5 secret Cornwall beaches that can only be reached on foot

Cornwall's best kept secrets

Cornwall's best kept secrets - Credit: Archant

One of the joys of walking the South West Coast Path is stumbling upon a secluded beach and discovering that you’ve got it all to yourself. Cornwall has a wealth of beautiful secret sandy bays and coves that can only be reached on foot. Here’s our selection of the best

1. Crackington Haven Circular

Distance: 3.5 miles

This walk takes you from Crackington Haven to the magnificent viewpoint of Cambeak, along the cliff tops and then back down the beautifully wooded Ludon valley to the start point. Children and adults alike will love to explore the hidden beaches known as The Strangles, including Little Strand.

2. Constantine Bay to Mawgan Porth

Distance: 7.7 miles

A one-way walk (regular bus for the return journey), passing sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, and passing the iconic Bedruthan Steps. At Fox Cove, the remains of a tanker, Helmsley I' wrecked in 1969, on its way to a breakers yard, are still visible.

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3. Three Sides of the Lizard

Distance: 3.9 miles

A walk around the rugged tip of The Lizard, passing the most southerly point on the mainland, following undulating high cliffs. The highlight for many will be a glimpse of a chough. The only pair in Cornwall or England of this acrobatic red-legged crow has nested at Lizard Point since 2002. Housel Bay is dog friendly all year round.

4. St Anthony Head and Place

Distance: 6.3 miles

A circular walk of either 4.5 or 6 miles can be started from the ferry landing stage at Place. Alternatively you can start from the car park at St Anthony Head. Whichever you take, there are magnificent views as well as plenty of historical and wildlife interest to enjoy along the way. Porthbeor is a lovely remote beach reached by a steeply stepped path in an area maintained and managed by the National Trust.

5. Bodinnick, Polruan and Fowey

Distance: 5.8 miles

Lantic Bay is a beautiful horseshoe beach, known by some as South East Cornwall's best kept secret'. The sheltered cove has white sandy beaches and crystal blue, refreshing water, which is perfect for bathing. To add to its appeal, it is south-facing so enjoys much of the day's sun. The beach can be difficult to find, with a challenging but worthwhile climb back up to the coastal path.


- The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest National Trail at 630-miles from Minehead on the edge of Exmoor, all the way to Poole harbour, taking in the entire coastlines of Devon and Cornwall in between.

- The South West Coast Path takes in two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and five designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), including the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and the Cornwall AONB.

- Almost half the Coast Path is in Cornwall with a total of 300 miles of coastline between Bude and Plymouth.

- It is a valuable tourism asset worth approximately £300m to the region's economy with Coast Path walkers in Cornwall spending approximately £175m in a year (based on 2011 fugures).

- It's considered one of the top 12 hikes in the World, as chosen by Lonely Planet's Great Adventures guidebook, 2012.