Walking Praa Sands to Porthleven
Distance 4.8 miles (7.7 km).
Duration: 3hr 15min.
Grid reference SW576281 to SW628258.
Park your car at Praa Sands. Our walk followed Walk 8 in Book 2 of the 'Classic Walks Cornwall' Series. The beach is very close to a mile in length so be sure to check the state of the tides before setting out. Geologists amongst you may like to examine the 'raised beach' with its rounded pebbles at the far western edge of the beach - see 'www.pznow.co.uk' for more details. I am indebted to Peter G Thomasson for his correction.
If favourable, walk east along the beach towards the house perched on the clifftop ahead. Allow about 15 minutes to get to the eastern cliff at Lesceave Rocks. Don't be surprised to see a ruined concrete pillbox on the beach, a remnant of World War Two's coastal defences. The crumbling nature of the cliffs is brought home to you when you realise that it once stood upon them!. Just after passing the pillbox, walk towards the low cliff as you near the eastern end of the beach. Look for a small gully containing some steps up from the beach and onto the NT area of Lesceave Cliff.
Continue up the coast path climbing steadily away from the beach. About 5 minutes later pass a small green sign stating 'RINSEY HEAD - YOU ARE NOW ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. YOU ARE WELCOME TO WALK ON THE PATHS INDICATED'. Obviously to ensure future access, please respect the wishes of the landowner. As the top is reached, grid reference SW591271, look back to see Hoe Point, Cudden Point and Mount's Bay.
On a clear day it may be possible to make out Tater-Du lighthouse - near Lamorna - glinting on the point in the distance. Pass the burnt out remains of an old wooden dwelling and continue down into the car park at Rinsey Cliff [grid ref. SW589269]. Please read the coastpath diversion signs here ! Some might wish to take some time out to walk down to the small beach below at Porthcew - BUT check locally before straying too far off the beaten track as there have been some rockfalls here recently. Others might like to use the wide areas near the largely restored Wheal Prosper Engine House on the platform below left for a picnic.
Take photographs if you wish before returning to the (diverted) coastpath by way of steps directly behind the mine. Cross a stile into a large field aiming directly for the satellite dishes at Goonhilly on the opposite coast. If all is well you should cross the field by another stile, with a stumpy mine chimney right and a large minestack front left. Cross the stile carefully as it is placed halfway along an electric fence!. Walk down to the coastal footpath marker and bear left to the mines at Wheal Trewavas, grid reference SW596264. Now might be a good time to take a drink stop. You should now have been walking for about 45 minutes, and soon the path narrows and undulates as it passes along Trewavas Cliff. After zig-zagging down what seems to be a descent of about 150 feet you begin to climb sharply once again. Quickly attaining your 'lost altitude' pass close to some deep gouges cut into the cliff. The most noteworthy example is the chasm of Trequean Zawn. The path begins to level out now as you pass Megliggar Rocks - and onto the Lizard OS Explorer Map No. 103).
The path drops down again, passing another waymarker post before being diverted into a field to avoid the crumbling cliff edge. If you haven't already stopped for a break, then stop here for say 25 minutes to rest, have lunch or explore the rocky shore at Tremearne Par [grid ref. SW613266]. Refreshed, restart your walk passing a small, green, rectangular footpath sign that states you are now 1½ miles from Rinsey and 2½ from Praa Sands. Incidentally although not indicated, you are also about 1 mile from your goal, the harbour at Porthleven. Cross the stream by the wooden boards provided and climb away from the cove. TAKE EXTREME CARE OVER THE NEXT SECTION AS THE PATH RUNS CLOSE TO THE CLIFF EDGE ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, AND THE CLIFFS ARE VERY WEAK GEOLOGICALLY AND MAY CRUMBLE AT THEIR EDGE !!!. Follow the path up and around Parc Trammel Cove as indicated . DO NOT STRAY. The route is fenced and well signalled here, running either inside or outside a wooden fence and a turf wall. KEEP LANDWARD. As the path continues along Bullion Cliff to Tregear Point and beyond, remain cautious as there are still a few dangers to the inexperienced or younger walkers.
Pass beside a large whitewashed building as you round Tregear Point. The small cross on your right here is a monument to all those seamen who lost their lives in shipwrecks around this coast. It reads...'This cross has been erected in memory of the many mariners drowned on this part of the coast from time immemorial and buried on the cliffs hereabout. also to commemorate the passing of the 'Grylls Act' of 1808 since when bodies cast up by the sea have been laid to rest in the nearest consecrated ground. Erected March 1949....Also in sacred memory of 22 Porthleven fishermen who lost their lives in the following disasters...1871 'Desire' - 7 lost; 1876 'Johanna' - 2 lost; 1886 'Miriam' - 4 lost; 1893 'Nile' - 3 lost; 1948 'Energetic' - 6 lost'. The route remains quite flat and gradually widens as it joins the road at Breageside. It is now a simple 10 minute walk down to the Porthleven harbour and a well earned drink.
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: