Updated: May 22
With its fine, pale sand and turquoise water, Porthcurno is without doubt one of our favourite beaches but it can be impossibly crowded at the height of the season. Now the summer crowds have dispersed we decided to make the most of the glorious weather earlier this week and walk the stretch of coast between Porthcurno and Penberth.
Porthcurno is an isolated cove in the far west of Cornwall but in 1870, the first international telegraph cable was brought ashore here. The telegraph station that was established here became the telecommunications centre of the British Empire and eventually, the most important telegraph station in the world. It played a critical role in Allied communications during the Second World War and trained thousands of telegraph operators from around the world.
The walk begins with a steep climb to the left. If you look right you'll see the Minack Theatre, carved from the rocks on the opposite headland by the remarkable Rowena Cade and her gardeners. It must be the most spectacular theatre in Britain and we highly recommend a visit whether you choose to watch a play or just have a look around. https://www.minack.com
As the path climbs you pass and Second World War pillbox, one of the many defences erected to protect the cable station. A little further on, a stone pyramid marks the place where the first cable was brought ashore.
From this stretch of the path, you have an excellent view of Pedn Vounder beach below. The steep path makes it difficult to access but it became an Instagram favourite a few years ago and now attracts a lot of visitors. It’s only accessible at low tide so you’ll need to time your walk if you’re planning on visiting.
Beyond Pedn Vounder is a rocky headland which was once the site of an Iron Age Fort known as Treryn Dinas, but it’s better known as the location of Logan Rock. The enormous boulder is one of Cornwall’s famous rocking stones which, with the right application of force, can be gently rocked in place. Logan Rock became famous in the 1820s when the crew of a Royal Navy ship pushed the boulder into the sea. There was a huge outcry and they were forced to replace it, an exercise which took more than 60 men.
The path continues to the picturesque Penberth Cove. Once a busy little fishing port, it’s still home to a few fishing boats which are often seen pulled up on the slipway. The large capstan at the top was built in the 19th century to pull boats up from the water and was in use until it was replaced by an electric winch in the 1960s. Penberth is a good place to have a little rest before beginning the long, slow climb through a wooded valley and across the fields to the village of Treen. From here, the walk is mainly across agricultural land until it ends back at the museum.
If you want to make a day of it, the museum is well worth a visit. It also has a cafe if you’re after refreshment https://pkporthcurno.com
If you’re heading back to the cottages, then a little detour to St Buryan Farm Shop is always worthwhile, especially if you’re fond of a Cornish pasty.