Lizard Coastal Walk

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Lizard Coastal Walk
England, UK

The Lizard Coastal Walk in Cornwall, is a trail that hugs the coastline at mainland Britain’s most southerly point, before cutting inland to create a circular walk.

This National Trust walk is where you will enjoy dramatic scenery from clifftop paths, with expansive views of the ocean.

Couple that with diverse natural wildflower meadows, sandy beaches and some interesting coastal history, and you won’t want this walk to end!

This rugged coastline walk around the Lizard Peninsular makes up part of the National Trust’s South West Coast Path, yet the Lizard Coastal Walk tracks back inland to make a circuit that begins and finishes in Kynance Cove.

A popular spot for hikers, you won’t be stuck for places to stay or refreshments along the way.

This is an 11 kilometre walk that is easy to moderate for beginner hikers who are generally fit, but there are some steep inclines to be aware of.

Highlights
  • Sandy beaches and caves
  • Abundance of flora and fauna
  • Stunning seascapes
  • Varied terrain
  • Rich coastal history
Walk Map
About the route
  • Travel

Getting to Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsular is relatively easy, although if you are driving, the traffic heading south can get congested in the peak tourist season. The A30 road travels most the length of Cornwall, after which the A394 and A3083 will take you to Kynance Cove.

The Lizard Peninsular is well-served by public transport, and there are bus routes that will take you to villages along the route, including the village of Lizard, near to the Kynance Cove car park.

The nearest train stations to the Lizard Peninsular is at Penzance and Truro, where connecting trains come in from many larger stations in the UK.

If you want to fly, there is a small airport at Newquay.

  • Length

The Lizard Coastal Walk is 11 kilometres long, but this can be extended or shortened.

The 11 kilometre walk take you from Kynance Cove, along the coastal path to the Bass Point Old Signal Station before heading inland back towards Lizard village.

There are paths that criss-cross and take you back to the village of Lizard sooner if you want to shorten the walk, or continue along South West Coast Path further before heading back if you prefer a longer route.

Most hikers will be able to comfortably complete the walk within 3-4 hours, allowing for refreshment stops and taking into account some steep inclines in places.

It is possible to walk just the coastline section of this path, or just the inland path, but due to the shortness of the route most hikers walk it in one go, rather than in stages.

  • Grade and difficulty of the walk

Some parts of the Lizard Coastal walk are easy.

However, there are also some steep hills with a height gain of over 700 ft. Most people of average fitness will be able to complete this walk, although some stops to catch your breath might be needed in places.

The path is stony on the clifftops, and also includes sand and earth paths in other areas.

  • Experience

No special hiking experience is needed to enjoy the Lizard Coastal Walk.

The route is clearly signposted, so no navigational skills are needed.

  • Permits

No permits are necessary to walk the Lizard Coastal Walk.

  • Guided or Self-Guided

This route is easy to do self-guided, and can be walked in any direction. Most hikers do not require a guided walk to navigate this path.

There may be guided walks available, however they are usually part of a walking holiday deal.

Other types of guided walk are one-off events by local business or for charity fundraising, so it is worth checking if any are taking place if you want to get some unique insights on the area and the landscape.

best time to walk

The Lizard Coastal Walk can be walked all year round, although it is at its best during the spring, summer and autumn.

The weather can be wet and windy during the cooler months, making clifftop walking something only the most rugged of us would enjoy!

Another thing to consider is the effect of the tourist summer season in the area. This is a popular spot for walkers, so if you prefer to meet less people on the trail, choose times that do not coincide with the main summer holidays.

A typical itinerary would be:

  • From Kynance Cove, follow the path signposted to Lizard Point. You will reach Kynance beach.
  • At the eastern end of the beach, the path climbs once again to the clifftop.
  • Follow the path to Pentreath beach.
  • Continue to Lizard Point and the Lizard Lighthouse.
  • Follow the route to Pen Olver.
  • At Bass Point Old Signal Station, the path turn back inland towards lizard village.
  • Continue through the village, and back to Kynance Cove.
Accommodation

Accommodation on the Lizard peninsular comprises of B&Bs, holiday cottages, as well as campsites.

There is a hostel at The Polbrean, Lizard Point, Helston. A former Victorian hotel, this YHA accommodation offers single and sharing rooms.

You will also find plentiful accommodation in nearby Penzance.

Booking is recommended for all accommodation types, particularly in the tourist season.

What to do

The Lizard Coastal walk is a feast for the eyes.

Dramatic coastline with views that stretch for miles over the Atlantic Ocean. Wildflower meadows bursting with blooms. Long, golden sandy beaches.

This area is protected by the National Trust, and has a diverse range of wildlife and natural features. Keep your eyes peeled for choughs, seals and basking sharks.

Look out for The Devil’s Letterbox, visible from north side of Asparagus Island. It is a crack in a cave that has a strong suction created from the waves below.

Notice the serpentine rocks, created from a broad range of minerals that make up the geology of the area. People have walked this area for thousands of years, and their footsteps have created highly polished areas of stone.

Visit the most southerly pub in mainland Britain, called Top House Inn. Look carefully to find benches for the tables that are made from a German ship that was wrecked in 1900.

Take in the magnificent Lizard lighthouse, completed in 1751.

Pistil Meadow has a somewhat macabre history. After the shipwreck of HMS Royal Anne in 1721, it is said that many bodies were washed up on shore and buried in mass graves here. Worse, it is said that hungry wild dogs scavenged them for food before they were buried.

Kynance Cove is a place of natural beauty, turquoise waters and white sands. It was a popular Victorian bathing spot and was also visited by Queen Victoria.

Along the route you will find places to eat and drink, such as pubs and cafes, as well as a pasty shop in Lizard village.

Published: November 26, 2019 Modified: November 28, 2019

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At a glance
Skills RequiredHiking, Walking
Difficulty 2/5
Starts at Kynance Cove, Helston TR12 7PJ, UK
Finishes at Kynance Cove, Helston TR12 7PJ, UK
Length of route 11 Km
Average time to complete 3 - 4 Hours
Possible to complete sub-sectionsYes
Highest point 220 metres
Permit requiredNo
Equipment neededPoles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots
Countries visited England, UK