Hidden surprises at Holywell

The large bay of Holywell beach © National Trust

The large bay of Holywell beach

Enjoy exploring this beautiful stretch of sand on the North Cornwall coast as well as the more hidden treasures.

Holywell is the largest bay on this stretch of coast. At low tide the rusting plates of a 70 year old wreck can be seen. Anyone in the sea should be in the water to the west of this hazard, as directed by the lifeguards’ flag signals. Lifeguards man this beach during the summer season.  

Holy wells at Holywell

There is some doubt as to which of the two wells in the area gave its name to the place. Both were objects of pilgrimage for hundreds of years by mothers of sickly children or by people disabled in one way or another.

The Trevorick valley well

This well is on land owned by the Holywell Bay Leisure Park, but the owner often allows interested visitors to view the well, provided they walk down from the Leisure Park’s car park. The Newquay Old Cornwall Society restored the stone structure around a natural spring, and there is an inner and outer Gothic arch to mark the site.

Holywell cave

At low tide the cave can be found tucked under the southern cliffs of Kelsey Head. From the beach it appears a mere slit, but some steps lead up to several stepped pools ascending towards a hole in the cave roof. Take care on the steps, which are covered with slimy green weed.

The outline of these pools is blurred by a creamy-white calcareous deposit which has built up from the mineral rich water dripping from the roof. This grotto-like feature, tinted with red and blue colours, is worth seeking out on an outgoing tide, and a torch is useful. Exploring on your own is not advised.