We set out last week to discover the hauntingly beautiful Portheras Cove of silvery white sands, and found it was a perfect walk for an autumn day with the magic of summer still lingering in the air. Portheras Cove is set between Pendeen and Morvah and it can only be reach on foot along the coastal path. But it is so worth taking the walk to this quiet and secluded cove that attracts only the dedicated locals who look after the beach, passing walkers along the coastal route around West Cornwall and seals resting on the sands
Finding Portheras Cove
We parked just beyond the dazzling white lighthouse of Pendeen, before following the unmade road further to a lower car park. From here there is a gate that opens on to the cliffs and the adventure begins!
As we opened the gate on to the cliff path I felt the warmest breeze on my face and I knew we would have a lovely day ahead of us. As we followed the cliff top, the path was already tinted to the russets shades of autumn and such a perfect contrast for the vibrant blues of the seas below us.
What an inspiring and obviously much loved spot this is!
We took the left hand fork in the track to boat cove to explore the little working fishing cove below us, with a hint of the Mediterranean in the artistic touches, dazzling white sands and brilliant blue sea and yet with the cluster of lobster pots and fishing boats beside the slipway of a working cove
We scrambled back up to the coastal path and looped around to the far end of Portheras Cove, stopping frequently to admire the view as the sands were revealed below us. Finally we dropped down to the beach, just beside the stream and walked the quiet soft golden sands the length of the cove before returning to find a spot to picnic beside the stream.
This is definitely a place to kick off the wellies or boots and watch the waves ripple to the shore! Sometimes we could see the seal playing in the waves, perfectly outlined through the clear seas.
It was a perfect escape for us for the afternoon, and a pure contrast to the coastline around Mounts Bay. It was so unexpected to find this almost tropical paradise tucked under the harsh granite cliffs of this wild, untamed, stretch of coastline.
As we walked home the waves, growing larger with each minute, rolled passed under the cliffs.
The next day we visited Sennen Beach, further towards Land’s End. There I watched the surfers toying with a very different sea and I knew we were so lucky to experience our blissful afternoon at Portheras Cove.
A word of warning – just in case!
I think I should tell you “just in case” that Portheras was closed to the public for some time after the shipwreck of the MV Alacrity in 1963. It is only in recent years (2004) that the cove has been safe enough to use but shoes are still advised for bathing in case of sharp metal fragments.
Explore West Cornwall and some suggestions for other unspoilt cornish coves
- Rinsey beach below the rugged heathland between Praa Sands and Porthleven
- Kenneggy Beach a beautiful sandy beach only accessible at low tide between Prussia Cove and Praa sands
- Porth Chapel Beach a little beyond the fabulous beach at Porthcurno
Portheras Cove is one of my suggestion or places to visit to explore West Cornwall in my Penwith Tour that follows the coastline between Lands End to St Ives