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. 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.
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.
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). 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.