Blow away the cobwebs with these short winter walks in Cornwall
Blissfully quiet beaches, spectacular storm watching spots and plenty of cosy pubs
Cornwall comes into its own in the winter, with a myriad of great walks to blow away the cobwebs once the air turns chilly. If you love exploring the great outdoors but don’t want to be trampling the coast path on a lengthy clifftop excursion, these short winter walks can be enjoyed in under an hour, and all have a delicious place to refuel along the way.
Visit the striking Bedruthan Steps
Toggle up in your warmest winter coat and head to Mawgan Porth for a peaceful coastal walk with some incredible views. Start by crossing the dog-friendly beach at low tide, take to the coast path on the right-hand side and climb the hill to the top of the headland, where panoramic sea views await. After the initial steep section, the rest of the route to Bedruthan Steps is easy and flat, and shouldn’t take longer than thirty minutes.
Once you arrive, either take in the spectacular view or extend the walk by venturing down to the beach to let four-legged friends stretch their legs as the sea stacks tower overhead. Don’t forget to stop by the lovely Carnewas Tearooms for a jam-first cream tea at the top of the cliffs before returning home.
Explore Lundy Bay and Polzeath
Whether it’s an early morning stroll in the sea mist with an obligatory stop for breakfast at TJ’s Surf Shop and Café, or a brisk New Year’s Day walk with the family, Polzeath is a magical place to explore come winter. Fit in a bit of exercise before enjoying the quiet stillness of the beach by parking about a mile away and embarking on the picturesque Lundy Bay walk. Setting off from the National Trust car park, walk alongside the flower rich meadows and through the woodland towards Markhams Quay, stopping to admire the view down to the sandy cove.
When the path splits, choose the lower one and climb down the wooden stairs which will land you onto the soft sands of Polzeath Beach. Taking just 30 minutes, this mile long walk boasts dramatic clifftop views and plenty of rock pools to explore at low tide – perfect for little ones wanting to burn off some energy in the great outdoors.
Stroll into Gorran Haven
Setting off from the National Trust car park at Penare, this fleeting walk takes all but 40 minutes on the South West Coast Path and is perfect if you simply want to get some Cornish air in your lungs this winter. Walk along the coast as the sea glistens alongside you and pass by the sandy cove of Vault Beach, which is dog-friendly all year round. With an easy to follow and relatively flat path, as well as benches nearby perfect for a picnic lunch by the sea, this route is suitable for all ages.
Arriving into the pretty fishing village of Gorran Haven, you’ll be charmed by the popular local shop selling everything from fresh seafood to Cornish crafts. Pop into Cakebreads for a classic crab baguette to enjoy overlooking the water, or sample something sweet from the menu.
Nearest property: Beachcombers
Take on the hills in Mousehole
A short and simple fifteen minute climb from the heart of Mousehole and into the lovely neighbouring village of Paul will reward you with a hearty Sunday lunch at the ever-popular King’s Arms at the top. Setting off up the hill from Mousehole Lane, pass through the beautiful woodland and peep back through the trees to spot the familiar blue of the ocean rippling in Mousehole below.
Continuing straight on this lane will lead you towards Paul’s pretty 5th Century village church to your right and the dog-friendly King’s Arms just ahead – the perfect lunchtime pit stop before a lazy downhill stroll. Watch the ever-changing colours of the sea and the cottages hanging onto the cliffs as you stroll back down into Mousehole, to be greeted by pretty fields, charming houses and the iconic picture-postcard harbour. If you’d like to make a day of it, embark on the more challenging route along the cliffs to Lamorna Cove, passing through a nature reserve and a striking granite quarry.
Nearest property: The Mouse House
Have a wander through Harlyn Bay
Ideal for admirers of a great view and Cornwall’s South West Coast Path, the walk from Harlyn Bay to Trevone is the best way to experience the Seven Bays in all their glory. Setting off above the sheltered sandy beach at Harlyn, this short 1.6 mile route takes just 30 minutes and will land you in the seaside village of Trevone near Padstow. Celebrate the end of the dog ban in the winter months and let four-legged friends run wild as the coastal path leads you down towards the beach.
With the refreshing Cornish air in your lungs, soak up more incredible sea views on the return to Harlyn Bay. While you can extend the walk and venture towards Mother Ivey’s Bay along the coast path, if it’s a quick weekend walk you’re looking for, be sure to stop for lunch at The Cornish Arms just around the corner from Harlyn Bay in St Merryn – a cosy British pub showcasing Rick Stein’s famous recipes, best enjoyed in front of the roaring log fire.
Enjoy a beach walk at Widemouth Bay
A sweeping stretch of coast located in beautiful North Cornwall, Widemouth Bay Beach is large enough for a picturesque evening wander. Dog-friendly and popular with swimmers and surfers all year round, the long sandy beach and clean water make for a tempting twilight dip for the brave. After meandering across sand dunes and skimming stones in the shallows, retreat to Widemouth Bay Café to enjoy a classic Cornish pasty with an extraordinary beach view.
For those wanting a bit more than a sandy wander, the nearby Bude Canal walk is a mostly flat and accessible route that passes along Bude’s historic canal and through peaceful countryside. Taking an hour or so to complete, the walk culminates in an easy stroll along the South West Coast Path with its majestic sea views.
Nearest property: The Retreat
Take the coast path from Talland to West Looe
Enjoy a relaxed morning walk along the coast path from Talland Bay to the traditional fishing town of Looe. Start from Talland’s beach car park and head through the kissing gate, climbing the steps above Aesop’s Bed and following the path as it acorns around the coast towards Looe. After a second gate at Hannafore, the dog-friendly path will lead you around the rocks and along the harbour to the bridge, where there’ll be something for all ages to enjoy – from jellyfish bobbing out to sea, to the perfect photo opportunity against the dramatic Cornish coast.
With its boat-littered harbour, beautiful beaches and distinctive banjo pier, Looe is a charming town with a thriving foodie scene. Pop into The Sardine Factory to be wowed by the catch of the day, or order a drink at The Fishermans Arms – a warm and friendly pub serving a full selection of draught beer. This walk is just as picturesque the other way around, starting in West Looe.