If you are staying in one of our luxury cottages in Padstow and feel like getting out to stretch your legs and soak up the scenery, then the Padstow to Stepper Point walk (and back) is an absolute must. Around 6 miles in total, the walk leads you over fairly even terrain along the South West Coast Path and parades some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery.
From the balmy days of summer to the crisp, quiet days of winter, the walks around Padstow and its plethora of beaches are a huge draw. A particular favourite, the Padstow Harbour to Stepper Point walk is a real jaw-dropper; not too strenuous and extremely beautiful. With plenty of places to pick up a bite to eat, spread out a picnic, take in views of the Rivel Camel and the infamous Doom Bar and look out for ancient relics, you will want to repeat this one again and again.
From Padstow harbour, follow the South West Coast Path northwards past the Padstow Memorial in the direction of Gun Point. On your way, your right shoulder will follow the gentle sweep of St George’s Cove, while to your left you will be able to look out for the ancient St Geroge’s Well – one of the county’s many holy wells.
Heading around Gun Point (home to the ruins of a Napoleonic gun emplacement), the amazing views will certainly capture your imagination, enhanced by stories of the treacherous Doom Bar and tales of the Mermaid of Padstow. On calm days, it’s hard to imagine that such benign waters could harbour such dangers!
Once you get beyond Gun Point, you can decide whether you want to carry on or head back to Padstow. Should you wish to turn around, you will find a small track peeling off to the left at Harbour Cove that will lead you back to Padstow, following Tregirls Lane before it merges with Church Street.
To continue on the walk, take the path to the right instead and follow the signs for the South West Coast Path. After Harbour Cove comes Hawker’s Cove, another fine expanse of powdery sand. If you are already being tempted by the soft sands and clear seas, there are lots of small paths veering off towards the beaches along the way, so you will have plenty of opportunities to paddle about.
Hunger roused, peruse the selection of goodies at the Rest a While tea garden. Tiny in nature and mighty in reputation, this teeny tea garden is located at the back of the 200-year-old Coastguard Cottages at Hawker’s Cove, 150 meters from the slipway.
After this, your next port of call will be Stepper Point itself. Heading past disused quarries, the coast path will require a little bit of effort here as it weaves its way uphill. Upon reaching the top, you will arrive at the circular, Grade-II listed daymark tower. Used for years by sailors as a guide into the River Camel, its location also rewards walkers with incredible views over the estuary and sea.
Rich in beauty, Stepper Point is also rich in history. Dated thanks to ancient flint tools found on the headland, it is believed that the area has been home to communities for a staggering 6,000 years. These days, its beauty is recognised worldwide and, more recently, it was used as the backdrop of many scenes in the BBC’s celebrated TV adaption of Poldark.
Rewarded with a little bit of downhill rambling, you will momentarily turn your back on Doom Bar as you continue along the coast path, all the while skirting the sea. As you go, tune into the booming bass notes of waves rumbling in sinkholes, a dramatic soundtrack to your walk. Pepper Hole, Butter Hole and Fox Hole are all sinkholes on this stretch of coast, formed by collapsed sea caves.
Leaving the coast path at Butter Hole, you will strike off left then right, following a track before joining the road at Lellizzick. A short spell on the road will lead you to a right turning, where you can pick up the track once again, popping back out at Harbour Cove.
From here, simply retrace your steps back to Padstow before finding a spot in one of the local bars or restaurants, rewarding yourself with a well-earned drink to sip in the last of the evening’s sun.