pasties – a perfect companion and way to finish this delightful Cornish Ramble.