The Dodman Long Loop
An invigorating walk with stunning views, taking you onto Dodman Point, the highest headland on the south coast of Cornwall. There are two beautiful beaches along the way, to tempt you with a seaside detour, whilst Gorran Haven offers ice cream, cafés and a traditional harbour to rest and refuel. For a wilder option, linger at Dodman Point and look out for peregrine falcons.
Penare car park, grid ref SW999404
Go out of the car park entrance, cross the road and go up a couple of steps to join the path. Turn right, following the finger post signed 'Hemmick Beach 1/4 mile'.
Go up the steps, through the gate and take the path alongside the fence line.
As Hemmick beach comes into view, bear left to follow the path traversing the slope.
Bear left to join the South West Coast Path, and head uphill keeping the fence line and sea on your right-hand side.
The coast path meets 'The Bulwark', an Iron Age earthwork. Now used as a footpath, this massive earthwork is 600m long and 6m high in places. Curving inland it encloses Dodman Point, creating a fortified area that almost certainly would have contained a series of iron age dwellings.
There are expansive views across Veryan Bay. From right to left: Nare Head, with Gull Rock offshore; the white houses of Portscatho; the eastern edge of the Roseland. Furthest left on the horizon is the eastern edge of The Lizard peninsula. As you continue walking, the granite cross of Dodman Point comes into view.
This huge granite cross was placed here in 1896 as a navigational aid to seafarers. Opposite the path to the cross, you can take a short diversion inland to the watch house, a 1795 survivor of a series of Admiralty signal stations used to alert the Navy at Plymouth.
Topped off by a huge granite cross, Dodman Point is the highest headland on the south coast of Cornwall. From here you can enjoy magnificent panaromic views across Veryan Bay towards the Roseland. Sit awhile and you may be lucky enough to spot peregrine falcon, stonechat or gannet.
Go through the kissing gate and continue on the coast path by walking along the right-hand side of the field, following the fence line.
Go through the kissing gate to continue on the coast path.
If you visit the Dodman, especially during the winter months, you may well see our Dartmoor ponies. A hardy and sure-footed breed, they are great at grazing steep, coastal areas. As part of our conservation regime, they keep grassy areas open, allowing a range of flowering plants to flourish.
Here you meet the eastern side of the Bulwark. To shorten the walk, turn left to head inland along the Bulwark, signed 'Penare 3/4 mile'. Continue following signs for Penare, where you started your walk. For the full 'Dodman Long Loop' experience, stay on the coast path, signed 'Vault Beach' and 'Gorran Haven'.
Enjoy the excellent views of Vault beach, with Maenease Point at the eastern end of the beach. Coming out of the kissing gate above Vault beach, the lower path is one to follow.
After a gap in the hedge, you have another option to shorten the walk by heading inland past Lamledra (NT) car park and rejoining the route by turning left along the minor road. Or, if Vault beach or ice-creams at Gorran Haven are calling to you, continue on the coast path and through the kissing gate. To reach Vault beach, turn right taking the downhill path. To press on to Gorran Haven, stay on the coast path.
A short flight of steps and the South West Coast Path brings you to Gorran Haven. Turn immediately left, up a steep minor road, Foxhole Lane. At the top of Foxhole Lane (it's steep, take a breather, if you haven't already), continue up hill a little further, going past Lamledra National Trust car park. Following the narrow minor road, go through the metal field gate onto The Gruda. This oddly-named strip of land gives splendid views above Vault beach and back across to the Dodman.
If you want rest and refreshment during this walk, why not stop at Gorran Haven? A classic Cornish harbour, this charming village is now a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Enjoy an ice cream and kick your shoes off in the sand, before tackling the uphill section up and out of the village.
Immediately before the next metal field gate that crosses this road, turn left to climb over the stone steps stile. The path then runs diagonally across the field (you can see a rooftop and the trees of Penare ahead). Go across another stone stile and the last section of the field, where a wooden stile brings you back onto the road at Penare. Bear left to walk through Penare and back to the car park.
Penare car park, grid ref SW999404
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