Cubert wildlife walk, Cornwall

Near Newquay, Cornwall

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Fields of gold! Marigolds in full bloom © Ross Hoddinott

Fields of gold! Marigolds in full bloom

Seal pups can be seen in autumn © Joe Cornish

Seal pups can be seen in autumn

Fulmar © Gareth Wilson

Fulmar

A mating pair of silver-studded blue butterflies © Bob Haycock

A mating pair of silver-studded blue butterflies

Route overview

The coastline just south of Newquay is incredibly varied with fantastic displays of arable flora in summer. At West Pentire, see whole fields scarlet with poppies and other rare meadow plants. There's also lots of sandy grassland, rich in wild flowers like cowslip and pyramidal orchid. The dunes behind Holywell Bay are the home for hundreds of different insects and great for bug hunting. This is truly a walk for all seasons… visit in autumn for a privileged view of grey seal pups and winter to find migrant birds in the fields.

Route details

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

Cubert wildlife walk map
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: West Pentire car park, grid ref: SW775605

  1. Start at the car park in West Pentire and walk north on a path towards the coast, with wild flower fields on your left in summer.

    Show/HideWild flowers

    Some of the fields in West Pentire have stunning arable flora, which are best seen in June and July when the poppies and corn marigolds are in flower. Also see Venus looking-glass, shepherds needle, small-flowered catchfly and weasels snout, which are rare due to modern farming methods. Wander into the fields if you wish, but be careful not to crush the crops or wild flowers. Also look for pyramidal orchid and carline thistle in the lime-rich grasslands.

    Fields of gold! Marigolds in full bloom © Ross Hoddinott
  2. Take the left at the junction of two paths, then the next right along the edge of a field. At the end of this field take the left-hand path, then the right one, so that you are exactly on the edge of the coast, following it around to the left, away from West Pentire.

    Show/HideAnimals

    See grey seals hauled out on the rocks at low tide and stoats chasing rabbits down the slopes towards Porth Joke. Seals are inquisitive and will come close to visitors who remain still. Pups can be seen in late autumn and are easily spotted because they're born with a white fur coat. Basking sharks are seen in Holywell Bay along with porpoises and dolphins.

    Seal pups can be seen in autumn © Joe Cornish
  3. Keep following the coastal path, also looking out for buzzards inland. The shortcut back to the car park is a left-hand path at the point of Porth Joke (sands), which goes back across the fields.

    Show/HideBirds

    Look out for fulmar birds that look superficially like gulls, but are in fact petrels. They nest around this area of the coast, laying a single white egg on bare rock or lined shallow depressions. Seed-eating birds such as corn bunting, grey partridge and winter visitors such as snow and lapland buntings are found in the West Pentire fields. A thin crop of barley is sown in some of the fields so the birds have a seed source in the winter. This is particularly important for birds such as the grey partridge that have declined greatly in Britain. There's a good chance of seeing whimbrel, skylark and wheatear on the Kelseys.

    Fulmar © Gareth Wilson
  4. Have a look at the Iron Age fort on your right then continue following the coast, which loops around the sand dunes of Holywell Beach.

    Show/HideInsects

    At Holywell Dunes there are a multitude of insects to be seen, including silver-studded blue and dark-green fritillary butterflies, great green bush cricket and stripe-winged grasshopper. The summer months are the best time to see them. The silver studded blue butterfly is nationally scarce and has a national action plan to reverse its decline.

    A mating pair of silver-studded blue butterflies © Bob Haycock
  5. The path then heads directly inland off the beach. Follow it straight across the junction, then downhill to another four-way junction, taking the left-hand path.

  6. Carry straight on, turning left at the track, then further on keeping right past the disused quarry. Follow the fork forward then take the next small path on the left. Follow the track uphill past another disused quarry on the right and along the fields back to the car park.

End: West Pentire car park, grid ref: SW775605

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
  • Time: 2 hours
  • OS Map: Landranger 200
  • Terrain:

    This walk has some short steep slopes and steps on the coast path. Beware of cliff edges. Stout footwear is advised. The route just around the West Pentire headland is 1 mile (1.5km).

  • How to get here:

    By foot: on the South West Coast Path

    By cycle: a National Cycle Network route goes around Newquay; see Sustrans website

    By bus: on the Newquay-Cubert and Newquay-Crantock-Cubert bus routes, alight half a mile (1km) away from start of walk

    By train: Newquay station, 5.5 miles (9km)

    By car: just south of Newquay off A3075; follow minor road through Crantock to West Pentire and park in car park at end of road (not National Trust)

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