Porthminster Beach, St Ives
It's the start of of our annual progression along the South West Coast Path and we pick up the route by St Ives station, overlooking the beautiful Porthminster Beach. The path runs above the beach and then climbs further towards Porthminster Point. As you progress St Ives harbour opens itself up to view.
Beyond the point lies the equally sandy Carbis Bay.
You descend to just behind the beach and climb again to emerge overlooking Port Kidney Sands at the mouth of the Hayle River.
The path follows the dunes at the back of this vast sandy area and turns inland to follow the estuary. The tower of St Uny's church at Lelant dominates the view. According to Pevsner, Lelant was an important sea port in medieval times. The church is originally Norman, but mainly 15th century with late Victorian renovation by J D Sedding, the architect of Truro Cathedral.
Soon there is a good view across the estuary towards Hayle.
After the church the route becomes more suburban as you pass through new housing developments and then follow the road around the edge of the wide estuary into the town of Hayle. The last couple of miles are a bit boring to be honest.
Conditions: beautiful late afternoon sunshine.
Distance: 6.1 miles (distance now completed 403.3 miles).
Map: Explorer 102 (Land's End).
Rating: three and a half stars.