There’s little better than a good coastal walk from St Ives to Zennor to take in some fresh sea air and admire the beauty of Cornwall.
Being situated right on the coast and the South West Coast Path, St Ives has some of the most stunning walks in Cornwall. The coastal walk from St Ives to Zennor is one of the most scenic ways to explore the landscape and get the most out of your stay. It’s roughly 6 miles to Zennor, and there are two ways to approach it – either a 12 mile circular walk that takes an inland route back to St Ives, or take the bus to Zennor and walk back to St Ives.
We chose a mild winter day with little wind to make our adventure most comfortable! So, do make sure that the weather is on your side to have a safe and pleasant walk. With favourable conditions, we decided to pull on our walking boots and head west along the coast path…
Setting off on our excursion, we took the path starting from the west side of Porthmeor Beach. Above the beach, you can follow the pathway around the back of the bowling club and out to the headland known as ‘Man’s Head.’ A perfect spot to look back and capture the breaktaking view across the beach. The trail then follows the contours of the coast line, taking you through a kissing gate and past Clodgy Point.
In no time at all you feel far away from the bustling town and deep into the rugged Cornish landscape. You may need to watch your step here, so take time to pause and admire the many scenic spots as the views are breathtaking. Continue on the path and you’ll pass the Trevalgan Stone Circle on your left, one of many examples in this part of Cornwall.
Along the way you’ll pass Hor Point, Pen Enys Point, Carn Naun Point and Gala Rocks. Bring your binoculars too, as there are also stunning views over to the Carracks, home to a colony of Grey Atlantic Seals. The wonderful coastal scenery with dramatic cliffs rising hundreds of feet above the sea and delightful coves is unbeatable.
When you reach Zennor head, turn away from the coast and strike out towards the pretty little village. Here you will find the Church of Saint Senara which dates from the Norman period and the 13th and 15th centuries. Cornish folklore has it that a young Cornishman was lured into the sea at Pendour Cove by the beauty of the Mermaid of Zennor, who would come to the church and sing. The parishioners commemorated the story by having one end of a bench carved in the shape of the mermaid, which can still be seen today.
After a long walk, you’ll need a reward, and lunch at the Tinners Arms is a real treat. A favourite place of DH Lawrence, the Tinners was built in 1271 to house the masons working on the nearby church. A traditional pub with a cosy friendly atmosphere and a menu that changes daily.
“At Zennor one sees infinite Atlantic, all peacock-mingled colours, and the gorse is sunshine itself. Zennor is a most beautiful place: a tiny granite village nestling under high shaggy moor-hills and a big sweep of lovely sea beyond, such a lovely sea, lovelier even than the Mediterranean… It is the best place I have been in, I think” – D. H. Lawrence, 1916.
Just down the road to the left of The Tinners pub is the Moomaid of Zennor Ice Cream Parlour, serving tea, coffee, sandwiches, homemade cakes, cream teas, sundaes and of course, a great selection of ice cream.
At this point, you can retrace your steps back to St Ives, or the return leg inland will take you from Zennor back to St Ives via some beautiful countryside. You’ll pass Tremedda and Trevalgan before passing through the outskirts of the town and returning to St Ives Head.
Our selection of cosy cottages and apartments are perfect for your return from your hike. Put the kettle on, put your feet up and relax with Escape to St Ives.