south west coast path
9th september 2013
The weather forecast for the day looks to be pretty good again. As it turns out it was a hot, sticky and long day's walking. No waterproofs required here!
I started the day by walking down the harbourside at East Looe, passing the Ship Inn and took one last look at the harbour before heading back to the coast path.
East Looe Beach, a crescent shaped, sandy beach is found - you guessed it! - on the east side of Looe and, as it was relatively early still, was fairly quiet.
The path climbs steeply out of Looe before descending down to Millendreath Beach, a sandy beach with numerous rock pools to explore at low tide. The tide was in so I had a sandwich for breakfast, sharing the beach with the local dog walkers.
Due to a series of landslips the coast path was closed over Bodigga Cliff so I had to take the road inland, passing the Monkey Sanctuary and rejoined the coast path as it led down to Seaton. The beach at Seaton is a spacious grey sand beach popular with families and you can find the Seaton Beach Cafe here.
The tide was out (or so I thought) so I headed along the sea wall to reach Downderry Beach. The tide was further in than I expected so I had to clamber down the sea defences to get to the beach, a sheltered beach made of grey sand and shingle with rock pools at low tide. The wreck of ‘Gypsy’, the sister ship to the ‘Cutty Sark,’ is hidden under a kelp bed not far from the shore line. I passed underneath the Inn on the Shore at the far end of Downderry Beach.
After leaving Downderry the path passes St Nicholas' Church and Downderry Lodge and climbs up to Battern Cliffs. The path descends to another beach with the Long Stone stack prominent just offshore.
Eventually the path reaches the village of Portwrinkle passing the tiny harbour. There are two sand and shingle beaches here with numerous rock pools.
Portwrinkle is a small coastal village situated at the western end of Whitsand Bay. Portwrinkle was traditionally a fishing village and the old 17th century walls of the pilchard cellars are still standing although they have been incorporated into housing. The Gook Beach Cafe can be found on the cliff above Portwrinkle beach.
The road leaves Portwrinkle and goes past the Whitsand Bay Hotel, wending its way around Tregantle Fort. I thought it was supposed to be firing day today but the gate heading into Tregantle Fort wasn't locked so I risked life and limb to enter the fort. A pleasant surprise just below the fort were a load of autumn ladies tresses.
The path continued to Sharrow Point and then up towards the holiday cabins at Freathy and Whitsand Bay Holiday Park. The path usually takes a circuitous route through the cabins clinging to the cliff but a diversion was in place along the road at the top of the cliff.
Whitsand Bay beach, a series of beaches stretching to around four miles, can be found here but access to the beach is difficult via steep steps and paths. The views here are fantastic.
The path then circles around Rame Head with a view to St Michael's Chapel on the headland. Also visible is the National Coastwatch Rame Head Station.
The path descends to Penlee Point before reaching the village of Cawsand. The tide was out so I was able to enjoy the sand and shingle beach. On leaving the beach I passed the Cross Keys Inn on The Square at Cawsand. As enticing as the pub was, Plymouth awaits! Onwards the path leads to the adjoining village of Kingsand, passing the Halfway House Inn, which has another small sand and shingle beach. Between the two villages a house is passed, called Devon Corn, which has a marker on the front of the house showing the old boundary between Devon and Cornwall. The Devonport Inn, on The Cleave, can be found in Kingsand.
On leaving Kingsand the path enters the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park which leads to a long and tortuous walk through woodland with an almost complete lack of signs before reaching the Edgcumbe Arms and the slipway for the Cremyll ferry. It has been a long and hot day so a couple of pints of Proper Job here help to refresh me.
My lift back to Golant is on this side of Plymouth Sound today so no ferry for me. Instead I take a last glance at the view over to Plymouth.
When walking resumes in Spring 2014 I'll be picking up the path in Plymouth and making my way to Salcombe where my second navigation of the South West Coast Path will be completed.
flora and fauna
Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-
- autumn ladies tresses
- japanese knotweed
- cuckoo pint
Marks out of ten?
According to my phone I've walked 23.5 miles today which amounts to 50454 steps so another very long day. Shame about the lack of signage at the end of the walk but still 8 out of 10.