- Start: Church Cove, east of Lizard village (OS grid ref SW711126)
- End: Church Cove, east of Lizard village (OS grid ref SW711126)
- Country: England
- County: Cornwall
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub: Lizard village (several), Housel Bay, Lizard Point, Kynance Cove
- Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 103, Landranger 203
- Difficulty: Medium
Enjoy a leisurely walk on the Lizard
Enjoy a leisurely walk on the Lizard
The south coast western section of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the second largest (at 192 sq km) running from Marazion to the outskirts of Falmouth, taking in the beautiful landscape of the Lizard peninsula. Lizard village or Landewednack, to give it its Cornish name, is the most southerly point in the mainland UK. The area is particularly known for its geology, diversity of plant life and, most recently, for the re-introduction of the Cornish chough.
The walk begins just above St Winwalaus Church in the village (follow the signs through Lizard Village to Church Cove). There are several lay-bys to park in nearby, or you can park in the centre of the village and walk the half mile or so to the church.
It takes in Bass Point with its Coastwatch Station, manned every day of the year by unpaid volunteers, and the Lizard Wireless Station, the scene of Marconi's historic telecommunications experiments. It continues to Lizard lighthouse, built in 1751 on the site of an earlier lighthouse, established by Sir John Killigrew of Falmouth in 1619. This was decommissioned and demolished because ship owners were reluctant to pay a toll for its maintenance.
The walk then passes a newly refurbished five star Youth Hostel and around to Lizard Point. The National Trust is a key partner in the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and over the past 20 years it has transformed the landscape and the historic fabric of Lizard Point to the condition it is in today.
Kynance Cove has been popular since Victorian times, with its white sand, turquoise water and unusual islands of multi-coloured serpentine rock with stacks and arches hidden amongst the towering cliffs. Serpentine abounds on this part of the Lizard peninsula and is in the form of very fine-grained olive-green type known as Lizardite.
Our path then takes us inland across Lizard Downs. Look out for the rare Cornish heath, a type unique to the area. Ancient cart tracks and shallow pools support rare plants and are used by a wide variety of dragonfly species. They are also a spawning ground for toads, newts and frogs, the latter noted for their early spawning in the area. Finally, a series of footpaths and a minor road brings you back to the churchyard and the start of the walk.
1 Start the walk on the footpath on the other side of the road just above the church signed to Bass Point. The first stretch is on a track known as Green Lane (it can get very muddy) past Church Town Farm all the way down to Bass Point where it meets the coast path. Look out for guinea fowl (gleeny to the Cornish) as you pass the farm. If the track is too muddy follow the road down to Church Cove and turn right onto the coast path, passing the new lifeboat station, adding about half a mile to the walk.
2 At the coast path turn right and follow it past the Lizard Wireless Station at Pen Olver to Housel Cove. Skirt the front of the Housel Bay Hotel; a steep descent and then a climb brings you to the outcrop known as Lions Den with its collapsed sea cave.
3 Follow the path as it passes the lighthouse and Youth Hostel to Polpeor Cove. Lizard Point is next, then turn north towards Pentreath Beach and on to Kynance Cove. It is on this stretch that you have the best chance of spotting the famous Cornish choughs, along with peregrines and kittiwakes.
4 At the Cove take the path by the caf and turn inland. Follow a fairly straight path across Lizard Downs. At the main road, cross over and continue on the footpath skirting half a dozen fields until you reach the minor road running down to Cadgwith.
5 Turn right and follow the road for about a mile until you reach Gwavas Farm. Take the footpath just before the farm on your right. This climbs gently to Trethvas Farm, where it forks. Take the left-hand (seaward side) fork down a farm track and then along the edge of two fields and across a third. Cross the stream and the path climbs and then falls to meet a wider path running to the churchyard and the starting point.
This walk was kindly supplied by Cornwall AONB, which comprises one single protected area, divided into 12 parts. These make up some of the best of Cornwalls coastland, moorland, farmland, woodland, streams, creeks and estuaries and covers an area of 958 sq km or 370 sq miles more than a quarter of the countys countryside. For further information contact 01872 322350, www.cornwall-aonb.gov.uk.
Start/parking: Church Cove, east of Lizard village (OS grid ref SW711126)
Distance: 7 miles (11.25km)
Time: Allow 3 hours
Maps: OS Explorer 103, Landranger 203
Public transport: Bus 33 from Helston (hourly)
Refreshments: Lizard village (several),
Housel Bay, Lizard Point, Kynance Cove