Coastal walking, with gorgeous beaches and coves along the way makes for some truly memorable journeys. Our route started from the beautiful Carlyon Bay, near St Austel and continued alongside the golf course, we then followed the coastal path further to Par village. The port of Par has been a busy industrial location since the days of copper mining and China clay exports and had its own dedicated ore processing plant which was perfectly located for the very successful, local mining industry. One of the areas most influential business and land owners, Joseph Treffry created a rail link to Par from the Luxulyan Valley to Par especially for exporting mining goods such as copper and China clay from his mines. Par village still has its part to play in industry, the docks are still used today as are local clay dries. Par Sands beach is a dog friendly beach which, for us sounded like a big plus, having two dogs with us, big Max and little Bandit.
On day three of our Cornish trip, we had been very lucky with the weather, the previous evening we were treated to the most beautiful, glowing sunset and in the morning, mist rising off the fields with blue skies above. A bright and positive start for a steady stroll to the coastal path beside the golf course. Our youngest, again didn’t join us for this walk, instead, spending time with his girlfriend and her family who, I feel are very lucky to be living in such a lovely area. So, once we’d dropped him off, we booted up, snapped on the dogs leads and slapped on our sun cream. Time was ticking, so off we went to explore, the dogs were excited and off we strode from the Carlyon Bay camping and caravan park, along the path up toward the local golf course and to the south west coastal path.
Once we were on the coastal path, the beautiful cliff top views began. We took a moment to survey the local Carlyon Bay beach and just enjoy the scenery from the cliff top. Carlyon Bay beach is privately owned, as is the car park, it is open to the public and parking charges apply, but there’s a no dogs on the beach policy, at any time of the year. It is beautifully kept, and I can’t blame them for being protective in such a gorgeous location. The friendly security staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction for a more dog friendly walk, the security person on duty at the car park gave us some very useful local information on our first evening stroll while chatting about the dogs.
Moving onwards along the coastal path which from our point of joining the route, was to the left and towards Par village, our destination for the day. To the right along the coastal path is the Georgian town of Charlestown with its stunning harbour created by Charles Rashleigh and which looks to this day, as perfect and historic as ever, it’s one of those places that seem to just transport you back in time, the tall ships especially so.
Back to our walk towards Par village and throughout the length of this section, the coastal path runs along side the Carlyon Bay golf course, which stretches for miles, so if you’re an avid golfer you might find this stretch interesting in more ways than one and be taking note of the views either side of you!
We kept our dogs on leads through the main part of the route due to it being so close to the golf course and obviously to keep them away from the edge of the cliffs, especially dangerous for Bandit who likes to scurry about in the undergrowth, the edge was obscured by bushes and brambles and though not close to the path by any means, could be discovered by a small, curious dog!
I would advise walking boots for this walk due to the occasional muddy stretches of the path, especially if it’s been a rainy few days, we were glad to be wearing boots, even though the day was gloriously warm, it had not dried up the sticky mud. We spotted a little pathway through the bushes leading to a rocky area, I add with discretion, don’t take risks near cliffs. This was a peaceful spot to take time out and ponder, looking out to sea and watching the waves lapping up a nearby cove beach, this one was not easily reachable but was non-the-less lovely to see and to the other side we looked back towards Carlyon Bay, which was now in the distance. We always carry extra water for the dogs, so we gave them a good drink while we were off the track.
The next stop on the coastal path was a short visit to Spit Point beach which is dog friendly all year round, the beach is very clean and a local organised beach clean was in full swing on the day of our visit. We couldn’t walk along the beach too far because the tide was high as we arrived, I spotted a lovely rock formation with an archway through it that I just had to photograph, it was quite a snap happy day using my phone and camera. I’d love to return to this beach on our next trip and stroll along a little more when the tide is at it’s lowest point, maybe bring a picnic.
A couple of the locals helped to guide us to the next part of the South West Coast path. At this point it takes a diversion along a Twitchell by the side of the china clay works and over a metal bridge, the path twists and turns and again can be tricky under foot if you are not wearing sturdy footwear. The coast path diverts along the road and past the entrance to the harbour on the right and the area becomes industrial in nature, but only for a short while until reaching Par, a lovely little village where we decided to stop for a well-earned coffee break, and of course there was more water for the dogs, Max was glad to lay down, and was not looking very interested in doing much more than sleeping in the shade. We enjoyed a sit down with a mug of coffee which was brought out to our table, as we sat, enjoying the warmth of the sun on our backs.
Our planned destination was Par Sands Beach, which again is dog friendly. Before moving on we had to decide whether to carry on further to Par Sands Beach, or was it better to turn back, was it fair to Max, adding to the miles he’d have to walk back again? Max looked tired and had slowed down his pace quite substantially and we chose, for his sake, to take the South West Coast path back the same way. Bandit as usual, was raring to go, Max had begun to plod as we re-joined the coast path once more, a steady pace on the return journey and with plenty more photo opportunities.
My favourite part of our return journey was finding a secluded beach cove in which to have paddle and have fun, both the dogs seemed to be in their element too, playing in the ebbing sea water which in turn rinsed off the mud. Max made the most of the break, resting a while in the shade before bounding back into the breaking sea water with his little buddy, Bandit. I believe we made the right decision in turning back when we did, and we still had tons of fun in the sun on a beautiful, tranquil little cove beach. The walk from Carlyon Bay to Par and back again, with a few detours was approximately 7 miles give or take, but we made the most of every part of the journey.
I’m looking forward our next visit to the area and doing some more exploring here and there, who knows where, or what I’ll be discovering on our next trip. We were only in Cornwall for 4 days on this trip, but I feel we discovered a whole lot during that time and built some terrific memories. The Carlyon Bay Camping Park was a really relaxing and well looked after camping park where we plan to return to for our next family trip to Cornwall. I think this is what life should be about, enjoying the moment, and building memories. Until next time, keep building the memories, and keep smiling.