Total steps: 5
Total steps: 5
Porthcurno car park, Cornwall TR19 6JX. Grid ref: SW384225.
From the car park at Porthcurno, head seaward down the footpath to a junction with a granite signpost.
Cove of horns
Porthcurno in Cornish means 'cove of horns', presumably from the strange cliff formations. The word 'porth', meaning cove, is often used for names on the Cornish coast and signifies a beach that's large enough to land a boat. It also signifies the entrance to a valley leading from the sea, like Porthleven, Porthpean or Porthtowan. The ancient Cornish language died out in the early 19th century but was revived in the early 20th century and is now spoken by enthusiasts all over the world, and taught in many Cornish schools.
Turn left at the waymark, signed to Penberth, and follow the path up the hill.
At the granite stile, turn right towards the coast.
Communication under your feet
Below Porthcurno beach lies a vital component of Britain's communications links with the rest of the world. In the 1800s, it became internationally famous as the British landing point for early submarine telegraph cables, the first of which was laid in 1870 as part of an early international link stretching from the UK to India. Fibre-optic communication cables linking into an international submarine network still land at this point.
When you get to the pill box, turn right inland and stop to take in the views of the world-famous Minack open-air theatre built into the opposite cliff.
Minack means a rocky or stony place. Rowena Cade, originally from Cheltenham, lived at Minack House and in the 1920s invited amateur drama companies to stage productions in her garden. In the early 1930s, she decided to build an open-air theatre on the cliffs, and over a number of winters dragged materials up from the beach, or down from her house to construct it. She continued to take a great interest in the theatre until she died in 1983, aged 89. Productions there each summer have the magnificent backdrop of Porthcurno Bay and the Logan Rock.
At the bottom of the hill, near to the Porthcurno relay hut, turn right onto the track and return to the car park.
Porthcurno car park, Cornwall TR19 6JX. Grid ref: SW384225
This walk has some uneven surfaces and passes close to cliff edges in some places, so take care.
Cornwall Council car park, The Valley, Porthcurno,Cornwall TR19 6JX. Grid ref: SW384225.
Penzance station is 10 miles (16km) away.
Follow the A30 from Penzance signposted to Land's End. At Catchall turn left onto B3283, through St Buryan then left again, clearly signposted to Porthcurno.
Dogs welcome under close control. Dogs not allowed on the beach, 1 July–31 August.
Pay-and-display Cornwall Council car park (cash only).
Public toilets available next to the car park.
Uphill and downhill slopes, footpaths and uneven ground.
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