A Long Walk – Newquay to Perranporth

I am on holiday. I might might not have mentioned this yet. So there…now you know.

I set off from Newquay on my journey southward around the Cornish coastline. Newquay is not my kind of town. Picture the clubbing district of a grim industrial city, complete with classily named clubs like Silk, Envy and Charisma. Take that picture and drop it in isolation beside the sea. Populate it with a few thousand drunk and pilled up stage and hen parties. That is Newquay. Here and there are the signs of a genuinely interesting and alternative surfing town that might have existed a few years ago, but it’s been overwritten by mindless club culture.

So I got up early this morning and started along the coastal path with Parrenporth as my goal. And boy am I glad I started early because as I write now I’ve just arrived at my goal after walking ALL DAY. I’m utterly knackered and recovering with a drink as the sun sets over Perran Beach.

The coastal path is a walk of many dimensions. First is the up and down. My friend Dennis said he did not remember there being a single flat bit the whole way around. And from what I’ve seen he is right. And I’m not talking gentle gradients here, I seem to have spent at least a quarter of the day climbing up sheer cliff faces (only a slight exageration) or stumbling down paths modelled on very long playground slides.

And then there is the in and out. There is nothing more demoralising than turning a corner to see that the last hour of walking has done nothing more than take you in a giant loop around a bay. But there is also a real satisfaction to actually arriving at a destination on foot. In this age of motorised transportation all destinations are easily reached. It’s only when you walk that you realise how far apart places really are.

I have never done a walk of this kind before, and did literally no research so am learning on the job. So far I have Learned that:

I bought the right bag, and packed the right things. It isn’t too heavy but I have basically what I need. We’ll see how I fell about it by the end of the week.

My walking shoes, while the right thing, are already taking a beating. This pair are over a year old but seemed in good working order. However I’ve worn through an area of padding just today and it was starting to rub by the end of the hike. So, gaffa tape and Vaseline tmrw!

Avoid nettle traps! A very narrow path left me with stings over my shins and forearms. Fortunately not too painful but not what you want when you’re miles from anywhere.

I am taking a rest day tommrow. Perranporth is MUCH nicer than Newquay, with one of the most magnificent beaches I’ve ever seen, even rivaling Blacks Beach in San Diego, so I’m going to spend the day walking it tommorow and writing. (Photo below) After that a short hop to St Agnes, then maybe a LONG hop to St Ives.

Oh…I also have no idea how I get back from wherever the walk ends to Newquay and the airport. Ideas gratefuly received.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

5 thoughts on “A Long Walk – Newquay to Perranporth

    1. No train, and walking back halves the length of my journey. There will be a bus route, just need to find it.

      Yes. Steeeeep.


  1. St Ives is lovely. Full of polygamous cat lovers though. But that’s Cornwall for you. I did a (much shorter) coastal walk from St Ives to Zennor, so I have some experience of the up-down cliff top scramble. We also got caught in a bit of a storm – heavy rain and fog … slippery rocks and poor visibility make cliff top walks interesting.

    Wherever you end up, Google directions might help. It says the 504 bus goes from St Ives to Newquay.



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