Porthcurno beach has of be one of the most beautiful spots in Cornwall with the pale shell laden sands framed by sculpted cliffs of honeyed granite. Porthcurno is one of the most popular spots to visit for a summer’s day of holiday bliss and so Charles and I waited until an autumn day in October to take the easy access path down to the beach from the capacious car park but I can assure you it would still be idyllic on a summers day – you’d just have to share it!
As well as the gorgeous beach, Porthcurno has its place history both for transatlantic communications, flanked by the superb Porthcurno Telegraph Museum on the Land’s End side and the extraordinary World famous Minack theatre on the Penzance side.
The exquisitely soft sands lend the sea a bright and vibrant blue along the coast along this part of the coast, with the beach a deep sheltered inlet, let in between two encompassing granite cliffs, backed by sand dunes. It comes as no surprise that this is part of an AONB.
The beach almost has a micro climate protected from the prevailing south westerly winds by Logan Rock Headland and very nearly links at the low tide to the small tidal beach know as Green Bay with Pedn Vounder beach to the east.
A fairly smart rip tide forms along this part of the coast and I once heard of a chap who raced his friend along the cliffs floating an inner tube from Pedn Vounder to Porthcurno – the man on the inner tube won!
To the west is the idyllic beach of Porth Chapel that we so enjoyed earlier this year, lays exquisite and serene but as a friend remarked, the sea is likely to deposit you and your swim wear separately back on to the beach!
Porthcurno Telegraph museum
Porthcurno is described as “the most connected valley on the planet” and indeed it was from here in 1870 that the first cable was laid from Cornwall to Bombay by a company established by Sit John Pender. Communications around the world began to be established from the 1850’s and continued with massive cable laying operation that eventually formed a labyrinth of connections around the world. The exquisitely detailed global maps can be seen in the museum which had a complete refurbishment in 2014. The modern museum is so much more than artefacts though and it is really worth a visit – I once suggested the museum to blind guest and his wife after the refurbishment, as I knew there were interactive exhibits. They both enjoyed the visit along with the world War Two tunnels secretly built by local miner’s working day and night in fact they were so impressed they later returned with their Grandchildren.
As the cables were laid from Porthcurno, Marconi was working on his “wireless technology” at Poldhu Cove on the Lizard. He was dismissed by cable laying companies at the time, many of whom were later brought to near bankruptcy
It is fascinating to think that this tiny part of Cornwall was home to one of the major innovation that shaped the world. Today the pedestrian with the obligatory mobile phone nearly surgically attached to their ear or the computer in the corner of the home each have their roots here in West Cornwall or The Lizard.
The submarine cables laid from Porthcurno have their decedents to this day in the modern fibre optic cables that replaced the old copper cables. The old cable hut above the beach is now a grade one listed building
The Minack Theatre
The Minack theatre was the extraordinary vision of Rowena Cade who began to carve the theatre in a gully at the bottom of her garden with the help of her gardener Billy Rawlings initially for a local theatre production of “The Tempest”
She subsequently worked tirelessly throughout her life to improve the theatre supported by Billy Rawlings and Charles Angove until her death in 1983.
Her extraordinary legacy lives on and The Minack is now recognised as one of the World’s most spectacular theatres with a production season running from May until September.
The best way to secure a ticket is to book well in advance and remember “The show must go on” so refunds are rare in inclement weather.
We visited Porthcurno beach in October and sat and watched the world go by, idly revelling in the blue seas and exquisitely fine sands and was it our imagination or did we hear voices float down from the theatre above us.
Explore more of West Cornwall
Porthcurno it forms part of my suggested Penwith Tour tour, for our Bed and Breakfast guest here at Ednovean Farm. this is a great way to follow the sea around the West Penwith Peninsula and discover the hidden parts of Crownall. The Penwith Tour starts from Marzion to Mousehole and then from Merry Maids to Porthgwarra that heads towards Land’s End around the Penwith Peninsular and then on from Land’s End to St Ives. Follow my links to explore some of the breathtaking beaches of Cornwall and hidden Gems