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Things to do at Carnewas at Bedruthan

A visitor being welcomed to Carnewas at Bedruthan, Cornwall
A visitor being welcomed to Carnewas at Bedruthan | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

There's plenty to explore while visiting Carnewas at Bedruthan and the surrounding areas. From exploring some local history and long coastal pathways to enjoying picnics with dramatic views and quality stargazing, there's something for everyone. The area is also home to lots of wildlife so keep an eye out for lizards on the ground and sea birds up above.

Picnics and coastal walks

Carnewas has been a firm favourite for people looking for a perfect picnic spot since the Victorian era. With dramatic clifftop views and adjacent to the visitor facilities, the picnic area is a ideal lunch spot.

Plus, walkers will be happy to hear that significant improvements to the paths that criss-cross the clifftops have made the views even more accessible.


Did you know that Carnewas at Bedruthan has been awarded Dark Skies status? The accreditation is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Dark Sky Discovery Programme.

It's awarded to sites that are accessible and free enough from light pollution that they offer visitors fantastic panoramic views of the night sky. Essentially, this means Carnewas at Bedruthan is the ideal place to stargaze.

Stargazing advice

It's recommended that stargazers view the sky well away from the cliff edges. In fact, the grassy area next to the shop is the perfect spot. Also any young gazers will be ticking off an activity from their list of '50 things to do before you're 11¾’.

A close-up of a kestrel perched on a fence post looking over its shoulder
A kestrel staying alert | © National Trust Images / Rob Skinner

Visit Park Head

A couple of miles north of Carnewas is Park Head. Here the secluded, wildlife-rich Porth Mear valley joins the sea and the coastline is littered with Bronze Age barrows, (burial mounds). The headland at Park Head is backed by fertile farmland that slopes gently down to Porth Mear valley to the north.

With its well-preserved cliff castle and wonderful feeling of exposure, the headland is worth exploring. However, please stay on the footpaths as the land is farmed and there's often livestock in the fields.

The Porth Mear valley

The rocky valley running up from Porth Mear offers a contrast to the exposed sea-facing cliffs. Thickets of thorn scrub grow here and those plants needing a waterside habitat thrive beside the small stream.

Wildlife spotting

Animals can be very particular about where they live. The National Trust team tries to encourage a wide variety of habitats within the reedbed to support as many plants and animals as possible.

Every autumn the team cuts the reeds back to stop scrubby bushes taking over. This encourages the reeds to regrow stronger than before. This, in turn, maintains pockets of habitat for wildlife to make their home. Look out for toads, lizards and kestrels overhead.

Bronze Age archaeology

Six Bronze Age barrows are visible from the coast path. These probably date from between 1200-2500 BC and are joined by an Iron Age cliff castle.

The Iron Age cliff castle

Sat across the neck of Park Head with two defensive banks separated by a ditch, this cliff castle is a good example of its kind. These castles are a common feature on the Cornish coast and archaeologists now think they weren't temporary, but instead permanently occupied. This demonstrates the inter-tribal rivalries of the times.

Normally, one or two round houses would have stood inside the defences, sometimes against the back of the inner rampart. This site was probably used back as far as the 1st century BC.

A view of the cliffs and sea at Carnewas at Bedruthan, Cornwall with yellow flowers in the foreground

Discover more at Carnewas at Bedruthan

Find out how to get to Carnewas at Bedruthan, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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