Downderry Beach, (Lord Elliott’s Beach); near Looe

Location

Latitude: 50° 21.63′ North
Longitude:  4° 21.50′ West
OS Grid: SX:330 538

No dogs

The beach is coarse sand but the second and third bays along are used by naturists. Care should be taken not to be cut off by the tide.


Directions

See also comments below which include alternative directions.

Find the village of Downderry.

From the Tamar Bridge, make your way towards Liskeard. Take the Looe road at the Trerulefoot roundabout, then stick to that road until you reach Sheviock. From there Downderry is signposted.

Park up somewhere in the village, there is a small car park and walk to the main beach. As you face the sea, turn left, and keep walking. You’ll soon find a friendly bunch of nude folk – strip off and enjoy the sun.

Downderry Beach - looking left© Mel
Downderry Beach – looking left
Downderry Beach - looking right© Mel
Downderry Beach – looking right

Take special note regarding the tides (see comments below). This is a yearly thing and it depends on sand shift during the previous winter. However it is initially best to work to the three-hour rule.

Alternative directions would be go to Trerulefoot roundabout take the road to Torpoint i.e. Torpoint Ferry, this is also is the way to Looe. Continue on this road for about one and a half miles ignoring the Looe turn off.

When you reach Polbathic (the first built up area) turn right at the pub (Halfway Inn I think) which is on the right hand side of the road nearly at the end of the built up area. Take the road that runs up the left-hand side of the pub and continue on that road four about three miles. You will then reach a precise junction, the road to the right leads down into Downderry and the left road takes you along the coast road to Crafthole, Whitsand Bay and Milbrook. After about half a mile you will come to the spot where you can reach the naturist beach without going into Downderry and therefore avoiding the tidal problems.

You will come to a small area on the right hand side that has a small lay-by area and a ranch style fence. There is only room for about three cars to park off the road. This is important because you are very likely to get a parking ticket if your wheels are on the road. About another one hundred yards further on is another lay-by on the left that holds about three cars at a real push. Again the wheel rule applies.

Now to get to the beach!

At the ranch stile fence there is a stile, climb this stile and head across the field in the direction of the opposite left-hand corner of the field. Do not follow the official footpath that leads down into Downderry. Almost in the corner of the field you will see a small single width gateway or a clearing where there once was a gate. Continue down through the wood, which is a pleasant walk, until you come out above the beach, itself. This is the naturist beach. There is a small but safe climb down the cliff face onto the beach.

The walk from the road to the beach takes about 20 minutes. Another way to approach the gateway into the wood is to climb another style located a hundred yards along the road near the second lay-by that is on the left. Climb this stile and then continue walking and it will take you directly to the gateway.

Remember the parking restrictions this road is a clearway!

 

6 thoughts on “Downderry Beach, (Lord Elliott’s Beach); near Looe

  1. If you enjoy walking you can also park in Portwrinkle and follow the well signed coast path until it intersects the route described (at SX336540). The zigzag path down through the wood is marked on the OS Explorer map, difficult to make out from the hatching that denotes the steep slope, and passing ‘St Germans Hut’, the ruin of a two-storey building. On the seaward side of the coast path it starts at a dilapidated wooden gate. To the landward side there’s now a galvanised steel field-gate and (a few metres east) a stile and Permissive Path from the road. At the top the path looks overgrown with nettles, but it’s soon clear apart from occasional fallen branches to step over. The final few metres down to the beach are very steep and the loose earth gives little foothold. But at June 2006 there was a rope in place which makes it much easier. If you baulk at the cliff route, there’s a much shorter and easier path to the beach from the point where the coast path intersects the B3247 (Tregunnus Lane) into Downderry.

  2. What a beautiful place! This was my first real attempt at naturism, after a brief go in Australia, and it was most enjoyable. On a partly cloudy summer weekday there was a smattering of people around, and I was relieved to find there was plenty of space for me to pick a quiet spot as I adjusted to being “au naturel” in a public place.

    The sand is surprisingly fine, while there are plenty of places at the cliff-face to shelter from the wind. The walk down through the woods on the cliff is very picturesque, with the atmospheric ruins appearing as quite a surprise as you round the twisty path. Parts of the path are very steep, and towards the bottom it becomes very narrow as you squeeze between the shrubbery, but as long as you are careful it’s no major problem for the fit and agile. Helpful ropes have been secured in the steepest areas which can be used to pull yourself up the small slopes I imagine if the ground is wet some parts might be difficult to scramble up, and with a lot of leaf litter around it would be advised to just be careful and take things slowly. A good grippy pair of shoes should be worn if using this path, and take extra water for the climb back up!

    Overall the beach exceeded my expectations and I will definitely go back to such a pretty place.

  3. I note the comments re Downderry beach. yes it is a great beach to go, but please be honest unless you are very fit the cliff route down can be quite dangerous as the gradient is so steep you can slip and break a leg! the final drop to the beach is very difficult and the return is even worse at about one in three. Do not attempt it unless you are very fit. Please note if you leave your car in the lay by it may well be broken into. The beach is just great and free from all the daft restrictions that clubs want to impose. But please consider others and do not offend.

  4. Although I haven’t been there for some time, it’s a beautiful beach and very friendly. The walk down the cliff is mainly through light woodland and the ruins of Lord Eliot’s tea rooms provide a good early place to undress. You can then enjoy the walk ‘au naturel’. The bottom of the path can be quite steep so I wouldn’t recommend this route for very young children.

  5. The sand is nice – and gets hot in the summer – and there are a few sheltered inlets at the rear of the beach to provide some shade, or some shelter if it gets breezy. Warning – the nudist part of the beach is inaccessible by the beach route from Downderry village for about two or three hours either side of high tide, so check the tide times before setting off. (There is the other way down across the fields [detailed above], which provides an escape if you do get cut off and is much easier to discover if you start from the beach first time.)

    Tide times are given on the BBC and local TV news every night, and are in several local papers.

  6. WARNING –
    During the last week (between 7/9/03 and 13/9/03) someone has cut and removed the ropes from the cliff access, making that way to the beach
    much more difficult.

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