The Dodman Long Loop

Walking trail

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.

The footpath at the Dodman, Cornwall


Map route for The Dodman Long Loop


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'.


The path goes up and along the field to the left of the road. The path is wide and follows the fence line.


Once you are through the gate, and as Hemmick beach comes into view, bear left across the field, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The Dodman Long Loop


A range of terrain, including some moderately steep sections. There are stiles along the route, as well as steps and kissing gates. Some short sections of the path can be muddy (at any time of the year). Livestock graze along this route (including cattle, ponies and sheep) but well-behaved dogs under close supervision are most welcome.

The Dodman Long Loop

Contact us

The Dodman Long Loop

How to get here

Penare car park, near Gorran Haven, Cornwall
By road

From A390, St Austell to Truro, take B3273. Continue through Mevagissey, Portmellon, Gorran Churchtown and on to Penare, or cut inland before Mevagissey, taking minor roads past Gorran Churchtown and then on to Penare.  At Penare, park in National Trust car park (SW999 404).

By foot

Join this walk from the South West Coast Path.

By bus

Western Greyhound 526, St Austell to Gorran Haven, then join the walk at  route number 13.

By bicycle

National Cycle Network Route 3 runs through Gorran Haven village, less than 2 miles from Penare hamlet on the Dodman.

The Dodman Long Loop

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome