Dog-Friendly West Cornwall
Self catering with your dog in Cornwall has to be one of the best treats you can give yourselves and your dog! Whilst there are beaches that do not allow dogs between Easter and October, there are many others that welcome dogs all year round. If you are visiting areas of West Cornwall such as Zennor, St Ives, Mousehole, Penzance, Marazion and Helston then there are acres of moorlands and woodlands to explore completely sheep free. Below is a list of our personal favourites where to take your dogs for a walk in and out of the summer holiday season. We have given you google map short urls to click on that will pinpoint exactly where it is – it’s best to look at it using the satellite view and that way you get the footpath detail too)
Porthkidney Sands, Lelant – dog-friendly all year round – (https://goo.gl/maps/EMtqnijv2Lw)
The number one favourite beach of ours is just a couple of miles east of St Ives at Lelant and is a huge expanse of white sand and perfect turquoise sea. You park up at St Uny Church in Lelant, walk along the path bordering the church grounds and follow the path all the way to the estuary. You will be struck by the sheet beauty of it all. There are dog poo bins at the top of the path near the church but none on the beach. There are some fresh water outlets on the beach where your dog can be refreshed after much ball chasing. When the tide is out you can walk along the estuary side around to the main beach where you can walk all the way to Hawkes Point of Carbis Bay. If the tide is in and cuts the main beach off (best check tide times before arriving http://www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/west-cornwall/porthkidney-weather.htm) then you don’t go under the railway bridge on the way down to the beach but you head left along the coastal path which will then allow you to get to the beach via the Towans.
St Ives and Carbis Bay beaches – some dog bans in place between Easter and October
The harbour beach in St Ives (https://goo.gl/maps/F7Q11iZFcQ42) allows dogs before 8am and after 7pm. Depending on how the tide falls, the beach can be a huge playground for dogs. You can walk from The Sloop Inn right around to the rocky Lambeth Walk area when the tide is fully out. Be careful of the moor lines, they can be a trip hazard! There are large bins along the harbour where you can deposit dog poo bags.
Carbis Bay beach (https://goo.gl/maps/WL3fRrUW5CN2) is also open to dog walkers before 8am and after 7pm, it is a peaceful place to take in the sunrise if you get there early enough! There is a café on Carbs Bay beach which is dog-friendly on the decked outside area but not indoors. There are dog poo bins available.
Bamaluz beach (https://goo.gl/maps/6hBtJStezkm) is dog-friendly all year round and is tucked between the Smeaton’s Pier end of St Ives and Porthgwidden beach. It is a pocket of dog-friendliness particularly when the tide is out offering more space for dogs to run around. When the tide is low, you can walk around from Bamaluz beach to Lambeth Walk even during day time hours so long as you don’t encroach on the harbour side areas. It’s a great place to meet and chat to many other dog lovers. It is accessed via quite a few steps. There is a large bin at the top of the access steps.
Hayle beaches – some dog bans in place between Easter and October – (https://goo.gl/maps/252bA3AKeCS2)
On the other side of the estuary to Porthkidney Sands, you have over 4km of white sand beaches stretching from Hayle to Gwthian. The area called Black Cliff Beach is dog-friendly all year round and stretches from the Hayle estuary and continues for approximately 2km (where you will see rocky cliffs jutting out into the beach which is the cut-off point). There are places to park in Hayle and walk in, the best way to get there is turning left (if heading from direction of St Ives) off Penpol Terrace towards North Quay and follow the brown sign for beaches. There are no dog poo bins readily available so you will be walking with it for a while..
Longrock beach, Marazion – dog friendly all year round – (https://goo.gl/maps/5unZu3i9o5D2)
Longrock is the more commercial side to Marazion and not very touristy at first glance but once on the beach you will get the formidable view of St Michael’s Mount. To park, you turn right just before Enterprise hire car (Penzance is behind you), cross over a railway line and park in a pay and display car park. A gentle slope leads you onto the beach. The section of beach which is dog-friendly is in the opposite direction to the Mount so heading towards Penzance. This beach is best visited when the tide is low as the sea can cut off quite a bit of beach when in, limiting the distance you can walk. There are dog friendly cafés in Marazion if you head there after your walk and the Godolphin Arms also welcomes dogs on the decked area and in the downstairs section of their pub. There are bins along the footpath above the beach and at the car park. (It’s our dogs’ most local beach and they love stretching their legs on it every day!)
Gwenver beach, Sennen – dog friendly all year round – (https://goo.gl/maps/NLobeVHzAZq)
Gwenver is accessed via the SW Coastal footpath, it is a steep climb in some places and is sandy underfoot in some areas too. You can park in the car park at the top of Cove Road in Sennen Cove and walk down the back of the hill, follow the path above Sennen Cove’s Whitesands beach (dog-friendly from October to May any time of day or before 8am and after 7pm during the dog ban) to Gwenver. You could also drive out of Sennen along the A30 direction St Just and about a half a mile out of Sennen you will see a sign post for Tregriffian Farmhouse on your left, take this left and follow the lane, fork right and continue until you reach signs for a car park which is at the top of the cliff (it’s very reasonable daily rates!). There are sadly no dog poo bins.
Nanjizal beach, Nr Land’s End – dog friendly all year round – (https://goo.gl/maps/N7bQ5uKB5JM2)
Nanjizal beach is for those who love a good walk, you can start from Land’s End and follow the coast path for approximately 2 miles until you reach the beach. You can also grab an OS map and cross fields from Trevescan (small hamlet just before Land’s End), it can be a lovely circular route too. The beach used to be sandy but recent storms have exposed huge rounded pebbles. You will often see seals in the shallows and there is an archway of rock that has the most gorgeous saltwater pool that water-dogs love a swim in! There are no poo bins here.
Pedn Vounder Beach, St Levan, Nr Porthcurno (Minack Theatre) – dog friendly all year round – (https://goo.gl/maps/PUdgWWcpupF2)
This beach is nothing short of spectacular. The sand is soft and white, the sea is turquoise with a sand bank during low tide which can be accessed through shallow, perfectly clear waters and it is protected by tall cliffs. There is a something you need to know though….. it is something of a nudist beach too! There is a mix of fully clothed right down to nudist bathers but everyone is very relaxed about it all. The other important fact you need to know is the access; there is a fairly steep rock scramble to get to the beach so only the most agile of you and your dogs will manage to get onto the beach. For this reason, it is often deserted (hence the nudists) and feels like a real oasis. You need to park up in St Levan and follow the footpath to the coastal footpath. At this point (https://goo.gl/maps/BaTQzrjfCD32 you follow the path down towards the beach finishing with the final short but steep scramble. I have done it in flip flops but I’m also not fazed by steep climbs.
Loe Bar beach, Porthleven – dog friendly all year round – (https://goo.gl/maps/wuZPSvkHBF62)
Porthleven beach is a coarse grain beach which certainly tests the thighs when you’ve walked on it for a while! The East side of Porthleven beach is dog friendly all year round and can be accessed via steps down half way along the beach (you need to walk past the church, up the hill and walk along Loe Bar Road until you see steps inviting you down onto the beach). You can walk all the way to the end to the freshwater pool called Loe Bar. We recommend you don’t let our dog swim in the sea at Porthleven unless absolutely calm as there are rip tides. They will love Loe Bar for a paddle though. You can also park up at National Trust’s Penrose Estate (a beautiful old house with acres of land and woodland) http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/penrose and walk along a well-cared for path right down onto Loe Bar beach. There are limited poo bins.
If you fancy venturing inland for some lovely walks, we can recommend the following:
Tehidy Woods (https://goo.gl/maps/HP8PyXuayWk) – acres of woodlands and a network of footpaths can entertain you and your dog for hours. There is a lovely café in the woods too but sadly dogs are not allowed in that area at all.
Carn Brea Castle (https://goo.gl/maps/PxL6EFGmeK42) – a really pleasant walk to the top of the hill gives you a perfect vantage point to see the whole of the coast line from Newquay to St Ives. Your dog can run along paths freely and there is no grazing cattle or sheep on the hill itself.
National Trust’s Godolphin Estate (https://goo.gl/maps/V2T3N8Qcb7S2) and splendid hill walk beyond is perfect to take in a little history plus have a walk among bluebells (if you visit at the right time of year!) http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/godolphin
Visit West Cornwall moors with their Neolithic standing stones and soak up the spirituality of your surroundings. Men-an-Tol, Nine Maidens, Mulfra Quoit and Bodrifty Roundhouses are just a few to mention – park at the end of the lane leading to Men-an-Tol (https://goo.gl/maps/5PqHwE2ZvUR2) and walk along a bumpy path for about three quarters of a mile until you reach a stile and footpath signpost to Men-an-Tol. Here you will see the first of the standing stones, well rather a circular one and two standing ones. Follow the path onwards to Greenburrow mine where you see the old engine house standing majestically on the hillside. From Greenburrow, head along a gravel track and turn left at a gate opening, follow the path that eventually brings you to Nine Maidens standing stones. From here follow the path off the hill to the East and across the hill you will be able to spot Bodrifty round house ruins in an enclosure and, on from there, Mulfra Quoit. The routes along the moors are endless and we definitely recommend walking boots, refreshments and an OS map. Your dogs will be happy as they can be off the lead as there are no roaming sheep or cattle (occasionally there is a small herd of Belted Galloways in the Bodrifty enclosure area but they are very used to dogs and keep themselves to themselves but only you know how well-behaved your dog is).
There are so many areas of Cornwall that are dog-friendly all year round whether you need to keep them on the lead or let them run free. This blog hopefully has given you some food for thought and a plan on where you would like to go but perhaps you may want to visit this website too which offers some great ideas and photography on where your dog is welcome http://www.thecornishcoast.co.uk/index.html
Don’t forget to keep an eye our latest dog-friendly holiday cottages and apartments too.