Porth Beach

Porth Beach by Keith Riley
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Empty Porth Beach in winter by Keith Riley

Porth Beach is a lovely sandy beach with a sheltered aspect being protected by headlands on both sides. Porth island to the east, which can be accessed by a narrow footbridge, has some impressive prehistoric defensive earthworks and the remains of a settlement. At the end of the island there is a blow hole which can be seen at mid tide, especially on windy days. The views from here are spectacular looking back towards Newquay Bay and to Park Head in the north.

The beach is popular with families and swimmers due to its sheltered aspect and there are lots of amenities nearby.

Take the bus to Porth from Newquay or enjoy the coastal path walk (about half an hour walk away from Newquay town centre).

Ken Langmaid a Newquay-born resident wrote:

From the long narrow beach tucked between Trevelgue Head and Glendorgal Point there is an entrancing vista of Newquay Bay with Towan Head as a backdrop.

The sands at Porth are firm enough for cars to park on. There is usually a small amount of dry sand banked against the walls near the road. The cliffs on both sides of the beach are very low with numerous nooks and corners suitable for a day’s ‘beaching’ – shady ones on the Newquay side, sunny ones opposite.

Old postcard image of Porth, Newquay
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Old postcard image of Porth, Newquay

Trevelgue Head consists of Porth Island, joined to the mainland by a wooden footbridge spanning a narrow gap through which the sea surges at high tide. In the rocky ledge below the footbridge is a circular pool called the wishing Well. In my youth it was the custom to spit into the pool from the footbridge, not as easy as it may seem on account of the draught blowing through the chasm. Nowadays,I have noticed that people throw money into the pool. On the promontary and on the island itself are the great earthworks of Cornwall’s finest cliff castle. Numerous finds here and in the neighbourhood point to this being an important centre of prehistoric civilisation. Porth was probably at one end of a trade route crossing Cornwall from north to south, a route which eliminated the dangerous rounding of Land’s End.

The springy turf of the island is a delight to walk upon and the views on all sides are magnificent.

Piercing the island is Cornwall’s finest blowing-hole. At low water it can be entered and the Mermaid’s Cave reached on the seaward side – an eery place. At half-tide the Blowing Hole starts to spout, sometimes with explosive violence. The rocks above the Banqueting Hall (described under Whipsiderry) contain thin layers of limestone with fossils. Similar strata outcrop to the north of Newquay Harbour and were probably at one time continuous with these. It requires some effort of the imagination to visualise Newquay’s coastline a mile or more seaward.

On the clifftop near Glendorgal was found in 1850 a funerary urn containing human bones, black earth and ashes.