About Porthcothan

This is a fine sandy beach along a stretch of coastline renowned for its many bays and coves. Sometimes referred to as Porthcothan Bay it is more of an inlet at high water that expands into a wonderful Bay at low water. It is owned by Cornwall Council with the cliff lands either side owned by the National Trust. It faces west and can be quite exposed although there are rocky, sheltered inlets on the southern side.

PL28 8LW - It is situated adjacent to the B3276 coast road from Padstow to Newquay some 7.3kms from Padstow or 3.5kms from Bedruthan Steps to the south. The car park (capacity 125+ cars) is on the opposite side of the road to the beach. Roadside parking is restricted. There are two access points to the beach, one opposite the car park and another on the northerly side along a boardwalk – both are easily accessible. An alternative is to walk some 500m along the Coast Path past the village shop to a small inlet at the mouth of the Bay which has a path down to the beach.

The beach is backed by a healthy sand dune system and there is a sizable area of sand above high water mark in summer. A sizeable stream crosses thethe beach on the northerly side. When the tide is out the mouth of the Bay is over 380m wide.

There are safety equipment points above the beach. RNLI Lifeguards are on duty from the end of May until the end of September. Swimming is hazardous at low water because of rocks and rip currents and should only be considered when the lifeguards have a designated bathing area. In calm conditions on a rising high tide it can be undertaken with care. Trescore Islands to the south west of the Bay tend to take the sting out of any heavy swell but it can have reasonable surf that is good for beginners. Surf is a beach break which is best from low to mid tide. It is not a snorkelling beach but there are rock pools towards the headlands in both directions.

Dogs are allowed at all times. There are toilets in the car park. There is a local shop on the southerly side of the beach but the nearest cafes, restaurants and pubs are at St. Merryn (3kms) or the National Trust facilities at Bedruthan Steps (3kms). 

Water quality is very good but the stream is unknown. The beach is cleaned in summer. It is very accessible for the less mobile. It is a short walk northwards along the Coast Path to Fox Cove and Treyarnon Bay and southwards to Porth Mear. It tends to be quieter and less crowded than the larger sandy beaches towards Padstow. At low water, the area of beach accessed from the Coast Path is very quiet and secluded.