We all know the name Guinevere. The legendary wife of King Arthur and queen of Britain was beautiful and noble, according to the tales. Known in the local language as Gwynnever, she is immortalised on the far west stretch of the Cornish coastline as Gwenver Beach is rumoured to be named after her. And that’s apt as this is indeed a ruggedly beautiful corner of the county.
Gwenver Beach, also known as Gwynver Beach, is just up the coast from Sennen Cove Beach and the Land’s End Landmark, near Porthcurno and not too far from Penzance either. With high cliffs encircling the beach, which is slap bang in the middle of a designated Area of Natural Beauty, this is a sandy experience that is all about taking in the elements, soaking up the natural environment and marvelling at the spectacular views. In fact, on a clear day the Isles of Scilly can be seen from the shoreline.
The waves at Gwenver are legendary too, making for some of the county’s best surf conditions as this is where some of Cornwall’s biggest waves first hit the shore. Lifeguards patrol the beach in the summer but even with their presence, care should be taken when getting into the water as it can be dangerous, especially at high tide.
Located at the foot of steep grassy cliffs, it’s a 10 to 15-minute trek down steep steps on to the beach. Gwenver is about 150m long but at low tide it actually joins Sennen Cove Beach, making for a spectacular walk along one of the most picturesque sections of the Penwith Heritage Coast nestled between Land’s End and Cape Cornwall.
One of the best bits about Gwenver, though, is that despite its renown, it’s probably the quietest of Cornwall’s famous beaches, purely because of its remoteness and difficulty to access. Those with the determination to make it down those steps will find the effort worth it, standing on the edge of Cornwall looking out across the ocean in a natural amphitheatre. Incidentally, it’s also an absolute sun trap. Now that’s a legendary tale worth telling!