When you visit a place every year, you might think it would be hard to find something new to do. But despite going to Cornwall every year for a couple of weeks, from a verty young age, I always make it my mission to find a new place to explore and especially to find a new beach. Sometimes I do research, sometimes I explore google maps and sometimes I just load up the car and drive!
The discovery of Chapel Porth was as a result of loading the car, looking at my AA road map (I know! Still in the dark ages – I hate Satnav) and picking a place on the map. I picked the St Agnes Heritage Coast and off we went, not knowing what to expect. It appealed as it was a heritage coast, had beaches and also mines as well so I figured that there would be plenty to occupy us for the day.
Chapel Porth is a National Trust beach and there is a small car park right beside the beach. One road in and one road out of the place. But get there early to ensure a space! It’s free to NT members or a small fee if you’re not. If you’re not lucky to park here, then there is a privately owned car park/field up the steep hill. Its only about a 10 minute walk downhill to the beach which is fine, but a bit more of a struggle at the end of the day!
This is officially my new favourite beach. This is the sort of place that once you’ve found it, you’ll be going to it for the rest of your life, you’re children will bring their children and so on. On an early morning with few people around, miles of golden sands, the crashing of the waves on the beach and the smell of fresh air and sea salt, you cannot help but smile and no matter what mood you’re in, this place is guaranteed to put you in an even better one.
After negotiating a few rocks from the car park onto the beach, you find yourself in a small cove. I loved it. I love small coves. I loved it as soon as I saw it. We found our spot, settled down and began to make a sandcastle. It was low tide, and I could see some really big waves and lots of excited surfers. I thought that this was it. But then I went for a wander and that’s when the absolute beauty of this place revealed itself to me.
At low tide the sea goes out for miles and suddenly rounding a corner, was the most beautiful stretch of golden sand I think I’ve ever seen. Coves, caves, rockpools and high up on the cliffs Wheal Coates Tin Mine also owned by the National Trust. I was no longer in England, I was somewhere else, transported into a magical, tropical place. Bright blue sea, golden sands, blue skies and landscape and views to die for.
This is a kids and parents paradise. The sand is wonderful – proper sandcastle making sand. Its clearly a surfers paradise too. Its not really a swimming beach, paddling yes, but the waves for me are way too big! There are seasonal lifeguards on duty who kept a watchful eye and made sure they moved everyone when needed to because of rip currents.
We loved exploring the caves along the beach which obviously were pirate caves. They’re only there at low tide, and if you do explore the beach and go for a walk, make sure you keep an eye on the tide as the far reaches of the beach are inaccessible at high tide and there’s no way up the high cliffs to escape.
Perched up on the cliffs above the beach are the old tin mines. Wheal Coates is also owned and maintained by the National Trust and well worth a visit. You can walk along the beautiful cliff path from the beach to the mines, or if you want to drive then head back up the road and its only 5 minutes away and there’s a small car park there. I drove as I decided to go right at the end of the day and William was worn out from a day on the beach. But next time I’d like to do the cliff walk as the views are stunning. I shall be writing a blog soon about the history of the mines and Wheal Coates, so watch this space!
I was also very thankful that there was a cafe there having not been very prepared with a picnic! Apparently this cafe is quite famous and according to a follower on twitter, it hasn’t changed in over 20 years! In fact I think this whole place hasn’t changed in about 50 years. I cannot stress enough how brilliant this cafe is and how delicious the food was. They do a good range of hot and cold snacks and I went for the prawn toastie.
And William had the cheese and ham toastie
While I was ordering I heard a man next to me ask for hedgehog ice cream. Ready to start warfare and claiming that this was animal cruelty I discovered that this cafe is very famous for its ‘Hedgehog ice Cream’ a mouth watering combination of vanilla ice cream, clotted cream and hazelnuts. I don’t have a photo of these as William and I demolished them as soon as they were handed to us. But believe me, you have to try it! There are plenty of other options if you don’t like the idea of this or cannot have nuts. There’s also a great range of homemade cakes as well and lovely flapjacks. We did sample quite a lot of the food I have to say.
I look forward to returning to this beautiful place for many years to come and having lots more adventures on the beach.