When the sun is shining, the beaches and coves of Cornwall look drop-dead gorgeous with their turquoise waters and golden sands. The area known as “The Seven Bays”, to the south of Padstow in north Cornwall is a case in point. But don’t just take my word for it. The camera never lies, they say…
My wife is from Cornwall, so we regularly pop down to England’s most south-westerly county. As well as seeing the mother-in-law, I look forward to these trips as I get to walk along the cliffs which separate the Seven Bays – Trevone, Harlyn, Mother Ivey’s, Booby’s, Constantine, Treyarnon and Porthcothan – taking in the best coastal views in the country.
Come with me as I walk north to south.
Some beaches in Cornwall ban dogs until October every year, and family-friendly Trevone is one of these. As this was the first Saturday in October, and there was a mini heat-wave, it seemed like every dog owner in the county had brought their pets out to play.
I was surprised by how many people were swimming in the sea without wetsuits, and had a little paddle before walking towards bay number two, Harlyn. This stretch of coast is a forager’s and rock-pooler’s delight, while the view from the cliffs is one of my favourites in Cornwall.
After a long walk from Trevone in baking conditions, I was gasping for a drink so when I saw this gazebo sponsored by Tribute beer on the beach at Harlyn, I wasn’t sure if it was real or if it was a mirage. It was the real deal, but unfortunately for me it was for a wedding party that was on the way from Bodmin and I wasn’t allowed any of the chilled champagne or seafood under the canopy.
In summer, the massive sandy beach here is really popular with families and surfers – the Kelly’s Ice-cream vans that drive from one end to the other are a lifesaver.
3. Mother Ivey’s
There’s a different type of lifesaver at Mother Ivey’s, which is home to Padstow RNLI lifeboat launch. The bay is sheltered by Trevose Head, the sand is perfectly white and fluffy, and if it was a tad warmer and not so windy you really might think you were in the Caribbean and not Cornwall.
At first, I thought the name was a joke, but it really is called Booby’s. It’s another popular beach for surfers, although it can be dangerous with its rocks and strong winds. It’s also a favourite spot for Uncle Clive and his dog Sydney – in fact Clive took the picture below himself, although I’m sure he won’t mind me stealing it!
Grassy sand-dunes back the huge Constantine Bay, which merges into Booby’s at high tide. It’s got a reputation as one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall. I was so engrossed in the ice-cream I bought from the shack next to the beach’s car-park I completely forgot to take any photos here. Sorry!
I’d been to Treyarnon before in the height of summer and its sandy beach was jam-packed with surfers and sun-worshippers. But as the weather had suddenly started to turn autumnal, I had the place all to myself. There is an excellent YHA youth hostel overlooking Treyarnon beach, which serves good cheap food. I sat outside with a well deserved beer on one of the pub benches, as waves crashed onto the shore.
I’d heard reports that the second series of BBC’s Poldark was being filmed in Cornwall when I went on this walk. Some scenes in series one were filmed at Porthcothan, the seventh and final bay I came to, but I had no luck spotting Ross or Demelza. This was another beach I enjoyed all to myself, until the sea fog started coming in from the Atlantic and it was time for me to get on home.