Rame Head from Kingsand

A rewarding walk round the Rame peninsula within sight of Plymouth


The Rame Peninsula


4 miles (6.4kms)

340ft (104m)
2hrs 30min

About the walk

The Rame Peninsula takes some getting to, but this delightful corner of Cornwall offers rich rewards to the walker. You can visit the village of Cawsand, once known for prolific smuggling during the 18th and 19th centuries. Cawsand and Kingsand are said to have handled more than 17,000 casks of spirits in the one year of 1804 alone – and this in full view of England’s great navy in Plymouth Sound.

Grand isolation

Such enterprise reflects Rame’s grand isolation. The peninsula, together with its neighbouring area of Maker and Mount Edgcumbe, is lodged in a corner of Cornwall marked off by Plymouth Sound to the east and the estuary of the River Lynher to the north. Roads wriggle their way onto the peninsula, from the A38, dwindling in width as they unwind deeper into the area. For centuries the Edgcumbe Estate shaped this remarkable coastal landscape, and on the route of this walk from Cawsand to the west, you follow the ‘Earl’s Drive’, built by an Earl of Mount Edgcumbe during the early 19th century. Wealthy landowners of the time loved nothing more than transporting impressionable guests in carriages about their grand ‘picturesque’ estates.

Historic coastline

The walk leads along a coastline which is layered in history, an area of immense strategic importance to the defence of Britain throughout the ages. Rame Head itself was used variously as an Iron Age fort, a lookout and as the site of a signal beacon. You can visit the summit of Rame Head and the ruin of the 14th-century St Michael’s Chapel. On the west-facing coast of the headland you pass the now privately owned Polhawn Fort, once part of a sequence of defences built during the 1860s, when fear of invasion from France was rife. The cost was immense, and all to no avail. History apart, this walk entertains with its wild flowers, its breathtaking sea views and the always busy offshore traffic that sees everything from elegant yachts, to speedboats and naval destroyers passing by.

Walk directions

Leave the car park through a kissing gate at the far corner nearest the Coastwatch lookout. Head downhill to join the coast path and turn right. Cross a wooden footbridge and follow the coast path.

Go through a kissing gate and follow the field-edge. Go through another kissing gate and follow a path between hedges. Keep left at a fork and descend steps. Cross a driveway and go down more steps. Follow the path, and where it ends by a house, follow the driveway steeply uphill, ignoring the coastal path that leads off to the left through a kissing gate. Turn left at a junction with a metalled lane with a speed bump, and reach a junction of public roads.

Go half right, ignoring the lane coming in sharply from the right, and go down the main road (with care) for about 100yds (91m). Just before some buildings, go left through a kissing gate and follow the right field-edge downhill. Go through a kissing gate, turn right and, in a few paces turn left along the main road.

Turn right along a lane above a car park and just before a sign, ‘Kingsand-Cawsand Twinned with Porspoder’. After 150yds (137m) turn left down Armada Road and follow the road round to reach The Square in Cawsand.

Turn right, pass the Shop in The Square, and at a junction below the church turn left along a lane, signed ‘Coast Path’. This narrows to a surfaced path beyond three concrete posts. Cross a parking area beside houses and keep ahead through woods.

Keep straight ahead at a junction with a surfaced lane. Go past a house and then bear right along a track past some lock-up garages. Join a surfaced drive and go left. Emerge from the woods at Penlee Point above the Adelaide Chapel, which is reached down steps and a rocky path.

Continue along the coast path and, where the surfaced track swings abruptly right, keep straight ahead and through a kissing gate. Pass a signpost indicating a car park inland, and in another 0.5 miles (800m) pass another signpost to Rame Church.

At a junction of tracks by a wooden bench (radio mast visible beyond the bench), turn right and follow a grassy track to a kissing gate into a lane and to the car park opposite. Alternatively you can keep ahead at the junction to visit the summit of Rame Head. This adds another 0.5 miles (800m) to the route.

Additional information

Occasionally muddy in winter on coast and field paths

Coastal area of low cliffs and headlands, wooded and with open vegetated areas

Ponies may be grazing on the cliff tops; keep on lead where notices indicate

OS Explorer 108 Lower Tamar Valley & Plymouth

Rame Head car park (adjacent to the National Coastwatch Institution lookout)


Been on this walk?

Send us photos or a comment about this route.

Know a good walk?

Share your route with us.


Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.

Find out more

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.

Why choose Rated Trips?

Your trusted guide to rated places across the UK
icon example
The best coverage

Discover more than 15,000 professionally rated places to stay, eat and visit from across the UK and Ireland.

icon example
Quality assured

Choose a place to stay safe in the knowledge that it has been expertly assessed by trained assessors.

icon example
Plan your next trip

Search by location or the type of place you're visiting to find your next ideal holiday experience.

icon example
Travel inspiration

Read our articles, city guides and recommended things to do for inspiration. We're here to help you explore the UK.