The beautiful Hessenford wooded valley meets the sea at Seaton where the Seaton River crosses a medium sized beach that is very accessible. Seaton in Cornish is ‘Sethyn’. When the tide is out it is possible to walk along the foreshore past Keveral, Bodigga, Millendreath, and Plaidy Beaches to Looe west of Seaton, and to Downderry to the east. The beach is owned and managed by Cornwall Council.
PL11 3JQ - From the A387 road from Looe to Torpoint, take the B3247 from the village of Hessenford (3.8kms) which goes right next to the beach and the car parks. The road from Hessenford goes past the Seaton Valley Country Park and Local Nature Reserve is one of the most scenic in this part of Cornwall. There is a limited amount of roadside parking right next to the beach (capacity 30 cars). In addition there 2 car parks close by (capacity 130 cars and 70 cars), both less than 100m from the beach. Looe is about 5kms to the east but over 11kms by road.
Access is very easy indeed with a number of access points through the low sea wall at the back of the beach and adjacent to the road. It is suitable for the less mobile.
The beach which consists of coarse grey sand mixed with patches of shingle has a fairly extensive area of sand above high water (300m in length) which is undoubtedly one of the reasons for its popularity, especially with families with young children.
It shelves gently at low water although can tend to form a bank above low water mark at certain times of the year. The beach is somewhat dominated by the River Seaton which meanders across the beach and is of a size for most of the time which can deter access across it to other parts of the beach although it is another reason why the beach is popular with children who have great fun damming it and playing in the fairly large pools that are usually created. It is a safer alternative for using inflatables than the open sea although guidance is still most necessary. There are flat rocky areas at low water on either side of the beach. Its southerly aspect and cliffs on either side make it very sheltered.
There are a number of safety/rescue equipment points along the sea wall at the back of the beach. There is no lifeguard service.
It is a fairly safe beach for swimming but it is advisable to enter the water on a rising tide. Like so many beaches along this stretch of coastline there can be currents that are unpredictable at low water. Swimming at high water in quiet conditions can be a memorable experience.
It is not a surfing beach at all but when there is a swell along the Channel there can be conditions suitable for body-boarding. When there is an offshore wind care should be taken with the use of inflatables.
There is some excellent snorkelling when the tide is reasonably high both towards Downderry to the east and Keveral Beach to the west. The rockery areas beneath the shallow waters offer much of interest.
Either side of the beach, the flat rocky areas exposed at low water offer numerous rock pools that can be explored. It is a good beach for fishing or from the rocks on either side; Garfish, conger, mackerel, wrasse and Pollack can be caught.
Dogs are allowed from November through to Easter Day but are not permitted for the rest of the year.
Toilets are located on the westerly side of the beach at the bottom of Looe Hill and behind the cafe/restaurant. They are only opened during the summer months.
There is a popular cafe/restaurant next to the beach on the westerly side which is very accessible. It has its own parking facilities for patrons. There is also a pub at the other end of the beach. The nearest shops are at Downderry (1km) and a full range of shops, restaurants and other facilities at Looe (11kms).
There is not a slipway as such but it is possible to launch small craft through access points from the road.
Water quality of the sea has been variable in recent years. The most obvious reason for this is the quality of the water flowing from the Seaton River which is known to be variable. The beach is cleaned daily in the summer season making it generally free from water borne litter.
With a children’s play area located just above the beach, it is definitely a beach for families even if the sand is a little stony. At low water it is a good beach for exploring along the foreshore.
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