port isaac to padstow

south west coast path

wednesday, 28th september 2016

After yesterday's filthy weather it looks like it will be much better today. It's not going to be particularly warm but at least it should be dry and the wind has died down a bit.

Padstow low tide 10:54

Padstow high tide 16:50

I start the day back in the car park at the top of Port Isaac and head down a tarmac path which leads in to the village, passing autumnal flowers along the way.

I head down the hill towards the harbour, passing all of the touristy shops. Fortunately it's still pretty early so the village isn't heaving yet with Doc Martin fans.

port isaac

I have views over the harbour before I pass the Golden Lion (@GLportisaac) and head down the slipway onto the beach.

view over port isaac harbour

A narrow road leads uphill out of Port Isaac and I have lovely early morning views back over the beach and harbour.

view back over port isaac

I climb some granite steps and enjoy more of the autumnal flowers before walking around the edge of a field on Lobber Point and then drop into a valley and cross a footbridge at Pine Haven. I now have left Port Isaac behind me and continue on the rollercoaster ride from yesterday.

I climb up a long flight of steps and pass Varley Sand before heading around Varley Head. I'm now above Greengarden Cove and continue along the coast path around Scarnor Point and above Downgate Cove and walk along the cliffs above Reedy Cliff.

I round Kellan Head and I can now see the narrow inlet of Port Quin. I drop gently down to Port Quin and pass underneath scaffolding enveloping a National Trust cottage here. There are several workers above me on the scaffolding repointing the cottage.  

dropping down to port quin

I head out onto and enjoy the beach. There used to be a thriving pilchard industry here as well as mining activities but these have both long ago dried up.

port quin beach

I pass holiday cottages and then take the minor road out of Port Quin and climb over a stone stile and cut inland of Doyden Point, passing a truncated gothic tower, Doyden Castle, built in 1827 and now turned into a holiday cottage. 

doyden castle

I enjoy more of the autumnal flowers and come across several small copper butterflies. It is going to be a good day for butterflies.

small copper butterfly

The coast path passes a couple of mine shafts surrounded by slate fencing posts. These mines are known as Gilson's Cove mine or Doyden Point mine  and produced a mixture of silver, lead and antimony and also a bit of copper.

mine shaft

Between the two shafts the coast path runs through the middle of a horse whim that was used to haul materials from the mine.

I climb gently onto Trevan Point and cross a stream above the beach and caves at Epphaven Cove. It's an inviting looking beach at low tide but doesn't look to be very accessible, involving a scramble down rocks.

epphaven cove

I pass behind Lundy Beach which, again, looks very inviting but you need to  take a wooden flight of steps and then a scramble over rocks to reach the beach.

lundy beach

Just past the beach I reach the arch at Lundy Hole.

lundy hole

There is a legend that as St. Menfre was combing her hair the devil appeared in front of her and was so taken back he dug Lundy Hole.

Legends can often be utter nonsense!

I pass Great Lobb's Rock and suddenly there are dog walkers everywhere. I head out onto Carnweather Point and I hear the lovely sound of a chiff chaff which I haven't heard for several months now. I pass over Downhedge Cove and pass disused quarries where I come across a peacock butterfly. Second butterfly species spotted and photographed. I also come across a wall butterfly but it disappears before I have a chance to whip out my camera.

peacock butterfly

 I pass Pengirt Cove before climbing over Com Head and I now have fine views over Polzeath. These views soon disappear though.

I walk through a gate marked as Jean & Eric's gate. Who knows who Jean and Eric are/were. I continue along the path towards Rumps Point and out to sea is The Mouls. I come across a speckled wood butterfly. Third butterfly species spotted and photographed. I then come across the elusive wall butterfly. It's not perched in the most attractive place but fourth butterfly species spotted and photographed.

speckled wood

wall butterfly

The path swings sharply to the left before Rumps Point and heads out towards Pentire Point.

rumps point

I clamber behind Pentire Point where I now have magnificent, if slightly murky, views over Hayle Bay towards Polzeath.

view over hayle bay

I also have lovely views across Padstow Bay and the Camel estuary towards my destination for the day, Padstow.

I descend gently on grassy slopes and Polzeath quickly gets closer and closer.


I climb down to the beach at Pentireglaze Haven and the tide is far enough out for me to head out onto the beach and walk directly across to Polzeath Beach. It's been a while since I've had a decent stroll along a sandy beach.

polzeath beach

I amble across the beach before briefly heading out on the road but a coast path sign points me down a path which leads out onto The Greenway where I now have views across The Doom Bar, named after a particularly fine local beer! 

I head along the path above Broadagogue Cove and Greenaway Beach and gently descend towards Daymer Bay, another favourite beach of mine.

I head out onto the beach at Fishing Cove Field and amble slowly along the sand. St Enodoc Church can be found just inland here but I continue along the beach passing the grassy slope of Brea Hill and beneath St Enodoc Golf Club, towards Rock.

daymer bay

As I approach the ferry I have the pleasant surprise of a singing skylark over the dunes behind me. It's been a couple of months since I've had the pleasure of hearing a skylark out on my walks at home.

Here I catch the ferry across to Padstow which costs me £4 for a return ticket. I don't even bother getting off the boat and instead catch the ferry straight back across to Rock.

catching the ferry

I head for the Rock Inn where I enjoy chips, salad and a thirst quenching pint of Tribute. It's rather busy and very noisy after being out on the coast all day. That's my walking done for the day, week and the end of the South West Coast Path walking for the year.

beach collection


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • ragwort
  • red valerian
  • sedum
  • fuchsias
  • dahlias
  • common knapweed
  • clover
  • common toadflax
  • devil's-bit scabious
  • gorse
  • bracken
  • blackberries
  • spent sea thrift
  • wrens
  • small copper butterflies
  • speckled wood butterflies
  • a peacock butterfly
  • wall butterflies
  • red campion
  • honeysuckle
  • betony
  • herb robert
  • ivy
  • a peregrine
  • cormorants
  • a skylark


The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.


According to my phone I've walked 13 miles today which amounts to 29424 steps. The weather, although not great, was a massive improvement on yesterday and it has been lovely to stretch my legs along long sandy beaches. Nine out of ten!

My total ascent today has been 484 metres or 1587 feet.