The draw of the coast entices old and young to the county with the result that in the school holidays (Easter and the spring half-term and especially summer) the roads are choked, the car-parks full to capacity and the beaches brimming with human life. So it was with great pleasure that my Australian family came to visit during September and October as at last I was able to visit some of those beaches that are so popular, although St Ives still managed to prove very busy.
Welcome to Porthtowan Beach. In the Cornish language Porth = port, harbour or bay and Towan = sand dunes. It lies on the north Cornish coast approximately 20 minutes drive from St Ives and not far from Redruth and Camborne. A popular spot for surfers, it has a couple of beach restaurants from where you can enjoy a cocktail whilst watching the sun go down, a pub and a surf shop. At low tide the beach stretches nearly 1.5 miles to the neighbouring and equally stunning beach at Chapel Porth and the cliffs below the iconic Wheal Coates engine house, though I have not managed to catch the tide at the right time to do that yet. The coastal path rises steeply on either side of the beach offering spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The cliffs along here are suffering from erosion and there was a cliff fall not so long ago so you have to be careful when exploring the rock pools and caves below.
The geology is fascinating, rocks rusty-red (iron?) and green (copper?) and sea smooth grey slabs threaded with white veins in stripes and swirls and squiggles.
There is a seasonal dog ban on the beach from Easter and October 1st between 8am and 7pm. Outside these hours and from October 1st to Easter, the beach is dog friendly. And believe me there are a lot of pooches in Cornwall!