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The best walks in Cornwall

Walking is one of the most popular activities in Cornwall and given there are over 200 miles of beautiful coastal path to explore, it is no surprise. Not only are walkers drawn by the South West coast path, but also by the lure of ancient moorland, mineral tramways, clay trails and lakes.

You don’t have to be a seasoned walker to enjoy exploring Cornwall, just a pair of comfortable shoes. Starting with proximity to the hotel, here are our top ten walks nearby and further afield

View map of all walks with iwalkcornwall

Dog walkers on the beach at Watergate Bay in winter

1. Watergate Bay to Whipsiderry circular

Update 5 Feb 2024: The steps at Whipsiderry are currently closed until further notice so the circular is not possible. The danger of tidal cut-off is higher during this time.

Timing for this walk is critical, depending on the direction you head first you need to ensure the beach part is completed on an ebbing (falling) tide. About an hour before low tide to begin the beach section is a good basis to go on. 

Distance: 3.6 miles

2. Mawgan Porth

Watergate Bay to Mawgan Porth coastal
Walking north along the coast path to Mawgan Porth from Watergate Bay offers panoramic Atlantic views. Peaceful walking with undulating terrain, it'll take about an hour to reach Mawgan Porth where there are restaurants and pubs to prepare you for the return leg, or catch the bus back. 

Distance: 2.2 miles 

Mawgan Porth to St Mawgan
Catch the bus to Mawgan Porth for a riverside and woodland walk to St Mawgan. A route rich with wildflowers and wildlife.

Distance: 4 miles 

View route with iwalkcornwall

Mawgan Porth Beach Walks
Walkers on the coast path

3. Watergate Bay to Newquay

Walk the 3.5 miles into Newquay along the coastal path, or choose to take the bus there and walk back. The route takes you past Whipsiderry, Porth Island, Porth beach, Lusty Glaze and Tolcarne. At low tide, you can choose to walk stretches of this walk along the beaches below the town. 

Distance: 3.5 miles 

View route with iwalkcornwall

4. Bedruthan Steps

Towering sea stacks fabled as stepping stones for giants, Bedruthan Steps sits a couple of bays along from Watergate. To walk there would take a few hours, or take a ten-minute drive from the hotel. Start in the National Trust car park for a 4.5 mile circular route, or simply explore the area and admire the views. There's a conveniently located tea shop serving tasty cakes and ice cream.

Distance: 4.5 miles

View route with iwalkcornwall

Bedruthan Steps 10 Best Walks In Cornwall

5. Constantine to Porthcothan circular

The coastline from Constantine Bay to Treyarnon beach passes tidal pools, coves, inlets and a long sandy beach at Porthcothan. The coast path stretch is worth lingering over as the return loop comes inland along lanes and is much faster. Time it well so that you have the option to explore the beaches and coves at low tide. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the start of Constantine car park from Watergate Bay hotel. 

Distance: 4.9 miles

View route with iwalkcornwall

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6. Crantock and the Gannel estuary

Huge expanses of Crantock beach and wading birds in the Gannel estuary are revealed at low tide. Take note of the tide times for this walk as the footpath along the estuary is underwater at high tide. The two pubs in Crantock village are well placed as the walk reaches its end. A National Trust beach car park at Crantock is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel and the walk will take a couple of hours. 

Distance: 4.5 miles

View route with iwalkcornwall

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Holywell Bay 10 Best Walks In Cornwall

8. Newquay to Holywell Bay

This stretch of coastline is almost 7 miles long, it's easy to cut it up and do shorter sections, or circular routes by starting at Crantock beach. Holywell Bay is famously the setting of many Poldark scenes and this route passes Porth Joke beach where seals can often be spotted sunbathing below. 

Distance: 6.9 miles

View route with iwalkcornwall

9. Woodland walks

St Columb Major to St Mawgan
Ideal for windier or wet days, a riverside walk through the Carnanton Estate and past the St Columb Major church which was rebuilt in 1676. A circular route back to St Mawgan car park. 

View route with iwalkcornwall

Luxulyan, central Cornwall near St. Austell
This valley has a rather industrial past, but it’s hard to imagine it considering its appearance now is calm and tranquil. Take your dog for a walk here and see if you can uncover some of its hidden histories.

Lanhydrock, central Cornwall, 30 minute drive
Lanhydrock is a magnificent late Victorian country house with extensive servants quarters, a formal garden, walks and a wooded estate of over 1,000 acres. With so much space to roam in Lanhydrock it makes a very family-friendly day out.

Cardinham Woods, central Cornwall, near Bodmin
If you’re looking for adventure or peaceful strolls, fresh air and natural beauty, Cardinham Woods is the place to go. Cardinham is famed for its walking trails, from easy routes for beginners to longer walks that include steep valley climbs and fantastic views. Take a picnic with you or stop off at Woods Cafe for a treat afterwards – you’ll have earned it.

Respryn Ramble, central Cornwall near Bodmin
This circular walk from Respryn car park takes in fantastic scenery along the River Fowey and through the ancient woodland on the National Trust’s Lanhydrock estate. Stunning shows of wild daffodils occur in March, followed by bluebells in April and May.

Tehidy Country Park, North Cornwall near Redruth
Tehidy is the largest area of woodland in West Cornwall. With over nine miles of paths in 250 acres of peaceful woods and lakes to explore, there are many places along the paths to stop for picnics too!

Kennall Vale, between Redruth and Falmouth
The first part of the walk is not very promising, but when you reach the top of the slope an extraordinary world opens up to you. Unveiled is an array of old mining equipment once used to make gunpowder. Since mining stopped in the 1900s nature has claimed back the land, filling the quarry with water and covering the old buildings in layers of moss. The expression “a walk through history” is an overused one but at Kennall Vale that’s a good way to put it.

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Cardingham Woods 10 Best Walks In Cornwall
Bodmin Moor Roughtor 10 Best Walks Cornwall

10. Bodmin Moor, central Cornwall

Bodmin Moor’s landscape of granite tors and rugged landscape lends itself beautifully to walking and rambling. Follow one of the marked routes or amble your way from tor to tor at your own pace.

Circular Bodmin Moor routes

Watergate Bay 

If you’re not set up to travel to some of these beautiful locations, step from the hotel's doorstep for a walk along the beach. At low tide, Watergate Bay beach stretches out for two miles and has plenty of nooks and caves to explore.

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