Last year I wrote about what I think is the best beach in England, Bedruthan Steps in North Cornwall. I had the chance to go back there last week. Did I change my mind? Not a chance – it’s now been promoted to one of my favourite places in the world.
On August Bank Holiday Monday, when the weather was apocalyptically bad all over the UK by all accounts, the sun had its hat firmly on in Cornwall. So to make the most of it, we headed to Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps on the rugged coastline of north Cornwall between Newquay and Padstow.
Coming from Newquay on the B3276 coastal road, we turned into the National Trust car-park (free for NT members or £2.50 for non-members) which is signposted as Carnewas.
I’d heard good things about the tea room at the car-park, so we popped in for some pre-cliff-top walk sustenance. My almond-topped Chelsea Bun was perfectly soft, while Kat said her scone with jam and clotted cream was one of the best she’d ever had.
With two hot drinks, the bill came to just £7 which I thought very reasonable for rip-off Cornwall. There is an outdoor seating area with a view of the cliffs, but it can get windy here so we stayed inside.
We were now ready for the main event, and followed the signs for “cliff-top walk”. After crossing a grassy meadow, we reached the cliffs and the first stunning view of the day.
The deserted sands of Carnewas beach were below us and Atlantic waves were crashing into the pointy rock shapes of Bedruthan Steps in the distance. Signs warned against the dangers of standing too close to the cliff edge.
Soon a series of steep man-made steps led us down to the beach – it is not these that are the Bedruthan Steps. Last time I was here, I had to carry the in-laws obese and lazy dog back up these steps, so it was nice to be mutt-free.
Turning left at the bottom of the steps, you can get to Carnewas beach through a cave. This is one gorgeous beach and one you have a fair chance of getting all to yourself – just make sure the tide is far enough out before you get out of the cave, otherwise you’ll be stranded here and will have to swim around some pretty big rocks to get back to the steps.
The Bedruthan Steps are huge vertical pillars of rock on the sand, eroded over time by the power of the Atlantic Ocean. Legend has it that they were the stepping stones for a giant named Bedruthan.
I’d heard that the storms in this part of Cornwall in January 2014 changed the appearance of Bedruthan Steps by creating rock falls and increasing the amount of sand on the beach . I couldn’t really spot the difference – have a look here at the photos of my previous visit in July 2013 and see if you can.
The tide was coming in quickly so we made our way back up the steps to the cliff-side to take in the views. Battered by the strong winds, a bit sunburnt and still full from our cakes, we walked back to the car, already planning our next visit to this wow-beach.