Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps coast walk

Carnewas, near Bedruthan, St Eval, Wadebridge, Cornwall PL27 7UW

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The picturesque and striking beach at Bedruthan © Joe Cornish

The picturesque and striking beach at Bedruthan

Take a look back the way you have come for more stunning views © National Trust/ Simon Tranter

Take a look back the way you have come for more stunning views

This stunningly located bunk house is available for private lets © National Trust/ Lee Searle

This stunningly located bunk house is available for private lets

Route overview

This spectacular stretch of the north Cornwall coast offers views of the dramatic cliffs overlooking Bedruthan Steps, contrasted with the sheltered Porth Mear cove. You can either start your walk at Carnewas or Park Head car parks. If starting from Park Head begin at step number eight.

Route details

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

Route of the Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps coast walk in North Cornwall
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Carnewas car park, Bedruthan Steps, grid ref: SW850690

  1. From Carnewas car park, follow the path which runs from the information board, turning right towards the coast path, and continue down the stone steps. Alternatively, start with a short detour along the path straight ahead and through the gorse, for dramatic views along the coastline in both directions before heading to the right and joining the path down the steps.

  2. At the bottom of the steps take in the view or descend the cliff stairs to enjoy time on the beach (closed during winter from 1 Nov). Climb the steps from the beach. Continue up the stone steps with views of the beach and stacks to the left.

    Show/HideBedruthan Steps

    Some believe that the origin of the name stems from the legend of a giant named Bedruthan who used the stacks as stepping stones across the beach. Others think that the name came about because of the staircase, which currently provides access to the beach. A somewhat challenging descent down the steep steps is rewarded by your arrival at a beautiful beach. NB: It is unsafe to bathe at any time and be aware of the risk of being cut off by the tide. (Not National Trust owned.)

    The picturesque and striking beach at Bedruthan © Joe Cornish
  3. Continue along the coast path, past the earthworks of Redcliff Castle towards Park Head, eventually walking through a tamarisk hedge. Go through a kissing gate and then continue straight on, with the hedge on the right.

    Show/Hide Cliff castles and barrows

    The view south from Bedruthan Steps to Carnewas Island. This stretch of coastline is dotted with cliff castles and Bronze Age barrows thought to date from between 1200BC and 2500BC. An example of a cliff castle can be seen at Park Head and shows two defensive banks separated by a ditch.

    Take a look back the way you have come for more stunning views © National Trust/ Simon Tranter
  4. Keep following the path until it forks after a bench. Choose either a slightly lengthier and sturdier scenic walk to the left by the cliff edge taking in the headland, Bronze Age barrows and another cliff castle. Alternatively, for a shorter route cut across fields on the grassy path to the right.

  5. On arrival at Porth Mear, with a view of Trevose Head and the lighthouse, descend the path and then go through a kissing gate. To access the beach, take the short path heading left.

    Show/HidePorth Mear

    Contrasting with the nearby exposed cliffs, Porth Mear is a sheltered cove filled with rock pools. The path continues along the valley filled with reed beds. Regenerated by the Trust, these support various wetland flora species including ragged robin and corn parsley, as well as numerous butterflies. The National Trust owned Beach Head bunk house overlooks Porth Mear. Available for private lets, it also accommodates volunteer groups, such as those on National Trust working holidays.

    This stunningly located bunk house is available for private lets © National Trust/ Lee Searle
  6. Re-join the path and continue heading inland along the valley (if not spending time on the beach turn right to join the path following the valley). Take in the sound of the stream to the left whilst noticing the increased amount of shelter and milder air that the valley enjoys.

  7. Go through another kissing gate and continue diagonally across two grazing fields towards a gate with a stone stile next to it, which sits to the left of two yellow National Trust holiday cottages.

  8. Go through the gate and follow the tarmaced lane straight ahead of you towards the Park Head car park. As you reach the car park turn right, through a kissing gate, and follow the right hand edge of the fields through two more gates. Note: If starting your walk from Park Head you'll begin by going through the kissing gate at the far end of the car park and follow the right hand edge of the fields through two more gates.

  9. Turn immediately left after the second gate, and follow the path along the left hand side of two fields until you reach a further kissing gate.

  10. Go through the gate, back onto the path you took from Carnewas, with a view of Diggery's Island. Turn left to return back along the coast path to Carnewas.

End: Carnewas car park, Bedruthan Steps, grid ref: SW850690

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7km)
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer 106; Landranger 200
  • Terrain:

    Following coast and farmland footpaths. Moderate terrain along natural, uneven surfaces. Route includes slopes, steps and unfenced cliff top. Sturdy footwear is advised. Be aware of dangerous tides at both Bedruthan and Porth Mear beaches. Dogs welcome. Please keep on lead as there is livestock in surroundings fields. Dog bin located at Carnewas.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: The South West Coast Path runs along the north Cornwall coast, passing through Padstow and Newquay

    By bike: National Cycle Network route 32 passes nearby

    By bus: Carnewas is served by Western Greyhound 556, Newquay to Padstow

    By train: Newquay 7 miles (11.2km)

    By car: Just off the B3276 from Newquay to Padstow, 6 miles (9.6km) south-west of Padstow

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