This June, get 15% off selected guidebooks and eBooks in our European Cycle Touring range with the code EUROCYCLE15. Find out more here.
Cape Cornwall and the Brisons
Cape Cornwall and the Brisons

Explore Cornwall: Top 5 Scenic and Historic Walks around Land's End and Penzance

Discover the wild beauty of Cornwall's western tip with five fantastic walks around Land's End and Penzance. Explore rugged coastlines, moorlands, and historical sites, including the unique wetlands of Hayle Estuary and the bustling town of St Ives. Most routes are circular or there-and-back, with linear walks easily accessible via public transport. Whether you're an experienced hiker or new to the hills, there's something for everyone at all times of year.

Looking across Hayle Estuary to St Uny Church
Looking across Hayle Estuary to St Uny Church

The best walk for unique wetland habitats...

What: Hayle Estuary nature reserves
Summary: A circular walk through Hayle connecting three RSPB nature reserves
Start/finish: Hayle library, Copperhouse, Hayle
TIme: 2.25hr
Distance: 8.5km (5.25 miles)
Climb: 30m

This is an unusual walk, forming a series of loops through the town of Hayle and visiting tidal pools and marshland that make up the RSPB Hayle Estuary Nature Reserve. This reserve is the most southwesterly estuary in the UK, and an important habitat for wetland birds throughout the year. This is an ideal winter walk, when bird numbers are at their height, and it can easily be shortened by visiting the reserves individually before retiring to one of the many cafes and pubs in the area.

St Ives
St Ives

The best walk for visiting St Ives...

What: St Ives Bay
Summary: A linear walk combining a scenic train ride with beautiful coastal walking back to St Ives
Start/finish: Lelant railway station / St Ives railway station
Time: 2hr
Distance: 5.5km (3.5 miles)
Climb: 220m

The St Ives branch line offers one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys, past the sweeping golden beaches of the Hayle Estuary, ideal for bird watching. There are several ways to complete this walk along St Ives Bay, but this description assumes you will first catch the train from St Ives to Lelant, a request stop. Make sure you are sitting on the left-hand side of the train to fully enjoy the panoramic views. St Ives itself is packed with quirky independent shops and art galleries as well as the Tate St Ives.

Wheal Edward and Wheal Owles
Wheal Edward and Wheal Owles

The best walk for television fame...

What: Botallack and the Crowns Engine Houses
Summary: A short circuit through some of the best-preserved relics of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site
Start/finish: The Count House, Botallack
Time: 1hr
Distance: 2.5km (1.5 miles)
Climb: 75m

This short walk on the Tin Coast provides an ideal introduction to the Cornish Mining UNESCO World Heritage Site. Numerous engine houses and mine buildings are passed on easy paths, offering an atmospheric insight into the industrial heritage of this part of Cornwall. The Crowns Engine Houses occupy a spectacular cliffside location and will be familiar to fans of the Poldark TV series. The Count House at Botallack was the administrative centre of the mine, and part of the building is now a National Trust visitor centre and cafe.

On the Tinners Way
On the Tinners Way

The best walk for ancient history...

What: Chûn Castle and Quoit
Summary: A short moorland walk to an Iron Age hill fort and atmospheric dolmen
Start/finish: Woon Gumpus Common
Time: 1.5hrs
Distance: 4km (2.5 miles)
Climb: 65m

The remote moorland of West Penwith is rarely visited, and as a consequence the ancient sites in this area remain in excellent condition. This walk begins from a small car park just off the B3318 south of Pendeen, crossing the moor on grassy tracks before climbing to Chûn Castle, built 2500 years ago. Nearby is a superb example of a Neolithic dolmen, or quoit, in a perfect hilltop position.

Carn Euny
Carn Euny

The best walk for spotting wildlife...

What: Chapel Carn Brea, Bartinney and Caer Bran
Summary: A moorland walk packed with historical interest and opportunities for spotting wildlife
Start/finish: Chapel Carn Brea
Time: 3hr
Distance: 7.5km (3.75 miles)
Climb: 160m

This remote moorland walk includes ascents of the three most southwesterly hills in Cornwall, and features Iron Age hill forts, Bronze Age cairns, a holy well and a well-preserved ancient village with a fogou (underground chamber). There are panoramic views and the opportunity to observe heathland wildlife, including hen harriers.

You'll find all these routes (and 10 more) in our guide to Short Walks in Cornwall: Land's End and Penzance, which contains clear route descriptions, OS mapping, plus facilities, parking and highlights for every route. Each route has been carefully selected to showcase the best of the area. No challenging terrain or complicated navigation means the walks can be enjoyed by everyone.

Short Walks in Cornwall: Land's End and Penzance - Front Cover

Short Walks in Cornwall: Land's End and Penzance


Phil Turner has chosen 15 of the best short walks around Land's End and Penwith. Each walk comes with easy-to-read Ordnance Survey maps, clear route description and lots of images, plus information on beauty spots and refreshment stops. No challenging terrain or complicated navigation means walks can be enjoyed by everyone.

More information