An invigorating walk starting from Ayr Holiday Park. It travels out onto the South West Coast Path passing through the open heathland of Clodgy Point. The route returns through the ancient landscape of patchwork fields bounded by tumbledown granite walls. The path is rough in places, and there is some ascent and descent, though none of it is steep or prolonged.
1. From Ayr Holiday Park turn right into Alexandra Road.
2. Take the next turning on the right onto Burthallan Lane. Look for the No Through Road for vehicles sign! Continue along Burthallan Lane to its end.
3. Pass the farm buildings of Higher Burthallan and follow across the fields to turn right onto the footpath that then meets the South West Coast Path.
4. As the path meets the Coast Path, fork right here and go round the inlet up to Clodgy Point.
Clodgy Point beach is located just around the headland at Carrick Du. It is rugged with a mixture of boulders and rocks strewn across the bay that sweeps to Clodgy Point. It is barely accessible and only sandy at low tide. Access for the most agile is only from the coastpath near Clodgy Point. The beachisadogfriendlybeach throughouttheyear on or off the lead.
The name ‘Clodgy’ comes from the Cornish ‘klav’ and ‘ji’, meaning ‘sick house’, and the remoteness of the point would have been considered ideal for the leper colony that was established here.
Continue on the path around the bowling green and on to Beach Road.
The beach in front you is the golden sands of Porthmeor Beach, a popular place for surfing. While the whole of St Ives is famous for its art and artists, the area of Porthmeor on your right is particularly rich in art history. As well as the Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Gallery, there are the Porthmeor Studios. These were originally fishermen’s net lofts, fish cellars and salt houses for curing the pilchards which for many centuries provided the town’s main livelihood. Four of the cellars in the Porthmeor Studios are still used by fishermen. The others are occupied by artists, a tradition which began at the end of the nineteenth century when the new London-Penzance railway brought a number of artists, drawn by the famous quality of light around Penwith.
6. Turn right to walk up Porthmeor Hill with Banoon Cemetry on your left.
The area of West Penwith is famous for its wealth of ancient monuments. It has one of the highest concentrations of holy wells in the whole of Britain. At the foot of Barnoon Cemetery is St Ia’s well, dating from medieval times. At this time St Ives was known as ‘Porthia’ – Ia’s Cove – after the fifth- or sixth- century Celtic saint Ia (or Eia), who was said to have washed up here on a leaf (thought to be a coracle).
7. At the top of Porthmeor Hill turn right on to Alexandra Road. Follow the road back to the entrance to Ayr Holiday Park.
Text by Ruth Luckhurst and the SWCP team