A ramble route around St Anthony Head

PUBLISHED: 12:15 02 July 2019

Seals at Town Beach

Seals at Town Beach


A walk around the tip of the Roseland Peninsula with its interesting military history, wooded creek and dramatic coastline.

St Anthony Head overlooks Carrick Roads, one of the world's largest natural harbours. The views from the headland are breathtaking, out across the water to St Mawes, Falmouth and along the coastline in either direction. St Anthony's position as a lookout was utilised by the military in the past and the recently uncovered battery, decommissioned in 1956 and acquired by the National Trust in 1959, is thoroughly interesting to explore.

Despite its history, this scenic place is now wonderfully peaceful, and rich in local wildlife from seals to songbirds.

Boats chug past below and the blue sea glitters in the sunshine. Should you wish you can stay in the National Trust-owned former officers' quarters right on the headland and take in the harbour views both night and day.

Our walk begins by the holiday cottages and follows the South West Coast Path (SWCP) through clifftop fields before descending to Towan Beach, a great place to explore at any time of the year, dog friendly and with a vintage tea van called Earl providing refreshments over the warmer months. From Towan Beach we continue along the coast path to Portscatho, overlooking Gerrans Bay in a sheltered spot that makes it popular with swimmers. There's a shop and pub here should you be looking for half-time refreshments.

St Mawes and Carricknath PointSt Mawes and Carricknath Point

From Portscatho we head inland, walking parallel to the coast along surfaced lanes, paths and a well-made track with the sea stretching out to the left and a pretty, wooded valley to the right.

At Porth Farm we follow the banks of Porth Creek through peaceful woodland with glimpses now and again out to the Percuil River. An intriguing section through a churchyard brings us back to the coast path where great views accompany us all the way back to the start.


Looking across the Percuil River to St MawesLooking across the Percuil River to St Mawes

1 Leave the car park heading south-west past the holiday cottages - formerly officers' quarters - to the old battery on St Anthony Head. Turn left behind the gun emplacements and follow the South West Coast Path around Zone Point and then north-east along the edge of a series of fields joined by stiles above the cliffs. Follow the path down to Towan Beach looking out for seals on the rocks around Killigerran Head.

SC: You can turn left at Towan Beach and cut across to rejoin and shorten the route at Porth Farm (point 3), making a 9km (5.6 miles) loop.

2 Continue north on the SWCP past Greeb Point and Raven's Hole to join a road on the edge of Portscatho. Turn left on to the road and follow it until you can turn left between some houses, leaving the coast path and joining a footpath signed to Percuil.

Follow the footpath across a field and beside a campsite to reach Treloan Lane. Turn left on to the lane and follow it to its end where it turns into a surfaced bridleway.

Continue on the bridleway for about 2km to the road at Porth Farm.

3 Turn sharp right on to the road and follow it for a short stretch until you can turn left and cross a footbridge into a field. Turn right and follow the footpath along the bank of Porth Creek and through the woodland, around North-hill Point and southwest to rejoin the SWCP at the edge of Cellars Beach where you will shortly reach the road in St Anthony. Follow the road for a short section passing Place House, then turn right down a track to the church.

4 Follow the path through the churchyard and out on to a track which follows the edge of the cove around Cellars Beach. Fork left staying on the SWCP before the track starts curving to the right, and follow the path uphill over a field and down to the coast of St Mawes Harbour. Turn left and continue following the coast path around Carricknath Point and south to a small beach and a footbridge.

5 Cross the bridge and stay right on the SWCP past the old paraffin store to the lighthouse. Take the sharp left turn and head uphill back to the start.

Fact file


GR: SW 848313


Terrain: Simple coast path and short section of inland track. Total ascent 546m/1,791ft

Distance: 15.1Km/9.4m

Time: Allow five hours

Refreshments: Earl, the Thirstea Company's vintage Citroen van is parked at Porth Farm seasonally from Easter to November

More Walks: Day Walks in Cornwall (Vertebrate Publishing) features 20 circular routes between 7.2 and 13.7 miles in length, by Jen and Sim Benson. The book covers areas from Bude to the Isles of Scilly and from Rame Head to Lizard Point, taking in the Chapel Porth caves, the Merry Maidens stone circle in Lamorna, Tintagel Castle and Cromwell's Castle.

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