above: Vault Beach
Duration / Distance: 2.5 hours (plus walk on Vault Beach) / 3.5 miles
Terrain: Two small stone stiles at Menagwyns farm, steps on the coast path, reasonable hills up and down.
Overview: Pretty coast path walk around the headland, deserted half mile beauty of sandy Vault Beach, far reaching views above the beach along the south Cornwall coast to Plymouth and beyond.
Leave Cotna entrance and on up Cotna Lane to St Goran church; turn right at the back of the church, then left down the small road into Gorran village. Come back out onto the main road, cross straight over onto the pavement, turn left and follow the footpath uphill then to the right behind the hedge. At the road junction at the top cross over and through the gate on the public footpath into Menagwyns Farm.
Follow the footpath signs behind the house and across the fields; cross the stiles and turn left on reaching the school cycle track. Follow this down to the junction with Bell Hill road. Walk down Bell Hill into Gorran Haven, right onto the beach past Cakebreads shop and the Mermaid café.
Walk to the right, along the beach; the quay is open and worth walking to the end. Walk back up the slipway off the beach turn left and join the coast path past the Coast Path café. Follow the coast path up and down the steps, round Maenease Point and towards the bulk of Dodman Point in the distance.
Go down to Vault Beach. Well worth the walk right to the end of the sand; good safe swimming if not too cold and stormy! There’s only one way on and off Vault, so retrace your steps if the tide has not erased them then head uphill, continuing along the coast path.
At the top of the field follow the coast path slightly to the left, not through the kissing gate out of the field to the car park. Follow the coast path until you come out on the path following the bottom of a grassy field sloping uphill to the right. To get the best views, take any route upwards off the coast path across the grass until you reach a narrow surfaced lane (The Gruda) at the top of the field.
Option: For an extra 1.5 mile walk, stay on the coast path to go around the Dodman, back to Penare and then rejoin the present walk further along the Gruda.
Follow the Gruda through the gate across the road (make sure you close it after you) and further along the lane to the next junction. Turn right off the road through the gate and along the marked footpath to Treveague Farm campsite. Come out of the campsite onto the entrance lane and turn left; follow the lane and join the next lane, keeping on straight to Carvinick Farm (beware narrow lane used by traffic for a couple of hundred yards). Just past the farm take the footpath through the hedge to the right, round the back of the barn and across the field back to Menagwyns and the cycle track.