The rugged cove of Porthmeor is breathtakingly beautiful. At the bottom of a valley haunted by old Tin mines, overlooked by an Iron Age Castle on the promontory. Porthmeor Cove combines the twin accolades of World Heritage site, set in an area of Special Scientific interest.
If you are fit, have good walking boots and enjoy a challenge, with the reward of peace and solitude, then this is for you.
Our visit to Porthmeor Cove
Some Beaches have Ice creams and chic beach cafes – such as the fashionable Porthmeor Beach in St Ives. And some, like the isolated Porthmeor Cove, have challenges – like a cliff climb and boulder field to gain the exquisite sands.
Walking to Porthmeor Cove (TR26 3ED)
For us, it all started gently enough. We found a generous parking spot beside a cattle grid just beyond the hamlet of Rosemergy. The footpath is just beside it. Initially gently sloping, serene and tree lined before dipping down into the valley.
On the horizon an imposing granite farmstead flanked the romantically ruins of a tin mining works.
The stream criss-crossed our route before gurgling comfortable into the tree lined valley below us.
Its always a wonderful moment as a brilliant blue sea comes into view.
The beautiful russets of autumn were starting to claim the valley to the sea.
We had planned our visit to coincide with low tide so that we could picnic on the swathe of fine soft sand beyond the tide line.
Porthmeor Cove a challenging adventure
The peaceful stream that had accompanied us along the valley slid into a pool before forming a waterfall to the beach. Here, there is quite a clamber down over the boulders to sea level. In retrospect, if we had crossed the pool before the waterfall, the right hand route down the cliff is slightly (and only very slightly) easier! Do not draw breath at this point the second challenge is to come!
The second adventure is the bound from boulder to boulder to access the beach. Porthmeor cove is a beach hard won! I must admit that by this point, visions of the air sea helicopter were forming in my mind. Or worse, I could drop the phone camera into one of the chasms between the rocks.
Porthmeor Cove – a Salty dip and sandy spot
Finally the moment came, when we set foot on the soft yielding sands. Ah the prospect of a salty dip and soft sandy spot to snooze that afternoon became reality. Well actually I skipped the dip and sipped a restorative can of G&T! I did admire a bronzed young couple – the only other inhabitants of this secluded beach -race into the sea. There are only so many cliff climbs to be done in one day for 67 year old ladies.
Eventually the tide returned to lap our feet and we sadly left this spot to set off back up through the valley to explore the tin works – the castle will have to wait until another adventure.
A geological note about Porthmeor
“Porthmeor Cove is the only location in SW England where a fully exposed granite cupola can be seen. Extensive veins and dykes intrude into the metamorphosed Devonian slates of the headland and the dark met basic rock immediately surrounding the granite.”Geopro.com
Porthmeor or Bosigran Tin stamps.
World Heritage site and Grade 2 listed
There is an array of semi derelict building, set around the tin processing floors.
The stream trickles so idly into the Cove these days. Yet from the 1860’s it powered a stamping Mill using the Buddle system. The mystery of the buildings we explored must be in stark contrast to noise and pollution of that industrial era.
There has been extensive restoration of one of the retaining walls to protect the Zennor Clapper bridge further up the valley. Read notes
Bosigran Tin stamps processed Ore from the nearby Carn Galva mine. You may remember that we visited this on the way to Porthmoina Cove a few weeks ago?
Our visit was enhanced by the half discovered infrastructure of granite steps, leats and buildings through the workings.