Rinsey walk: underground, overground, air and sea

Rinsey, near Breage, Cornwall TR13 9TS

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Explore the South West with our collection of one mile walks © Sue Brackenbury

Explore the South West with our collection of one mile walks

Red Dodder growing on the heath © Sue Brackenbury

Red Dodder growing on the heath

From this walk there are magnificient views towards Mount's Bay © David Noton

From this walk there are magnificient views towards Mount's Bay

Route overview

Rinsey is a delightful mix of seascape, landscape, mining heritage and natural history. Take in three old engine houses with World Heritage Site status. There are also close-up views of  rare plant-life, and the enigmatic Bishop Rock. You might see ponies grazing, or some choughs displaying or even dolphins playing.

  • Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder)
  • Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Historical Footsteps'

Route details

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

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

Start: Rinsey car park, grid ref: SW593276

  1. From the car park go through the gate towards the engine house.

    Show/HideMining on the cliffs

    The dramatically-sited engine house at Wheal Prosper marks the site of a relatively small mine known at various times as Wheal Rinsey and Wheal Prosper. The engine house, with its attached chimney was built in 1860 and the mine was primarily worked for tin and copper. It is recorded as having raised an average of 860 tons of ore per year and was finally closed in 1865. The engine house was used during the filming of the Poldark series in 1995, when, by means of a series of elaborate props, it was made to appear as if functioning.

    Explore the South West with our collection of one mile walks © Sue Brackenbury
  2. Just past the engine house, take the lower path, where the acorn indicates the South West Coast Path.


    The patches of orange/red threadlike stems that can be seen growing on other vegetation along the route are dodder. This parasitic plant has no chlorophyll of its own but instead obtains all its nutrients from the host plant it lives on. It has no leaves but dense clusters of small pink flowers appear from July to September. Though still comparatively common in southern England, it grows mainly on gorse, heather and wild thyme. Its decline in distribution further north has resulted in dodder being listed as vulnerable on the UK Red List of rare and threatened plants.

    Red Dodder growing on the heath © Sue Brackenbury
  3. After leaving Rinsey, keep left on the South West Coast Path.

    Show/HideMount's Bay and a Mount

    From this walk, there are views across Mount's Bay to the west, where the ancient pilgrimage isle is dedicated to St. Michael, the patron saint of high places. Once a Benedictine monastery, it was also a fortress used to defend the Western Approaches and the harbour where much early tin trading took place. Todays bold silhouette shows the chapel at the summit and the roofs of the house created around it by the St Aubyn family, who came to the Mount in the 1640s and whose descendants are still in residence.

    From this walk there are magnificient views towards Mount's Bay © David Noton
  4. At the T junction boulder, turn right for a quick out and back view of the engine houses.

  5. Turn at the engine house or further on if you like.

  6. At the Boulder junction keep right on the top path.

  7. When you come across three gates, choose the lower, left one and go over the stile next to it.

  8. Now keep on the upper path.

  9. When you're level with the first engine house turn left down the slope towards it.

  10. At the engine house turn right, back up the path to the car park.

  11. 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: Rinsey car park, grid ref: SW593276

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 route takes you along a narrow, uneven path with slopes. There are some rocks and stiles, so good walking boots are recommended.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: First 2 2A, 2B Penzance to Helston. Alight at Ashton, Rinsey car park 1.5 miles (2.4km)

    By train: Penzance Station 9 miles (14.5km)

    By car: From Ashton on A394 follow signs to Rinsey. Bear right to car park (signed)

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