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Praa Sands

February 2, 2015 No Comments

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The white sands of Praa Sands are popular amongst locals and tourists alike. Located in the sheltered bay between Penzance and the Lizard, Praa Sands is another glistening white beach. Sand dunes back the beach and there is even a crazy golf course on them.

In the summer it is a tale of two beaches: at the east end of the beach you’ll find a quiet place to stretch out and sun bathe in peace; to the east you’ll find shops, cafés and public toilets. The Sand Bar is a Praa Sands hotspot and is a great little stop off for a coffee where you can sit back and soak up the view and fun seaside vibes.

This is a great beach for the kids. If you’ve got a toddler, or a teenager, there’s plenty of entertainment. A small stream running across the sand makes a safe paddling pool while, on the right day, there can be some surprisingly large surf, all watched over by lifeguards during the summer. There is also plenty of space to fly kites, play football or run around and the beach also offers sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, slipways and surfboad hire.

The rocks to the west of the beach hold more than a few local secrets: it’s a fantastic area for coastal exploration. Don a wetsuit and put something on your feet that you don’t mind getting wet, and scramble over the rocks to find some safe areas to jump into the sea, or some hidden coves and caves.

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For the more adventurous there is the hidden Kenneggy Sands Beach. To get there you have to take a short walk west along the coastal path and climb a chained ladder down to the beach itself – this is not one for those unsteady on their feet. The beach is sandy and dog friendly, but the incoming tide can cut you off, if you are not careful.

Bedruthan Steps Beach

December 24, 2014 No Comments

Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan is one of the county’s more dramatic beaches. Having been compared to California’s Big Sur, it is dwarfed by spectacular rocky stacks, which punctuate the beach. It is said that the outcrops were put there by Bedruthan, a giant, and used as stepping-stones. At low tide the beach stretches for over a mile with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

The area around Bedruthan and Carnewas is ideal walking territory. Within two short miles of Bedruthan Steps there are two Iron Age hill forts and six Bronze Age burial Barrows. There are stunning cliff-top views past the stacks and at high tide you can watch the waves crash against the rocky outcrops in dramatic fashion. With this in mind, the National Trust has created ‘The Piazza’, a viewing platform on the cliff edge.

The beach gets its name from the steep steps taking you down to the shore. Carved into the cliff face, the 149 steps can be an interesting challenge; it’s worth it, but not for the faint of heart.

Next to the viewing platform sits a National Trust shop and café for refreshments, as well as parking. The food is excellent and good value; especially the Hunters Lunch. There is a second car park: the Carnanton Estate Car Park. This second car park has picnic tables, which are perfect for a lunchtime picnic, overlooking the spectacular scene below.

The huge scale of the rocks gives the beach an almost mystical feeling. You can explore the large cave next to the foot of the steps, stroll around the stacks or use the beach’s clean, pristine sands to sunbathe on.

It is worth noting though, that there is no swimming from the beach – there are strong currents, which make it a dicey prospect for all swimmers – but there are lots of sandy rock pools for the children to paddle in.

Lying between Newquay and Padstow, Bedruthan Steps is perfect as part of an exploration of the north coast. This part of the Cornish coastline is particularly beautiful with numerous small coves culminating in the spectacular steps themselves. Not as crowded as Newquay’s own beaches, it is the perfect place to experience the ‘rugged Cornish coastline’ in all its glory.

Gwithian and Godrevy Beaches

December 17, 2014 No Comments

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Gwithian and Godrevy are technically one beach. A tidal beach, at which, 3 miles of golden sand that spans from the opening of the River Hayle, all the way to Godrevy Head. Backed by wild, grass flecked sand dunes, it’s almost impossible to run out of things to do. The tide recedes to reveal large areas of rock pools and caves at the Godrevy end, which provide hours of exploration for children. Godrevy Head lighthouse, the real life inspiration for Virgina Woolfe’s novel To The Lighthouse watches over the shores from the Eastern headland.

Gwithian is a bit of a surfer’s paradise. It is one of the best areas to catch holiday waves, for beginners and veterans alike. Exposed to the Atlantic Swell, there’s almost always something rideable out there and when the swell picks up there are long, gorgeous waves that break at a leisurely pace, giving beginners lots of time to practice standing up.

Because of this, it is the perfect place to learn to surf. With a gently sloping shore, you have to go a long way out before you’re out of your depth.

Two surf schools and equipment hire companies operate at Gwithian. Although the most of the beach’s facilities are all to one end of the beach, there’s a definite east versus west divide. To the west you’ll find the well-known Sunset Surf Café, who are a slick operation with their own branded merchandise and at the other end of the beach there’s the Gwithian Academy of Surfing, whose hire is cheaper, for longer. Their surf lessons are also better value for money, if we’re going to quibble about it.photo 1

There are a number of parking options. Next to the Sunset Surf Café, there’s a large car park that operates a pay and display policy over the summer months. At the other end of the beach there’s a National Trust car park, as well as a second car park up on the headland. You’re spoilt for choice.

Food wise, there are café’s situated next to each car park, but as there’s a short walk through the dunes from your car to the beach, a little bit of a walk back to the facilities. Next to the National Trust car park there’s the Godrevy Beach Café, who boast a fantastic lunch menu with ‘rapsicles’ for the kids and lots of goodies baked on the premises.

The Sunset Surf Café is the obvious choice, back at the other end of the beach. A licenced bar, they also locally source their seasonal ingredients.

But there’s another gem hidden in the dunes that has given us surfers, at Cornish Holiday Cottages, the necessary sustenance needed after a hard surf: that gem is The Jam Pot. Housed in an almost 100-year-old Coastguard lookout, the ‘Pot’ offers a range of home cooked snacks at very reasonable prices. A look on their website also adds some historical information to your beach visit.

If you’re lucky, bobbing up and down on your ‘swell board’, you may spy the odd seal: A large seal colony lives at Godrevy and the seals can be seen swimming in the sea or from the cliff top on their beach in breeding season.

So whether surfing is your thing, if exploring caves and rocky outcrops is your thing, or you prefer the simple pleasures of building sandcastles and sunbathing, Gwithian’s seemingly endless sand is a beautiful place to do it.

 

How frustrating it is to drive past this, this morning on my way to work…..

July 25, 2014 No Comments

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