The Commercial is a handsome inn located on the market square at St Just, close to stunning…
By way of taking the long view towards Land’s End, this walk follows footpaths from the old mining town of St Just and then along an exhilarating stretch of coast that runs south to Sennen Cove and to Land’s End.
Tin and copper
St Just is an attractive town of sturdy granite houses surrounding a central market square. There was probably some kind of settlement at St Just in prehistoric times, but the town became an important centre of tin and copper mining, especially during the 18th and 19th centuries, and although the last mine in the area closed during the 1990s, St Just has not lost its traditional character. To the immediate west of the town is Cape Cornwall, a shapely promontory that could vie with Land’s End for scenic impact. The coast to either side of the Cape is a treasure-house of mining history and today, at nearby Geevor Mine, this great Cornish industry is celebrated at a splendid museum among the dramatic relics of the past.
The first part of this walk reaches the coast at Porth Nanven, via Cot Valley, one of the earliest areas of mineral mining in west Cornwall. From here the coastal footpath is followed south. To the left of the first section of the path are the gaping vents of old mining ‘adits’, tunnels into the cliff face created by early miners excavating veins of rich ore. (Don’t be tempted to explore any yourself; they can be dangerously unstable.) Offshore lie the rocky islands of the Brisons, said to have once served as a castaway prison for criminals. The path soon leaves the more obvious mining area and follows the delightful shoreline towards Land’s End, dropping to sea level as it reaches the great beaches of Whitesand Bay and the granite cliffs of the Land’s End area. The beaches here are some of Cornwall’s finest surfing venues. Beyond Sennen’s charming seafront, the path climbs once more and soon reaches Land’s End.
With the library in front of you, turn right out of the car park. At a T-junction, turn left and follow Bosorne Terrace, keeping straight ahead at a junction.
Where the road curves left at another junction, keep to the right and follow a narrow lane, for 0.25 miles (400m) to where the lane ends by a seat. Go right from here and follow a hedged-in track.
At a junction, just beyond a granite pillar, go left and downhill past Brook Cottage, then turn right down the stone steps and follow an enclosed path across a stream to reach a junction with a surfaced track. Turn right here, then left on a lane to reach a junction with a surfaced road by Cot Valley Cottage.
Turn left and follow the road down the narrow Cot Valley, for 0.5 miles (0.8km) to reach a parking area above the sea at Porth Nanven. You can view the raised beach by continuing along a path towards the sea.
From Porth Nanven, take the coast path across the stream and climb steeply uphill. For the next 1.5 miles (2.4km) the path rises past bouldercrammed beaches and crumbling cliffs, then descends almost to sea level.
Keep along the coast path, up steps and past the rocky outcrop of Aire Point. Continue above the famous surfing beach of Gwynver. On approaching Sennen Beach, pass in front of two wooden chalets. Go ahead and then between a dark grey cottage and one called Basking Shark. Continue up the sandy path, zigzagging steeply upwards to the car park at the entrance to Sennen Beach.
Leave by the car park entrance and keep ahead along the seafront walkway through Sennen Cove. Reach the Cove’s lifeboat house and beyond this, the Capstan Gallery. Continue to a car park. Go through the car park, then go left up steepish steps and a pathway to reach the top of the rocky headland of Pedn-Mên-Du, where the National Trust has a seasonal information point in the old coastguard lookout.
From the old coastguard lookout, follow the coastal footpath along the edge of spectacular cliffs for just under 1 mile (1.6km) to reach the First and Last House. Continue to the Land’s End Hotel and the unbeatable views.
Good coastal footpaths. Can be rocky in places
West-facing coast with low cliffs and golden beach
Dogs on lead through grazed areas and as notices indicate
OS Explorer 102 Land’s End
St Just large free car park on Market Street, opposite library
St Just free car park; Sennen Cove; Land's End
Buses run between Land's End and St Just several times a day, May–October; for more information visit www.travelinesw.com
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.
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