Whipsiderry

The steep steps down to Whipsiderry Beach
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The steep steps down to Whipsiderry Beach

Although there are steep steps to negotiate this beach is worth visiting at low tide as there is lots to explore; caves, rock pools and dry sand for sheltered sun bathing if the wind is blowing off shore. Whipsiderry can be reached by bus along the north coast road (just past Porth) or you can head northwards along the coastal path from Newquay.

Ken Langmaid, a Newquay-born resident wrote;

This beach can be approached at low tide from Porth on the south or Watergate on the north, while steep steps afford an escape route up the cliff at high tide. The coast road from Newquay passes very near the cliff edge at Whipsiderry but the scenery can be enjoyed only by the pedestrian. Hotels and guest houses of varying styles of architecture are strung out along the other side of the road.

Whipsiderry Beach by Keith Riley
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Whipsiderry Beach by Keith Riley

Whipsiderry, like Watergate is essentially a beach to visit at low tide when there is firm sand to to walk on and caves to explore. These caves are often referred to as Porth Caves although Porth actually lies on the other side of Trevelgue Head. The finest are as follows: The Cathedral Cavern has a large pillar, a pool of water and several tunnels leading off from it. White marble is supposed to have been quarried here in times past. Drill holes in the walls and a shaft to the cliff top can still be seen. The Internal Regions consists of intersecting tunnels. The finest cave of all is the great Banqueting Hall. I remember as a boy, going here to attend a concert (hence the alternative name Concert Cavern);a little piano was taken through the hole which penetrates the cliff wall on the Porth Side, the cave was lit with candles, and the effect was one of great beauty and singularity.

Other caves in the vicinity of Whipsiderry were named the Boulder Cavern and the Fern Cavern.

Old photo of Whipsiderry Beach
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Old photo of Whipsiderry Beach

The high rock near the steps which forms such a conspicuous feature of the beach is Black Humphry’s Rock (or Flag Island). This rock is ridden with old mine workings which once gave shelter to a smuggler or wrecker. In a mad moment I once climbed to the top of this crumbling pinnacle, but never again! At the foot of the steps there are a couple of adits, one of which is very long indeed (and very wet). Amongst the boulders on the beach may be seen some huge boulders of iron ore.

The perforated rock guarding the gap between Porth Island and the mainland is known as Norwegian Rock. It was the scene of a shipwreck. In a pool nearby I once found a mackerel swimming frantically about. Just offshore is the Dollar Rock.