Nanquidno Beach


Latitude:50° 18.13′ North
Longitude: 5° 60.75′ West
Sat Nav Postcode:TR26 3DE


Park at the Gurnard’s Head pub and find the footpath that trickles down onto the coastal path. From here, take a fork to the right and head down to the beach. Alternatively, park by the cattle grid in the hamlet of Rosemergy. Take the small footpath directly down the valley, past the old mine workings and down into the cove.


Porthmeor Cove, a small, sheltered, secluded and remote spot situated 6 miles northeast of Land’s End halfway between Morvah and Zennor on the South West Coast Path. Accessible at all states of the tide, Porthmeor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and one of Cornwall’s most important geological destinations its a geologist’s heaven due to the unusual geological features lurking around the inlet. This wide and rocky beach is the cove is a combination of sand, pebbles and rocks and rock pools are exposed as the tide drops. A fine sandy beach appears bang on low tide. The perimeter of the cove is made up of lots of nooks and crannies that are perfect for exploring with children. Challenging open water swimming opportunities can be found off the point to the right but be wary of strong currents.


  1. It is unusual in this day and age to have ones senses engorged. This bay although seemingly rocky thus difficult to find a suitable comfortable spot to lie has much treasure for the senses. As you walk towards the cove down the valley, one passes through centuries of human activity a reminder that this place has never been without footsteps. Odd is that thought, as one is actually quite alone in probably one of the most tranquil of places in Cornwall.
    As one walks nearer to the cove it gradually reveals itself in all its colour and rock-strewn chic. If your mind had been quiet and ones ears listening the sounds would have gently brought one to into a place of prepared relaxation. Sweeter than any lullaby the sheep, gentle rustle of the leaves and the babble of the stream in the lower mini-gorge will have alerted ones senses that something quite personal is happening.
    It is a Sunday afternoon and as expected the cove is deserted. I amble my way down through the stream and onto the granite rocks that are at the back edge of this feast for the eyes. It is breathtaking in its simplicity, large sharp edged boulders around the cliff edge, gradually give way in a hap-hazard manner to more rounded, smoothed rocks until at the mid tide edge, seaweed encrusted stones and boulders create a slippery 30 metre barrier to the sand and sea. The tide is on its way out thus the sand is just starting to reveal thus enticing one to its playful feel and beauty.
    Finding a place to set out one’s towel is quite a task yet; years of experience allow a swift observation of a suitable boulder. Pointing directly at the sea with the afternoon sun to my left it becomes a suitable habitation for my visit. Striping off seems correct as one’s man-made clothing is obviously offensive to the primitive natural beauty that one has found oneself within. In my naturist state I am now in partnership with the view that is set before me. Lounging back I start to absorb the incredible vista and am transformed into that deep thoughtful observer that lingers inside ones soul.
    The granite cliffs and outcrops convey centuries of battle with the storms that ravage this coastline. With thousands of kilometres of Ocean the waves have nothing to stop them other than these proud defenders of the land and their centuries of scars show that the battle will continue for many more, even if the sea gains a height advantage over the following decades. Individual boulders and smooth giant pebbles all desire to be viewed individually as well as collectively. As I relax into my observations each pebble lays alert for its continuing duty to remove the power of wave over rock. The myriad of colours is striking in their complexity with no two being quite the same; each one is unique in shape as well as colouring doubtless giving many an artist and uphill battle to their limited palette.
    Just this one moment has taken an hour so it is time to move and get the legs stretched. Moving about on this shoreline requires some footwear so putting on my sneakers I head off for an explore. Along the way I notice the usual obscenities of plastic flotsam, so I spend a few minutes picking up what I see and taking it back to the start of the path where a stack of such items already awaits a practical collection. As I head southwest towards the sun I come across a cave of sorts. It is unusual in that the roof is lodged stones, boulders and soil all dripping wet, thus a gentle note of drips continues as I look into the far reaches of the cave. Coming out I head to the sandy shore and removing my sneakers place my footmark freshly onto the pristine sand. The warmth allows my feet and toes to gleefully massage themselves into a place of tranquillity, as my senses are gently heightened to an even deeper awareness. Moving to the west-nor-west I find a boulder that I can place my sneakers on and head into the sea for a quick splash. Surprisingly the sea is a tad warm so I linger for a moment or two before heading back into the full warmth of the sun. Lounging on the boulder I am gently dried by a cool breeze and warm sun. I stay in this spot to listen to the waves gently breaking.
    Another hour has passed and thus I decide to dive into the sea again, after all one has warmed up quite quickly. As I am drying out the first hiker arrives and climbs down heading for a spot some metres away. He strips and paddles out before plunging deeply into a wave. Swimming out for a few moments he turns and heads back to a shallow spot to stand and look around. Needing to leave him to have his moment in the sun I put on my sneakers and head back to my towel to continue my own personal relaxation. Lying on my stomach, I am lulled into a snooze as the stream gurgles around me.
    Only the infrequent hikers walking along the cliff path standing in a high position are able to observe the cove. From such a distance I still feel secluded and am quite content to dwell in my soothing space. Late in the afternoon I dress and start the return up the valley to the cattle grid on the road to make my way back to ones nest.
    Porthmeor is for the adventurer, the loaner, the deep thinker, the soul searcher and other such attentive naturists. There is no fear of families with children arriving in flocks to this cove unless such mothers and fathers are accepting of bruises, sprains and broken parts of tiny bodies. The lack of sand to lie on, the reliance of tides to get at the sand via seaweed encrusted boulders, no toilets and the nearest tea room some kilometres away, makes this an ideal retreat for those who truly appreciate the wisdom of nature’s primitive harmony.

  2. On the south-west edge of the cove beyond the rocks there is a patch of sand which cannot be seen from either the coastal path or the main beach. Further to the south-west near the point there is a natural rock pool ideal for swimming at low or medium tide which can be reached from the coastal path.

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