In our post last week, we started a series revolving around our favourite Cornish beaches. This week, we’re going to continue this and take a look at Porthtowan: a small village on the north coast of Cornwall. Similar to Godrevy, Porthtowan is one of those beaches that holds a lot of sentimental value for us.
We have memories of spending entire days at Porthtowan in our wetsuits. Heading into the waves until we got hungry, stopping for a bite to eat, and heading straight back. Any time not in the water was wasted time. But whenever the waves weren’t hitting, we’d have to find something else to do. We’d head off to find the pool hidden into the cliffs. We’d play around in the dunes at the back of the beach. Ultimately, Porthtowan was our beach.
Flanked by harsh cliffs on either side, the intimate Porthtowan beach has become somewhat of a surfers paradise. On any given day, providing the waves are right, you are certain to see surfers bobbing about in the waves. Rain or shine. If you’re not a surfer but you’re up for a challenge, try one of the surf schools in the village. Truly feel like one of the locals and join them out on the waves. As with a majority of Cornish beaches, RNLI lifeguards are in operation from May through September so you can surf in safety.
Despite the beach being a surfers retreat, it offers a lot for others as well. To the north, Chapel Porth is the next cove over. Accessible via a cliff path through the protected lands — Porthtowan sits in a protected Area of Outstanding National Beauty — or directly from the beach at low tide. Our recommendation, when the tide permits, is to walk one way along the waters edge and the other along the cliff path.
The beauty of Porthtowan begins before you even get to the beach. It has, arguably, one of the best beach approaches in the county. As you drive down, after taking the route from the A30, the view of the coast opens up. The land appears to just drop off, allowing you to see the horizon beyond. And as you get closer, the beach reveals itself below. From this vantage point, you’re able to see the waves pumping and surfers dotted among them. The last two minutes of the drive start seeming like an eternity.
Porthtowan is also one of our favourite spots to catch a sunset — the view of the sun disappearing beyond the horizon is uninhibited. Take a picnic with you and sit directly on the beach, or join the inevitable crowd that will have formed at the Blue Bar. What you’ll see is the whole sky and sea change colour — the sea reflects the pinks and oranges of the sky and creates a beautiful illusion.
Porthtowan is a beach that we keep going back to time and time again and it’s difficult to find reason not to — despite all the other beaches calling our name! We’d love to know which beach the Hager-vor family keeps going back to.