by GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom
September 9, 2004
The north coast of Cornwall is rugged but has arguably the best of the beaches. The best on this coast are to be found around Newquay, Perranporth and Holywell Bay, all three locations within a few miles of each other. Newquay is a brash resort, teeming in summer, but has several beaches where it is possible to surf, weather permitting. Perranporth, just down the coast, has one long stretch of sand, with the Atlantic rollers again making surfing possible.
Holywell Bay is a delightful spot - the beach is a fair walk from the nearest car access - but is well worth the effort as you meander through the dunes until suddenly the beautiful golden beach confronts you.
Further on down is probably the best beach in the UK, if not Europe, this being Hayle Sands, a broad expanse of clean, yellow sand that stretches for around 5 miles, almost round to Carbis Bay, near St. Ives, again backed onto by large sand dunes, held in place by lush, green coarse grass.
Further west of here and the landscape becomes quite forbidding as you approach St. Just, Cape Cornwall and ultimately Land’s End.
Rounding the coast, the next worthwhile stop will be Praa Sands near Helston, again, a broad expanse of lovely sand stretching for miles towards Falmouth, which, like Newquay, boasts several beaches, the most famous being Gyllyngvase.
Continuing east now, you approach the bustling town of St. Austell, which, whilst not having any beaches to call its own, is nevertheless close to several lovely examples at Par Sands, Pentewan and Porthpean, all with clean, fine sand and safe bathing. From St. Austell, you will next encounter Polperro and Looe. Polperro has a tiny beach, only accessible at low tide, but Looe's is superb, again, long and wide with gently shelving water. The landscape begins to change again as you approach the Devon border, but there are still lovely beaches at Kingsand, Cawsand and Seaton, although some of these require a scramble down rocky paths.
It is still possible to find "your own beach" in Cornwall if you're prepared to look carefully, but with so much on offer, you will rarely need to exercise this option unless you seek total solitude.