I love walking along the North Cornwall coastline around the St Agnes area and recently completed this circular five mile walk which passes St Agnes Beacon with my friend and her furry companion.
The scenery is dramatic with high cliffs, sandy beaches and rocky inlets, glorious distant views from Perranporth to St Ives and the backdrop of the ever changing Atlantic ocean rolling towards the shoreline.
The beautiful natural landscape and cliffs strewn with wildflowers is heavily contrasted by the remains of a former industrial heyday in the shape of old mining buildings from the 1800’s – a reminder of the men toiled below ground in search of hard rocks containing, copper, tin, arsenic and wolfram. Hundreds of paths zig zag across the gorse which hugs the coastline, paths which led from outlying farms and villages, leading from home to work for the miners.
The beautiful peaceful scene which greets us now would have been quite different them as, steam engines clanked, bal maidens and their boys constantly smashed the rocks to extract the ore and the stamps crushed the ore to get to the tin. If you are interested in the processes involving in tin production, there is a fabulous little attraction just about 2 miles from St Agnes on the Perranporth road called Blue Hills tin mine, which is very interesting and informative.
You can start this walk in Trevaunance cove, Chapel Porth or at St Agnes Head– all 3 places have easy parking and the first two have the added bonus of convenient cafes. The path follows the coast from St Agnes to Chapel Porth, passing the Wheal Coates mine buildings and the evocative Towanroath mine engine house perched dramatically on the cliff edge.
At Chapel Porth follow the path up the valley, pass an old mine building on your right and then turn left to cross the stream and follow a track, keeping Wheal Coates Farm on your left. Continue slightly uphill passing houses on your left. Where the track narrows, keep ahead at a fork. Follow the hedge alongside a field and turn left over a wooden stile. After 50 yards at a junction, go left and continue to a public road.
Turn right along the public road and keep going until you reach the Beacon hotel on your left. Take the stony path to your left with a wooden sign saying ‘Beacon’ pointing uphill. At a junction, go left and follow an obvious path to the summit of St Agnes beacon. From the summit take the left track heading down towards a road. Just before the road turn right along a narrow path, skirting the base of the hill, eventually emerging at the road by a seat. Cross over and follow the track opposite, across New Downs directly to the edge of the cliffs to join the coast path to return to your starting point.
This easy walk offers spectacular views and ever changing scenery. It was a windy day when we walked it but sweltering as you swing inland in the pretty sheltered valley after Chapel Porth and windswept again as you emerge under the summit of the beacon.