We explored Carbis Bay beach this week, with its powder puff sands and charming views over the expanse St Ives Bay, just as autumn fades towards winter and reassuring out of season.
Carbis bay beach is one of the busy summer beaches that lay close to St Ives and it helps to create the fabulous setting of turquoise seas and golden sands that makes up St Ives Bay – officially one of the most beautiful in the world. So on a November day this week we stole a day from summer to explore this enchanting spot of silky smooth sand with a summer destination pedigree.
Out of season in Cornwall – time to explore the popular beaches starting with Carbis Bay
Cornwall is rather special when the beaches are revealed stretching quietly to the horizon with barely a foot print to mar the sands, although yesterday I did have to share the beach with a couple sitting on the stream bank, feet dangling over the water, eating Fish and Chips and three mournful sea gulls waddling near the river – no doubt waiting for the return of the summer visitors and the abundance of the “Pasty harvest”
Exploring the beach of Carbis Bay
Carbis Bay Beach is nearly a mile long with delightful views to the sun drenched sand dunes of Hayle Towans culminating in the famous at Godrevy lighthouse to the right and as I turned again, the cluster of traditional fishermen’s cottages below the Island in St Ives to the left. The long shadows from the sun cast much of the beach into shade in the afternoon now, so maybe the morning is a better time to explore Carbis bay at this time of year
As I walked the sands I could occasionally hear the little train rattle by, half concealed by the trees high above me. The train that follows the narrow gauge railway, half concealed by the trees, ferrying passengers between Lelant Saltings and St Ives with a station at Carbis bay. With an atmospheric rattle of wheels on the iron tracks of progress that somehow seemed redolent of the heady days when the railway came to Cornwall and the Cornish Riviera was born but each time I caught a fleeting glimpse it was gone again like a ghost of another era.
The cliffs are punctuated by traces of the adits for the Tin and copper mines that have flourished in this area since Elizabethan time and look out for a tiny stream emerging from an adit (drainage tunnel) improbably garlanded with maidenhair ferns and glimpses of Wheal Providence workings.
Carbis bay is a comfortable, almost confidential beach, deeply sheltered from the swell of the seas and safe for swimming and just perfect for a nostalgic seaside adventure.
Walking from Lelant via Porthkidney Sands to Carbis bay
There is a great walk to St Ives from Lelant Saltings across Porthkidney sands to Carbis bay at very low tide – we walked with friends who had grown up in St Ives across the vast emptiness revealed at low tide (Take care on the tidal stretch or as we did go with an experienced guide across the expansive sands)
Parking at Carbis bay
As it is nearly winter time we managed to park overlooking the beach in the tiny car park right beside the sea (pay at the restaurant) but there is also access from the coastal footpath, a railway station and a larger car park on the (steep) road above it.