Plan your visit to Gunwalloe

The beach at Gunwalloe Church Cove

Gunwalloe offers family friendly beaches, great access to walking, wildlife and history.

The beaches

There are two beaches at Gunwalloe, Church Cove and Dollar Cove. Both are sandy although there are some boulders on Dollar cove. Both beaches also have rock pools that are accessible when the tide is low, check the tide table before coming to make the most of your visit.

The path to the beach at Gunwalloe Church Cove
Path to the beach at Gunwalloe Church Cove
The path to the beach at Gunwalloe Church Cove

Dollar Cove is named after the treasure that it's been claimed is sometimes found here. In 1669 a Spanish Ship, the San Salvador, was lost just offshore from the beach and was said to be laden with silver dollars. The story of the San Salvador attracts treasure hunters from far and wide, to find out more about this story try our short trail below under the walks section. There are no lifeguards on duty at this beach and dogs are welcome all year round. 

Church Cove is called so because of the medieval church that sites between the two coves. Weddings are common through the year and the congregation welcomes visitors. Lifeguards are on duty here through the school summer holidays. There is a council enforced dog ban on the beach between Easter Sunday and 1 October.

The Church on the beach at Gunwalloe
The church nestled into the cliff at Gunwalloe Church Cove
The Church on the beach at Gunwalloe

The wildlife

The reed bed at Gunwalloe is of national importance and provides a habitat or rest stop for both local bird and visiting migrant species. Sightings here including Wheatears, Reed Buntings and the rarer and often very colourful Bee-eaters. You can keep track of local sightings at Gunwalloe and in the surrounding area here

The history

The archaeology at Gunwalloe dates back to prehistoric times, the settlement of Winnianton based around Castle Mound is significant in that it’s thought to be one of the first settlements in Cornwall. Every year in the summer there is an archaeological event onsite in which visitors are welcome to come and take part in a dig and explore some of the previously discovered items from the area. Look out for details of this event and other at nearby Penrose here.

The walks

Gunwalloe is situated on the South West Coast Path and is almost exactly 10 miles to Lizard Point and about 4 miles to Porthleven. There are shorter walks in the more local area including our downloadable walk which consists of a 1 mile short loop and explores the story around the shipwreck of the San Salvador, find out more below and download a copy. 

Parking, access and facilities

Access to the beaches and coastpath is very simple from the National Trust car park at Gunwalloe where members of the National Trust can park for free. Dollar Cove is approx. 100 yards from the car park along a flat road and Church Cove is a further 200 yards along. Please note that there is no parking beyond the car park. There is a small kiosk serving ice creams, tea, coffee and sandwiches that is open through the summer months and operated by the local farm. There are National Trust toilets open every day between Easter and the end of October a short walk from the car park.