This relatively easy walk starts from the Beach Cafe near Tintagel Castle and covers 3 miles (5 km) along clifftop paths to Trebarwith Strand. The route follows the South-West Coast Path which has plenty of waymarks. The views along this section of the Cornish coast are really spectacular and there are plenty of places where you can stop and enjoy the views.
OS Explorer 111 Map. The Explorer 111 Ordnance Survey map covers this part of Cornwall. The map displays the area of Bude, Boscastle & Tintagel, and the South West Coast Path. With this map, you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The Explorer Map is available in both the standard paper version and weatherproof ‘Active’ version.
Getting to Tintagel
Follow Tintagel signs from the A39 at Camelford along the B3266 and then the B3263, SatNav code is PL34 0HE. There are several car parks in the centre of Tintagel. When you’ve parked, walk along Fore Street. Once you reach the Tintagel Toy Museum walk down Castle Road to reach the Beach Cafe at the bottom (generally just follow the signs to Tintagel Castle). If you don’t want to visit Tintagel Haven (the beach and cove) you can omit the part of the walk down to the cafe and back up the cliff by taking the path to the left which leads diagonally up the cliff to the English Heritage entrance to Tintagel Castle.
Before setting out on your walk you might want to visit Tintagel Haven. Just past the Visitor Centre at the end of Castle Road, you can get down to the beach by following a raised walkway to the left and then some steps down to the beach. Alternatively, go right to follow a path across the stream, you can then scramble over the rocks onto the beach. At the cliff edge, the stream becomes a twin waterfall cascading down onto the beach. The waterfalls are very spectacular when the stream is in spate.
Tintagel Haven used to be a working port. Boats would collect slate, carried from the nearby quarries by donkeys. There are 9 coastal quarries along the cliffs between Tintagel and Trebarwith Strand. Quarrying was started as early as the 14th century. The last working quarry closed in 1937.
The small sand, shingle and stony beach is probably best known as the site of Merlin’s Cave. This spectacular cave runs through the headland to the exposed and rocky Westside Cove on the other side. You should only attempt the walk through the cave to Westside Cove at low tide. You need to take care in the cave and a torch definitely helps.
At high tide, there isn’t any beach but at low tide, it is a fine sheltered cove with some areas of sand. The beach allows dogs all year round.
Tintagel Head on one side and Barras Nose on the other protect the north-facing Haven. However, there aren’t any private places on the beach. The castle ruins high above overlook the beach and thousands of people visit them daily.
English Heritage manages the remains of the very popular Tintagel Castle. The Castle that links with King Arthur’s legend was originally a Celtic fortress, then a Roman settlement and finally a 13th Century castle. Visit my post about Tintagel Castle to learn more about its history.
Walk from Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand
Tintagel to Tintagel Youth Hostel
If you’ve visited the Haven, return to the top of the cliff and from the cafe walk up the road and follow a zigzag path up to the right. This reaches the upper entrance to Tintagel Castle. The coast path continues past the entrance and becomes a broad path alongside a stout wall. This short uphill section levels out as you approach St Materiana’s Church. This is Tintagel’s parish church. Look back from here for some great views of Tintagel Head.
A National Trust sign marks the start of Glebe Cliff. The path here is mostly level and the surrounding scrub and grassland are full of wildflowers and shrubs. There are plenty of wild birds too. Sometimes in spring or autumn, you might be lucky enough to see a Peregrine Falcon.
A Round Barrow (Glebe Cliff Tumulus) which probably dates from the Bronze Age, is a short distance from the path. This is now overgrown with vegetation.
Continue along the coast path following the waymarks. You soon see the Tintagel YHA hostel. ontinue to follow the waymarks to some steps. Walk down the steps to continue along the coast path.
Tintagel Youth Hostel to Penhallic Point
Dunder Hole is located on the cliffs opposite the Youth Hostel. This 100-foot gap in the cliff is named because of the noise it makes when a heavy swell pushes through it.
On Dunderhole Point are the remains of Long Grass Quarry the last working quarry in the area which closed in 1937. Some of the quarries buildings were used to create the Tintagel youth hostel.
Continuing along the clifftop, you pass above the remains of a couple of old quarries. Gull Point Quarry and at the back of Lambshouse Cove, Lambshouse Quarry.
Passing these brings you to Penhallic Point. There are great views from here of the cliffs along the rest of the route to Trebarwith.
The large rock that’s now visible out to sea is Gull Rock.
Penhallic Point to Trebarwith Strand
Continue past some more old quarries, Dria Quarry, and neighbouring Bagalow Quarry. Bagalow beach is below. At this point, the old quarry face stretches from the top of the cliff all the way down to sea level.
Past the quarries, you reach the cliffs above Hole Beach. This is one of the five sandy beaches which make up about a mile of continuous beach at low tide. This stretches from Hole Beach in the east to Port William Beach in the west.
An impressive stone pillar makes Lanterdan Quarry very easy to recognise. The slate which once surrounded the pillar has been quarried away. The pillar was inferior slate and so it was left. Lanterdan and neighbouring West Quarry were two of the largest slate quarries in North Cornwall.
Continue to follow the waymarks along the coast path. Eventually, the path descends the cliff into Trebarwith Strand. If the tide is in, heavy seas pile up dramatically in the narrow rock inlet.
If you want some refreshment, the Port William Inn up the path on the opposite side of the valley is worth visiting. The outdoor terraces of the Inn offer some spectacular views of the beach and coastline to enjoy before your return to Tintagel.
If you are walking with a dog this is a very dog-friendly walk. The beaches at Trebarwith Strand and Tintagel both allow dogs all year round. Along the clifftop walk, much of the path has no fence. Some of the stiles have gaps for dogs to go through, however, a really large dog might not fit through. There are two slate stiles that a dog is likely to need help getting over.
For a short walk, this has much to offer and there are a number of highlights. These include panoramic coastal views especially from Penhallic Point and Port William Inn. The waves at Trebarwith Strand at high tide are spectacular and if there is a large swell you can see crashing waves at Dunderhole and Penhallic Point. If it is low tide there is a mile of golden sand at Trebarwith to enjoy instead of the waves.
The historic church at St Materiana is worth a detour if you have time. Finally, if you are walking in spring or summertime there are lots of wildflowers along the coast.
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