Thursday, August 17, 2017

Walking the South West Coastal Path - Day 2 - St. Ives to Zennor

Day 2 of our adventure started off overcast but given we had a ten-mile walk in front of us, we didn't mind too much. Just as long as it didn't rain, the mild temperature and lack of sun made for perfect walking conditions.

We retraced our route of the previous evening back into the center of St. Ives, past Porthminster Beach, and through the narrow streets of the old town. 

Too early for the beach-goers!

The residential streets were particularly narrow, barely enough room for one car never mind two.
Great for walkers though.

Cafes, galleries, and gift shops lined the winding streets in the commercial part of town. And bakeries. Lots and lots of bakeries. Most claiming to make the best Cornish Pasties. One even had an official claim to fame. Who knew there was even such a championship?

We'd been warned that there would be few places to get refreshments on our route so it seemed to make sense to stock up on a pasty or two. When I was a kid, a pasty was beef and potato. Nowadays it seems you can put anything in a pasty. There were pasties with shellfish, gourmet cheeses, vegetables or pulses and even a Full English Breakfast Pasty - sausage, bacon, beans and scrambled egg!

Just in case you thought I was joking!
As we headed out of town we passed the Tate St. Ives, one of only four Tate Galleries in the world. St. Ives' location and mild climate have made it a favorite with artists since the 1800's and in 1993 the gallery was opened to exhibit work by artists with links to the local area.

At this point the walk was easy, a pleasant stroll along the seafront past another of St. Ives' beaches -Porthmeor Beach.  

Porthmeor Beach 
Once we got around the headland the scenery suddenly became rugged, but the path was still relatively flat. In less than half an hour St. Ives looked a long way away.   

the meandering path was flat at this point

but it didn't stay that way for long

but the uphill climbs were worth it for the views

An hour in and we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. It was rather reassuring at times to look back and see other hikers behind us on the trail. We obviously weren't lost!

We've come a long way but there's still a long way to go.

Though mostly the path was so clearly visible up ahead that you had plenty of warning of the next incline.

At times the dirt path would give way to a stone bridge or steps or in this case both:

It's not a walk I'd recommend for those who don't like heights. In places, the path hugs the cliff edge with only a narrow stretch of vegetation between it and a steep drop down to the rocks. 

Wherever you look the views are fabulous.  

Even if at times you could see just how far you still had to walk:

I don't see any town!  Maybe around that next huge headland?

Yay! That is Zennor Head (in the foreground)

Four hours and several miles after we left St. Ives we finally spotted Zennor Head, the point where we needed to leave the South West Coastal Path and head toward the village of Zennor. But appearances can be deceptive and it took almost another two hours before we actually arrived at the fork in the path and another half a mile walk to the village itself.

Imagine our delight when we found a pub at the end of the path!  We definitely deserved a drink but having made the decision to return to the Tinners' Arms for dinner after we'd checked in to our overnight accommodation, I settled for a pot of tea. It tasted so good!

Zennor is a small but pretty village with a population of about 200 people. In the past, mining, quarrying, fishing, and farming were the main sources of employment, but nowadays there are only a few farms remaining and the village is dependent on tourism.  

Fun-fact:  From 1915-1917 D.H. Lawrence lived in the village while he was writing Women in Love, staying first at the Tinners' Arms and then renting a house in the village. Eventually, he was asked to leave by the police because the villagers thought he was a German spy! This experience was said to play a huge influence in his future work. 

Both the pub and the village church, St. Senara, date back to the 12th century. 

There is not a lot of accommodation in Zennor itself, so our walking for the day was not quite over but, fortified by refreshments, the one-mile walk to Boswednack Manor was a pleasant stroll under the watchful eye of the local cows.  

Of course, it meant we also had to walk back into the village for dinner, but at least we didn't have to carry our backpacks!

All in all, it was a satisfying day - lots of exercise, wonderful views and a pleasant sense of achievement.

When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 


  1. Very nice, Mel. I'd love to sit & write at the stone bench.

    1. Thanks, Elisabeth. I'm currently trying to think how I can set one of my next novels in Cornwall!

  2. Lovely! I felt as though I was right there with you. Thanks for the update!

  3. Cornish pasties, D.H. Lawrence, and those views? Wow. What an adventure!

    1. Thanks, Karen. Fortunately, the walks justified the pasties!