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St Ives: Walks and Beaches

St Ives was a very small town that flourished on the traditional businesses of mining and fishing from the Middle Ages, reaching a pinnacle in the 19th Century with a world-wide demand for locally caught pilchards as well as tin and copper, all of which were widely mined nearby. Coal was required to power mine engines, which arrived at the port and were loaded into horse-drawn carts. The coal was subsequently carried to the Stennack before being sent to the nearby Wheal Trenwith mine. This is currently the location of the leisure centre and the main parking lot.

Porthmeor Beach

Credit: Chris Downer / St. Ives: Porthmeor Beach / CC BY-SA 2.0

Porthmeor beach is a sandy, safe beach popular with surfers and swimmers, located in the shadow of the renowned Tate St Ives gallery. It’s in a great position, just a few minutes walk from the centre of St Ives, where you’ll discover old pubs, fashionable cafés, and several of the town’s famed art galleries. A great spot for a beach picnic since you can quickly buy everything you need in town, the beach is crowded in summer with families who appreciate the easy access, and in winter the surf brigade from town has all those rollers right on their doorstep.

Porthminster Beach

Credit: Christopher Sanderson on Unsplash

Porthminster Beach is a white sandy beach located immediately south of St Ives Station. It has a subtropical vibe and is wind-sheltered, making it a family favourite for swimming. It includes views of the sea and the harbour, as well as Godrevy Lighthouse, which became renowned after appearing in Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse.

The beach has a restaurant, cafe, and fully licensed bar that is connected to the golf course. You may also rent out one of the beach pods. It is currently the location of the September food and drink festival.

Coast path to Zennor walk

Credit: Simon Godfrey on Unsplash

One of the most difficult hikes in St Ives is the seaside route to Zenor. This is a stroll for the strong of heart and boots. If you only have time to walk a few miles of the 630-mile South West Coast Path, this is one of the most beautiful sections. Take the coast walk from St Ives’ Porthmeor Beach out towards Zennor. It’s a strenuous walk, and you’ll need to keep an eye on your step as well as the scenery – so take time to halt and enjoy the path’s numerous picturesque places.

The Man Rock at the start of the walk in St Ives is a highlight. Look for the remnants of the Klavji (meaning “sick-house”), an ancient leper hospital whose name has gradually been changed to “Clodgy Point.” You’ll also visit Seal Island and have a chance to appreciate the water from Trig Point. In the direction of Zennor — and the pleasant sight of the Tinners Arms.

After a refreshing drink, return the way you came, or take the inland path back to St Ives. This is known as the “Coffin Path,” and it was the route used by many local people on their final travels to St Senara’s church (the road wasn’t completed until the early 1800s). There is also a bus service into St Ives.

Beautiful St Ives Sterling Silver Mussel Shell Necklace

This large mussel shell with barnacles was found on Porthmeor beach near the Tate in St Ives, Cornwall. Handmade from high quality sterling silver with a sterling silver chain and findings.

See more Natural Silver Cornish jewellery.