Discover Zennor and Gurnards head
- 17 February 2023
Two wild and beautiful headlands high up the granite cliffs of West Cornwall, taking in some of the best views the county has to offer. Turquoise seas, rugged cliffs and an abundance of wildflowers, it’s no wonder artists and naturalists have flocked to these cliffs for years.
No NT facilities at both these locations.
Zennor Village has a car park, pub and café.
Gurnards Head restaurant offers food and refreshments.
During the winter months (Oct – Feb) you may come across some Dartmoor ponies grazing the cliffs. This is often the most effective and natural way to maintain and improve certain habitats like heathland and cliff grassland.
The ponies do a fantastic job of nibbling and trampling encroaching scrub and coarse grasses meaning these more aggressive species don’t dominate the landscape. Come spring and summer these headlands are awash with colour from the many wildflowers, gorse and heather.
Please do not feed the ponies
The Dartmoor ponies are wild animals, and we’d like to keep them that way. Please do not approach or feed the ponies and keep dogs on a lead around the animals.
Impacts of climate change
During a very hot, dry summer in 2022, a fire started on the cliff at Zennor Head. The West Cornwall Ranger team worked closely with the fire service to help control the spread of the fire. Fire breaks were cut in and visits from the fire service to wet the fire breaks helped to prevent the spread of the fire, until only small isolated patches remained to smoulder and smoke.
This is a stark reminder of the seriousness of climate change and the need for action. Unfortunately, we could see events like this occuring more regularly in the coming years. One of the devastating impacts of wildfires like this is the loss of wildlife in the area. Approximately 400 square metres of coastal heathland burned, an important habitat lost for nature.
Although the impact to the habitat is dramatic and the area will take some years to fully recover, first signs of recovery will become apparent in the spring.
What you can do to help
With more heatwaves predicted and lack of rain expected, tinder-dry landscapes will be increasingly vulnerable to wildfires. Wildfires can start with a natural occurrence - such as a lightning strike - or a human-made spark. We encourage people to help us care and protect our precious coastal environment from potential wildfires:
- Take your litter home.
- Don't throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.
- Glass in direct sunlight can cause fires - ensure none is lying around.
- Don’t have campfires or barbecues in the countryside. Only have them in safe designated areas.
Find out how the National Trust is working to reverse the decline of the red-legged chough by recreating habitats where this characterful bird can thrive.
Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.
About 7.5 miles (20 minutes' drive) from Levant, explore more of the coast nearby on this short walk along the Zennor headland, with beautiful scenery and rich wildlife.