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Exploring St Anthony Head

View from Great Molunan beach towards the lighthouse on St Anthony Head, near Falmouth, Cornwall. The lighthouse can be seen near the water's edge on the coast to the left.
A view from Great Molunan beach towards the lighthouse on St Anthony Head. | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

At the tip of the Roseland peninsula in South Cornwall, overlooking the mouth of a natural harbour, is St Anthony Head. The headland still bears the remains of several different phases of military fortification. Today you can visit the restored main gun battery and the underground magazine.

Rediscovering a military past at St Anthony Head

Most of what survives to be seen today dates from the late 19th- and early 20th-century coastal artillery fort built to protect Falmouth at a time of turmoil in Europe. Since the National Trust bought St Anthony Head in 1959, its military past has been gradually revealed and restored.

Stay on site

You can stay in the old officers’ quarters, which were converted to holiday cottages in the 1960s, and an accessible track leads along the bottom of the steep rock-cut ditch that formed part of the fort’s defences.

Artists in residence

As well as the battery, you can explore the old paraffin store and the battery observation post on the lower paths. The paraffin store has hosted art exhibitions and artists-in-residence in previous years. If you're a local artist and you'd like to use this mini space in the future, do please get in touch with us by email.

The battery observation post is open all year and is the twin of another post that looks out from Pendennis Castle and across the water.

The battery gun emplacement at St Anthony Head, constructed in the late Victorian period. Sunk into the ground surrounded by grass, gorse and yellow flowers with blue skies above.
St Anthony Battery, St Anthony Head | © National Trust Images/George Taylor

Restoration work at St Anthony Head

Recently the work of uncovering the history of the headland received a huge boost. Working together with the South West Coast Path team and with funding from the Rural Development Programme for England as part of its ‘Unlocking our Coastal Heritage’ project, it’s been possible to restore the main gun battery and its magazine. This was where ammunition was stored for the two 6-inch breech-loading guns above.

Revealing the significance

The experience of visiting St Anthony Head has been transformed as the true significance of its fortifications has been revealed.

To plan your visit, take a look at the events calendar for upcoming dates.

The silhouettes of six cormorants can be seen with a backdrop the bright orange sky at sunrise behind.
Cormorant silhouettes at sunrise | © National Trust Images/Howard Stone

Wildlife highlights

St Anthony Head has a coast that’s rich in culture and alive with reminders of our island heritage, while creating space for nature to thrive.

Here are just a few of the things you may spot from the bird hide and along the coastline around St Anthony Head.

  • Peregrine falcons, kestrels and sparrowhawks.
  • Common coastal birds such as gulls, cormorants, shags, oystercatchers and gannets.
  • Skylarks, meadow pipets, cirl buntings and goldfinches.
  • Seals and possibly other marine mammals.

With views out across the water from the headland, St Anthony Head is a great place for a picnic and relaxing walk at any time of the year.

View over the cliffs to the sea at St Anthony Head, Cornwall

Discover more at St Anthony Head

Find out how to get to St Anthony Head, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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