The ‘twin’ villages of Kingsand and Cawsand nestle into the forgotten south-east corner of Cornwall north of the distinctive Rame Head. Separated by Pemberknowse Point they are only 200m apart and joined by Garrett Street. Facing out across Plymouth Sound all the naval and sailing activity can be clearly viewed. They are very sheltered except for easterly winds. Kingsand has two beaches and until 1844 was part of Devon whereas Cawsand has always been in Cornwall. Both villages were once based on fishing and smuggling with former smuggling tunnels sealed up years ago. Two small beaches known as Sandway Cellars are 600m north of Kingsand. Again to the north of the villages there is Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, which was once the home of the Edgcumbe family with its stately home but is now owned and managed jointly between Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council. There is a regular ferry service between Cawsand and the Barbican at Plymouth. They are attractive, unspoilt and somewhat sleepy villages which are popular for boating and water based activities.
PL10 1NA - for Kingsand and PL10 1PJ - for Cawsand. They are not easy to get to from Plymouth by road so it is best to use the ferry service if possible otherwise the quickest way is to cross the Tamar by the Torpoint Ferry and follow the A 374 to Antony and then turn left on to the B3247 and after 1.5kms at the T junction turn left to Millbrook; go through the village on the road to Mount Edgcumbe and after 1km turn right and immediately left; the road forks after 1km – go straight on for Kingsand and right for Cawsand. The Kingsand car park (capacity 125 cars) is at the bottom of the very narrow Fore Street but is not suitable for larger vehicles due to the access. Cawsand car park (capacity 150+ cars) is at the end of New Road and well signed. There is only a very limited number of roadside parking spaces due to restrictions. From the west and Looe take the A387 to the A374 past Polbathic and turn off on to the B3247 and Crafthole and continue the road as described above.
The southerly beach at Kingsand is only a short walk from the car park with a short ramp and steps down to the beach. The northerly beach can be reached by turning left at the Institute (and clock tower) and after 50m there is a slipway access on to the beach. To reach Sandway beaches continue along the Cleave; at the end of the road there is a public footpath which runs next to the foreshore for about 700m to the first of the beaches with a second a little further on. From the Cawsand car park it is a walk of 200m down Armarda Road to the slipway access on to the beach.
All the beaches are mostly shingle with patches of sand. At Kingsand there is little or no beach at high water but there is a narrow strip at Cawsand and also the Sandway beaches although the further beach at Sandway is mostly stone at high water. All the beaches gently slope down to low water. There is rocky but accessible foreshore at the ends of all the beaches. The nearest Sandway Beach has a rocky area in the centre of it and a bathing stage.
There is safety/rescue equipment above both Kingsand and Cawsand beaches but nothing at Sandway. It is safe to swim from all the beaches when the conditions are favourable, although care needs to be taken with all the boating activity that can be close into the shore. They are not surfing beaches but Cawsand has good access to the beach for windsurfing out into the Sound.
There is some great snorkelling to be found especially south of Cawsand around Rowse Rocks and Conger Point less than 150m from the beach. There are many interesting rock pools at low water with the best being in the rocky foreshore south of Cawsand Beach.
Dogs are permitted all year at Kingsand but restricted at Cawsand Beach from Easter Day until the beginning of October. There are toilets above the beach at Cawsand and are rather quirky at Kingsand as the ‘ladies’ and disabled toilets are in a separate location to the ‘gents’ but well signed. There are shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants at both villages.
Cawsand is a popular place for dinghy sailing and kayaking. The slipway at Cawsand is best for launching small craft as the vehicular access is easier; it is not advisable not to try and negotiate the narrow streets to get to the Kingsand slipway.
Water quality is generally good with just an occasional dip in standards. The beaches are small but with many facilities close by are good for families, especially as the slipways provide a good access for pushchairs. The Cawsand slipway is also suitable for wheelchairs. Sandway Beaches are quite secluded. None of the beaches get especially crowded.
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