Cornwall Coast Path: Portreath to Hell’s Mouth and back - 10 miles - O/S Landranger 203
Portreath (means sandy cove according to Wikipedea) isn’t quaint, though it does have an attractive narrow harbour. Expensive new housing on the hills either side look down on a lot of low-cost and dull sixties and seventies (at a guess) housing on the flat expanse behind the beach. Actually, not directly behind the beach, that’s taken up by a large car park. If you like concrete, you’d be impressed. It seems the only effort at prettifying this area is the colourful and cute toilets. Very nice, too, but nowhere near large enough for the numbers of tourists that descend on the place. Expect to queue.
On the plus side, Portreath has a fabulous sandy beach and—despite its efforts to disguise itself as urban sprawl—an eccentric charm.
Walking west around a headland, the first obstacle is finding the coastal path through upmarket second homes and holiday lets. Royal Rest one was called and, with its magnificent glass gable ends, it looked a likely place for a prince.
Be alert here because just past the Royal Rest you turn left into the drive of one of these villas to pick up the coastal path. I felt a little guilty staining an expensive brick patterned drive with my dirty boots, but needs must.
This is a lovely heather and gorse covered countryside over high cliffs overlooking lovely beaches and offshore rocks with names like Gull and Samphire. The weirdest name is Ralph’s Cupboard for a steep sided cove.
According to a quick internet search, the name comes from the legend of a giant called Wrath (Ralph). The cove was actually a cave until its roof collapse. Before that, old Ralph would pass the time wrecking passing ships and sticking his booty in(his cupboard cave.
Apart from two steep drops and climbs, it was comparatively easy and delightful with the gorse and heather in colour and wild ponies grazing the grassy stretches (I did it on the 10th of August 2017). All that and the pounding Atlantic down at your right doing its endless stuff. What more could you want?
Actually, I wanted a cup of tea. If you do too, there’s a café at the side of the road by Hell Mouth.
If you’d prefer a shorter walk, the path is quite close to the coast road and there are lots of parking places along the way.