Carnewas at Bedruthan

In Brief

Type: Beauty attraction
Suitable for: Geology fans and walkers
Address: Next to the Bedruthan Steps Beach, between Padstow and Newquay, just off the B3276
Price: Free (£8 to park all day)
Dog friendly?: Yes, apart from the shop and café

Pick a spot around the Cornish coastline. Any spot. Now look around and take in those sights. You’ve just chosen a beautiful area of sea and rock because, quite simply, every part of the Cornish coastline is stunning. However, some spots are more magnificent than others. Like the Carnewas at Bedruthan.

Bedruthan was once a tourist hotspot for the Victorians more than 100 years ago as nearby Newquay began to develop as a holiday resort while nearby Padstow’s fishing industry was being revived. Its biggest draws were the dramatic views of the cliffs and sea alongside the Carnewas, which means ‘rock-pile of summer dwelling’ in Cornish and refers to a collection of wave-swept stacks that look as impressive on Bedruthan’s beach at low tide as they do when they rise out of the water at high tide. Marine erosion over the years has worn away the soft rocks that make up these stacks, leaving a dramatic vista from all vantage points.

Carnewas at Bedruthan is a natural attraction and obviously free to explore, however the National Trust owns and runs the car-park. It’s worth parking up and walking along the paths as the stacks rise up on your approach to the beach. There are plenty of walks around the coastline despite the fact that a former highlight – a set of steps down to the beach – has been closed due to a rock fall. There’s also a shop and café here that are worth browsing and chowing down in. They are housed in former mining builders as local miners once tunnelled into the cliffs below in search of copper, iron and lead.

On your visit, be armed with the knowledge that the stacks are said to have been used by Bedruthan – a giant in legend – as stepping stones. It’s pretty clear this myth was created for the benefit of the Victorian tourists, who loved it here. It’s no different for visitors who love it here today. Bedruthan may not be the bustling hotspot it once was but it’s nevertheless popular with geologists, walkers and anyone who wants to take in all the natural beauty on offer here. Especially those marvellous stacks.