West from the Minack.

Start. Minack Theatre

Route. Minack Theatre - Minack Point - Pen-men-an-mere - Porth Chapel - Carn Barges - Porthgwarra - Hella Point - Gwennap Head - Lookout Station - Porth Loe - Porthgwarra - Carn Barges - St Levan - Rospletha - Miack Theatre.

Notes. No trip to South Cornwall can be complete without a visit to the Minack Theatre, honed out of granite cliffs overlooking beautiful turquoise seas, the brainchild of Rowena Cade, constructed in the 1930s it's a must visit, 100,000 visitors annually can't possibly be wrong. We spent time exploring the theatre, drinking in the atmosphere, admiring the views, wishing our visit had coincided with one of the many performances put on, instead lunch in the café had to suffice.

Refreshed and permission to leave the car in the theatre car park we headed west above spectacular sea cliffs. The coastal path guided us above Minack Point and Pedn-men-an-mere before a steep descent to Porth Chapel, a stunning golden beach made even more so with spectacular Atlantic breakers pounding the golden sand and cliffs on either side, the remnants of last nights storm, we sat a while soaking up the atmosphere. The steep ascent back up the cliff, passed the ruined Porth Chapel and holy well before traversing Carn Barges overlooking Vessacks. Another descent followed, this time to the delightful fishing village of Porthgwarra, a lovely little place with it's very own shop and café, another excuse to stop, “Cornish Pasty and pot of tea please”. For the last mile or so we've been accompanied by a rather eerie sound, sometimes quite spooky omitting from somewhere out to sea, in the café I inquired to it's source. The Runnel Stone buoy ¾ of a mile off shore guards the Runnelstone Reef, the sound is produced by a hydrophone, a tube part of the buoy, the sea swell rises up and down in a tube creating the sound.

Once satisfied the spirits of long dead smuggleres, or ghosts from the deep weren't after our souls (too many viewing's of Pirates of the Caribbean) we continued up and over Gwennap Head, passed two large navigation beacons to access the lookout station that guards the headland, a short descent to Porth Loe followed where we joined a good path leading back to Porthgwarra. From here we re-traced our steps as far as Carn Barges where we joined the path leading to St Levan, just a few hundred yards along this path the tower of St Levan church tilted into view, we entered the church yard, wandered passed the Levan Stone once used for pagan fertility rights, then on to the north east corner of the cemetery, here an ancient cattle grid split by a coffin rest marked the start of an equally ancient track leading through fields back to our starting point.

view route map.


Stunning views over turquoise seas, that's the view that welcomes you to the Minack Theatre.

The Minack Theatre, enjoys the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop.

Viewing Logan Rock from the Minack.

Stunning views over Minack Point taking in Logan Rock and Treen Cliff.

Spectacular views along the ragged joint between land and sea, just visible the Coastguard Lookout on Gwennap Head, our aiming point.

Lively seas at Porth Chapel.

Another view from Porth Chapel, Atlantic swells meet the impenetrable granite cliffs of the south coast.

St Levan's Holy Well, water from this spring is still used for baptisms.

Looking back over Porth Chapel to the impressive cliffs of Pedn-men-an-mere.

Ascending Carn Barges with a wonderful view behind.

The whitewashed buildings of Porthgwarra with the National Coastguard Lookout clearly visible on the horizon.

Porthgwarra has many delights, here's one to explore, a tunnel folk-law tells us was used for smuggling, how romantic, in truth it was honed out of the rock by minors from St Just to allow horse and carts access to vast seaweed beds.

Magical views from Halla Point.

Navigation beacons above Porthgwarra, These two cone-shaped landmarks are there to warn sea vessels off the Runnel Stone mentioned earlier, When at sea the black and white cone should always be kept in sight, if it should be completely hidden by the red cone then the vessel would be on top of the Runnel Stone and you're in a spot of bother.

Sue soaks up the views from the lookout station above Gwennap Head.

Descending to Porth Loe.

St Levan's Church with the Levan Stone visible amongst the many head stones.

I thought cattle grids were a 20th century invention, well this one's possibly medieval, it also comes equipped with a coffin rest and marks the start of an ancient field track that guided us back to our starting point.

One of five Celtic crosses scattered around St Levan's, it would suggest to somebody, at some time this was a very important place.

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