Duration / Distance: 8 miles / all day if enjoying sights
Terrain: Steep bits, muddy bits when wet, stiles here and there.
Overview: It’s a coast path with added farm paths! Views, scenery, woods and 6 spectacular beaches to enjoy.
Leave Cotna through entrance way then immediately right along the hedge of the oval field. Over the stile on the right, cross 2 horse fields on the path, then over the 3rd stile and down steep grassy hill in Sanctuary Wood.
Turn right at bottom through gate, follow path over stream, across wild field, over stile into West Bodrugan Wood nature reserve. Keep to the level path, cross the small lane from Galowras Mill and keep on the level wooded path, over a stile onto the level path beside the marsh then through the last field to Portmellon boatyard. At the harbour see the Rising Sun Inn to the left and the coast road to Mevagissey.
Turn right uphill, then soon turn left onto Chapel Point Lane (coast path). Keep walking past the houses and the unwelcoming signs; take the coast path down to the left and across fields to Chapel Point and down to Colonna Beach.
Follow the coast path to Gorran Haven: keep the sea on your left and don’t drift inland! Cross the stile from the last field and onto Cliff Road, Gorran Haven; follow the road along and down into the village. At low tide take the path to the left off Church Hill at Mount Zion chapel, to get down to Little Perhaver Beach from where you can walk round to Gorran Haven Beach. Not possible at high tide so check before descending the 100 odd steps to the beach! Or just follow the hill down and onto Gorran Haven Beach on the left at the bottom.
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 (last refreshments before Porthluney). 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 towards the Dodman, and out to the stone cross at the end. Pause on the cliff top, breathe in the view and the Atlantic air from 3000 miles away. When you’re full, turn back and continue along the coast path right down to Hemmick Beach half a mile further on. After the beach, continue left on the coast path, sea on your left, and follow the path for another couple of miles to Porthluney. As you descend towards the beach, Caerhayes Castle (actually an early Victorian mansion) dominates the view with its lake in the foreground.
After a quick final swim/paddle and refreshments in the beach café, go back through the gate from the coast path and bear left uphill across the parkland. Somewhere at the top of the open grass (beware sheep often grazing) and still in full view of the castle, take the gate onto a short track into the hamlet of Tregavarras. Turn left downhill on the lane for a couple of hundred yards then fork right at the footpath sign to follow a level track past a row of stone cottages.
Over the stile at the end, follow the field round to the left and through a gate/stile over the stream into the next field. Walk uphill to the right until you reach a stile out of the filed onto a lane; turn right uphill to Treveor Farm. Follow the lane past the farm and campsite to a road junction. Turn left and very soon take a stile on the right through the hedge (don’t take the first stile opposite the road junction, to Gorran School). Straight across the field, another stile, cross another lane, another stile and straight on again to a final stile bringing you out in Gorran Churchtown. Turn right on the road and take a left through the churchyard and out the back onto Cotna Lane. Surely you didn’t want to divert into the warm and friendly Barley Sheaf after all that? Well Done!