Cornish beaches: Polly Joke

Otherwise known as Porth Joke. (Remember Porth in Cornwall means a bay, port or harbour). The name Polly Joke is thought to be derived from the Cornish ‘Pol-Lejouack’ meaning Jackdaw cove.

It is a V-shaped strip of beach tucked in between Kelsey Head and West Pentire Point on the north Cornish coast close to Newquay.  An area I have longed to explore continuing my Cornish beach discoveries.

Had I realised just how spectacular the scenery and the views are, I would have been here sooner. Though it shouldn’t have surprised me: the Cornish coast never fails to impress and astound and fill my heart with joy. Since moving down here I have never felt so relaxed, almost soporific at times, so it would be impossible to relax further. But there is something that being outdoors, on a cliff top, gazing into the blue of the sea and the distant horizon, hearing nothing but the soft buzz of insects, the dull thrum of wings as Jackdaws and Crows fly overhead, the warmth of the sun beating down that makes you aware of your own temporality.  I was going to walk on the coastal path around to Holywell beach, but it was hot. Too hot for hiking up and down cliffs and then back again. I hesitated at the signpost which led around the Pentire Point West, but decided to head straight down to the beach and spend some time exploring there. My main reason for coming here, the wild poppies and corn marigolds, were long gone, so the urgency in walking the perimeter of the fields was not there. Another time.

As with many places in Cornwall, this beach is off the beaten track. Steep pathways lead down to the soft sand and there are no facilities here. No WC, no ice-cream van or beach shops: no lifeguards. Its seclusion is the attraction though. And in case you are wondering, it is dog friendly all year round.

Gates and shadows

Deep caves have been carved into the cliffs on either side of the beach offering shade from the sun and shelter from the wind. I can see myself coming here with a book and maybe even having a swim.

A stream runs down from the fields and is often used by grazing cattle or sheep or even a seagull or three. A small bridge crosses the stream here, but usually it is only at a very high tide in winter that the sea comes up so far inland.

I had timed my visit at low tide so that I had time to wander on to the beach. Not quite realising how far the sea retreated!  At low water the tide goes out over 450m leaving a wonderful flat coarse sandy beach with obvious signs of ground pebbles and shells in the mixture.  After walking down to the water’s edge I watched the few surfers for a while and studied the rocks on the northern edge. There are very few rockpools here.

Regretting not bringing a swimming costume and towel down with me I contemplate whether or not to walk to Holywell beach when I reach the South West Coastal Path again, but decide against walking the four mile  or more miles in the heat and set off back up to the car park. A walk I shall save for the cooler months.


And up.

And more up…

Taking a short stroll to the Bowgie  Inn where there is another car park and food and drink for sale, I had a glimpse at Crantock beach and East Pentire Point and the view north to Trevose Head and its lighthouse. I shall continue my way up the north Cornish coast in September after the crowds evaporate.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #6 | Patterns


  1. I love your description of this beach – it’s coming up on my next bit of the coast path whenever I get a chance to get a few days down in Cornwall. Really looking forward to it. (Don’t know why I’ve not been getting reminders of your posts – the follow button doesn’t seem to be working for me) Ceri

    1. Heyjude says:

      You might have been following one of my other blogs, I have three! 😁 This does seem to be an easier part of the path to walk. It was simply too hot on this day.

  2. Pete Hillman says:

    These are incredible photos, Jude! Cornwall has the most gorgeous scenery around! I have visited many times in the past, but it has been quite some years since my last visit. It is quite a journey down from here, but another place to revisit.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It does indeed Pete. It’s the scenery and all these different little coves that attracted me to Cornwall. Other counties have quite boring coastlines.

      1. Pete Hillman says:

        And there are lots of rockpools!

  3. bushboy says:

    Thanks for taking me on that walk. I wanted to throw off my clothes and just swim, I am sure I would have drip dried. Lovely photos. I am tired now. I was hoping for an ice cream at least 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Sorry Brian. I could take you to the pub next time!

      1. bushboy says:

        Whoo hoo…..I’ll buy the crisps 😀

  4. Leya says:

    Lovely shots and patterns – I’d love to go to Cornwall to see all those beautiful landscapes. They are like paintings all of them. Thank you for posting and joining in!

    1. Heyjude says:

      I love the patterns in the rocks, but there are also many patterns in the landscape too.

  5. Lignum Draco says:

    What an amazing and beautiful landscape. I may have to visit Cornwall because of this temptation.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You strike me as more of a city person than a countryside one. You would probably be very bored here, though no doubt would take fantastic photos of the landscape 🙂

  6. It’s so pretty and looks worth the effort of going up and up to see all this beautiful landscape. It looks a little dry after all your hot weather.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Drier than normal that’s for sure, but after the rain it has soon greened up again. At least these paths down to the beach were nicely grassed in the main and not rough scree and rock. Those kind I can’t deal with.

      1. True! Much easier to walk on.

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Leya and Meg will be proud of you!

  8. restlessjo says:

    Ah, yes! Got it now 🙂 🙂 Thought it was vaguely familiar. You being relaxed 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Off for lunch at another beach just now. Still got the sea fog though!

Comments are closed.