Fishing Cove


Latitude:50° 23.72′ North
Longitude: 5° 37.34′ West
OS Grid:SW596429

This is a beautiful little cove on the north coast of Cornwall near Navax Point and not too far from St. Ives. The access is described as “fairly good” – and better than may naturist beaches. There are rock pools at either side of the beach.


Follow the B3301 from Hayle towards Portreath. Immediately after the single track bridges turn left down a lane to the National Trust car park (£1.50, members free). Park in the field at the end. The path round the headland goes from the far side, and the one across the headland from the right hand corner. It is a 2km, lovely walk to the east across the headland and along the coast path. Going round the headland adds 500m. As you approach the cove you will see the path down the cliffs to the beach.

Alternatively, continue along the B3301 for another 1.4km to a small, free, National Trust car park that is only a couple of hundred metres from the cove. Walk west along the coast path to the path down to the beach.


Dogs are permitted. The nearest facilities are at Godrevy on the road to Gwithian (café 1.7kms and seasonal toilets 2.2kms) and a pub at Gwithian.

There is no safety equipment or lifeguard service at the beach. There are differing views on the safety of swimming but usually when swell and surf permit it can be undertaken with care on a rising high tide but not at low water.


The path is fairly steep and the steps are not good, but it is not difficult however, the path does require care when wet.

Conditions can be good for both body-boarding and surfing at Fishing Cove but the narrowness of the inlet and rocks mean that care has to be taken. Snorkelling can be quite good when calm conditions prevail in summer although.

Due to the aspect and cliffs there can be areas of shade on the beach but this can be an advantage if it is hot, particularly when climbing the steep path from the beach back up the cliffs.


  1. Lovely beach bathed in sun from the morning to mid afternoon, textiles and nudists coexist well on my visits. Stayed nude all day on my visit in August, including swimming round to the adjacent beach and sunbathing there for an hour or two before swimming back with two other nude couples, fantastic day, great swimming…don’t miss it.

  2. Just a note to warn that the path down to this beach has been officially closed due to the danger of cliff-falls. A metal fence has been placed across the path and wooden slats have been used to try to cut off the path again a little further down. It’s easy enough to get around both – the first fence is movable and the second you can climb around to your right on the way down and we saw a number of people down on the beach, many enjoying it as nature intended.

    But more effective fences may be put up in due course.

  3. A popular, mixed textiles and nudist beach that looses the sun late afternoon. Private and sheltered with good swimming / snorkeling and at low tide their are a couple of bays either side you can get too. The path at the bottom is quite tricky after the winter storms, but there are ropes and steps maintained by the locals, so passable with care. The path is very slipper when wet. Beware of falling rocks from the cliffs, above.

    There is also a beach known as Greenbank Cove that is half-way between here and Basset Cove and accessible from the large carpark west of the Basset Cove carpark (at the end of two fields). Walk back from here towards Basset and 1/3 of the way along the first field you will see a number of yellow wooden stakes along the clifftop warning of a recent collapse. To the eastern side of this there is a steep bank that leads onto a winding path that takes you down to the beach. The path is the most dangerous of the three as there are a couple of cliff collapses and an underground stream, but it is fairly well worn. There is a point towards the bottom of a natural bowl in the cliff where the path has gone. Make your way up to the right, over the heath and grass to the steep, grassy bank on the far (eastern) side. Here you will find a rope that will lead you down until you are on the rocks above the cliff. There is another rope further down these rocks but the best option is to scramble over the boulders onto the beach, provided they are not wet. At low tide, this is by far the biggest expanse of sand of the three (Fishing, Basset and Greenbank) and the best swimming, but at high tide it is totally cut off and often submerged. The trickiest route of the three, but it is very private and secluded and benefits from the sun from mid-morning onwards.

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