Newquay is not just famous for its surf and beautiful beaches. It also has some fabulous, scenic walks to offer.
No matter what time of the year. In Cornwall every season is celebrated with music, festivals and food and the chance to explore this beautiful piece of earth on foot. Wildflowers, wildlife and nature puts on a show to rival all of them. So grab those hiking boots and walking shoes and put your best foot forward this holiday.
1) Porth to Watergate Bay
This walk is perfect for showing you what the Atlantic truly offers, so brace yourself for caves, rock pools and ragged by majestic cliffs shaped by centuries of unforgiving surf.
Starting at Porth it’s a hike up the coastal path toward Watergate Bay (with your back to Newquay), walking this route takes in panoramic views of the stunning bays where you can see a myriad of seabirds and if you’re lucky some sea life as well. As you climb the incline you know there will be something magnificent to see and you won’t be disappointed as the vast vista of Watergate Bay comes into view with its three miles of golden sand. The view is truly breathtaking and perfect to spot wildlife of a different kind - the extreme sports fan. Here they meet in abundance to kite surf, surf and race land buggies.
As with all coastal walks, remember to check tide times.
Distance: approx. 3.5 miles
2) Crantock and the Gannel
Pull on those waterproof boots we’re off to the boating lake for our next walk. If you manage to pry yourself away from the lovely Fern Pit café, you’ll find the entrance to the coastal path on the edge of the Gannel.
Here it is important to check tide times as your path is only revealed at low tide. Follow the bridge across the wide expanse of the Gannel that flows out to the Atlantic. Occasionally you‘ll find the odd fishing boat taking shelter, but this area is usually more frequented by seabirds, ponies and dog walkers.
Taking the clear path, you’ll wind your way through reeds, mudflats and dunes to the stunning village of Crantock, its popular beach a hit with young families due to its abundant pools and golden sands.
The village is home to two pubs for a well-earned tipple or why not treat yourself to a cream tea in one of the many tearooms.
Distance: 4.5 miles
3) Porth Reservoir
Away from the windswept coast and further in land you’ll find the beautiful circular walk of Porth Reservoir.
The former estate of Nanswhyden House and Fir Hill Manor, the area is now a wildlife reserve offering the chance to glimpse deer, fox and rabbits. Starting at the edge of the reservoir the trail passes bird hides on the woodland path which once was the grand entrance to the estate. The walk itself takes you past the ruins of the houses as it takes you past a ford at Trengove and onto the pretty hamlet of Colan and its church.
The walk takes in views over the water, past hosts of wildlife and wildflowers (and an exceptional display of bluebells in Spring). It’s an easy-going, but long walk, so sturdy shoes are a must. Parking can be found at the reservoir entrance.
Distance 5.2 miles
4) Bedruthan Steps
Much like many of our coastal walk offerings its best that you are familiar with tide times. On this occasion, it won’t just lead to soggy feet.
This short walk at Bedruthan Steps offers a delight for the senses with crisp and salty sea breezes, heart pounding exercise and a feast for the eyes with some of the most breathtaking sights in the area.
Owned and managed by the National Trust you can start this walk from Carnewas car park. You’ll find a winding path that offers you the best of the wild Atlantic, its birds and wildlife.
Here Volcanic rocks rise from the sand and towering cliffs dwarf the golden sands. Take the steps down to the beach to explore the myriad of hidden coves revealed at low tide.
Distance: 0.7 miles
5) Holywell to Crantock
If you’re looking for a walk of pretty views, pretty coves and wildlife, then the stroll from Holywell Bay to Crantock is the one for you. It’s a circular footpath that leads from the headland of Holywell Bay (one of our ‘famous on film’ beaches - think Poldark) and meanders along the coast past Porth Joke on to the wide golden sands of Crantock. During the summer months the return journey takes you through breathtaking fields of poppies before taking you back through Cubert Common. Its nature conservation area is dappled with flowers such as primrose, cowslips and yellow flag iris. Along with the dunes, it forms part of the Penhale Sands, an important area for wildlife.
Part of the route take you pass the Bowgie Inn - a great stop for refreshments or a quick bite to eat.
Distance: 4.7 miles
If you thought Newquay town was just for shopping, it’s time to think again…
Why not take a walk around the world-famous home of surfing and discover some of its past history as a busting harbour?
Starting from the harbour and on to pass the aquarium, it’s a steep hike up to the Huer’s Hut - once again more marvellous views await you. On a cold day views of the rugged coast, and when the sun shines the kaleidoscope of colours as windbreaks and umbrellas dot the horizon. Back along the cliff you past Towan Head, the legendary Fistral beach and back along to Pentire Point - the calm oasis in Newquay’s busy ocean.
Round the headland you start heading back along the beautiful Gannel - lush trees and tropical gardens hug the cliffs down to the estuary. Finally, it’s a stroll through the wonderful Trenance Gardens and boating lake beneath the towering viaduct - the Victorian built line that founded Newquay’s love affair with tourism. You’ll find refreshments dotted along this route, so great for that leisurely stroll.
Distance: 5.8 miles