Porthcothan is a very special beach located to the south of Constantine and Treyarnon and perhaps less well-known for many. At low tide, the beach opens out into a wide expanse of sand with amazing rock formations and caves. For many who know, adults and children alike, it may be their favourite beach of all.
The bay can be found to the south of Treyarnon Bay, on the road towards the Airport and Mawgan Porth and Newquay. Sometimes just a quick stop at the top of the beach, many miss one of the most special beaches in Cornwall. Sand dunes at the top of the beach give way to a long seemingly narrow beach with cliffs on each side. The south side is built on while the north headland is free of houses.
As the tide drops, the lower half of Porthcothan Bay is revealed. Both sides of the lower beach are fantastic. On the north side, a huge rock dominates the beach – a gully runs between it and the cliff at low tide, providing a fantastic place to swim as long as you take care. Nearby, rocks create pools perfect for swimming or crabbing, and round the corner, an inlet runs back scattered with large boulders. The colours of the rocks and sky are breathtaking.
On the south side, the beach opens up creating a wide beach backed by huge caves and, in the far corner, steps leading up to the coast-path and beyond. On the beach itself, rock ‘stacks’ dominate the waterline, providing fantastic exploring and an impossibly beautiful vista. From here, you can see across past Treyarnon, Constantine and to the lighthouse at Trevose Head.
At the far south side of the beach, Arch Rock can be seen – a large arching rock carved by the sea. The opportunity to explore here is legion. If you are inquisitive enough, you may even be able to find a way through beneath the headland to the Trescore Islands!
These islands are found just to the north of Porthcothan and create a ‘lagoon’ between themselves and the mainland. At very low tides, you may be able to scramble down from the coast-path and swim across to the islands. A beautiful white sand beach can be enjoyed, and often there are seals to be seen. It’s a very special place but should only be considered with adult supervision and extreme care.
Further round the headland, you can find Porthmear – a deep and wide inlet scattered with rocks and pools. It presents a very unusual and interesting place to explore. From here the cost-path winds back, past Trescore and then along between the headland houses and the beach. There are numerous places to get down to the beach and the path finishes up by the dunes at the top of the beach.
The beach car park is large and has a recycling centre and is located just behind the main road at the back of the beach opposite the path through to the dunes and the beach. On the way down this path, you can find Porthcothan Bay Stores – open every day of the year and ideal to pick up your morning paper, bread and milk.
Porthcothan is a relatively unknown beach, and when you discover it you may find you spend much more time here. Raintree let Trevethan House at Porthcothan – and we hope to let others soon.