Blackbottle picnic walk

Polruan, South East Cornwall PL23 1QL

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

Explore the South West countryside with our collection of one mile walks

This stretch of coast is teeming with wildlife © National Trust

This stretch of coast is teeming with wildlife

Take in fantastic views along a coastline full of history © National Trust

Take in fantastic views along a coastline full of history

Route overview

This is a short but beautiful jaunt along the South West Coast Path. Take in stunning views of Gribbin Head and, on a clear day, the coast all the way down to the Lizard. The walk’s halfway point is a perfect place to sit and watch the boats come in and out of Fowey.

  • Grade of walk: Flip Flop (easy and lots of fun)
  • Type of walk: 'Beautiful Views', 'Flora & Fauna'

Route details

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

  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Polruan public car park, grid ref: SX132507

  1. Exit the car park via the left hand gate and walk diagonally across the field until you meet the South West Coast Path. Turn left and follow the path through the small pedestrian gate.

    Show/HideSouth West Coast Path

    From Minehead to Poole Harbour this National Trail is 630 miles (1014km) long. As Jenny Walters recently wrote in Country Walking, it really is of unparalled gorgeousness. There are 15 of these National Trails in England and Wales, and four in Scotland. They all provide continuous walking through fine scenery and are maintained to a high standard with their own special guidebooks. The South West Trail is especially beautiful and passes through five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; 17 Heritage Coasts, a National Park, two World Heritage sites, a UNESCO Geopark and Britains first UNESCO Biosphere reserve.

    Explore the South West countryside with our collection of one mile walks © Leo Mason
  2. Continue straight, through a gate. Then, where the path forks at the bench and money box, take the left-hand path.

    Show/HideWildlife along the way

    The walk takes you through fields that are reverting to wild flower meadows from farmland, as well as a section of scrubby cliff land. The tiny sand crocus grows on a rocky outcrop in the first field. This is a southern European species that was thought to be confined in Britain to Dawlish Warren in Devon, until it was found by botanists holidaying in this area a few years ago. Birds such as whitethroat, yellowhammer and stonechat nest in the scrubby cliff land. Skylark can be seen in the fields above and peregrine falcons, nesting on nearby Pencarrow Cliffs, may be hunting overhead.

    This stretch of coast is teeming with wildlife © National Trust
  3. Continue through another gate onto the plateau, a perfect spot for a picnic.

    Show/HideArchaeology: 2000 years on a cliff top

    The cliff above Blackbottle Rock offers panoramic views from east to west. If you look carefully you'll see lots of low mounds. These are the remains of Bronze Age barrows (tombs), their elevated position possibly reflecting the importance attributed to ancestors. Over 2000 years later these prominent positions were used for a very different purpose - the cliff-top field holds the scattered remains of a Second World War radar station. All that survives of the main station are its earthwork platforms, but many of the concrete blocks have been re-used in neighbouring field hedges.

    Take in fantastic views along a coastline full of history © National Trust
  4. To continue your walk, you can either retrace your steps back along the coast or walk the circular route and follow the path inland, along the field margin,for views towards Caradon Hill.

  5. At the gate, turn left to follow the road back to Polruan. Please be careful as this is a public road.

  6. Finally, turn left into the car park.

  7. 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: Polruan public car park, grid ref: SX132507

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 201
  • Terrain:

    This walk takes you across some uneven ground and gentle inclines. There are also a few steps.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: start point is less than 10 minutes walk from either of the two bus stops in Polruan

    By train: Looe, 9 miles (14.4km) away

    By car: A38 from Plymouth, bypass Liskeard and after 2 miles (3.2km) turn left at roundabout onto A390, go through village of East Taphouse and turn left onto B3359. Travel for approximately 4 miles (6.4km) and turn right signposted Lansallos. Follow signs to Lansallos, 6 miles (9.6km), then signs to Polruan. Start point is from the first car park as you enter Polruan

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