Set the scene: to the east of Falmouth, to the west of Mevagissey and to the south(ish) of Truro and the A390 is the Roseland Peninsula, a beautiful nature zone with a healthy portion of its serene southern coastline known as the gorgeous Roseland Heritage Coast. And on this heritage coast, to the west of the village of St Mawes, is a massive bay known as Gerrans Bay, a picturesque area with a couple of stunning beaches to boot. One of these beaches is Pendower Beach and the other is Carne Beach.
That may have taken us a while to get to Carne Beach but that’s the point. This beach and its equally pretty neighbour sit in a bay that’s far away from the madding crowd. It’s secluded here and takes a little while to reach along narrow country roads but, boy, is it worth the trip if you’re into stretches of sand that are quiet, idyllic and off-the-beaten-track. Plus, there’s the benefit of all that nature to explore too along the Roseland Heritage Coast.
We’ve chosen to highlight Carne Beach because, well, it’s stunning. At low tide, however, it does join up with Pendower to create a beautiful long stretch that’s great for dog walking. And you can do that throughout the whole year because these beaches are always open to pooches. Both are owned and looked after by the National Trust, so expect a pristine natural environment with rock pools and acres of soft sand. Also check out the small stream at Carne’s eastern end. This is called Gidleywell and the kids love splashing about in it after a paddle in the sea, which is safe for a swim despite the fact there’s no lifeguard cover here.
Butterfly and bird watchers often flock here due to the abundance of wildlife across the peninsula. In fact, so many walks across the bay and beyond begin and end at Carne Beach. We recommend the one over to the Nare Head headland that rises up to 300ft and juts out to the east of the beach with Carne Beacon – one of the largest bronze age barrows in the UK – just behind it. There’s the remains of an iron age settlement at the base of the beacon and war bunkers to discover up on Nare Head.
There are cafés serving each beach but the selections are limited so we’d recommend taking snacks or a packed lunch if you’re staying for a whole day. The Nare Hotel, a pretty posh establishment that overlooks the beach, is also open to visitors who want a cream tea. However, seclusion, space and nature are the best reasons to visit Carne Beach and the surrounding Gerrans Bay. Take your picnic blanket and enjoy the feeling of being in the wild, encircled by nature and gorgeous views all around.