34. Cornwall Coastal: Padstow - Trevone (circular) - 6.5 or 8.5 mile option - OS Explorer map 106
Begin at the hamlet of Crugmeer near Trevone. Approaching off the B3276, go through the village and park just beyond by a grassy triangle at a left turning. The walk starts along this quiet lane leading to Trevone with lovely views to the coast and ocean.
A few hundred yards along you pass the ugly remains of Padstow Airfield, opened in 1918 by the RAF and closing a year later (WWI was over, and this exposed spot was so windy it didn’t make a great landing spot for light canvas planes and airships). Old photos by what remains give a sense of the place in its short prime
Soon enough you reach sleepy Trevone with its deep-set sandy beach and rocky shoreline beyond. Nestled in those rocks is an outdoor swimming pool. This, along with golden sands, a café, surf shop, car park and loo, is pretty much it for facilities, making it a quiet retreat from the crowds, shop windows and buzz of Padstow. 'Vive la difference!' as a man with a large nose once said.
After a cuppa at the cafe, take the coast path east toward Roundhole Point.
As you approach the point, there is a huge sinkhole in the field to your right not to be missed.
There’s an obvious path on the right that leads to this eighty-foot-deep wonder caused by the ocean pushing through a cave at the base until the land above collapsed. With no fence, you have to wonder if anyone did actually miss it, ending their days blissfully unaware.
Carry on past the hole to re-join the coast path. Here, the limestone and shale cliffs, mixed with harder stuff, have been eroded and sculptured into the oddest of shapes, but unlike much of the Cornish coast, the slopes above are gentle.
It’s an easy walk, crossing ancient slate stiles and green fields toward the chimney shaped ship's (try saying that after a pint of Cornish ale) navigation sea mark high on the cliff at the mouth of the Camel River.
I realise it’s a stretch, but the root of the name Padstow is St. Petroc’s place. St. Petroc, a 6th century preacher to the Britons, got about a bit and there’s numerous dedications to him in churches and other sites.
As you may have noticed from a brief look at a map, the Westcountry likes its Celtic saints, but Cornwall, unconquered by the Romans and Anglo Saxons and pretty much left alone by the Normans, remembers them best.
A stiff wind is likely as you approach the ship's navigation mark. Take heart, it’s hollow and you can get some relief by entering its bowels.
At a lookout station a little further on, the view opens up to the fabulous Cam estuary. Now the path descends toward the coastguard station at Hawker’s Cove.
At low tide, long and wide stretches of sandy beaches are exposed along with sand bars. There’s a local beer called Doom Bar named after one. Kite surfers skip over it, but boats beware.
Beyond the coastguard station, path meets beach at Harbour Cove. Here, there’s woodland, dunes and numerous paths through to enjoy and get lost on (but not very). Take your pick.
As you round the cove you have another choice at the far side:
A. For a shorter 6.5 mile walk, turn off the coast path over a stile into a farmers field (the path going counter-intuitively left) to Tregirls Farm.
At the farm you join a lane. Follow this a little way to a farm track on the right. Turn down the track and look out for a stile in the hedge on your right, just before a sign marked private.
Over this, follow the clearly marked path through a succession of farmers’ fields (full of cabbages when we walked it) back to little Crugmeer.
B. For a longer 8.5 mile walk, stay on the coast path and/or beach to Padstow - or Padstein at it is known affectionately(?) by locals because of the numerous businesses and influence Rick Stein, the celebrity chef, has had on the place.
The pros are he’s raised the quality and variety of food on offer here way beyond anything available at other Cornish towns and resorts, from pasties to high cuisine. The cons are it gets very crowded in summer, and busy even in winter. And St. Petroc may be a little peeved at a cook usurping his celebrity.
My advice, if all you fancy is a quiet pint away from the fuss, is the London Inn just off the harbour on Lanadwell St. It’s old-fashioned, unpretentious and friendly, with excellent local ales. Definitely not posh.
Leaving the London Inn, turn right and continue walking along Lanadwell Street, turning second right into Barry’s Lane. At the top, turn left and, where the road forks shortly after, right into Cross St. Ignoring left and right turns, follow it into Fentonluna Lane , turning right at the top.
Here you should see deer in the fields to your right. On your left is Prideaux Place, a 16th century manor, often used as a film location and, according to a local, for a long running German soap.
Follow the lane up under a bridge, ignoring a footpath to your right, and after a quarter of a mile turn off left at a footpath sign into a field. Follow this through a succession of farmers’ fields back to Crugmeer... and don't nick the cabbages.