Last year I visited Bedruthan Steps on the north Cornish coast, between Newquay and Padstow. The tide was in at that time so you couldn’t access the beach; it has been my intention to revisit at low tide. Checking the tide timetables (funny how your habits change when you move near the coast), I saw that mid-afternoon last Thursday was a good time to go there. Nearby in St Mawgan (not to be confused with Mawgan on the Lizard) there is a Japanese Garden which I also wanted to visit, so a plan was hatched for a day out.
The weather was in my favour, a light wind, cloudy, warm and most importantly, dry. I spent late morning at the garden (post to follow) then headed for the coast road (B3276) along narrow country lanes lined with wild Valerian and escapee Rape.
On arrival at the National Trust Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps car park where there is a cafe and toilets, I parked up and headed to the cafe for some lunch. After a cheese and ham roll attractively served with a few crisps, chutney and salad along with a bottle of lemon I was ready to tackle the beach. I say ‘tackle’ as this beach can only be accessed via a steep set of stone steps – 120 in total. Fortunately there are handrails to cling on to.
Coastal wild flowers catch my attention before I reach the top of the steps. Purple-pink thrift now pretty much over, wild carrot with its flamboyant magenta pink heads in bud, yellow kidney vetch, red curly dock scattered over the cliff tops.
Best not to get too close to the edge though, this area is suffering from coastal erosion and the cliffs are crumbling in to the sea.
Once on the beach I have a short time to wander along the seashore and between the stacks before the tide comes in again. You wouldn’t want to get caught out here and as I survey the 120 steps back up to the top I wonder if I shall require an air-lift!
The top of the cliffs looks a long way above.
The geology attracts my eye as well as the mussels and limpets and barnacles. The mussels are not as colourful as those in New Zealand with their shiny green and red bands, but subtle shades of blue and grey and a hint of yellow.
The tide is coming in – time to climb back up those steps.