Beaches around Perran Bay
Leaving St. Piran’s Church and Oratory behind us, we continued our walk guided by iWalkCornwall. It took us through Penhale Sands which is the largest dune system in Cornwall and the highest in Britain, as high as 90m and the sand is nearly 50m deep. No wonder churches got swallowed up by it! Most of the major dunes on the North Cornish coastline are thought to have been formed 5000 years ago when the sea levels finally stopped rising after the last big Ice Age melt.
As we know, St. Piran miraculously floated across the sea until he washed up at Perranporth. This beach is most definitely worth a visit and is well known for its great surfing.
Perranporth Beach where St Piran first landed in Cornwall
The walk skirts along the coast path where the large Perran Sands Holiday Park sits above. It was built on the old tin mine site of Wheal Vlow. The view out to sea is to Ligger Point and Carter’s Rocks at Holywell Bay sticking out just beyond it.
At high tide, there are two beaches within Perran Bay; the long thin Perran Beach (between Carn Clew and Ligger Point) and the smaller Perranporth beach to the south between Cotty’s Point and the river beside Chapel Rock.
At low tide, these two beaches merge into a delightful 2.2 mile stretch of sand between Droskyn Point and Ligger Point and can be up to a quarter of a mile wide. There is a tidal swimming pool and the northern end of the beach is normally quieter (given Perranporth and holiday parks are to the south).
The day we did our walk, the tide was high so we stayed on the coast path which led up to Gear Sands. On the way we passed a granite bench dedicated to Winston Graham. You would know him if I mentioned Poldark. It is thanks to Winston Graham that Ross Poldark lives in our hearts…
Winston Graham moved to Perranporth in 1925 aged 17 and lived there for 34 years where he wrote the first four Poldark books.
The walk cuts right through the heart of a golf course. Nobody in their right mind would have wanted to play golf in the weather we walked in so there was no need to dodge golf balls! It was as we walked up a small hillock that we were met with two Choughs. They were no more than 5 metres away and nonchalantly grazed on the short grass. Their cry is distinct and sounds like their saying ‘’Ciao’’ in a screechy voice. Their beaks are bright orangey/ red and their bodies a compact black. To begin with, I thought I’d walked in on a crow but it dawned on us both just how lucky we were. Ross started filming and one flew away but the other didn’t seem too fazed. He panned around and to our delight, there flew another three. It couldn’t have felt any more of a Cornish celebration right there.