Capturing Cornwall (Carnewas)

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

~ John Masefield

We started at the NT car park at Carnewas (along the north Cornish coast half-way between Padstow and Newquay) where there is a lovely tea-room which is open throughout the summer months.

From here you cannot see anything of the coastline. DSCF5515 Well established paths lead you through the gorse on a detour to the cliffs from where you have amazing views of the cliffs in both directions, along to Trevose Head and the spectacular sea stacks at Bedruthan beach and south towards Mawgan Porth.

Coastal Path looking south
Looking north to the Bedruthan Steps
Looking Down
Looking Down

After admiring the views return to the main path and continue down the wide steps to the bottom where you have good views over the beach when there is a low tide, or the waves crashing over the rocks when there isn’t.

When the tide is out you can take the steep stone beach steps to access the beach. (These steps are closed from November and there is no swimming from this beach because of the currents).

The rest of the route includes slopes, steps and unfenced cliff top, none of which are attractive to the OH, so we returned to the café for a cool glass of ginger beer.

Trevose Head in the distance
Trevose Head in the distance

There is no record of the name “Bedruthan Steps” before 1847, but it is thought to have originally referred to one of the two cliff staircases to access Carnewas mine (presumably the one nearer to the village of Bedruthan). The name later also became used for the name of the beach itself.

The legend of Bedruthan Steps was invented for Victorian tourism, said to be taken from a mythological giant (Bedruthan) who used the rocks as stepping stones. These were formed after the last Ice Age, when rising sea levels eroded the surrounding soft shales to leave the harder rocks as islands. Each of the 5 rock stacks has a name (Queen Bess, Samaritan Island, Redcove Island, Pendarves Island and Carnewas Island). DSCF5543 This is a very short walk, but can be extended if you continue along the south-west coastal path to Porth Mear or in the other direction to Mawgan Porth returning through the countryside.

If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.


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I live in the UK, but when I was younger I spent several years travelling the world followed by a period living in South Africa. I look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

50 thoughts on “Capturing Cornwall (Carnewas)”

  1. Great walk Jude, and beautifully illustrated by your photos. I haven’t been to Cornwall since the early 90s, but this is making me fancy that long drive from Norfolk!
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. There is something about the colour of the water in Cornwall which reminds me of the Cape. And I love this area – still quite untouched by tourism.

    1. It’s pretty stunning along this north coast Sue. Sadly I timed it badly for the tide as I’d have loved to have gone onto the beach and seen the sea stacks close up. This means I must go again 🙂

  2. What a beautiful part of the world. I love the wildness of the sea as it crashes to the shore. The different shades of blue are amazing. I imagine the water being icy cold. Is it so?

  3. I really don’t know Cornwall well, Jude. It seems such a long way away from here. The Algarve is closer 🙂 But I do have a few nice memories of a holiday down there, long ago. Many thanks for sharing so generously. 🙂 Lovely photos!

  4. Do you happen to know what the flowers are?

    Coincidence: yesterday I saw a rather strange movie in which sections of the overture to Tristan und Isolde were played several times. The coincidence is that that opera takes place partly in Cornwall.

  5. Amazing colours of the sea “looking down”, and a beautiful piece of coastline. The foregrounded flowers make a great composition. Makes me think I might like to see my sea again.

  6. I love walking along the cliffs, looks like it’s time I went back to Cornwall, haven’t been there for a few years, I used to take my son when he was a baby we stayed in Camelford.

    Have you had any luck in your house search.

  7. About time you left the shire and came to that great metropolis of Cardiff to see the arcades, I’ll even buy you a cuppa.

  8. Beautiful photos! I visited Cornwall last year for the first time and absolutely loved it. The bays were so pretty. I really liked Bedruthan Steps and also Lantic Bay.

    1. We love Cornwall too and have been considering moving there, but haven’t had much success yet! On the other hand, I was very taken with Norfolk AND it is flatter! Any thoughts?

      1. It’s definitely flat; being from Yorkshire originally, I do miss hills. It’s a great county though; The Broads are a real asset in summer and we do have some lovely beaches in North Norfolk.
        That said I still have hopes of living in Fowey, Cornwall, one day. Waking up for coffee by the harbour sounds pretty good plus I love the cream teas 🙂

        1. Nice to meet another Yorkshire lass 🙂 I know what you mean about hills – lovely to look at, sadly at my age, more difficult to walk up! Too many cream teas! Living on the Welsh borders I have to admit is very pretty, and green 🙂

          My eldest son (who lives in Sydney – another place I believe you know well) has also fallen for the charms of Fowey! A bit too steep for me I’m afraid.

    1. Thanks Dina – I see you have been browsing through the Cornish posts. I hope to start a new blog soon specifically for Cornwall and one of the places I want to go to is Bedruthen Steps when the tide is out so I can walk amongst these stacks. Quite reminiscent of the Great Ocean Road in Australia 🙂

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