This is part two of our Cornish hike. Read part 1.
Sennen Cove to Pendeen
We left Sennen Cove after a hearty breakfast and hiked along the pretty beach.
Ahead there was more narrow, rough trail with sections of scrambling. However, as we approached Cape Cornwall the weather cleared. We had our first bit of blue sky.
Having rounded Cape Cornwall, we were now facing the Atlantic Ocean. Land’s End may be the official end of England, but Cape Cornwall is where the Gulf Stream splits, with one part flowing into the English Channel and the other flowing towards the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea. Just beyond we passed a quaint little cottage.
Ahead we got our first views of Cornwall’s tin mining heritage. Stone buildings and smokestacks lined the coast.
The following photo shows the geology of the area. At the shoreline is black Devonian slate. During the Permian, the grey-coloured Land’s End granite pluton intruded into the older Devonian rocks. The heat of the pluton and the associated fluid movement caused the precipitation of cassiterite (tin oxide) and other minerals. The mines are located on the contact between the slate and the granite.
The Levant Mine has been extensively restored.
The Geevor Mine in Pendeen was one of the last to be in operation. It closed in in 1990, and it’s now a museum.
We spent the night in Pendeen, enjoying the historic pub in the evening.
Pendeen to Zennor
After spending the night in Pendeen we continued down the trail. Once again the trail was rough, rocky, and very muddy. Having hiked other sections of the Southwest Coast Path we were appalled at the condition of this stretch of trail. Some trail construction is badly needed here.
The scenery, however, was beautiful and we had great weather. Which was good because this stretch would be very challenging if not outright dangerous in a storm. At a bench we stopped for tea and scones.
There were some really nice views along the trail.
The prettiest part of this day’s walk was Gurnard’s Head, where we had wonderful views up and down the coast.
Here we met some other hikers and we took each other’s pictures.
Enjoying the scenery.
Ahead we cut inland to find our B&B, a beautiful old farmhouse about half a mile outside of Zennor.
Zennor has a legend about a mermaid. At one time, a very pretty maiden was spotted attending church in Zennor. A local boy took a shine to her and followed her after church. They were not seen again. About a year later, a local fisherman had cast his anchor when a mermaid appeared. She asked him to to raise his anchor because it was blocking her door and she was unable to reach her children. The fisherman obliged, and sailed away. When he told the villagers what had happened, the villagers concluded that the mermaid must be the young maiden they had seen before. In commemoration they carved a pew for the local church, which is still there today.
In the evening we had dinner at the Tinner’s Arms, a pub which dates back to the 13th century. There was a path between the B&B and the pub, which required negotiating cattle grids and stiles made out of slivers of granite, and going through paddocks full of cows and cow-pies. Having consumed a few pints at the pub we laughed as we stumbled down the field.
Zennor to St. Ives
In the morning we lingered over our full English breakfast, and we talked with the B&B owner. She told us that past Zennor the coastal path was in poor shape, and she pointed out an inland route which would allow us to meet up with the coastal path a bit further on. We decided to do just that.
The path led through several farmyards, and through some woods dotted with bluebells.
From this trail we headed over toward the coast.
Ahead was Clodgy Point, from where there was a great view towards St. Ives.
The path from Clodgy Point to St. Ives was very easy.
St. Ives is a fashionable resort town. It’s easy to see why. It has several beautiful white sand beaches, cute cobblestoned streets with whitewashed cottages, and a pretty little harbour.
We sat on some of the benches around town.
We enjoyed a coffee by the beach …
… and we had a cream tea in a tearoom. Yum!
- In Sennen Cove we stayed at the Old Success Inn. It’s good, but quite pricey for what it is.
- In Pendeen we stayed at St. John’s House B&B. Recommended.
- In Zennor we stayed at Boswednack Manor. Highly recommended.
- In St. Ives we stayed at Tregony Guest House. It’s run by a young couple who try really hard to accommodate their guests. Highly recommended.
Sennen Cove to Pendeen is 10 miles. Pendeen to Zennor is about 8.5 miles. Zennor to St. Ives is about 7 miles.
Many people plan to walk from Pendeen to St. Ives in a single day. 15 miles may not sound like a long day, but the trail is very rough in places and it’s slow going. Also, this itinerary doesn’t allow much time to explore historic Zennor.