There are so many fantastic walks near the Headland Hotel that we thought it would be helpful to pull some of our favourites together here for you, there’s a printable Dog Walk PDF if you’re a paper directions kind of walker, or save this link if you’ll be taking your phone.
The Headland to Fistral and the Gannel
Newquay to Crantock
Porth and Watergate Bay
Mawgan Porth and St Mawgan
6 miles | 2.5 hours
Leaving the Hotel main gate, turn left and walk to the end of the Headland Road. Turn right and then cross the road a few yards down and turn left into King Edward Crescent. Follow the signs to Fistral Beach along the coast path which leads to the ancient Huer’s Hut.
The Huer’s Hut is thought to date from the 14th century. At the time Newquay was a small fishing village called Towan Blystra. The name of the hut is derived from the French word ‘huer’ (to cry). Each fishing concern in the village had its own huer who would keep watch from this vantage point watching the sea constantly for the moment when it would change colour, indicating the arrival of the pilchard shoals. The huer would then shout ‘Hevva! Hevva!’ (here they are) through his long trumpet. There was then great excitement and the people from the villages would go out in their boats and haul in the fish. Such was the importance of sighting the pilchard shoals that everyone left all work and rushed to the cove nearest to their particular fish cellar. It is even said that when the cry went up on Sundays, the churches would empty and at one funeral in 1833 only the sexton and the deceased were left when the huer’s cry was heard.
The huer also directed the movement of the boats with semaphore-like signals using two small furze bushes covered with cloth. These signals were also used to pass messages to men on passing ships e.g. about the birth of a child. The external steps to the Huer’s Hut allowed the huer to climb up for an even better view.
Follow the coastal path past the Huer’s Hut to Towan Head, the headland on which stands a small white coastguard station.
On the way to this you pass the old lifeboat house and slip. This was the steepest launching slip in England. This part of Newquay Bay is called ‘The Gazzle’.
In the cliffs there are caves known as ‘Tea Caverns’ because smuggled tea and other contraband were kept hidden from the excise men in bygone times.
On the westward side there are many cut granite stones – all that remains of an abortive attempt to build a harbour of refuge there in the eighteenth century.
Leaving the coastguard station viewpoint on Towan Head, come back down to the headland. On your right is Little Fistral Beach and Nun’s Cove (both good for sea shell finds) and Fistral Beach. On your left is The Headland. Either cross Fistral Beach or take the higher footpath between the dunes and the golf course and follow the curve of the bay up to Pentire Point East. To the left is Crantock Beach and the opposite headland is Pentire Point West. From East Pentire one can walk directly back by road to Newquay or take a bus.
Alternatively, the walk may be lengthened (except at high tide) by following the River Gannel from Crantock Beach. For this route, walk down Riverside Crescent into Riverside Avenue. At the junction with Pentire Crescent a public footpath sign going down to the River Gannel will be seen. Follow this path and descend to the river bank. From here it is possible (except at high tide!) to walk along the river shore to the Gannel Road and the boating lake via Trenance Lane. Go through the public gardens under the railway viaduct to the town centre by way of Edgecumbe Avenue. Turn left at the top of Edgecumbe Avenue and return to The Headland by walking through the town by way of Cliff Road, East Street, Bank Street, Fore Street and Headland Road.
7 Miles | 3.5 hours
4 miles | 2 hours
N.B. Because this walk crosses the River Gannel by a footbridge which is covered at high tide, due attention to the tide timetable will be necessary.
Leave the Headland main gate, turn left and walk to the end of the Headland Road. Turn right into Beacon Road and walk to the mini roundabout. Turn right into Tower Road. Go to the top of this road and at the junction with Crantock Street turn right into Atlantic Road. This road then turns left behind the terraced houses on one side and the golf course and a small green on the other. At the end, cross Pentire Road and descend Trethellan Hill, signposted as a pedestrian path to the River Gannel.
At the river, cross the plank bridge to the right of the steps on the shore. Walk across the sandy bed towards the opposite bank, where steps will be found leading to the field on the right of Penpol Creek. In the field, follow the path left to a gate in a small wood. Pass through the wood and through another gate into a field. Take the path climbing through the field to a gate on the left of Penpol House. The gate opens onto a lane to Crantock (on the right).
Close to the village a carved figure head from a ship does duty as a lintel over the doorway of a shed. This and the carvings over many a cottage door adds to the charm of this old-world village. Crantock is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It is a place of extremely ancient origin, St Carantacus having founded an oratory here in the fifth century.
From this date it becomes established for many centuries before the Norman Conquest as as seat of learning of considerable importance, boasting no less than eight colleges and a collegiate church. Little evidence of this past glory remains in the present church which dates from the thirteenth century, but it does have an exceptionally fine screen. There is an ancient granite coffin in the church yard and under a canopy on the seaward side, the old parish stocks.
A carving relates the story of the last man to be held in the stocks and how he escaped from them. There is a saint’s well in the centre of the village.
A lane below the church leads to Crantock Beach and extensive sand dunes. To complete the circuit, leave Crantock by Beach Road and take the footpath indicated to the right, through a gate.
The view of the rocks and over the sea with The Headland Hotel in the background on the cliffThis path, through the bushes and fields above the river, leads to the steps which give access to the pedestrian bridge back to Newquay.
A longer walk back to Newquay across the fields may be made from Crantock by retracing the route back to Penpol House, but instead of entering the field (boldly marked on the lane side as ‘Track to Newquay’) carry on down the lane until a stream and a ford is reached at Penpol Creek. Cross the stream and follow the track by passing Little Trevithick Farm (footpath sign pointing to Crantock), Treringey Farm (footpath sign indicating Trevemper), and Trevemper (footpath sigh indicating Crantock). This footpath goes directly across the fields passing over stiles and through gates. At Trevemper it meets a cross track; turn left down this track, which descends to a gate and on to the shore of the River Gannel. Turn right on the shore and follow the track across the river bed to the footbridge over the river which leads to Gannel Road and the boating lake of Trenance.
If it is anticipated that the tide will cover the footbridge, turn right at Trevemper and walk down the A3075 back to Newquay. If, at the start of the walk, the footbridge at Trethellen Hill is covered but the tide is going out, it is possible to walk along the foreshore of the River Gannel to the bridge near Trenance Park. The walk to Crantock can then be made by crossing the bridge and taking the track to Trevemper and the path across the fields.
3.5 miles | 2 hours
From the Headland, turn left into Headland Road and then right into Beacon Road. If the tide is out you can choose to walk across the beaches or through the town. So, if the tide is out far enough, turn left at the Red Lion Pub, go down the hill to the Harbour Restaurant and turn right down a small path. Walk across the Harbour Beach up the slip way and across to some steps which lead down to Towan Beach. Past the Island, you will reach Great Western Beach and then Tolcarne Beach. Go up the slope from here to the Barrowfields.
If the tide is in, walk straight on past the mini roundabout and into Fore Street. Continue straight on through the town by way of Bank Street, East Street, Cliff Road and Narrowcliff, where you will eventually come to the Barrowfields. Take the coast path though the Barrowfields.
The Barrowfields are named after the Barrows or Tumuli that have been discovered here. By following the cliff side footpath you can enjoy some of the finest coastal views in Europe.
Close your eyes and try to feel the power of this ancient landscape. Our Celtic ancestors honoured this as a sacred site.
Fifteen barrows have been identified here at one time but sadly few remain. Before anyone understood their historic importance, a local farmer removed much of the stone from most of the barrows to shore up the walls of his fields. One of the barrows was excavated and deep at the centre were found charred cooking pots and a pottery burial urn containing the remains of a Bronze Age Chieftain who lived here some 3500 years ago. Some say this is a haunted place and that in the dead of night when the moon is new and the mist rolls in off the sea, the sound of galloping horses can be heard. The Barrowfields were purchase by the Town Council in 1920 and they are used as a recreational area for festivals and concerts. In 1999 this was one of the few places where the total eclipse of the sun could be seen in its entire music splendour.
The granite cross at the junction of Lusty Glaze Road was erected in June 2000 to mark the Millennium.
At the end of the Barrowfields, take the path which bears left above Lusty Glaze Beach and past Glendorgal, through a residential area to the cliff tops above Porth Beach. Go down the slope and walk across the beach to the road on the other side.
The sea and headland around The Headland Hotel in CornwallWalk a little way up the hill and take the footpath to the left leading to Trevelgue Head/Porth Island which is joined to the mainland by a wooden footbridge. This spans a narrow gap through which the sea surges several feet below the bridge at high tide. From the bridge there is an excellent view of Cornwall’s finest Blowing Hole. Waves crash through this at high tide and it is quite a spectacle. The springy turf on the Island is a joy to walk on and the views on all sides are magnificent.
Porth was formly a thriving port with its own pilchard cellars and two ship building yards. Porth Island, on the northern side of the inlet, is one of many ancient cliff castles to be found in this county.
Excavations in 1939 indicated a fortified town of around 2000 inhabitants at the time of the Roman Empire, with evidence of Roman trading between 100 and 300 AD. Coins and other artefacts found during this excavation may be seen in Truro Museum.
Leaving Porth, follow the coastal footpath to Watergate Bay. Here there is a fabulously wide stretch of golden sand and rolling surf – some of the finest coastal scenery in the world. Jamie Oliver has his ‘Fifteen’ restaurant here and there are various other cafes and bars for refreshments. To return, retrace steps on the coastal footpath or take the bus along the coast road.
4 – 5 miles | 2 -3 hours
The walk commences at Mawgan Porth which can be reached by no. 53 bus. Leaving the coast at Mawgan Porth take the road directly inland signposted to St Mawgan. After a quarter of a mile, just before the S-bend in the road, leave the highway to the left at a point marked ‘Mawgan Porth Chalets’. Immediately turn right onto a signposted footpath. Follow this path along the valley, keeping right and ignoring a footpath sign pointing left. Cross over a small stream; continue along the edge of the field, then across a footbridge by a ford. Continue up a fairly steep well-surfaced lane by a caravan park until you reach the road.
Cross the stile on the other side of the road where the footpath is signed ‘St Mawgan’. Follow this well-trodden path, turning right where the road is reached into St Mawgan Village.
This is a picturesque, unspoilt village in a sheltered, woodland position. Most of the church is thirteenth century but the Norman font dated 1100 A.D., the bench ends dating from 1450 A.D. and the pulpit 1553 A.D., give evidence of a progressive establishment. At the head of the steps by the south-west door is a fifteenth century lantern cross. Close to the church is a Carmelite Convent (Lanherne) formerly the residence of the Arundel family, the chapel of which is open to the public. There is Saxon cross outside the chapel.
To return to Mawgan Porth, take the road to the right at the T-junction after crossing the bridge in front of the church. Enter a field on the right through a gate adjacent to farm buildings and opposite the Lanherne Convent with its prominent clock. The tarmacadam track through this field passes a wood to the right. Continue through the gate at the end of the field and through two more fields into a lane by Polgreen Farm.
At the bend, where the next farm comes into view, there is a well gritted track on the right-hand side, which leads down the valley, across the river on a footbridge and up again to join the road to Gluvian Farm. Take this track for the quick route back to Mawgan Porth by turning left at the road.
Fistral Beach, Newquay a view of the beach and the sea lapping the shoreAlternatively, to extend the walk but the coast path back to Mawgan Porth, continue up the lane past the next farmhouse, Tolcarne. Look out for a stile over the high hedge at the corner of the field on the right (almost opposite a farm building on the left). Enter the field and keeping to the hedge on the right-hand side, walk to the stile at the end of the hedge. Cross the stile (at which there is a footpath sign) and take the track to the left between the fields and towards the bungalow by the road.
On the road, turn right for Trevarrian (if because of the absence of a sign the first stile is missed, carry on to the end of the lane where it joins the road; at the road turn right and walk to Trevarrian.
N.B. This road can be busy so please exercise care in walking by facing oncoming traffic and keeping single file.
Cross the road at Trevarrian where the road bends, thus getting the maximum view of traffic approaching in both directions. Take the first left at Trevarrian passing the telephone box and cross the road to follow a gravel track opposite. This track leads into and across a field to a stile on the coastal path at Beacon Cove. Turn right and follow the coast path back to Mawgan Porth.