The Cornish name for Land’s End, Penn an Wlas, means ‘End of the Earth’, which this wind-battered walk certainly feels like. There are soaring granite cliffs, secret beaches only accessible by tunnels carved from the rocks, wind-swept heather-covered headlands and the ruins of Cornwall’s once prosperous tin mines.
This #CornwallDevonWalk adventure starts in Porthcurno, the cable-communication capital of the world up until 1970, connecting England to India via Portugal, it was also a key location during World War Two. The beaches along this part of the route are some of the most spectacular in the UK, with honey coloured sand and deep blue waters, hemmed in by towering cliffs.
The first and perhaps the most awe-inspiring of the sights along this walk is the Minack Theatre.
Carved from the cliffs by the phenomenal Rowena Cade over many years, the Minack is now one of the most desirable theatres for Amateur dramaturgs. The first play at the theatre was Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but there’s no need to watch a performance here to appreciate the drama of the amphitheatre.
We will then pass the tiny but gloriously sandy cove of Porth Chapel, which the more sure-footed wanderer can climb down to. It’s a popular spot with surfers and sometimes seals. Please be aware that the path down to is rocky and steep and that the beach, like a lot along this route, is dog-free from 1st May to 30th September.
You will then pass through Porthgwarra, a tiny fishing village with a tunnel that lead down to the cove below. Poldark fans might recognise this small bay from the series, with a few scenes taking place on the beach and the cliffs above.
The South-West Coast Path then plots it’s course along the top of the cliffs, with some challenging walking across the wind-beaten headlands of the North Atlantic Coast. Along the route are some more spectacular hidden coves which walkers can explore.
One of the most beautiful which deserves a mention is Nanjizal Bay. If you time you walk to reach the bay at low tide, you can swim through the “song of the sea” rock arch, an amazing, slender arch carved from the granite cliff by the sea over many years. You can also swim in the jade-green plunge pools and snorkel into sea caves, where the walls gleam with coralline. This beach certainly isn’t one to miss.
Once you’ve reach land’s end, and have taken a photo with the famous sign, take some time to stand at the view point looking out at the horizon and imagine all those who have gone before you and all those who will come after. You all have one thing in common, you’ve all stood on the most south-westerly point of mainland England staring at the sea beyond.
From here you have an easy walk to Sennen Cove, a picturesque village around a half hour walk away from Land’s End. Don’t forget to look out for the Mayon Cliff Shipwreck on your meander atop the cliffs. The boat was once almost 300ft long, but has now reduced to a fraction of that size. It’s a reminder of the power of the ocean.
Once at Sennen Cove take some time to mill around and take in the slow pace of life in this remote place.
The best place to park is at Porthcurno, there is a carpark about a five minute walk from Porthcurno beach were this walk begins. The A1 Atlantic Coaster Bus from Sennen Cove will get you back to Porthcurno. The last bus leaves at 5:30, so make sure you time your walk so you have plenty of time to take in the views before heading back to your car.
Bus Station: Sennen Cove bus stop on Cove Hill – Take the A1 Atlantic Coaster from Sennen Cove to Porthcurno Car Park to get back to your car. (Data gathered Dec 2020).
Nearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Penzance, then take the A1 Atlantic Coaster to Porthcurno.