Your guide to the best short and circular walks in and around Padstow
This part of North Cornwall is full of beautiful beaches and breathtaking coastline. But it’s out on a walk that you get the best views and discover the most magical hidden places. There are hundreds of lovely walks in the area around our Padstow park, but these are our personal favourites.
Walks around Padstow: the best circular and short routes
Padstow offers up a fantastic mix of coast, estuary, town and country. Take a short walk to Stepper Point, Little Petherick, Harlyn Bay or Trevose Head for history, architecture, wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty. For harbourside charm, traverse the town trail, or soak up the serenity of North Cornwall’s shores after a quick ferry across to Rock.
These walks are wonderful in every season, even the depths of winter. After all, it’s in the very wildest of weather that the cosy café or pub at the end of your walk feels most like a treat. Lace up and discover a little more about the best in Padstow vicinity!
1. Stepper Point and the Day Mark from Padstow
Starting and ending in Padstow, this route is fantastically varied. You’ll walk across beaches, along a stretch of the South West Coast Path, through fields and then finish by strolling back into the town past Prideaux Place, Padstow’s 11th Century manor house.
Parking: The walk begins and ends in Padstow, so any of the town’s car parks are fine.
Length: About 5.5 miles.
Difficulty: Accessible to most. There’s a small amount of gentle uphill, but it’s pretty level for Cornwall!
Looking out across the mouth of the Camel Estuary and exploring the ‘Day Mark’ at Stepper Point. This 40ft tower was built to help seafarers navigate into the estuary before negotiating the treacherous Doom Bar, the infamous sand bar where many mariners have met their ends.
Stop for a bite
In the warmer months, plan on pausing for a cream tea or crab sandwich at Rest-A-While Tearoom, Hawkers Cove. The pretty garden has a wonderful view across the estuary to Daymer Bay. In winter, keep going until you get back into Padstow, for a drink at The London Inn. We promise that the open fire and cosy atmosphere will be worth the wait!
For more information on directions, take a look at a detailed breakdown of this route.
2. Little Petherick to Padstow
If you’ve had a holiday full of busy beach days and dramatic cliff top walks, this will make a gentle change. It combines laid-back, creek-side wandering with peaceful country views that give a different perspective of the Camel Estuary. The walk takes you next to the water as you follow the creek and then join the Camel Trail into Padstow. On the route back, you’ll join a rural section of the ancient Saint’s Way.
Parking: At Little Petherick, in the car park behind the village hall.
Length: 5 miles.
Difficulty: Easy with just a few gentle inclines.
The opportunity to spot some of Cornwall’s lesser-known sea birds. Keep your eyes peeled for Egrets, Oyster Catchers and Curlews looking for their lunch in Little Petherick Creek. The return leg of your adventure is along The Saints Way. This coast to coast path follows the route of early Christian pilgrims travelling from Ireland and Wales to Brittany, or Santiago de Compostella in Spain.
Stop for a bite
This rural route means that Padstow is your halfway point, where you’re spoilt for choice with cafés, pubs and restaurants galore. But if we were you we’d make a day of it and book a lunch table at Greens of Padstow. With the best views in Padstow, the menu is full of delicious local produce and has its very own mini golf course. The perfect bribe for any reluctant younger walkers in your party.
If you’ve got your four-legged friends in tow, be sure to check out our quick guide to the best dog-friendly restaurants and pubs in Padstow!
3. Harlyn Bay to Trevose Head
Trevose Head juts dramatically out into the Atlantic, and the views are out of this world. This walk starts and ends at Harlyn Bay and includes the idyllic Mother Ivey’s Bay and the working RNLI lifeboat station on the north side of the headland.
Once you round Trevose Head past Trevose Lighthouse, you’re rewarded with views of the wild Booby’s Bay and Constantine Bay, with their surfers and long stretches of golden sand. If there is a member of your group with mobility problems, the two car parks on the headland itself offer the option to meet there for a shorter, more level stroll.
Parking: There’s a car park right next to the beach at Harlyn Bay.
Length: 5 miles
Trevose Lighthouse, on Trevose Head. It was built in 1847 of granite quarried from the headland beneath it and is the only lighthouse between Land’s End to the South and Lundy Island to the North. The lighthouse keepers were withdrawn in 1995 but the light still shines nightly. Only now, it’s controlled remotely from an office in Essex!
Stop for a bite
There are a couple of takeaways at Harlyn but a mere two-minute drive away is The Pig at Harlyn Bay. This Cornish outpost of the luxury hotel group is a spoiling place to visit, even if just for a coffee or gin and tonic after your walk.
For directions, be sure to check out a more detailed route of this walk.
4. The Padstow Town Trail
When you think of Padstow, you probably think of the quay, the fishing boats and perhaps Rick Stein! This route offers a chance to see Padstow a bit differently. A bit like a walking tour, there are lots of interesting things to spot — so it’s particularly fun for children. The walk begins with a wander around some familiar sites, before guiding you away from the more touristy parts of Padstow to explore some lesser-known corners.
Parking: Any of the car parks in Padstow.
Length: 1.94 miles
The quieter streets high above the town on busy summer days. Up at Padstow’s own manor house, Prideaux Place, see if you can spot the deer in the Deer Park opposite the house. Walking back down into the town there are some beautiful glimpses of the estuary between the old buildings.
Stop for a bite
Around the half-way point is The Terrace café at Prideaux Place. It’s charmingly old fashioned and the sandwiches and cream teas are very good. It’s open from Easter until October each year. If you’re visiting outside of this period, you can’t really go wrong with a hot pasty from The Chough bakery on the quay. There are lots of pasty shops in Padstow, but this is where the locals go.
For a more detailed description (along with a few pictures of things to look for), check out this detailed description of the trail.
5. St Enodoc Church via the Black Tor ferry
A level walk that starts and ends with a trip across the Camel Estuary on the ferry. You’ll walk along the long sandy beach at Rock, up into the dunes, on the skinny path around the outside of Brea Hill and across St Enodoc Golf Course to visit the tiny church.
This easy amble then takes you back across the golf course via another path bringing you to the sailing village of Rock. A good place for something to eat while you watch the boats coming and going, before hopping on the ferry back to Padstow.
Parking: Anywhere in Padstow.
Length: 3.7 miles
St Enodoc Church. It was completely buried in a build up of sand between the 16th and 19th centuries. So much so that the vicar and members of the congregation had to climb down into it through a hole in the roof! Now happily sand free, the famously crooked spire can be seen from Daymer Bay. In the churchyard, on the right just after the arch, you’ll see the prettily carved headstone of the poet John Betjemen’s grave. He spent the last few years of his life in nearby Trebetherick.
Stop for a bite
If you feel like walking first thing in the morning, then the Blue Tomato café at Rock is famous for its breakfasts. After your walk, tuck into pancakes, Eggs Benedict or a Full English before you catch the ferry back to Padstow.
For some useful information and a map, explore a detailed breakdown of this walk.
Come walking in Padstow
A perfect base for walking in North Cornwall
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay for a walking holiday, our Padstow Holiday Village couldn’t be better placed.
We’re just a stroll away from beautiful Padstow, and the South West Coast Path is on our doorstep. But as well as towering cliffs and golden beaches, there’s plenty of rolling Cornish countryside to explore, too.
At the end of a day out walking, come back tired but happy to one of our luxury holiday homes or lodges. Immaculately furnished, they’re a wonderful place to relax and recharge before hitting the paths again the next day.
And if North Cornwall is already a special place for you and your family, what about making it official with a home from home in Padstow? If that sounds like a dream come true, get in touch for a chat about holiday home ownership in Cornwall. It could be the first step towards your own place in this beautiful part of the world.