Walking Porthleven to Gunwalloe
Distance 4.8 miles (7.7 km).
Duration: 2hr 30min.
Grid reference SW628258 to SW661205.
Park your car in either of the large car parks at Porthleven, my favourite is the one behind the square. Walk towards the sea keeping to the left of the inner harbour. Pass the Harbour Inn and the small row of shops, pausing a while if anything takes your fancy. Continue seaward heading for the clocktower before turning left along Cliff Road. Proceed up the hill bearing right at the fork to travel along Loe Bar Road passing the small coastal footpath sign. After about 15 minutes you should be passing the Tye Rocks Country House. Leave the tarmac road here and ascend up the few steps onto the NT Parc-an-Als Cliff. Follow the wide path as it wends its way lazily south-eastwards, passing a pillbox on the cliff edge. On the half hour, pass to the right of the Bar Walk Lodge as you drop down to the NT area of Loe Pool and Beach - grid reference SW 643241. This point also happens to be the 2km mark from the start. Cross the 500m stretch of sand at Loe Bar being sure to heed the warnings about swimming- this is one of the MOST DANGEROUS BEACHES in the area. Stop for a few minutes to look left to the freshwater lagoon that is Loe Pool.
Depending on the state of the tides, decide if you wish to walk the mile or so to Gunwalloe Fishing Cove on the beach or the high water route on the cliffs. [As we were doing a circular walk we walked to the Cove on the cliffs and returned along the beach of coarse sand]. Please ensure you have enough time to complete the walk safely as there are no other exits from the beach during its course!. Pass the Anson Monument, a white cross dedicated to the 190 seamen lost on HMS Anson, wrecked on Loe Bar in December 1807. Incidentally, the two cannon situated on either side of the Porthleven Harbour also come from this frigate.
Continue up the grassy cliff along the widest path, passing an old quarry on the hour, now about 4km (2½ miles) from the start. As you see a wooden seat above Gunwalloe Fishing Cove look for a narrow path on your right leading quite steeply down from the wide track onto the coastpath proper. Take care as the path runs quite close to the edge before passing by some buildings and down steps into Gunwalloe Fishing Cove. [We stopped here for 15 minutes, for a quick drink and a look around]. Leaving the Cove climb up and over Baulk Head (NT) [grid ref. SW653222] passing through two wooden gates as you near the whitewashed castellated features of Halzephron Herb Farm. Walk down the former tarmac road for a short while before bearing right onto Halzephron Cliff (NT) just after the 2 hour mark. 'Als-Ifarn' is Cornish for 'The Cliffs of Hell'. Do you agree? Take EXTRA care here, recent cliff falls have caused a diversion to the coastal path....follow the signs carefully.
Shortly the path leads to the spectacular Pedngwinian [grid ref. SW653210] - a cove shaped like the claws of a crab - as you pass it you feel like the sea is all around you. As you are also about 200 feet (60m) above sea level on sheer cliffs, 'Hell' seems very apt. Continue around the headland, relieved now, as the path descends gradually into Gunwalloe Church Cove. Use the cafe and toilets if you wish to refresh yourself before contemplating your next walk. Geologists among you might like to explore the small cove known as Dollar Cove and 'Jangye Ryn' just west of Church Cove to look at the tilted and wildly contorted strata in the low slate cliffs.
Stay at a nearby Holiday Park and keep the kids amused all day! Parks in the vicinity include those at:
Plenty of hotels are available locally. Consider those in the local towns:
There's plenty more to explore in this area, too! Find more attractions and things to do nearby: