My Hiking Holiday Based In St Ives Cornwall England 2009
My first Hiking Holiday Based In St Ives Cornwall with Holiday Fellowship (HF) Holidays was a great experience.
At St. Ives, HF offer two hiking itineraries which can be done as a 2 week holiday or as 2 separate 1 week hiking holidays.
On this holiday we did itinerary 2 and as we had such a good time we booked itinerary 1 for the following year.
The HF Holidays’ Hiking Leaders were great. During the day hiking they guided us in a caring and considerate way, and also pointed out places of interest.
During the evenings they organised informal activities and socialised with the group.
All the Leaders had been selected after an intensive residential course and we knew we were in safe hands.
Each evening our Leaders gave a short talk about the options for hiking the next day and answer any questions we raised.
St Ives Cornwall Hiking Holiday Video
This video slideshow shows some highlights from HF Hiking Holiday St Ives Cornwall.
Get an OS Map or a Walking Guide for your Walks
- Landranger 203 OS Map - Land's End and Isles of Scilly - 1:50,000 Scale
- Explorer 102 OS Map - Land's End, Penzance and St Ives - 1:25,000 Scale
- Explorer 103 OS Map - The Lizard - 1:25,000 Scale
- Cornwall Walking Guides
Spring and autumn usually offer some of the best hiking days. We went in September and I think there were 40 to 50 people on this holiday. As there were so many people on this holiday they offered us a choice of three day hikes each day plus a supplemental hike. Itinerary 2 lists the choices of day hiking we had on each day. Supplemental Hiking lists the extra day hiking choices we had during the week. In general, the range of hiking on offer was:
- Easier Day Hiking – 3.75 to 6.5 miles with 400ft to 850ft of ascent in a day.
- Medium Day Hiking – 6.25 to 8.5 miles with 625ft to 1 ,300ft of ascent in a day.
- Harder Day Hiking – 7 to 12.5 miles with 925ft to 1,975 of ascent in a day.
The general format of our 7-night HF hiking holiday was:
- Day Of Arrival – As we were on a 7-night holiday we were invited to afternoon tea on the first day. After tea, there was an opportunity to walk around St Ives, taking in the harbour and surfing beach.
- Free Day – Our holiday included a free day, usually Wednesday, giving us the opportunity to explore the local area independently or relax in the comfort of our accommodation. We spent the day exploring St. Ives.
- Coach Transport – All transport to and from the hiking locations was included in the cost of our holiday. On most days we travelled by coach to and from the hikes.
- During The Evenings – This holiday was very sociable. We enjoyed the company of other hikers and the holiday leaders in a warm and friendly atmosphere, making good use of the welcoming bar and comfortable lounges. Although it varies from holiday to holiday, we also joined in with some informal activities such as a quiz, board games, dancing and an entertainment evening on the last night, in which both Leaders and guests participated.
St Ives Cornwall Hiking Holiday Local Info
Located at the south-west end of England, the county of Cornwall has more miles of coastline and more hours of sunshine than any other English county. The wonderful scenery and agreeable weather combine to make this county one of the most popular destinations for a hiking holiday.
St Ives is a delightful resort town with a maze-like old fishing area. It’s a perfect centre from which to discover the surrounding region. With its narrow cobbled streets and magnificent sandy beaches, St. Ives proves to be a popular base for artists and holiday makers. St. Ives has a combination of factors that encompass all that makes Cornwall so distinctive.
The outstanding coastal path twists and turns along the rugged cliffs and headlands providing exceptional opportunities for hiking. Land’s End, the westernmost point of England, and Lizard Point, the most southerly, are two prominent landmarks visited during the HF hiking. The northern coastline, in particular, is completely open to the elements of the Atlantic swells and the steep granite cliffs form a spectacular barricade to the powerful waves. Short but steep ascents, on these undulating cliffs, can make some of the hiking fairly challenging, but the sea views, invigorating fresh air and abundance of wild flowers make your efforts worthwhile. The southern coast it is a bit more sheltered with more moderate hiking to be found around Mounts Bay and the Helford River estuary.
Although Cornwall is now famous as a holiday destination, about 200 years ago it was one of the leading industrial zones on the planet. Cornwall was at the forefront of advances in steam engine and mining technology. However, these days the tin mines have all ceased operating, but ghostly leftovers of the engine buildings still form striking silhouettes on the skyline, reminding us of this remarkable legacy.
St Ives Cornwall Hiking Holiday Schedule – Itinerary 2
Day 1: Arrival Day
- On the first evening, Leaders explain more about the hiking and there is plenty of time to meet fellow guests.
Day 2: The coast and farmland of west Cornwall
Easier Walk – Clodgy Point and Trevalgan – SW 517401
5.5 miles and short ascents totalling 550 feet.
We begin our walk from Chy Morvah through St Ives and past the Porthmeor surfing beach on to the coast path leading to Clodgy Point west of St Ives. The route continues along the cliffs as far as Pen Enys Point. We go inland towards Trevalgan and then cross fields and stiles, passing several farmhouses on the way, back to St Ives. Part of the route is over the Tinners’ Way, an ancient trackway along which tin ore was transported by pack animals and people. A short part of the walk is over rough paths and many stiles. Some mud will be found after wet weather.
Medium Walk – River Cove, Trevail and Trevalgan – SW 517401
7.5 miles and short ascents totalling 950 feet.
The walk begins at Chy Morvah going through St Ives past the Porthmeor surfing beach on to the coast path leading to Clodgy Point west of St Ives. We continue along the cliffs, over rocky headlands as far as River Cove where seals are often seen. We now go inland towards Trevail Mill and then cross fields and stiles, passing several farmhouses on the way back to St Ives. This walk shows the contrast between the rough coastal path to the west of St Ives and the farms just a short distance away from the coast. Part of the route is over the Tinners’ Way. A feature of the walk is the varied Cornish granite stile. The paths vary from good to stony with some mud to contend with.
Harder Walk – River Cove and coast path to St. Ives – SW 517401
8.75 miles and 11 75 feet of ascent.
Starting from Chy Morvah we walk through the outskirts of St Ives to join farmland paths visiting several homesteads on ancient field systems from the Bronze Age. These humble stonewalls are believed to be the oldest human artefacts still in use anywhere in the world. On reaching River Cove we join the South West Coast Path and look for the seals basking off “The Carrack” a small group of rocky outcrops not more than 600 feet from the coast. Then we return to St. Ives along this stunning coastline. A gentle introduction to the week. Several stiles on the outward leg and stony paths on the return. May be muddy in places after rain.
- Easier Walk – Clodgy Point and Trevalgan – SW 517401
Day 3: Mining, shipwrecks and smuggling on the Lizard
Easier Walk – Praa Sands to St Michael’s Mount – SW 576282
6.25 miles and ascents totalling 775 feet.
We begin our walk at Praa Sands with its attractive beach and cafes and take the undulating coastal path above Kenneggy Sands & Prussia Cove to Cudden Point where we receive stunning views of St Michael’s Mount. We then continue with beautiful coastal walking to the attractive village of Perranuthnoe where we will have lunch. The afternoon takes us into Marazion where there is a full range of facilities and the opportunity (time, tides and weather permitting) for a swim or a stroll along the causeway to the Mount. Good cliff paths – undulating but not too steep.
Medium Walk – Rinsey Head to St Michael’s Mount – SW 601280
8.5 miles and ascents totalling 900 feet.
Using minor roads, we head for the hamlet of Rinsey and the coast at Rinsey Head, We explore the mine buildings of Wheal Prosper before joining the South West Coast Path to Praa Sands, either walking along the mile-long beach or through a private estate and over sand dunes. We continue on the coastal path above Kenneggy Sands and Prussia Cove to Cud den Point. St Michael’s Mount and Marazion are reached via the attractive village of Perranuthnoe. Good cliff paths – undulating but not too steep.
Harder Walk – Porthleven to St Michael’s Mount – SW 627259
11 miles and ascents totalling 1575 feet.
We leave the coach at’the harbour in Porthleven and join the South West Coast Path for a walk along outstanding coastline as it undulates (quite steeply at times) to Trewarvas Head. Here we have first views of the dramatic mine buildings of Wheal Trewarvas. We walk round the mine buildings to Wheal Prosper and Rinsey Head where we descend to the attractive beach at Praa Sands and then continue on the coastal path above Kenneggy Sands and Prussia Cove to Cud den Point. St Michael’s Mount and Marazion are reached via the attractive village of Perranuthnoe. Good cliff paths – undulating and steep at times.
- Easier Walk – Praa Sands to St Michael’s Mount – SW 576282
Day 4: The coast and cliffs of the Land’s End peninsula
Easier Walk – St Just, Whitesand Bay to Land’s End – SW 370313
5.5 miles and two ascents totalling 650 feet.
We leave the coach at St Just where the medieval church, overlooking the wide town square, is worth visiting. Leaving St Just along lanes towards the Cot Valley, we cross farmland to Carn Aire perched above Whitesand Bay. After a short descent, time is spent at Whitesand Bay and exploring Sennen Cove. The walk along the granite cliffs to Land’s End itself is a great contrast. ¬The paths are easy once the initial climb has been accomplished. The opportunity can be taken to visit the exhibitions at Land’s End (additional charge).
Medium Walk – South coast cliffs from Treen to Land’s End – SW 394232
6.25 miles and short ascents totalling 1300 feet.
We leave the coach at Treen and walk down a country lane to the coast path which we follow to Porthcumo, an important terminus for submarine telegraph cables that connected England with the Empire. Then we climb the cliff path to the Minack Theatre, a spectacular open-air theatre with seats cut into the side of the cliff and with the sea as a backdrop. A diversion is made to St Levan’s Church, dating from the 13th century. The path continues to Porthgwarra, a small cove with cottages and a steep cobbled slipway. We then cross GiNennap Head and continue towards Mill Bay. From here we continue along a narrow cliff-edge path through the remains of small, walled fields where daffodils can be found in the spring. Land’s End is now in sight; time is available to view the exhibitions (additional charge) and have tea. These cliff paths are sometimes over smooth turf but can also be rough and steep for short sections. The distance given is the shortest possible. Spectacular views all the way.
Harder Walk – South coast cliffs from Pen berth Cove to Land’s End – SW 394232
7 miles and short ascents totalling 1700 feet.
Alighting from the coach at Treen, we walk through fields to Pen berth Cove, a quiet fishing cove unspoilt by commercial tourism. Here we join the coast path and ascend to the Iron Age cliff castle of Treryn Dinas. A diversion may be made on to the headland to view the well-known Logan Rock. Returning to the main coast path we continue to Porthcumo and ascend the cliff path to the spectacular open-air Minack Theatre. The path continues to Porthgwarra and on across Gwennap Head to Mill Bay. From here, we continue along a narrow cliff-edge path through the remains of small, walled fields. Land’s End is now in sight as we pass the rocky islands of the Armed Knight and the Enys Dodman rock arch. These cliff paths are sometimes over smooth turf but can also be rough and steep for short sections. The distance given is the shortest possible. Spectacular views all the way.
- Easier Walk – St Just, Whitesand Bay to Land’s End – SW 370313
Day 5: No organised walks
- This day is spent free from organised hiking. It allows a chance to explore Cornwall independently or just relax in the accommodation and its grounds.
Day 6: The coves and cliffs of north Cornwall
Easier Walk – Porthtowan, Chapel Porth and St Agnes – SW 693480
5.25 miles and short ascents totalling 750 feet.
We leave the coach at Porthtowan, a popular beach in summer, and walk over the headland to Chapel Porth. Chapel Porth is a delightful cove managed by the National Trust. We then climb out of the cove towards the restored remains of the Towanroath Shaft of the old Wheal Coates and continue along the high level coast path towards St Agnes Head. We turn inland and take the gradual path up St Agnes Beacon before descending to St Agnes village. The walk may be extended down to Trevaunance Cove for swimming. The cliff paths are on easy ground.
Medium Walk – Porthtowan, Chapel Porth, St Agnes, and Perranporth – SW 693480
8.5 miles and 4 ascents totalling 1075 feet.
We leave the coach at Porthtowan, a popular beach in summer, and walk over the headland to Chapel Porth. We then climb up past the restored remains of the Towanroath Shaft of the old Wheal Coates mine. The coast path continues along a superb high level route round St Agnes Head to Trevaunance Cove, once a harbour shipping ore from the local mines. The coast path climbs out of Trevaunance Cove and then descends to Trevellas Porth before climbing up again for the final stretch of cliff-walking to Perranporth, finishing with views along the length of the magnificent Perran Beach. The cliff paths are on easy ground, but often narrow and stony.
Harder Walk – Portreath, Porthtowan and Perranporth – SW 657452
12.25 miles and 7 ascents totalling 1650 feet.
We leave the coach at Portreath and walk round the harbour, once busy shipping copper and tin ore to Swansea. We follow the coast path to Porthtowan, a popular beach in summer, and then continue to Chapel Porth. We climb up to the restored remains of the Towanroath Shaft of the old Wheal Coates mine. The coast path continues along a superb high level route round St Agnes Head to Trevaunance Cove. The coast path climbs out of Trevaunance Cove and then descends to Trevellas Porth before climbing up again for the final stretch of cliff-walking to Perranporth, finishing with fine views along the length of the magnificent Perran Beach. The cliff paths are on easy ground but often narrow and stony.
- Easier Walk – Porthtowan, Chapel Porth and St Agnes – SW 693480
Day 7: In the steps of Daphne du Maurier
Easier Walk – Frenchman’s Creek, Helford and Manaccan – SW 764253
3.75 miles minimum (6 miles maximum) and short ascents totalling 625 feet.
We walk through woods and fields down to Frenchman’s Creek. We continue alongside the creek through more fields and woods to Helford, an attractive collection of cottages, some thatched, on either side of a creek. After a short exploration of Helford we may walk (optional) along the coast path as far as Bosahan Cove for a swim and then return to Helford before walking uphill through the woods to Manaccan to join the coach. A visit to Manaccan church is worthwhile, viewing a Norman doorway, 13th century lancet windows and a centuries old fig tree growing out of the church wall! The woodland paths may be muddy after rain.
Medium Walk – Frenchman’s Creek, Helford and Dennis Head – SW 764253
7.5 miles and short ascents totalling 950 feet.
We walk to Helford, an attractive collection of cottages, some thatched, on either side of a creek, having first explored Frenchman’s Creek and its surrounding woods. We leave Helford after a short break to walk along the coast path through the woods above the widening Helford River to Bosahan Cove for lunch and maybe a swim. Continuing along the coast path we descend to St Anthony with its 15th century church facing the Gillan Creek. The path continues alongside the creek before climbing up through woods to where the Manaccan church is of interest. The woodland paths may be muddy after rain.
Harder Walk – St Martin, Frenchman’s Creek, Helford and Dennis Head – SW 733226
8.25 miles and short ascents totalling 975 feet.
We approach St Martin, walking through fields and woods, with wide views of the surrounding countryside. We then take a path down to an old quay on Frenchman’s Creek, followed by a walk round the creek past Penarvon Cove into Helford, an attractive collection of cottages, some thatched, on either side of a creek. After a short break in Helford, we leave by the coast path and walk through woods to Bosahan Cove and maybe swim here. Continuing along the coast path, we circle round Dennis Head (an ancient cliff fort) to St Anthony with its 15th century church facing the Gillan Creek. The path continues alongside the creek before climbing up through woods to where the Manaccan church is of interest.
- Easier Walk – Frenchman’s Creek, Helford and Manaccan – SW 764253
Four walks a day are offered at St. Ives when guest numbers are high and the extra walk chosen from this supplementary section. These walks are also included to allow for inclement weather or variable party ability.
Medium Walk – Knill’s Monument, Trencrom Hill and Carbis Bay – SW 517401
8 miles and 1300 feet of ascent.
Starting from”Chy Morvah, we walk through fields and woods to Knill’s Monument overlooking St Ives Bay. John Knill, collector of customs and one-time mayor of St Ives, erected the monument in 1792 intending to be buried there. Owing to difficulties over consecration this did not happen but he left a legacy to provide for ten girls to dance round the monument on St James’ Day every fifth year. We continue to Trencrom Hill, an early Iron Age fort which has a commanding position, overlooking a wide stretch of the Land’s End peninsula. We then turn northwards following St Michael’s Way to Carbis Bay, following the coast path around Carrack Gladden to Carbis Bay, Porthminster Beach and Chy Morvah. A varied walk showing all the aspects of the Cornish countryside. Paths are good with muddy stretches after rain. Some short stretches of minor roads are used.
Harder Walk – Geevor Mine to Land’s End – SW 379342
9.75 miles and 1500 feet of ascent.
Leaving the coach at the entrance to the Geevor Mine, we walk through the old mine workings (much restored) to join the coast path. Turning west, we walk towards Botallack, Cape Cornwall and Carn Ballowall (a Neolithic burial chamber). Continuing on the coast path, we approach the beach at Whitesand Bay, with Sennen Cove at the far end, where a tea stop can be taken. Then onwards to Land’s End and the coach. A typical coast path, good with some rough and rocky stretches.
Harder Walk – Polgigga, Logan Rock, Lamorna and Mousehole – SW 378238
11.25 miles and 1875 feet of ascent.
After viewing the Merry Maidens stone circle, we continue on the coach to Polgigga where we leave the coach and make our way along field paths to St Levan’s church, and the coast path. We then turn eastwards towards Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre (viewing exhibition possible) then on to Treryn Dinas (an Iron Age cliff castle). After viewing, and maybe a scramble to see the well known Logan Rock, we return to the coast path and follow it to Lamorna, passing through Pen berth Cove, Porthguarnon and St Loy. Moving on from Lamorna Cove we stay on the coast path through Keymel Crease Nature Reserve to Mousehole. Paths variable with rocky stretches and some overgrowth in summer.
Harder Walk – Lizard coastline – Cadgwith, Polpeor and Kynance Cove – SW 703126
9 miles and 925 feet of ascent.
From Lizard Green we walk down to Landewednack church, the most southerly church in England. We then walk across fields towards Cadgwith, before following the coast round the Lizard passing Church Cove, Polpeor Cove and Lizard Point to reach Kynance Cove. We peer down two collapsed caves with the intriguing names of the Devil’s Frying Pan and the Lion’s Den. The beach at Kynance Cove can be visited, after a 200 feet descent followed by tpe corresponding 200 feet climb back! We rejoin the coach at Lizard Green having used two Cornish “hedges” in the day ¬these are ancient paths between two fields on top of a wide (but not very high) pair of stone walls filled in with soil. Field and cliff paths are followed; the cliff paths are varied, often steep to start with.
Medium Walk – Dennis Head, Frenchman’s Creek and Helford – SW 764253
8.5 miles with 1075 feet of ascent.
Taking a short road walk, we join the South West Coast Path above Helford. We then make our way eastwards through the woods to Dennis Head (an ancient cliff fort). After circling the headland we continue to St Anthony to visit its 15th century church. Leaving St Anthony westward along Gillan Creek, we walk along tracks to Manaccan from where we use field paths through woods to Frenchman’s Creek, made famous in the book by Daphne du Maurier. Following the creek to the Helford river we turn east to Helford village, itself a delightful collection of thatched cottages. After some refreshment, we take a path through the woods back to the coach pick up point. Good paths, muddy in places after rain.
Harder Walk – Rinsey Head, Trewarvas and St Michael’s Mount – SW 601280
9.75 miles and ascents totalling 1075 feet.
Using minor roads, we head for the hamlet of Rinsey and the coast at Rinsey Head. We then head east to view the dramatic mine buidings of Wheal Trewarvas perched on the side of the cliff before looping round the coastal path to explore Wheal Prosper. Our walk then takes us to Rinsey Head and the mile-long Praa Sands to enter an outstanding section of coastline which includes Prussia Cove, Kenneggy Sands and Cudden Point where stunning views of St Michael’s Mount come into view. You will hear tales of shipwrecks, smuggling and Bessy Bussow’s kiddlywink! We soon reach the charming little village of Perranuthnoe once well known for its mining and fishing, now a sleepy little hamlet. The walk ends at Marazion where there are the full range of facilities and the opportunity (time, tides and weather permitting) for a swim or a stroll along the causeway to the Mount. Good cliff paths – undulating but not too steep.
Harder Walk – South coast cliffs – St Loy to Land’s End – SW 418238
8.5 miles and 1975 feet of ascent.
Leaving the coach near Trevedran, we walk through the woods to join the coast path above St Loy Cove. Turning westward, we pass through Porthguarnon and Pen berth Cove to the headland of Treryn Dinas, an Iron Age cliff castle. Then on to Porthcurno where we can visit the world famous Minack Theatre. Rejoining the coast path we continue on a narrow cliff-edge path, with spectacular scenery, to Land’s End. Paths are varied with some rocky stretches and some mud after rain. Some overgrowth in summer.
Walks particularly suitable when extreme weather conditions persist.
Godrevy Head to Porthtowan – SW 587420
Easier Walk – Cliff paths then parkland. 6.25 miles and 400 feet of ascent.
Medium Walk – Cliff paths then parkland. 8.75 miles and 625 feet of ascent.
Harder Walk – Cliff paths, often narrow and stony. 11 miles and 1225 feet of ascent.
These walks cover the north coastline east of St Ives, from Godrevy Head to Porthtowan avoiding the more exposed sections. The Easier Walks visit the Tehidy Country Park, an 18th century mansion surrounded by a park, gardens and lake in sheltered surroundings, before ending the walk at Portreath (meaning sandy bay or harbour). Once a very busy mining town, it is now a quiet holiday resort sheltered from the south west gales.