Walking Porthtowan to Chapel Porth
Distance 1.4 miles (2.2 km).
Grid reference SW690481 to SW697495.
Take the ever steepening path at the north-eastern end of the beach up the cliff. The true coastpath indicated by the customary 'Acorn' sign is quite steep here and close to the cliff edge. On the landward side however there are quite a few other paths which enable the more casual walker to zig-zag their way up. After what seems to be just a few minutes of strenuous climbing you reach the top and again have a choice of paths.
The seaward path gives by far the better views of the coastline but is narrower and requires greater confidence. Bird-watchers may be able to pick out the various calls and outlines of kittiwakes,skuas and gannets as they walk on this path. The path inland takes the walker to Chapel Porth just the same but is far wider and the sense of 'cliff-walking' is largely lost. It also travels into a large area of 'spoil' - waste from the mines that used to cover this area in the second half of the 19th century- near the disused copper mine of Wheal Charlotte. Both paths show the industrial heritage of Cornwall with the engine houses of Wheal Coates and Towanroath near St. Agnes set above the turquoise sea. There are also a few seats dotted around the walk to afford a stopping-off point for a quick snack or picnic. On a still day the waves can be heard pounding into the cliffs below as you walk and the main rock of the cliffs changes from the granite found at Portreath (our last walk) to being more slate-like in character (this is known locally as KILLAS). The coastpath reflects this being quite rock-strewn with plenty of 'ankle-twisters' to catch the unwary walker. The paths remain quite level for about 15 minutes before they converge just below a simple bench seat that affords excellent views in either direction.
The combined path now widens and starts its descent into the steep valley of Chapel Porth. The path at first seems to be incredibly steep but on closer inspection is found to wend its way down the slope in a series of zig-zags. There are toilets and refreshments available (in season) in the car park. When the tide retreats a small beach is uncovered which can be reached by crossing some quite large boulders and pebbles and a wandering stream. There are some minor caves in the cliffs here but nothing too outstanding. Crossing the valley floor it is possible to continue the coastal footpath towards St. Agnes and the engine houses of Wheal Coates and onward to St Agnes Head. This whole area is renowned for its surf and surf-culture is quite evident between the beaches of Porthtowan and those of Newquay some 10 miles to the northeast.
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: