Hayle’s Beautiful Coastline

Lobster pots and fishing nets at Hayle Harbour
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Lobster pots and fishing nets at Hayle Harbour

Hayle is situated on the mouth of the Hayle Estuary and if you venture onto the Towans or walk up to the Plantation above Foundry Square, the panoramic vista of the bay can be seen stretching from Godrevy Head to St Ives. This coastline offers infinite variety.

Walking this stretch of coastline along the South West Coast Path provides views of the steep, jagged, wave-cut cliffs of Godrevy Head and the Knavocks in the north-east, the rolling sand dunes of the Towans and the winding trail around the estuary – a sanctuary for thousands of sea birds. A visual delight at every corner!

Hayle Towans

Marram Grass at Gwithian Towans
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Marram Grass at Gwithian Towans

The sand dunes that make up Hayle Towans have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the amazing diversity of plants and animals – one fifth of all plants that can be found in Cornwall live here, creating a haven for insects, butterflies and birds.

Deep rooting Marram Grass traps the windblown sand, and in late spring Pyramidal Orchids and Cowslips fill the dunes with colour, attracting insects such as the Six-Spot Burnet Moth and the rare Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly.

On warm summer evenings you may be lucky to see a Glow Worm lighting your way as Skylarks finish their daily singing and Sand Martins retreat to their nest holes in the cliffs. A wonderful place to explore!

Hayle Sands

Hayle Sands
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Hayle Sands

Hayle has over 3 miles of long sandy beaches that stretch from the mouth of the River Hayle to Gwithian and Godrevy Head, with the glorious view of Godrevy Lighthouse at one end and the panoramic vista of St Ives at the other. On the other side of the estuary are Porth Kidney Sands, also with fine golden sand.

Hayle sands are backed by sand dunes – a wonderful natural environment rich in local flora and fauna and a great place to explore and relax. Each area of beach has its own name, with lifeguard service between May and September. Most of the beach is dog friendly all year round except between Hayle River to the Black Cliffs where there is a dog ban between Easter and  October 1st.

Here is a selection of the many fun activities that can be enjoyed at Hayle Sands:

Swimming, Kite Surfing, Body Boarding, Paddle Canoe, Kayaking, Beach Combing, Horse Riding, Picnics, Dune Jumping, Coasteering, Dog Walking, Walking, Rock Pooling, Sea Fishing, Sand Yachts and Kite Buggies!!!!

RNLI Area support centre Tel: 01736 753567 or email  lifeguards@rnli.org.uk

Godrevy Head

Walking along Godrevy Head, near Hayle
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Walking along Godrevy Head, near Hayle

The coastline around Godrevy Head is owned by the National Trust. This headland with its rugged cliffs and rocky coves is in stark contrast to the undulating sand dunes of the Towans, yet has its own special beauty.

From here you can look back across the bay towards St Ives or out to sea towards Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration behind Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘To the Lighthouse’.

Iron age remains have been found here and there is evidence of a medieval field system. Shetland ponies are used by the National Trust to maintain the mix of grassland,heathland and gorse scrub that provides ideal habitats for wildlife including the Stonechat and the Grayling Butterfly. Keep a look out for seabirds such as the Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmar and Cormorants that nest in these cliffs.

The South West Coast Path runs around the headland and a circular route can be taken by returning to Gwithian along the road.