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Cornwall’s Hidden Gems

Famed for beautiful beaches and vast coastlines, Cornwall is home to many popular places, including the infamous biomes of the Eden Project, iconic surf at Fistral beach, and King Arthur’s statue in Tintagel. But did you know Cornwall has many hidden gems to visit. From lesser-known beaches to mythical landscapes, here are just some of our favourite, less frequented, places that can be found slightly off the more beaten track.

Golitha Falls

A beauty spot on Bodmin Moor, Golitha Falls are a series of waterfalls along the River Fowey. The fast flowing river cascades through oak woodland, dotted with flowers, and the clean air has encouraged the growth of over 120 species of moss and almost 50 species of lichens. Designated as a Natural Landscape (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), it is also home to bats, dormice, and otters.

How to get there:

The falls are just over a mile west of the village of St Cleer, near the lovely market town of Liskeard. Park at Draynes Bridge car park, and walk half a mile along the river.

Luxulyan Valley

Par River runs through two miles of tranquil woodland in the beautiful and fascinating Luxulyan Valley near St Austell along the south Cornwall coast. Ancient woodland, flora and fauna are gradually reclaiming the land from the ruins and remains of the mining industry. Throughout the valley are the remains of horse drawn mineral tramroads, a series of leats to carry water, and a huge water wheel which was used to generate power. Most impressive of all is the 100 foot high, ten arch Treffry viaduct. Built in the 19th century, it spans the valley and had been used for transporting copper ore from the site to the sea.

How to get there:

Near the village of Luxulyan, north of St Austell, there are two car parks from which to access Luxulyan Valley. One at Black Hill near Luxulyan Village, and the other at Ponts Mill near St Blazey.

Frenchman’s Creek

A peaceful and serene part of the Helford River, made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s historical novel, Frenchman’s Creek can be explored via a circular walk, or along the creek itself by kayak (check out Koru Kayaking for guided trips). Discover the Creekside village of Helford, traditional Cornish cottages, wooded valleys, woodland flowers in the spring and summer, and the tiny chapel of St Francis at Pengwedhen.

How to get there:

Park in the public car park in Helford Village (approximately five miles south of Falmouth) to start the circular walk.

Enys Gardens

Enys Gardens in Cornwall

Enys Gardens are beautifully peaceful informal gardens, with an enchanted feel to the flower gardens, the ponds with an old waterwheel, and ancient majestic trees. In the late spring the meadows (part of the 30 acre site) are filled with a breathtaking sea of bluebells, and a little café serves cream teas.

How to get there:

A few miles to the east of Penryn (near Falmouth), parking is at the gardens themselves.

Praa Sands

Praa Sands beach in Cornwall

Ok, so this one’s a beach, but it’s a pretty special one. With soft white sand stretching for a mile, dunes perfect for picnicking by, shallows for paddling, and big waves for surfing, Praa Sands will tick the boxes for most. A favourite with families and with surfers, a happy few hours can be whiled away in the beautiful spot.

How to get there:

Situated on the south coast, between Marazion and Helston, Praa Sands has a beachside car park.

Trevose Head and Lighthouse

The National Trust owned headland of Trevose juts out into the ocean on the north coast of Cornwall. Popular with walkers and bird watchers, this part of the coast offers far reaching views. The Trevose Head Lighthouse off the headland was built by Trinity House in 1847 as a guide for ships sailing in the Bristol Channel, illuminating the vast granite cliffs which rise to a height of more than 150 feet; the area around which is often obscured by sea mists.

How to get there:

West of Padstow, park in the National Trust car park at Trevose Headland to explore the area.

Perranporth Sea Pool

Perranporth Sea Pool, Cornwall

Hidden behind Chapel Rock on Perranporth beach, the part-natural, part-man made tidal pool disappears under the lapping waves at high tide and can be missed by many! Surrounded by the beauty of the north Cornwall coastline, whether you fancy dipping your toes in or immersing yourself in the invigorating waters for a sea swim.

How to get there:

On the north Cornwall coast, head into Perranporth and walk to the beach. You’ll see Chapel Rock and will find the pool tucked inside the rock… just make sure you go at low tide and check the tide times.

Hawker’s Hut

Nestled along the rugged north Cornwall coastline at Morwenstow, near Bude, Hawker’s Hut is steeped in history! Get a glimpse into the life and legacy of renowned poet Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker, in this rustic hut perched on the cliffs, that is adorned with relics and artifacts from his fascinating life!

How to get there:

Park in the National Trust car park, next to the tea room. Follow the track at the far end of the car park, past the church and head along the coast path following signs to Stanbury and Hawker’s Hut is signposted.

St Nectan’s Glen

St Nectan's Glen waterfall in Cornwall

A magical corner of Cornwall, St Nacten’s Glen is an enchanting wonder! Amidst lush foliage, babbling brooks, and meandering trails, is a stunning hidden waterfall that will take your breath away! Water cascades from 60ft through a natural basin and flora-laden valley.  A serene haven for nature lovers and walkers, it is a truly unforgettable experience.

How to get there:

Located near Trevethy, on the outskirts of Tintagel, use postcode PL34 0BE for the main car park. From the car park cross the road and follow it to the right, past the Roman pillar to the reach the woodlands.

Explore these hidden gems in Cornwall, stay in a coastal holiday home from home in Perranporth, ideally located for accessing the best of the county’s days out. See our latest availability and browse our properties here.

Main image: Enys Gardens by Matt Jessop for Visit Cornwall

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