I never tire of walking along our Coast path – its rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, majestic Atlantic breakers rolling in to meet the shore, hidden fishing harbours and hidden valleys, the scenery is ever changing and ever beautiful to the eye.
This walk combines coastal beauty with ever present reminders of Cornwall’s mining history.
The St Agnes area was once one of the bastions of Cornish mining and the whole area has been shaped by an industry which employed thousands of men, women and children and gonce boasted two thirds of the world’s copper and tin output.
I started the walk in the town centre – honesty box parking all day near the library in Trelawney rd (1st car park after mini roundabout in village coming from Truro direction) head for the church in town centre and take first right past it to go past the Stippy Stappy miners’ cottages following the road signed Perranporth. Carry on along towards the hamlet of Barkla Shop where you will find a footpath at a bridge over the stream signed left to Trevellas Porth. This is all the road walking done as you now follow a delightful path descending into the valley past Jericho cottage. As the path opens out you will be aware of spoil heaps left behind by the tin working. At the bottom of the valley is the Blue Hills tin streaming works where you can pay for a guided tour to see a tin recovery plant using traditional methods and machinery.
A breathtaking view now unfolds as you approach Trevellas Porth, an unspoilt beach which has been unchanged over the centuries.
At low tide you can walk the beach to Trevaunance Cove but no luck for us and it was a steep climb over the cliffs but rewarded with a magnificent view over St Agnes and Newdowns Head in the distance. Trevaunance Cove provides 2 pit stops, the Driftwood Spars pub or we opted for Schooners bistro door coffee with sea views. There are public toilets here, in St Agnes village and at Chapel Porth.
There is much Aqua activity here and we watched people taking surfing and diving lessons in the bay. Koru Kayaking offer kayaking trips so you can view the magnificent scenery from the water.
You can see the remains of an old harbour here, apparently St Agnes has had 5 harbours over the years, all of them destroyed by fierce winter storms.
The walk continues along the coast path around Newdowns Head and on to St Agnes Head which provided the sweeping valley setting for Nampara, Ross Poldark’s home in the latest BBC TV series Poldark.
The purple hues of heather, yellow tormentil and bird’s foot trefoil give way to an altogether more open landscape of bare rocky ground, old mine tracks and wavy heath of gorse. The ancient remains of Wheal Coates mine are some of the most dramatically sited in the world and include a burning house, engine ponds, ancient open works, engine houses and tin dressing floors.
The buildings date from the mine’s later workings in the 1870’s and were restored by the National Trust in the 1980’s – a big thank you from me to the amazing National Trust who own, maintain and restore large areas of the coast of Cornwall so it is there for us to enjoy whenever we choose to explore it.
Drag yourself away from marvelling at the view and the skill of those miners who toiled to extract tin from this harsh land. Adits from the mines can be seen from the beach below Towanroath Pumping house on the edge of the cliff and the shafts extended some 450 feet under the sea.
It is just a short walk along the cliffs to Chapel Porth, a pretty little cove which has a lifeguard patrol.
We retraced our steps to Trevaunance Cove and inland back to the village and the car. Must have been about 8 miles and you would need to be moderately fit.
The World Heritage mining site has a wealth of information about the area and its mining history.