Watergate Bay

The huge expanse of Watergate Bay
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The huge expanse of Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay lies to the north of Newquay and has the best of both worlds at low tide. If you want excellent facilities with sporting activities Watergate has it all; restaurant, surf school and hire, extreme beach sports, toilets and lifeguards.  By the road and car park the beach is often busy in the summer months. However even in the summer months this large beach has so much space that you can escape the crowds if you are prepared to walk just a few hundred yards.
Watergate is on the Newquay to Padstow road (B3276) just north of Newquay. Take the bus or if you enjoy walking Watergate can be reached along the coast path.

 

 

Ken Langmaid, a Newquay-born resident wrote:

This is part of the Newquay Urban District and in consequence is very much frequented in the summer season. However provided the tide is going out you don’t have to worry about the beach being overcrowded – it is far too big for that. South of the little valley which breaks the line of cliffs there is no escape route until Whipsiderry is reached. North of the valley the cliffs are more crumbly.

Assuming then that you have come at a suitable time Watergate Bay can offer unlimited delights, not forgetting pools for children to bathe in. The explorer will want to view the grand cliffs of beautiful purple and green slates. The strata form an anticline and at the base there is a well known fossil layer containing the remains of Devonian fishes. A stream flows out of an old mine adit and nearby an elvan dyke cuts through the slates, forming an outcrop in the cliff.

Several caves are worth exploring: after a storm they usually contain plenty of driftwood and attract ‘wreckers’. The peculiarly shaped Horse Rock, though not very high, is practically unclimbable. The two great rocks with vegetation growing on them are Zachry’s Islands or the Lion Rocks. Young edible crabs may be seen in holes near the low tide mark and during the nesting season thousands of seabirds are ‘at home’. The summit of the cliff at this point is crowned by two great barrows which are visible from very far off.

Old postcard image of Watergate Bay
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Old postcard image of Watergate Bay

The cliffs above Watergate Bay measure 240′. Though many Cornish cliffs surpass these in height, it would be difficult to find any more imposing than these as they stretch in an unbroken line and perfectly sheer for over a mile. At low tide one can get past Zachry’s Islands to Whipsiderry Beach. The northern part of Watergate Beach as mentioned before has less precipitous cliffs. The beach is terminated by Stem Point where there is a steep track to the cliff top.

Amongst the jumbled slopes of (Strase) Cliff there is the ruin of a house – a sort of ‘Folly’ built by a local squire and called The Eyrie.

The coast road from Newquay runs near the cliffs but it is necessary to walk to obtain the finest views.