Park Head walk
Park Head, near Porthcothan, Cornwall PL27 7UURoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
An easy, level walk to the cliff tops at Park Head with views of the towering sea stacks and the picturesque Bedruthan Steps in the foreground. Whether the sea is calm or stormy, this is an iconic and unforgettable view of North Cornwall. In summer, the cliffs are covered in wild flowers.
- Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder)
- Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Beautiful Views'
- Bus stop
Start: Park Head National Trust car park, grid ref: SW853707
From the car park go through adjacent kissing gate and follow the field edge path.
Local legend has it that a giant called Bedruthan used the beach stacks as stepping stones or steps to achieve a short cut across the bay but this might well have been a 19th-century invention to attract visitors to the area which is famed for its splendid views. In Victorian times, it was a popular destination for tourists who flocked to Newquay and visited this location by horse-drawn carriage. Some were tempted to swim in the sea, but it's very dangerous, as testified by a memorial plaque to Alex Laurie of Derby who drowned in the bay in 1903.
At the second gate, turn left and follow the route out to the cliffs and the coast path.
The fields on this farm are of special interest for wild flowers associated with arable cultivation. These include plants with fascinating names such as weasels-snout and field woundwort that were once widespread in the countryside but have become scarce due to changes in farming practices. Their conservation on this farm is supported by a government-funded agri-environment scheme that also benefits corn bunting, a small bird that has suffered dramatic decline in numbers - particularly in Cornwall - where the breeding population is now only about 30 pairs.
Turn right and follow the coast path to a stone hedge, where there's a seat to rest and take in the views.
At Pentire, there's a disused barn which was converted 30 years ago into bunk house accommodation. It has two dorms with attached bathrooms and a large communal living and kitchen area. Initially set up as an educational facility for young people, it's now available for all sorts of uses. In the summer months, it's home to volunteers on our Working Holidays programme. It's also used by local schools and conservation groups who learn and do practical tasks on nearby coastal sites. Recently it's been rented out for family holiday accommodation. For details about booking Beach Head call 01208 863046.
Return the same way you came.
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: Park Head National Trust car park, grid ref: SW853707
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 200
Park Head is an easy, level walk through grassland and fields to the cliff tops with an occassional gate. It can get muddy in winter.
- How to get here:
By bus: Route 556, Newquay to Padstow. Request stop or alight Porthcothan
By train: Newquay Branchline Station, 8 miles (12.9km)
By car: Free National Trust car park signed Park Head from road between Mawgan Porth and Porthcothan
- Telephone: 01637 860563
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carnewas-and-bedruthan-steps/