A step too far?

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. ย 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.

Country lane to Mawgan Porth – Valerian

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. ย 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.ย 



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.

Path to the steps
Path to the steps
From the steps

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.

Incoming tide


  1. Another wonderful destination to add to our holiday list. I’m so impressed with the gorgeous weather you have on these day trips Jude.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I only go out on the good days Carol ๐Ÿ˜‰ but saying that we are not doing too badly.

  2. Anabel Marsh says:

    Beautiful. Hope your knees have recovered!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well they had until today when I was weeding!

  3. Pit says:

    The height of the tide depends very much upon the lie of the shore. The places with the highest tides in Europe are St. Malo [13 meters] and the Severn estuary [over 9 meters]. The highest tides in the world are in tne Bay of Fundy, Canada [over 16 meters].

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    Oh Jude it is so amazing!! Thank you for making that 120 step climb so we could see it from so many perspectives. I admit I sat open mouthed at some of the images.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Who needs a gym when you have this on the doorstep? Mindst you, I might not be making a habit of visiting this particular beach…

      1. Sue Slaght says:

        Well I can see this might not be an every day walk but delighted you did it this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. pommepal says:

    Beautiful, beautiful photos Jude and those steps do look very daunting. I wonder where Meg is? I’m sure she will love those rocks and maybe be able to identify them. The abundance of wild flowers are a real bonus. Looking forward to seeing the Japanese garden.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Meg’s gallivanting I think PP. I should look up the geology of this part of the coast, but have been too busy watching tennis this week! I shall get on to the Japanese garden now ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. pommepal says:

        Will look forward to the Japanese garden

  6. Just my kind of beach excursion. Thanks for letting me tag along. I’m not tired at all after all those steps.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well you should be used to steps down on to the beach – I recall a few along the Great Ocean Road ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. joannesisco says:

    It’s like you live in a wonderland, Jude. These photos are stunning … thanks for taking us along. It hadn’t occurred to me that mussels and other marine life would be left behind when the tide went out. Can you tell I’m an “inlander”? That 3rd photo from the end with the mussels is gorgeous.

  8. A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post feeding my sea-hunger. I love the timeline and the rocks – and the fact that you braved the steps.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You would love the rocks! Maybe not the steps.

  9. Beautiful shots, Jude. The wild flowers are so pretty, and the beach looks well worth the 120 steps down. I’m sure that the climb up must have been easier on the knees than the downward trek.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Easier on the knees, but boy was my heart pounding! A good workout!

  10. purecornwall says:

    One of our favourite areas! Lovely photographs! I loved the colours on the muscle shells! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you!

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