Porthcurno walk

Porthcurno, Cornwall TR19 6JS

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © John Millar

Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks

Looking down to Porthcurno © Sue Brackenbury

Looking down to Porthcurno

The famous theatre at Minack © Maria Vicary

The famous theatre at Minack

Route overview

Savour the special views of an aquamarine sea and white shell beach on this gentle circular walk. Look out for Second World War defence pill boxes too.

  • Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder)
  • Type of walk: 'Beautiful Views', 'Historical Footsteps', 'Flora and Fauna'

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map of the Porthcurno walk in Cornwall
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Porthcurno car park, grid ref: SW388223

  1. From the car park at Porthcurno, head seaward down the footpath to a junction with a granite signpost.

    Show/HideCove of horns

    Porthcurno in Cornish means 'cove of horns', presumably from the strange cliff formations. The word 'porth', meaning cove, is often used to name parts of the Cornish coast and signifies a beach that's large enough for a boat to be landed. It also signifies the entrance to a valley leading from the sea, like Porthleven, Porthpean or Porthtowan. The ancient Cornish language died out in the early 19th century but was revived in the early 20th century and is now spoken by enthusiasts all over the world, and taught in many Cornish schools.

    Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © John Millar
  2. Turn left at the waymark, signed to Penberth, and follow the path up the hill.

  3. At the granite stile, turn right towards the coast.

    Show/HideCommunication under your feet

    Below Porthcurno beach lies a vital component of Britain's communication link with the rest of the world. In the 1800s, it became internationally famous as the British landing point for early submarine telegraph cables, the first of which was laid in 1870 as part of an early international link stretching from the UK to India. Fiber optic communication cables linking into an international submarine network still land at this point.

    Looking down to Porthcurno © Sue Brackenbury
  4. When you get to the pill box, turn right inland and stop to take in the views of the world-famous Minack open-air theatre built into the opposite cliff.

    Show/HideMinack Theatre

    Minack: a rocky or stony place, Rowena Cade, originally from Cheltenham, lived at Minack House and in the 1920s invited amateur dramatic productions to take place in her garden. In the early 1930s, she decided to build an open-air theatre on the cliffs, and over a number of winters dragged materials up from the beach, or down from her house to construct it. She continued to take a great interest in the theatre until she died in 1983, aged 89. There are now about 17 productions there each summer all with the magnificent backdrop of Porthcurno Bay and the Logan Rock.

    The famous theatre at Minack © Maria Vicary
  5. At the bottom of the hill, near to the Porthcurno relay hut, turn right onto the track and return to the car park.

  6. We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk

End: Porthcurno car park, grid ref: SW388223

In partnership with

Cotswold Outdoor logo © Cotswold Outdoor
  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Explorer 102
  • Terrain:

    This walk has some uneven surfaces and passes close to cliff edges in some places, so take care. Dogs welcome but please keep a close eye on them.

  • How to get here:

    • By bus: Buses 1a, 501, 504 to car park
    • By train: Penzance, 10 miles (16km)
    • By car: Follow A30 from Penzance signposted to Lands End. At Catchall turn left onto B3283, through St Buryan then left again, clearly signposted to Porthcurno

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