Coverack may seem well protected from Cornwall’s westerly storms by its east-facing location and the protective bulwarks of Lizard Head and the nearby Black Head. This can be a stormy place, however, and an enduring reminder of this is the name of the village’s famous Paris Hotel, named after a ship that was wrecked here in 1899. Coverack is still a favoured place, and is hugely popular with beach-loving families and with windsurfers.
The village’s strong identity was forged in medieval times when Coverack was a thriving pilchard fishing port. Its modern name derives from the medieval name Porthcovrek, one meaning of which is ‘the cove (porth) of the stream’. Fishing continued from Coverack throughout the centuries, but declined from the early 20th century onwards when pilchard numbers dwindled. This could have been because of overfishing, but also because of the mysterious behaviour of fish species that often seem to abandon waters without reason. Fishing boats still work from Coverack’s tiny harbour, and it is just beyond the harbour where this walk begins at Dolor Point, the far seaward end of the village.
Head south from Dolor Point through Coverack’s attractive cottages and public spaces, soon reaching the coast path and Chynhalls Point, a narrow rocky headland around which a circuit is made, including the rocky summit. An Iron Age promontory settlement is thought to have been sited here. Below is Porthbeer Cove, with its wide apron of flat, sea-stained rock and an outer area of sand that is covered at high tide. The steep slopes that rise above Porthbeer are fascinating. Beyond here the path moves inland and through woods to visit an extraordinary Terence Coventry sculpture garden. The final stroll back to Coverack is untaxing, and once again draws a sharp contrast between the rawness of the wild coastline and the picturesque village.
Join the coastal footpath at the inner corner of the car park at Dolor Point and follow the path above a rocky beach. Pass behind a house and go right, up steep stone steps. Follow the path past several benches to reach the road.
Turn left. In a few paces leave the road, and go straight ahead along a surfaced path to the left of an old Wesleyan chapel. Pass in front of a row of cottages. At the first junction leave the surfaced path and take the left-hand path, signed ‘Coast Path Kennack Sands’. Keep left at a junction by a stone bench.
At a junction of paths, turn sharp left to explore Chynhalls Point. Bear right at a fork to reach the summit before dropping down on a narrow and steep path the other side. Fork left just after the summit to follow a path that contours anti-clockwise around the headland, passing a row of rusting fence posts and returning to the junction at waypoint 3. Carry straight on up the hill. At a junction of paths, turn left up some steps.
At the top of the steps bear right on a lane to pass some cottages and shortly after turn left along a footpath signed ‘Sculpture Park’. Cross a stream and keep right. The Terence Coventry Sculpture Park extends over ground on both sides of the path, so have a good wander around both the upper and lower sections of this unusual attraction. Afterwards, retrace your steps to the road and turn left.
Turn right at a footpath by two sturdy granite gateposts. Follow this down as it dives beneath wind-sculpted hawthorns down steps and back to the signpost for Kennack Sands, as seen earlier. Continue forward to retrace your steps to the car park.
Woodland and coastal paths, roads
A complex coastal area of rocky pinnacles and wooded hinterland
Off lead but under control near houses
OS Explorer 103 The Lizard
Small car park at Dolor Point, or a main car park at the entrance to Coverack, coming from Helston on the B3294
By main car park and before The Paris Hotel
If parking at the main car park, you need to walk through Coverack to the start - there and back is an additional 0.5 miles (800m)
Walking in safety
Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.
Also in the area
About the area
Discover Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
Cornwall has just about everything – wild moorland landscapes, glorious river valley scenery, picturesque villages and miles of breathtaking coastline. With more than 80 surfing spots, there are plenty of sporting enthusiasts who also make their way here to enjoy wave-surfing, kite surfing and blokarting.
In recent years, new or restored visitor attractions have attracted even more visitors to the region; the Eden Project is famous for its giant geodesic domes housing exotic plants from different parts of the globe, while nearby the Lost Gardens of Heligan has impressive kitchen gardens and a wildlife hide.