If someone were to proclaim the Roseland the most beautiful part of Cornwall, it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. In fact, it would receive a knowing nod. This secluded peninsula of flowing hills, hidden beaches, and lush creeks is Cornwall’s jewel. In the heat of midsummer, it has a fertile, luxuriant feel to it.
Being a small peninsula it’s easy to walk around, and the coast path is quick to access. Depending on where you start, you can shorten and lengthen the walk as you wish. Below is one version of the Roseland Peninsula walk, a circular route from Porth Farm. It’s around five miles, with only a few moderate gradients, so can be comfortably done in a morning or afternoon, in a relaxed way.
Porth Farm Car Park & Towan Beach
The start of this walk is at a car park by Porth Farm. Once you’ve parked it’s a short walk past toilet facilities to the rocky shore at Towan Beach. Upon reaching the beach, the South West Coast Path is simple to find. Turn right and follow it, as it heads over hills and through coastal wildflower meadows towards the Carrick Roads; the River Fal Estuary.
Zone Point & St Anthony Head
The next stop on this circular walk is the most southerly point on the peninsula, known as Zone Point. Nearby is the alabaster lighthouse at St Anthony head, standing bright in the sun. When night falls over the swells, it pulses in the blackness to warn boats sailing through the Carrick Roads. You’ll also see the remains of St Anthony Battlement, a gun emplacement built in the 19th Century to protect the valuable port of Falmouth from invaders—which was fully operational until 1956.
Little & Great Molunan Beaches
From St Anthony head and onwards the coast path offers pristine views over an opal sea towards Falmouth. It’s wonderful to watch yachts, their sails plump in the wind, move in white-wash lines on the sparking waters. Beyond St Anthony Head, near the Molunan beaches the character of the path changes, from open pasture to hard packed dirt track, shaded by Mediterranean style conifers. The secret sand hideaways beneath the coast path are idyllic and it’s worth stopping off for a dip in the cool sea.
Up the Creek to St Anthony’s Church
Beyond the wind-swept pines the path heads, again, through pasture and meadow as it begins to follow the Percuil River inland. Here you can look across the waters to the picture postcard village of St Mawes, now a popular spot for with holiday makers that enjoy the finer things in life. After this the coast path cuts off a little headland and goes northeast, starting the loop back towards Porth Farm. This part of your journey takes you into the jungle like verdancy of Place Creek. All is swathed in flourishing flora and dappling trees—with St Anthony’s Church swaddled in the heart of it, an explorer’s shrine. A place of pilgrimage. The gravestones that dot the area are old, weathered, and there is a romantic air of lost world. It’s also worth peeking at Place House, a regal manor house at the head of the creek. Once you’ve explored, the path continues up the quiet river past hillside fields of long grass, thrumming with crickets and birdlife.
Back to Porth Farm
The end of this circular route is easy to find and simply involves following a country lane back to the starting car park.
Though this walk is a simple one—it’s always worth taking an OS map for reference. It’s good to know where you are and the points of reference.
Enjoy your Roseland adventure.