Holywell Bay Beach

Holywell Bay beach is a large, sandy beach with rolling dunes behind the beach, rock pools and a slow running stream that is a magnet for children in the summer. There is a small village behind the beach with plenty of facilities. The surf here is quite good with a Lifeguard patrol in the summer months.

The Kelseys, the area of coastal land beside Holywell is a protected area which abounds with rabbits. The whole area is full of the remnants of ancient civilisation. There are remains of cliff castle ramparts and burial mounds, flints and pottery have been found. The dividing walls of the fields are medieval. The shape of these walls, vertical one side and sloping on the other, is believed to have been to keep deer out, but to let them escape if they did get in.

Ken Langmaid a Newquay-born resident wrote:

”One of the loveliest beaches in Cornwall, marred though it is by an army camp on the south side. Holywell is a delicious blend of sandhills, rocks, salt sea and fresh water stream.”

[[Image:Holywell-cave.jpg|left|300px|Old postcard image of Holywell Cave]]

“The beach is hidden from the road by a sweep of sandhills which curve around to the right in ever larger slopes. Crossing the ridge of sandhills the expanse of Holywell Bay opens out between Penhale Point and Kelsey Head. There is enough sand on this beach for everyone – love sand – clean and dry. I have never seen Holywell Beach overcrowded. The stream on the left is a source of delight to children. Around to the left under the cliffs of Penhale there are some nice pools and the unclimbable column known as Monkey Rock. Most people keep to the right of the stream and find secluded spots along the shore or under the cliffs of Kelsey Head.”

“Here in a cave is the Holy Well consisting of a series of natural basins in the rock coated with stalagmite and forming a series of slippery steps. It is inaccessible when the tide rises. There are other interesting caves nearby, all of which show though in a lesser degree, the same peculiar formation which characterises the Holywell.”

”At (Trevarrick), about a mile inland, there is another holy well, with a little building restored by the Old Cornwall Society.”

”Holywell is instantly recognisable in photos by the twin rocks out to sea, like a volcanic cone split down the middle. These are called on maps as Gull Rocks and are known to fishermen as the (Madrips). For sheer bulk and grandeur they are unsurpassed in Cornwall.”

”The walker who is prepared to scramble about a bit can choose some interesting walks from Holywell. The sandhills can be traversed and the cliff edge followed to Kelsey Head with its barrow and cliff castle. The rock off the point is the Chick and the seas here are visited by seals.”

”If the walker keeps inland from the sandhills, there is a delightful walk to [[Crantock]], crossing [[Cubert]] Common and the [[Polly Joke]] Valley. (For a detailed description go to [[Circular Walks]]). The Holywell valley itself can be penetrated for several miles and to anyone wanting a change from coast walks I can recommend it as an exciting alternative.”

”The Penhale side of the valley is a vast waste of sandy turf and dunes. The Cubert side is graced by pleasant hills and charming old farmhouses. The stream itself forms the boundary of the blown sand. The floor of the valley contains the most delightful assemblage of wildflowers – waterside, marsh and sand dune plants living in close proximity. When the wildflowers of the woods and the cliffs have passed their season and the hedgerows are nothing but a dusty shrivelled waste, this valley is at its best. It is a pity that the holiday season does not coincide with Cornwall’s best wild flower season, but here is a place where the summer visitor can see something of our county’s floral glories.”

”At Mount is the terminus of an ancient disused mineral line which can be followed up to Rejerrah which is on the main road or further still to Shepherds which is a halt on the Newquay Perranporth branch line. The valley is still delightful though changed in character – steep sides, bracken covered and hidden. This is the fringe of the old mining district stretching through Perranporth and St Agnes to Redruth and beyond.”