Booby's Bay walk

Porthcothan, Padstow, Cornwall PL28

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Look out for the colourful wildflowers dotting the clifftops in summer © National Trust/ Mike Simmonds

Look out for the colourful wildflowers dotting the clifftops in summer

A booby is a seabird closely related to and resembling the gannet © northeastwildlife.co.uk

A booby is a seabird closely related to and resembling the gannet

Constantine Island's Bronze Age past has recently been uncovered... © Sarah Stevens

Constantine Island's Bronze Age past has recently been uncovered...

Route overview

This popular stretch of the north Cornish coast offers walkers stunning views across Constantine Bay and onwards to the lighthouse at Trevose Head. See some rare species of bird and plant life, and hidden coves.

Route details

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

Route map for walk to Booby's Bay, Cornwall
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Porthcothan car park, grid ref: SW859741

  1. From the car park return to the main road (B3276), turn right and walk approximately 50yds (approx 50m) along the road to cross the bridge. Immediately after the bridge turn left, and before reaching the beach youll see the South West Coast Path leading off to the right.

  2. Join the coast path and head north in the direction of Treyarnon Bay (not National Trust). Follow the footpath for 2 miles (3.2km). There are some points when the path forks but all routes re-join shortly. Youll come across one section when the path leads between a hedge and an area of gorse. You will pass Minnows Islands and Fox Cove on your way. Minnows Islands are a cluster of some four outcrops of rock, best appreciated at a medium to low tide. Fox Cove is a little further on.

    Show/HideBirds and flowers

    This stretch of coast from Porthcothan heading north, is a haven for wild birds, in particular corn buntings. The Trust is collaborating with the RSPB to raise public awareness of the site and protect the stronghold of this increasingly rare farmland bird. In the summer the clifftops are sprinkled with thrift (pictured) and ox-eye daisies.

    Look out for the colourful wildflowers dotting the clifftops in summer © National Trust/ Mike Simmonds
  3. As you approach Treyanon beach youll encounter a fork in the path; take the right hand fork, which will lead you behind a private dwelling and to some steps leading down on to the top of Treyarnon Bay. This beach is life-guarded during the summer season and is popular with those seeking a sandy cove with rock pools at low tide.

  4. Cross the top of the beach and take the path to the left of the life guard hut. This will lead to a stretch of tarmaced lane. After a short distance the footpath is signposted to the left.

  5. After a stretch of coastline (not NT) which has a number of benches along it, take the path to the right of a house. The footpath leads to the top of Constantine Bay. Cross the top of the beach and ascend the wooden stairs at the far end to re-join the coast path. Youll see Constantine Island on your left and Booby's Bay is on the other side of the island.

    Show/HideBooby's Bay

    A booby is a seabird closely related to the gannet. These birds can be seen diving off-shore in stormy weather, which might explain their name. At Boobys Bay, a tiny Trust property faces due west into the wind. Tom Parsons hut (not open to the public) sits just above the beach, an old fishermans shelter originally made from driftwood.

    A booby is a seabird closely related to and resembling the gannet © northeastwildlife.co.uk
  6. Re-trace your steps across the top of Constantine Bay. Here you can choose to either follow the South West Coast Path back to Porthcothan (the way that you came), take the inland route along the road or catch the bus back. If taking the inland or bus route turn left by the beach waste facilities.

    Show/HideConstantine Island

    Constantine Island holds a fascinating past. In 2007 a human skeleton was excavated from a cist grave (small stone-built box) dating back to the Bronze Age. Archaeologists concluded that the remains belonged to a mature male.

    Constantine Island's Bronze Age past has recently been uncovered... © Sarah Stevens
  7. Follow the path to a small parking space and public toilets. Continue following the road until you reach a T-junction. Theres a convenience store on the corner to your left - the bus can be caught from this area.

  8. To walk back to Porthcothan along the lanes, turn right at the T-junction and keep following your nose for 2 to 3 miles (3.2 to 4.8km).

  9. The road eventually comes to a junction. Turn right (re-joining the B3276) and walk the 200 yards (approx 180m) or so down the hill to Porthcothan Bay.

End: Porthcothan car park, grid ref: SW859741

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
  • Time: 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer 106; Landranger 200
  • Terrain:

    Coast path with a section along the top of Constantine beach. The return leg is along a relatively quiet country road but you could either return back along the coast path or catch the bus from Constantine back to Porthcothan. Dogs welcome. Please keep on lead when in RSPB protected areas. All beaches along the route are dog-friendly.

  • 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 by the start of the walk

    By bus: Porthcothan and Constantine are served by Western Greyhound 556, Newquay to Padstow

    By train: Newquay 10 miles (16.1km)

    By car: Off B3276, Newquay to Padstow, 3 miles (4.8km) south-west of Padstow

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