Secluded Swimming at Penberth Cove

On the last sunny weekend of summer, I soaked up the sun on the Penwith Heritage coast and had my debut visit to Penberth Cove.

The Penwith Heritage coast in Cornwall with bright blue sea and sky and POrthcurno beach in the background

Knowing there would be glorious sunshine for a whole weekend in September, the burning question was, “where am I going to?” 😆 I settled on a little road trip to west Cornwall, opting to walk from Logan Rock towards Penberth Cove, simply because I wanted to and I’d never been before.

While I could’ve made this a longer walk by parking at Porthcurno, I decided to start my Cornish microadventure in the village of Treen. Parking here is reasonable, I think it was about £3 for the day (apologies, I can’t quite remember). The car parks on this bit of Cornish coast can get busy from quite early on. I arrived at 10 am and it over half full.

Pedn Vounder Beach in Cornwall with rocks and cliffs

As I had lots of time to use as I pleased, I initally walked to the much coveted, Pedn Vounder beach. It’s only about a 10 minute walk from Treen car park. The tide hadn’t longed turned and there was already a queue of people snaking their way down the cliff and rocks to secure a spot on the golden sand. I made up my mind not to venture down. I had other plans for the day. Plus, I’m not wholly confident getting down to Pend Vounder on my own. Or getting back up for that matter!

the curve of cliffs on the Penwith Heritage Coast in Cornwall with bright turquiose and blur sea with big rocks in the foreground

Logan Rock, and beyond

Rather than join all the others, the plan was to head to Logan Rock and carry on walking to sleepy Penberth Cove. It’s not a long walk, and considering the terrain of the south west coast path, not too taxing either.

Logan Rock edging out into the bright blue sea with a sunny but hazy sky

Logan Rock is, in my view, recognisable. It’s pointy outline, stretching out to sea, hugs Pedn Vounder beach. It has quite a story to it as well, whereby the wobbly rock, or logan, was once moved by 15 hefty seamen. Locals were outraged and the rock was eventually put back in its rightful place but has never rocked since. I particularly like how Treen’s pub, the Logan Rock Inn, pays homage to this on its pub sign.

white sand and bright turquoise sea in Cornwall

With the September sun beating down on me, I walked along the coast path that overlooks Pedn Vounder, stopping at every inlet or gap in the hedge to take some photos. I couldn’t help but wonder at the colours. I’m familiar with west Cornwall, but the jewel like hues never fail to mesmerise me.

I toyed with the idea of walking out onto Logan Rock; it’s possible and there’s a worn path. I was quite hot and decided to walk to Penberth Cove so I could cool down and have a swim.

a brown wild horse grazing on the coast in the sunshine
A double fronted Cornish cottage on the side of a cobbled slipway at Penberth Cove with 3 fishing boats

Penberth Cove

There is a descent as you approach Penberth Cove. It didn’t feel too bad on the way down. Coming back up though, I appreciated how steep and laborious it is.

Looking down at Penberth Cove from the coast path, I realised how small this hamlet it is. Those who’ve watched Poldark will recognise it as Sawle Cove, home to Demelza’s brothers. With it’s Cornish stone buildings and houses, pale ochre tinged rocks and cobbles, I’d definitely arrived at Cornish fishing village heaven.

2 swimmers at Penberth Cove at the edge of the slip, near the shallow clear water

Penberth Cove (known in Cornish as Benbryhi) is quiet. It has working fisherman so there’s usually a few boats on the slip, offering an injection of bright colour. As such, no dogs are allowed at Penberth Cove, which is owned by the National Trust.

Historically, Penberth Cove was known for its pilchard fishing, much like Porthgwarra which is further along the Cornish coast in the other direction. The old capstan remains at the top of the slipway, used in its day to haul the fishing boats after a hard working stint at sea. I love that it remains. In fact, it was renovated in 2007 and I believe local fishermen now use it to store and hang their ropes and nets.

the top of a row of fishing boats with buoys hanging off them with the cliff and sea behind at Penberth Cove
a fishing boat, called Father Bob, on a cobbled slipway with another fishing boat behind

With the sea looking incredibly tempting, I wasted no time changing, and heading in. The cobbled slip is well worn and smooth; I was grateful for the kind surface underfoot. Despite being a quiet spot, there were 4 of us in the sea, with a few more joining us.

clear water with rocks underneath and golden rocks with the slipway and boats
the sea with rocks underneath
the blue sea at Penberth Cove in the sunshine with golden rocks and cliffs and a cottage

The Cornish sea was reviving and crystal clear. Golden rocks lay beneath the green and blue hued salty water. With steep cliffs either side, I definitely felt the secluded and private feel that comes with Penberth Cove even though I was not alone.

clear turquoise and blue sea with golden rocks and fishing boats in the distance

Once out of the sea, it was so warm, I was in no rush to change. I sat in my bikini and felt my skin tighten as the salty sea dried in the sun. I had some drawing materials with me – a couple of sketchbooks, oil pastels and my Tombow pens (love these pens!). Scribbling and mark making, I sketched the view of the house in front of me and the cliffs I had just swum close to. It felt intimate and I was most content staying put, drawing and eating crisps!

a fisherman's cottage with lots of buoys and ropes outside

After a few hours and a short roam around the cove, I made my way back to my car. I picked up a much needed cold drink from Farm and Fort, a seasonal cafe next to the car park.

It proved to be the perfect way to spend one of the last sunny summer weekends in Cornwall.

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Author: plbedford

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