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Things to see and do at Godrevy

Surfers and walkers on the beach at sunset
Surfers on the beach at sunset | © National Trust Images/Hilary Daniel

Whatever your interest, there’s sure to be an activity for you at Godrevy. Miles of golden sands, beginner-friendly surfing conditions, clifftop walks across wild heathlands and lots of wildlife-watching opportunities make this a natural playground for both young and old.

Activities on Godrevy beach

Surfing

The North Cornwall coast is famed for its surfing beaches, and Godrevy is right up there with the best of them. Working through most tides, the beach is especially popular with learner surfers thanks to its soft-breaking waves. However, when the swell is over 4ft and the wind is anything other than perfect – light, offshore – it can be a long and challenging paddle to get out the back. Like most beach breaks, it relies heavily on the quality of its sand banks to provide long, walled-up rides.

Want to learn how to surf? Then try one of these:

  • Shore Surf School – you'll find the owners, Laurence and Peter, behind the welcome hut, next to the boardwalk
  • GAS – Gwithian Academy of Surfing is run by Tyson. Find them next to The Rockpool café

Swimming

At low tide, the magnitude of Godrevy beach is revealed. At the northern end of St Ives Bay, the three miles of golden sand stretches from Hayle around the bay to Godrevy Cove.

Please remember to check the tides, as some areas of the beach can get cut off at high tide. You can check the weather and tide times easily online.

Swim safely

The lifeguard service is seasonal. Please swim between the flags and follow all instructions from the guards.

Walking dogs on the beach

Dogs are only allowed on the beach from before 1 July and after 31 August. However, they're welcome on the walking routes on the headland all year round.

Please pick up after your dog and take all your litter home with you.

A man and woman with binoculars at Lindisfarne Castle
There are lots of bird species to spot at Godrevy | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Wildlife spotting

A birding paradise

There are many resident and breeding birds at Godrevy, meaning there’s something to see all year round.

During the spring and autumn, the headland around Godrevy and the nearby Knavocks is a prime spot for watching visible migration. Pipits, finches, wheatears and swallows can pass through in high numbers on the right day. There’s even a good chance of a peregrine falcon showing up.

Rare birds at Godrevy

The ‘rarity list’ of birds is impressive, too. It includes woodchat shrikes, red-rumped swallows, American robins, barred warblers, Richard’s pipits, black-winged stilts, upland sandpipers and killdeers.

If a northerly gale is howling, we suggest taking a telescope to scan the sea for passing seabirds, such as Manx and sooty shearwaters, skuas and storm petrels.

A grey seal bobbing in the sea at Godrevy
A grey seal bobbing in the sea at Godrevy | © National Trust Images/Nick Upton

Seal watching

Godrevy is home to grey seals, which can often be seen in the sea or resting on the beach. As the tide drops, they come onto land – known as 'hauling out' – to rest, digest their food, moult and look after their pups. They won’t usually leave until the water forces them to float off again.

Responsible seal spotting

If you do spot any seals, please take care not to worry or disturb them by following the seal watching guidelines:

  • Always aim to arrive, watch and leave without the seals noticing you
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Walk slowly and quietly to the cliff top
  • Find a safe place where you can sit or lie down to watch the seals
  • Stay still and quiet, watching for signs that may show you’re disturbing the seals. Whisper if you need to talk
  • If you see signs of disturbance, quietly move away
  • Use binoculars or a telescope so that you can get a better view without getting too close

Geocaching

Geocaching is a treasure hunt with a difference, as it's more about the hunt than the pot of gold at the end. It's a great way to enjoy the freedom of being outside and discovering new places.

There are several geocaches hidden around Godrevy, and all you need to find them is a handheld GPS or an app on a smartphone.

Find out more on geocaching.com. Follow the instructions and see if you can find some of the caches in the area. Hint: they’re in small, waterproof treasure boxes.

What's in the box?

So, once you’ve found the treasure box, what will you find inside? Most caches have a logbook for you to leave a message in, and the satisfaction of finding the box is a reward in itself.

Often, you'll also find a strange array of trinkets that people have left to swap. If you take a treasure out of the box, you should leave another trinket in its place, so come prepared.

Godrevy's Phacelia fields

Walk across the Godrevy headland in spring and you'll be met with an extraordinary sight: a sea of purple Phacelia. Visible from all across Carbis Bay, these super-pollinating flowers were introduced to attract wildlife and – once they've broken down – act as fertile manure for follow-on crops. But they also happen to be very photogenic.

A Silver Studded Blue male basking on a stone at Great Orme, Clwyd
A male silver-studded butterfly | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

Spring and summer highlights

Spotting rare butterflies

Between June and late July, you may be able to spot the silver-studded blue butterflies that live on the heathland at Godrevy. They’re a rare species, confined to a few small colonies in England and Wales. The adults roost together, which can be a lovely sight if you catch them early enough in the morning.

You might see other species, too, including common blue, meadow brown, gatekeeper, small heath, peacock, wall brown and dark green fritillary. Occasionally, migrant species such as painted lady and red admiral also appear.

View towards Godrevy lighthouse and cliffs across a beach on a sunny day

Discover more at Godrevy

Find out when how to get to Godrevy, the things to see and do and more.

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