It’s time to hit the south west coast path again with another stunning 5k running route from Caerhays Estate to Hemmick Beach.
For this picturesque run, we start at Caerhays Estate, Castle and Gardens, on a quiet coastal road, near St Austell. It’s also the home of Porthluney Cove, mostly referred to as Caerhays beach by locals.
Parking for this run’s easy. There’s a car park overlooking Porthluney Cove and first 30 minutes are free. However, unless you’re an olympic athlete, I’d recommend adding some time. This 5k multi terrain running route is hilly and challenging in places. But please don’t be deterred, it’s totally worth it.
Starting At Caerhays Castle and Estate
It’s fair to say I could’ve done this route starting at Hemmick Beach but this feels a little misleading. The parking for Hemmick is up a hill from the beach and believe me, there’s plenty of inclines here. We don’t need to add more.
Plus, I like to leave the south west coast path section of this route until last because it’s the best bit. To do this running route the other way round would be crazy. There’s such a lengthy hill leading to Hemmick, it’s definitely easier to run down it!
Anyway, let’s get moving and run 5K.
From Porthluney Cove
From the car park at Porthluney, I turn right and take go through the first kissing gate leading onto a steep field. This is the first climb of the run. I make sure I stay in the middle, between the clumps of trees. As tempting as the coast path is on my right, that comes later.
Having done this route many times, it’s not uncommon for there to be cattle or sheep in this field. Personally, I prefer the latter. They’re much less intimidating.
As I make my way up the middle of this steep field, I keep my eye on the hedge to locate the gate or stile for the public footpath. Thankfully, it’s easy to spot. On this occasion, I see a sheep lying on the grass. It’s the only one not moving away. In fact, it’s not moving at all. I can’t see that it’s breathing – is it dead? I stop to check but don’t want to get too close.
I slowly move away from the coast but make sure I look back several times. Caerhays castle stands proud amongst the green fields and trees. It looks pretty amazing, even more so with the beach and coastline to its left.
On the Road to Hemmick Beach
After the field, I hit some lanes and road. I land on a muddy track but I’m not far from the road. There’s some houses too, so I know I’m in the right place.
While there’s an alternative off-road route, adding about half a mile, I decide to stay on the road to Hemmick Beach. It’s pretty straightforward but hillier than I remember. As I’m slowly regaining my running strength and fitness, I find hills challenging. I’m just not there yet. I decide to walk some bits. I know it’ll come.
Running to Hemmick Beach is always a total joy. There’s the sleepy hamlet of Boswinger with it’s weaving road with farm houses and Cornish cottages tucked into each corner. There’s the Boswinger Youth Hostel here too, an ideal location for those on a walking holiday.
I really enjoy this bit of the run. A long winding downhill road, teasing me with snippets of sea and coastline as I pass inlets and gates. Hemmick Cottage is at the bottom of the hill; an idyllic National Trust house overlooking the beach. I don’t live far away but wouldn’t mind a weekend here, looking out to sea.
Every time I reach Hemmick, I say the same thing, “I think this may be my favourite little beach.” As the parking for this beach is up a hill, Hemmick beach tends to be quiet. For me, it’s the yellow sand and secluded, intimate feel that makes Hemmick so special. When running, I rarely stop and venture onto a beach. Hemmick is always the exception here.
To my left I see the steep climb to Dodman’s Point. It’s a killer and I’m grateful I’m heading in the opposite direction. At Hemmick beach, the south west coast path is easy to find; it’s between the house and the golden sand.
Here comes the best bit – it’s time to run on the coast path.
Heading Back to Caerhays on the South West Coast Path
The south west coast path here is pretty awesome. I don’t need to tell you that though, do I?
Leaving Hemmick, I cross a field, maybe two, and reach a gate that leads to a gravely, open path. Usually there’s various wonky rock towers here but not today. As I gently run along, I continue to look back at the view I’m leaving behind. It’s glorious, especially as it’s a sunny day.
There’s a few hills and inclines on the way back to Caerhays and I inevitably have to walk. I eventually reach and open field and I’m grateful that it flattens.
I know I’m on the home stretch now.
Beyond the field is a wooded area, all downhill. There’s some steps but to be honest, I sometimes think it’s easier just to run down the side and avoid them all together. After this small bit of woodland, I approach the final field. Porthluney Cove is on my left and I link up with the field that started this route.
What a satisfying and leg testing 5k coastal running route. Another one to add to the list, I hope you like it too. There’s always Caerhays Beach Cafe if you need a post run coffee, and a soothing walk on the sand.
If you fancy visiting Caerhays Castle, Estate and Gardens, it’s only open for part of the year. You can check out the opening times here.
Similarly, Porthluney hosts an outdoor cinema in the summer. You can find more ideas for things to do on a summer’s evening in Cornwall in my blog post.