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Walking from Portreath to Gwithian

Further down the North Cornwall coast you can find The Heritage Coast with some jaw dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean. For this walk, we recommend a good pair of hiking boots, lots of water and a camera to capture those stunning views. Be prepared as this is a more energetic hike with several steep climbs and equally steep descents. When you get to Hell’s Mouth, don’t get too close to the edge, especially if you’re not a fan of heights!

The Essentials: 

  • Where: Head for TR16 4LJ where you can park on the big hill that goes out of Portreath. It won’t cost you anything and based on this being a challenging route, it’s not the worst idea to cut out the steep hill at first so that you can warm up and get into your stride!
  • When: Year round whatever the weather. Do go careful in wet or icey conditions to avoid slipping over and hurting yourself. Also make sure that visibility is reasonable.
  • Cost: Free of charge. Save your money to treat yourself to a well deserved coffee and cake at Hell’s Mouth Cafe!
  • Who: Not for the faint hearted. You’re going to be walking along some of Cornwall’s steepest and most rugged cliff tops and when you reach Hell’s Mouth, you’re head will be in a spin with the steep drop. (Don’t forget to stay away from the edge!)
  • How long does it take: Allow a full day for this route. It’s quite far, up to 12 miles in total. If you get half way and decide enough’s enough, you will be able to catch a local bus from Hayle to Portreath to get you back to the car!
  • When’s best to go: We love this route in the autumn when the huge crashing waves batter the coastline but we suggest staying away in high winds as it adds a danger element.

Not for the faint hearted, this 12 mile round trip is a demanding walk along the cliff tops of the Heritage Coast’s rugged paths. There are hill’s aplenty but you will be rewarded with some truly amazing views of North West Cornwall. We recommend parking on the hill on the west side of the village of Portreath. There are no parking restrictions and from here, you can descend onto the beach where you will join the coastal path.

The North Cliff’s area will take you along the coastline, past the Tehidy Estate and towards Hell’s Mouth. Before you take in the gravity defying 300 foot drop of these steep cliffs, we recommend settling the stomach with some well deserved refreshments in the Hells Mouth cafe, serving cake’s, ice creams, sandwiches and drinks.

From here, you will continue towards Godrevy where you can enjoy the stunning view out across the long, sandy beach of Gwithian and the isolated Godrevy lighthouse that sits solitary on it’s own mini island a few hundred metres from the shore. You are now six miles into the walk and can find further refreshments at Godrevy Cafe before you embark on the trek back to Portreath, safe in the knowledge that you’ve experienced some of the most rugged beauty of the Cornish coastline.

If you are interested in more of our favourite walking destinations in Cornwall take a look at our main article, walking in Cornwall.

We hope you enjoyed this article, and if you want to read more, do check out our other article categories.

Main image courtesy of Visit Cornwall.

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