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Four days in West Cornwall
Penzance, St Ives, and St Michael's Way


This walk has a personal slant for Jeremy, as St Ives is where his parents met and married, and he spent his boyhood summers. But these links are not necessary to appreciate different aspects of this magical part of the world, on the coast and inland. We went in May 2024, and the weather was perfect for walking (never to be guaranteed).

The inland section mostly follows St Michael's Way (well signposted), but there are also sections using map paths that may or may not exist, and small roads with no signs, so a downloaded map with a tracker is recommended. (We had an old OS Map and Mapy.cz with a variable 4G signal, and sometimes wandered off piste).

Cornwall being so popular, getting accommodation for one night can be a problem; it is easier in term-time. The one essential place to stay is on Day 2, The Engine Inn, Cripplesease - there is no alternative here except camping.

Day 1: London Paddington to Penzance
We took an afternoon train from Paddington to Penzance (about 5 hours). We walked west to Newlyn, to see the successful and busy fishing port (photos 1 & 2). We thought about walking east to Marazion, but the first two miles are not pretty. Next time we would try for accommodation in Marazion, walking the five miles to the magical St Michael's Mount. (St Michael's Way can be started from either town.)
Day 2: Penzance to Cripplesease
St Michael's Way starts between the railway line and the fortified coast (photo 3), but soon turns left to Gulval and Ludgven (photo 4), with the scenery gradually improving. Being a Tuesday, The White Hart was closed at lunchtime, so we had a peppermint and went on north, across the Red River and on towards Trencrom Hill (photo 5), where we could see both back where we had been (photo 6), and north-west to Hayle and (just) Godrevy Lighthouse (photo 7). We then left the path to go west to Cripplesease via Trencrom settlement and Brunnion (not much traffic). We stayed at The Engine Inn.
Day 3: Cripplesease to St Ives
We wanted to approach St Ives from the fairly tough coast path from Zennor, knowing that if things got tricky we could find easier ways in.
We walked north up the road and took the marked bridleway on the left, which was lovely but didn't seem to correspond with our map. We got to a small road and then to Towednack (no traffic), then took the road between Tendrine (photo 8) and Rosewall hills (not much traffic). Making for Trevessa Farm in the north, we didn't find the footpath and had to go up the main road (traffic) and left down the farm road. Carrying on that road, the path at Trevega Wartha (photo 9) was lovely; after a while you go right into a field and keep to the right and it comes out on to the coast path, where we saw Polgassic Rock (photo 10). There are many ups and downs and striking views (photo 11), but as you get near to Clodgy Point the path flattens out, and the first views of The Island and Porthmeor beach come into view (photo 13) .
Day 4: St Ives and home
We spent the day in St Ives, including the harbour (photos 14, 15 & 16 - two of Jeremy's ancestors are listed here) and through the back streets (photo 17) to Porthmeor (photos 18 & 19), finishing at the station for a final view (photo 20) and a 4pm train to St Erth and London.
(Click on a photo - and the map above - to see a large version in a new window.)
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