In 2007 a teacher from Truro in Cornwall hit the UK headlines for his promotion (with a website and number of erected signs) of Porthemmet Beach – the widely unknown but undoubtedly best beach in the region. Visitors to porthemmet.com were advised to travel north on the A30 to this secret paradise. Yet, of course, the beach was a hoax – and anyone eager to follow these directions would end up leaving the duchy altogether.
By way of re-establishing some trust in the web regarding secret and hidden spots in Cornwall, I have decided to compile this article of what I deem some of the best secret beaches of the area and the nearby Scilly Isles. And they are real!
With its location just south of St Ives and next to the popular Carbis Bay, Porthkidney – which is accessible around the point at low tide – is a far quieter and even bigger sandy beach. Sheltered by Hawk Point and the dunes behind, the reason it has remained hidden so long may well be due to the complicated access for those not lucky enough to beat the tide – and have to instead navigate their way through the golf course to the south. This walk is certainly worth it however, and the beach is a welcome respite during the summer months.
Green Bay and Rushy Bay
Although the Isles of Scilly are something of a haven of quiet bays and secret coves, Green Bay and Rushy Bay on the isle of Bryher are particularly special, and another reason (as if you really need one) to make the trip from the mainland. Bryher is the smallest inhabited island of the archipelago and is home to just 83 people, while Green Bay and Rushy Bay make up most of the mile-long eastern coast. With views over to Abbey Gardens and a number of smaller islets these tranquil sands and still clear waters are more akin to a tropical paradise than the British Coast.
Similarly, Pedn Vounder can also be likened to the turquoise coves of Greece or perhaps further afield. Situated near (and even bigger than) Porthcurno, Pedn Vounder can be reached easily at low tide but also from the coast path above at any other time. It is unique in many ways, not least its features of sand bars and shallow pools which warm up in the sun but can be treacherous in stormy weather. Additionally, the secluded cove is an unofficial naturist beach.
Located near to the popular town of Falmouth, Grebe (just up the Helford Passage) is a small shingle beach frequented by local bathers and sailing enthusiasts. Although much narrower (especially at high tide) Grebe is longer than nearby coves around Mawnan and thus makes the distance between visitors seem much sparser. Access is easy with a nearby national trust car park – and a lovely tree-covered footpath down to the beach. Grebe is a true Cornish secret.