Walks in and around St Ives, Cornwall – Part 1

If you have booked a self-catering holiday in St Ives and Carbis Bay, you will no doubt want to explore the area on foot so we have compiled a list of our favourite walks in St Ives that range in difficulty level and terrain. Hopefully we have catered for everyone from walking your four legged best friends from the front door of your dog friendly holiday cottage for morning leg stretches to creating fun-filled nature trails for your little ones or donning your walking boots, packing a rucksack and walking for hours taking in the beautiful Cornish scenery. We thought we would build in some suggestions along the way such as beautiful places to stop and take a photo, places to have some light refreshment during or at the end of your walks or even things to try along the way.

St Ives harbour beach to Man’s Head and Clodgy Point circular walk

Distance: 5.6km - Terrain: Paved, sandy, grassy, rocky, slippery in places - Walking shoes: Boots or sturdy trainers

Why do we love this walk? The scenery along the way changes from the bustling town sights of St Ives to sandy beaches and then raw coastal backdrops. There are a few hills to negotiate with the not too long and steep one of The Island, then the grassy slope leading up to Clodgy Point and then the fairly steep hill leading from Clodgy Point to Burthallan Lane.

If you are walking your dog, there are plenty of places for them to be off the lead (if their recall is good!) and there are frequent poo bins too so you aren’t swinging the bag for too long!

If you are walking with your children, we would recommend they are older children to cope with the terrain and length of this walk but have a keen and appreciative eye for the local landscape.

Finally, there are a few coffee stop opportunities as well as lunch pre or post walk. You pass Porthgwidden beach cafe, Porthmeor beach cafe, the coffee hatch at the surf club and then if you fancy some wonderful snacks including vegan yummies, pop into Ayr Stores.

Our step by step guide
  1. Start your walk on The Wharf, St Ives. From here you will be looking at the St Ives harbour beach across to the RNLI Lifeboat Station and so turn left and walk towards the end of the road towards Smeaton’s Pier. Before reaching the Pier, turn left and walk straight ahead towards Bamaluz beach (dog-friendly beach all year round) and St Ives museum.
  2. Once past the museum, take the steps down past the entrance to Bamaluz beach and around onto Porthgwidden permit only car park. Cross the car park to Porthgwidden beach and sink your toes into that wonderful, golden sand. If you prefer not to take your walking boots off (or your dog is not allowed on the beach due to seasonal restrictions – check our article here for those seasonal bans), you can skirt around the back of Porthgwidden beach cafe (there are public loos there too if you need to go already!) and cross The Island public car park onto the grassy slopes of The Island.
  3. If, like us, you have opted to enjoy the walk across the beach, take the steps up on the opposite side of the beach onto The Island. The steps are fairly steep. Once on The Island, head up the grassy slope or join the tarmac footpath towards St Nicholas’ Chapel. If you are walking your dog, there are poo bins on The Island. We think this is a prime place to take your first photos to take in the dramatic drop from the front of the Chapel across to Porthgwidden beach or Porthmeor beach. Many a romantic couple have got engaged on this gorgeous spot…
  4. From the Chapel, head down the steps and follow the paved footpath on the edge of the Island heading towards Porthmeor beach. The sea views here are breath-taking right across the beach to Man’s Head (can you see the shape of a man’s head?) Take the steps down from The Island on to the beach and cross Porthmeor beach to West beach. If you are walking your dog, you will pass a dog poo bin at the foot of the steps to Porthmeor beach. You will also pass Porthmeor beach cafe along the way and so could be a coffee/ breakfast stop? If there is a seasonal ban, the alternative route to take is go up the beach slipway and turn right along Porthmeor Road, turn right again along Back Road West and then follow the road around and you will find yourselves heading towards The Tate St Ives and Porthmeor beach cafe. Go past the cafe and head towards the small car park and you will then pick up the footpath to the bowling green and onto Man’s Head.
  5. If you’ve stuck to the beach, once you have reached West beach (you will need to time it so the tide is all the way out or half way out) Need to check the tides? Check times here to plan your walk better. Take the steps up from West beach and stick to the right hand side of the surf club house at the top of the steps, continue up the steps and then turn right onto the path that follows towards St Ives Bowling Club. If you are walking your dog, there is a dog poo bin on this path. Follow the tarmac path to Man’s Head and maybe enjoy a photo opportunity taking in the beautiful St Ives, Porthmeor beach and iconic Tate St Ives behind you.
  6. Continue to follow the path along the coast line and enjoy taking in the spectacular sights and sounds. You will go through a sort of kissing gate and then the path becomes more a well-trodden and slightly rocky footpath up towards Clodgy Point and its grassy slopes.
  7. Once on Clodgy Point, you will see just how dramatic and breath-taking the stretch of coast line is and you will also see the South West coastal path meander around the headland towards Zennor and beyond. For this walk, with your back facing the sea, look up and you will see a well-trodden footpath leading you up the hill and away from the coastline. Follow this path up the hill (please be careful if it’s been wet as the slope can be slippery!) and pick up a path that takes you between tall hedges. Don’t forget to stop before you disappear into the hedges, the view is spectacular!
  8. The path will be slightly rocky and slippery if wet so again, do take care. Follow the footpath past old farm buildings on your left and a house on the right and slowly the path will widen and become a paved path again joining Burthallan Lane (pronounced locally as Brallan Lane). Follow this lane until you reach a t-junction where you will turn left downhill. There is a dog poo bin along Burthallan Lane.
  9. You will now be on the pavement heading downhill towards St Ives town centre, we advise you to take care where there is a sharp bend to the left as you join Ayr Terrace. Follow this road all the way down until you get to Ayr Stores on your left.
  10. Cross the road and join Clodgy Terrace which faces Barnoon Cemetery and Barnoon car park. The views down to Porthmeor beach are gorgeous here and the colours are often so vivid in contrast to the local flora. Continue to follow this road until you get to the exit of Barnoon public car park and the entrance to Barnoon permit only car park (behind Tate St Ives). You will see a footpath that leads down to Porthmeor beach alongside an apartment building and it will lead you directly to Porthmeor beach and therefore Porthmeor beach cafe for lunch or refreshments!

West to East St Ives via The Malakoff

Distance: 2.68km - Terrain: Paved, sandy, unpaved footpath - Walking shoes: sturdy trainers or sandals

This walk is great for those wanting a gentle stroll taking in the joys of two of St Ives’ most beautiful beaches and St Ives harbour then pass through a cool and shaded wooded area before dropping downhill to The Malakoff in St Ives where the views are simply captivating.

Suitable for little ones as there are plenty of places to stop and let them be distracted by the beach or nature. Mainly paved with a small stretch of footpath that is unpaved passing uphill through a small wooded area. They will love to see the Lelant to St Ives coastal train pass close by (a wave to the train driver is normally rewarded with a toot!) It’s great for dog walkers too as there are poo bins along the route and plenty to sniff and see on a lead.

The Malakoff is a symphony of sight and sound. The views to the West take in St Ives harbour with its crystal clear sea through colourful local flora. You will also understand why we call ourselves Orange Roofs when you look down on many traditional town roofs tinted orange by the lichen.

Our step by step guide
  1. Start at Porthmeor beach cafe (perhaps after breakfast or lunch?) and turn left out of the cafe along the pavement towards the town. Turn right onto the cobbled lane called The Digey (pronounced Die-gee) and perhaps consider popping into the deli or St Ives bakery whilst passing (be rude not to!?) to pick something up for the walk or afterwards?
  2. Turn left onto Fore Street and walk towards the end of the street towards The Sloop Inn pub (maybe pick up a cheeky ice-cream from the parlour you will be passing on your right…) Turn right and walk along the St Ives harbour front and pass the RNLI Lifeboat Station heading towards Lambeth Walk. Note, there are public loos along Lambeth Walk if needs be.
  3. Continue straight on and join The Warren past The Pedn Olva Hotel and pub towards Porthminster beach. Continue on past the train station and along the palm tree lined path alongside the beach. At the end of the path, you will see the road go up under the railway bridge and the footpath that continues past Porthminster beach cafe, follow the footpath up into the wooded area and keep going until you reach the bridge crossing – pause to see if you can get a wave from the train driver!
  4. Follow the path through the woods until you reach a lane and then turn right. Keep going and you will reach the main road heading into St Ives. Turn right down the hill passing Tregenna Castle’s grounds on the left (if you like golf, they have an 18 hole, 54 par course to enjoy). Stay on the pavement heading down into St Ives and pass St Ives Harbour and Spa (a great place to stop for a coffee or pimms to soak up the views from their terrace).
  5. Continue down and you will eventually reach The Malakoff. There are benches to sit on and take in the views and reflect on just how beautiful St Ives is!
  6. Once you have managed to tear yourself away, continue along the pavement in front of the taxi office and then, at The Sacred Heart and St Ia Church on the corner, take a sharp right onto Skidden Hill.
  7. Continue down the steep hill until you reach a walkway on your right called Westcotts Quay and this will bring you to the end of the walk where there are benches to sit and enjoy the views at the end of Lambeth Walk.

Up to Knills Monument around Steeple Woods

Distance: 5.4km - Terrain: Paved, unpaved footpath, some uneven ground and exposed tree roots if entering Steeple Woods - Walking shoes: sturdy trainers or sandals or walking boots

We love this walk! It’s so varied and just excellent for energetic children or dogs. The panoramic views from Knills Monument are simply incredible so definitely save this walk when the skies are clear and visibility good.

There is quite a bit of uphill walking to tackle from the start point of this walk but then you can have a breather along the rural lane cutting between fields full of grazing horses and fragrant gorse bushes. You summit at Knills Monument (for more information on who John Knill is and why he has a monument, please follow this link) before making your way gently back down through footpath routes that normally only the locals tread.

Our route passes alongside Steeple Woods but please do go ‘off-piste’ for a short while and enter the woods to enjoy tree swings and a carpet of local flora and spot squirrels and wildlife galore. There is a path that leads down from Knills Monument which meanders through a community project called The Steeple Woodland Nature Reserve, click here to find out more.

On your route back, pop into The St Ives Brewery and enjoy a beverage of your choice with a slab of cake or Cornish Cream Tea while soaking up the spectacular town and sea views from the terrace or cosily inside. Then continue onwards, heading past our office towards the town centre where you started your walk.

Our step by step guide
  1. Start your walk on North Terrace on the corner with Trenwith Place next to W J Winn funeral directors and head up towards the steps that lead to Park Avenue. Cross the road and continue uphill following the steps (there is a handrail if you need a little rest!)
  2. At the top of those steps, you will pop out onto Bishops Road. Turn left and enjoy the breather as the road flattens off. Continue to the end of the road and bear right on Porthminster Terrace until you reach a t-junction.
    Cross the road directly in front of you (beware of cars approaching on your left) and head onto Belyars Lane.
  3. Follow this lane as it passes the grounds of Tregenna Castle on your left. The lane is a quiet lane with cars passing fairly infrequently so we wouldn’t recommend you let dogs off the lead or children to roam too freely.
    Keep following the lane (which becomes Steeple Lane) as the countryside around is filled with fragrant gorse bushes, wild hedgerows and grazing horses in fields either side of the lane. It will meander through a small hamlet as the final hill of your walk approaches and leads you to Steeple Woods.
  4. As you summit the hill, you will see the unmistakable spire of Knills Monument on the skyline, keep walking along the lane until you reach an entrance into the fun side of Steeple Woods with a small stream and tree swings on your left and, on the right, you will see the entrance into the nature reserve where you can walk the path up to the monument and take in the most breath-taking sea views imaginable. Our walk and map takes you to the right into the nature reserve but, if you have energetic dogs or children who want some free rein fun, we highly recommend you divert slightly to enjoy a mooch within the woods.
  5. Once you have taken in the amazing views and historical interest of Knills Monument, follow the path directly below it (it becomes slightly uneven so be careful) and then join a well-laid gravel track. Turn left onto this track and you will eventually exit the nature reserve. You will find a dog poo bin here if needed.
  6. Turn right back onto Steeple Lane and you will soon be passing some idyllic looking homes in this peaceful area. Pass a row of detached granite houses on your left and a gate into a wooded area on your right and you will soon come upon a footpath on your left. Take this footpath until you reach the end and turn right. You will be walking down a leafy lane that brings you out at St Ives School, turn left and follow the lane with Tregenna Castle grounds to your right and St Ives School playing field on your left and you will reach Belyars Lane once again.
  7. Cross the road and turn left up towards Belyars Bowling Green and walk past 2 detached bungalows before turning right onto a footpath. Follow this path as it meanders between fields and a few homes and you will eventually reach a point where you can take a right between houses or left up a rough, stony track. Take the right and go over a stile and through a kissing gate into a field.
  8. Head diagonally across the field towards the car park and St Ives leisure centre and head into the car park and towards the pedestrian crossing in front of St Ives Brewery and cafe. This is a great place to stop to have some refreshments and take in the amazing views. It is dog friendly on the terrace too.
  9. To the side of St Ives Brewery, follow the footpath down into the town and you will pop out in Park Avenue car park. Turn left and walk into the traffic for less than 30 metres (take care!), past our Orange Roofs’ office on the left and then cross the road in front of Escape Rooms St Ives taking the path leading past houses of Trenwith Terrace. This will eventually bring you right back to where you started.