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South West Coast Path: Carbis Bay to St Ives

Distance: 1.2 Miles
Difficulty: Easy

There is no better way to travel to St Ives from your holiday home in Carbis Bay than to walk along the coastal path. It is one of the more accessible stretches of the South West Coast Path for families, as the path is properly surfaced and fenced off, although there are some steps to negotiate in places.

As you leave Carbis Bay, head west, picking up the path from in front of the Carbis Bay Hotel. This is the steepest section of the path, and you will have to climb some steps, but the path is well tended and easy to walk along. This narrow section of the pathway leads you to a metal railway bridge – if you have timed your walk correctly you will be able to wave at the train as it passes beneath you! Carry on up the final part of the incline and the path will widen. On your right you will have beautiful glimpses of St Ives through the trees – keep looking in that direction because the first views of St Ives itself are stunning!

The path widens out as you pass through some well-hidden houses that you will envy for their coastal view. Keep walking until you reach the crest of a hill with a steep drop before you and a magical view of St Ives Harbour. On your left is an old huer’s lookout. The huer used to stand at the top of a hill and use his unrestricted view to direct the pilchard boats to the fish, using large paddles (bushes) to tell the skippers where to go. Standing here, you can see why this was such a brilliant vantage point, and why the huer was such an important man in the times when St Ives relied on pilchard fishing as a means of income.

The steep hill that you will thankfully be walking down next is the bane of many a competitor taking part in the St Ives biathlon each year – they have to run up this hill in their wetsuit on their way to Carbis Bay and then swim back to St Ives Harbour. You will have the luxury of a rest on one of the benches should you need one! At the bottom of the zig-zagging descent is the award-winning Porthminster Café and Porthminster Beach, a beautiful family beach with calm seas, golden sand and excellent facilities.

If you want to continue into St Ives town itself, follow the pathway along the back of the beach, up the slope and along past the Pedn Olva Hotel. You arrive in St Ives at the RNLI Lifeboat House, right on the harbour, ready to explore the huge variety of galleries, shops and restaurants that make up this amazing town. And don’t forget, if a day of shopping has exhausted you, the train is an ideal way to travel back to Carbis Bay – all of the views and none of the effort!

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