Finding Pedn Vounder Beach – Cornwall’s paradise.
Pedn Vounder beach is probably one of Cornwall’s worst kept secrets. Lying deep below vertical cliffs, that remind me of a prettier version of Kong Island, lies one of the most stunning beaches Cornwall has to offer. Pedn Vounder beach shows off a colour palette usually reserved for more exotic and far flung locations. It’s definitely somewhere to explore in the summer.
Up until a few weeks ago, I’d never been to Pedn Vounder beach. It’s a good hour away for me but with the reduced post-lockdown summer traffic, I decided to take a little Cornish road trip and discover for myself whether Pedn Vounder beach is worth the visit.
Before leaving I did considerable research. Visiting Pedn Vounder beach involves an infamous cliff climb. I’m no stranger to the Cornish coastpath and love a technical trail, but I wanted to make sure I’d be able to manage it.
Pedn Vounder Beach is also quite remote so let me offer you 9 need to know essentials to help you enjoy this secluded Cornish beach safely.
1. Where To Park.
You have 2 car parks to choose from when visiting Pedn Vounder beach. Both involve a walk.
There’s a car park at Porthcurno. Parking here will mean a slightly longer walk. When I went to Pedn Vounder, I parked in the village of Treen. Parking cost £2 for the day, which in my opinion, is a total bargain! If you park at Treen, it’s also a shorter walk to the beach.
As you can imagine, both car parks get busy quickly. You have to drive through small Cornish villages to get to them as well. Please be considerate.
2. Time Your Visit Right.
There’s a few things to consider before you visit Pedn Vounder Beach. The first is to check tide times. Inevitably at high tide there’s less beach. When I went the tide was on the way out and was gradually coming in as I left. I can’t say how much beach is left at high tide. Needless to say, given how popular it’s become in recent years, it can get crowded.
You can check tide times at Magic Seaweed.
The second thing to keep in mind is if you go at peak time, you’re likely to struggle to park in either car park. Therefore, if the tide’s right, consider going early or a bit later in the day.
3. How To Get To Pedn Vounder Beach on the South West Coast Path.
If you park at Treen, take the path opposite the toilets just outside the car park. It’s about a 10 minute walk on the south west coast path to the beach but it’s not for the faint hearted.
Given the terrain, please wear trainers or walking shoes. You need footwear with some grip. Flip flips won’t serve you well on the way to this beach!
4. Is It Safe To Access Pedn Vounder Beach?
I think the answer to this question depends on who you talk to.
The coast path to Pedn Vounder involves a technical and steep climb. It becomes more challenging and steeper the further you go. The general advice is, it’s not safe or suitable if you are:
- Have young children/pushchairs etc.
- Unsteady on your feet
While I’m not a climber, I’m confident when tackling hilly and technical trails. I’m used to the South West Coast Path. Yet, I found the final bit of this climb hard. Getting onto the beach was actually ok because I followed someone in front of me who had clearly done it before. She told me getting up is much easier.
This wasn’t my experience and I actually found it quite scary. At one point I thought I was stuck. I had to try and get up a ledge that was too high for my little legs.
Having done it myself, I would say accessing Pedn Vounder beach isn’t particularly safe. There are risks, but people manage it.
5. Are There Any Facilities on Pedn Vounder Beach?
Given the climb and how remote it is, there’s no toilet or shop on, or near, the beach. There’s a toilet next to Treen car park. You’ll need to take all you need with you.
Bear in mind if it’s a hot day, and with the walk, make sure you take plenty of water with you.
6. What Should I Take With Me?
When it comes to visiting Pedn Vounder, you want to travel light. How people make it down with windbreaks and lots of bags, I’ll never know.
I’d definitely advise a rucksack, and take essentials only.
7. Is It A Nudist Beach?
Pedn Vounder is a nudist beach but you don’t have to be in your birthday suit to enjoy yourself. Obviously there’s a need to respect those who are naturists.
If you’re planning on taking photos, be careful where you point your lens!
8. Is It Dog Friendly?
Dogs are allowed on Pedn Vounder beach and I’ve no doubt they love it too.
I’d be cautious about the climb though. It may be too much for some dogs. I’ve friends who’ve planned to visit Pedn Vounder beach and never made it down because it was too steep for their dog.
9. If In Doubt…Don’t
A note of caution about a few things.
I’ve mentioned already the climb. My advice would be, if you’re uncertain or if it feels unsafe, please think about if it’s worth it. This beautiful Cornish beach can be admired from the coast path and you can secure some amazing photos from the rocks and path that leads you to Pedn Vounder.
Also, the tides here are deceivingly dangerous. Pedn Vounder beach (and other beaches on the Penwith coast) is known for its rip tides and people have sadly lost their lives here. Please be careful if you venture into the sea. The RNLI have lots of information on rip tides, or rip currents.
There are so many wonderful beaches in Cornwall. Some are even more secluded and hidden than Pedn Vounder, and are more accessible (no spoilers from me, I’m afraid).
If you go, go prepared and make your own decision. Most importantly, make sure you’re safe.