It always feels like a real privilege to be able to walk straight from your doorstep. If you’re staying in St Ives, walking couldn’t be easier. The South West Coast Path runs through the town, and you can choose between the pleasant eastern route and the craggier west. The Penwith peninsula is very narrow at this point, so you can easily head inland and cross over to Penzance and the south coast.
The Coast Path – Heading East
The advantage of heading in this direction is that you can always catch the branch line back to St Ives from Carbis Bay, Lelant, or Lelant Saltings! Join the path at Porthminster Beach, and set off onwards and upwards towards Carbis Bay.
Stray from the path to take in Knill’s Monument above Carbis Bay, which gives you incredible views across the town and ocean. The coast path in this direction may have a bit of ascent, but at least there’s a fair amount of tarmac. You don’t need to be a seasoned walker with fancy kit to stride out in this direction. Unlike…
The Coast Path – The Wild West
From the western side of Porthmeor Beach, the coast path takes on quite a different character. Rough and rugged, the sea boils below the cliffs to your right, and the moors sweep up to your left.
If you walk as far as Zennor, you have several options: retrace your steps back along the coast, enjoying the views towards St Ives on your way; return overland via the Coffin Path (nicer than it sounds); or divert upwards with your trusty OS Explorer 102, and investigate atmospheric Zennor Hill. If you’ve had enough, have a pint at the Tinners and catch the bus back.
St Michael’s Way
This is a pleasant and varied 12-mile path which runs across country from Lelant to Marazion. It was created just a few years ago in 199; however its route is based on old pilgrim and trader routes. You can join the St Michael’s Way at Carbis Bay, and it finishes either at Marazion or Penzance (where you can catch a bus back to Carbis Bay or St Ives). The path takes you round the base of Trencrom Hill, a Neolithic hill fort – however it’s worth the extra effort to stride up its slopes, as the views across Penwith are incredible.
Of course, one of the best walks around here is simply to explore St Ives’ winding back lanes and pretty alleyways! Leave your car wherever you’ve managed to park it, and let the little streets of St Ives surprise you at every turn.