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In the footsteps of smugglers

Updated: May 24, 2023

With stunning views across Mounts Bay and a stop for lunch at one of our favourite pubs, this easy circular walk takes you through the heart of smuggling country.

On the South West Coast Path looking towards St Michael's Mount


During the late 18th century, Prussia Cove and the surrounding rocky inlets formed the centre of a flourishing smuggling enterprise led by the infamous Carter brothers. John, known as The King of Prussia, along with Harry and Charles, built slipways, roads and even defences to facilitate their illegal activities. 

Even though they were breaking the law, the brothers appeared to have their own moral code. They once broke into the excise store in Penzance to take back confiscated goods. When they discovered the break in, the revenue officers knew it must have been the work of John Carter because he was an ‘upright man’ who took only his own goods.

Harry, too, was a fascinating character, who taught himself to read, wrote an account of his life and later went on to be a Methodist minister. 

The Walk

  • The best place to start this walk is at the car park above Prussia Cove although it is possible to walk from Middle Colenso. If you do decide to start out here, we recommend walking up the lane, turning left towards Colenso Cross and then left again down Packet Lane and towards Prussia Cove. There is a bridleway at the end of our driveway but it is often waterlogged, even in fine weather.

  • From the car park, follow the track to the right that takes you downhill towards the South West Coast Path.

  • The path will take you above the little beach at Bessy’s Cove and then Piskies Cove, eventually onto the rocky headland at Cudden Point where there are stunning views across Mount’s Bay. On a fine day, you can see the Lizard in the opposite direction.

  • Keep following the path as it wends it way towards the village of Perranuthnoe. The beach, Perran Sands, is a great spot for a picnic. Alternatively, you can have a bite to eat at The Cabin, the Peppercorn Cafe or The Victoria Inn. The Victoria is very popular so it’s wise to book a table, especially in the summer.

  • You can either walk back the way you came or head up into the village and turn right across the fields.

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