Bedruthen Steps offers some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Britain. At low tide there is a beach with golden sands and turquoise sea water pools that sit invitingly around the bases of its dramatic sea stacks, whilst at high tide it becomes a seething mass of Atlantic waves pounding the rugged cliffs. This circular walk includes stunning views of the islands of Bedruthen from the high cliffs of the South West Coast Path, as well as an optional low tide walk along Bedruthen beach, with the further option of extending the route to swim in the beautiful low-tide lagoon between the Trescore Islands and the mainland, just north of Porth Mear Cove. The return route heads inland, before a final stretch along the coast path.


Start from the National Trust Carnewas car park and head north along the coast path to reach the steps down to Bedruthen beach (optional) – if these are closed continue further north to Pentire Steps for an easy scramble down the cliff to the north end of the beach. Once on the beach, at low tide (preferably an outgoing tide), it is a straightforward walk exploring the many sea stacks. 

Once back on the top of the cliffs continue north around Park Head then over the footbridge at Porth Mear. Cross the bridge and for an extra 1 km detour continue on the coast path to reach the beautiful lagoon of Trescore Islands (west of Porthcothan) which are great for swimming and snorkelling. 

Return along the coast path to the bridge at Porth Mear, head inland (directly south) and head uphill on the path to Pentire Farm and the National Trust’s Park Head car park. From here a path leads back to the cliffs, where the South West Coast Path returns to Carnewas.

Why this is special Blue Space

This section of coastline is part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bedruthan Steps and Park Head are also in a SSSI designated for its biological and geological interest. These west-facing cliffs are home to golden samphire and tree mallow, with maritime grassland and heathland along the coastal margin. The nationally rare autumn squill  and hairy bird’s-foot trefoil can be seen at Porth Mear. There are also noteworthy mosses and beetle species. 

Need to know

Full route map click here

Distance: 6.3km (+1km to Trescore Islands return)

Difficulty: Moderate

Map: OS Explorer 106 Newquay and Padstow

Terrain Cliff top coast path, steep descent/scramble to tidal beach

Start National Trust Carnewas Car Park, PL27 7UW; Grid Ref SW 849 689

Getting there B3276 north of Newquay, turn left into the lane opposite the Inn at Bedruthen; parking charges (free for NT members)

Pitstops Carnewas Tearooms in car park, tel. 01637 860701, more info here

Other info National Trust here

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