10 Coves of West Cornwall
Captivating the mind with tales of mines, smugglers and shipwrecks and teasing the eye with crystalline seas and golden sand, West Cornwall’s coastline is home to myriad beaches and secret coves waiting to be discovered. A truly Poldarkian landscape that has inspired countless authors, artists and filmmakers, it simply begs to be explored.
To get you started, here are 10 coves of West Cornwall to visit this August:
Emerging from a wooded valley hugged by trees and thick with luscious vegetation, Cot Valley is home to a picturesque cove with an ethereal, magical air. Once popular for its (now protected) smooth, rounded boulders that cover its sandy underbelly, Cot beach is a great spot for bird watchers hoping to catch a glimpse of resident and visiting birds.
A short drive from Helston, Gunwalloe Cove is somewhere that will immediately capture your imagination. Home to a golden sand beach that is lifeguarded in the summer and overlooked by a pocket-size medieval church, the cove is as pretty as they come and well worth a visit.
One cove that needs little introduction, Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula is a must-visit. Looked after by the National Trust, it has made regular appearances on the big screen, flaunting its jaw-dropping turquoise waters and soaring rocky islands. Recently featured on the much-loved BBC series Poldark, the cliffs above Kynance were used to film many of the show’s horse-riding scenes.
Once frequented by the likes of artists Laura Knight and Alfred Munnings, the history-rich Lamorna Cove is one of the most famous of all West Cornwall’s coves. Backed by a wooded valley and accessible either via road or the South West Coast Path, it is as inviting for a luxurious dip in its cool waters as it is merely for sitting and watching the world go by.
A stone’s throw from Land’s End, the magnificent Nanjizal Cove in West Cornwall is an ever-changing environment of sandy shore, scattered boulders and mercurial seas. Always different and always beautiful, at low tide you can explore the cove’s sea cave, known as Zawn Pyg or the Song of the Sea, and retrace the steps of William Hartnell as Dr Who in the 1966 episode, the Smugglers.
One of the most picturesque coves in all of Cornwall, Penberth Cove is a dreamy haven-come-tiny fishing hamlet about 12 miles south-west of the Godolphin Arms. Impossibly photogenic and utterly spellbinding, the cove was used as the location for Sawle Village in Poldark, the home of Demelza Poldark’s two brothers, Sam and Drake Carne.
Cradled between towering granite cliffs with Porthcurno on one side and Porthgwarra on the other, Porthchapel beach is a sheltered, south-facing cove. The ideal place to go to for a spot of sunbathing or burying into the pages of a book as you sprawl on the sand, it is as dreamy as they come and far-removed from its neighbouring tourist hotspots.
Small, sheltered and secluded, Prussia Cove has long been connected with tales of smugglers, including the infamous Carter Brothers. Once the unwitting location for illicit deeds and the trafficking of illegal contraband, these days its existence is much more serene! Tucked into Cornwall’s west coast, it’s the perfect place for a quiet afternoon paddling toes in the crystal-clear sea.
About a half an hour drive from us here at the Godolphin Arms, the little-know St Loy’s Cove is a real gem. Accessed through a tree-filled valley, it is particularly beautiful in spring when a vibrant carpet of bluebells unravels across the valley floor. Mostly covered in boulders, pick your favourite pew and listen to the rhythm of waves gently lapping the shore.
One of three coves tucked close together that boast beautiful views towards Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount, Trenow Cove (along with Temis Cove and Trevelyan Cove) has a sand and shingle beach. Involving a slight scramble down onto the beach, it is consequently much quieter than many of its neighbours and one of the more hidden of West Cornwall’s coves.