Picturesque Evening Running From Polzeath To The Rumps

It’s time to venture far from home to the north coast (but still in Cornwall) and run around The Rumps!

Polzeath beach in Cornwall with people on it and clouds in the sky

Running from Polzeath and around, or along, The Rumps has been on my list since a rather disappointing date in the summer of 2020. Polzeath is a fair way from my home and with some ongoing running niggles, I wanted to tackle this route when I felt able to do so. I knew it would technical and perhaps challenging in places. Most of all, I wanted to enjoy it when the weather was a bit better and the views clear. In my opinion, this wasn’t a route to do in the mizzle and mist (although it would be beautifully atmospheric).

part of POlzeath BEach with the sand and curved rocks and coastline

As it happens I picked a corker of an evening to run from Polzeath to Pentire Head, and then on the south west coast path to The Rumps. I completed this 6.5 mile looped route on a beautiful Spring evening in early May. It was the perfect time to see the Cornish coastline. I parked at the main car park by Hayle Bay, or as I call it, Polzeath beach (postcode for sat nav: PL27 6SS). Thankfully there was plenty of room but I’d imagine it gets pretty crammed in peak season.

sweeping waves and a patch of yellow sand with Polzeath on the other side of the water

About Polzeath

If you’re unfamiliar with Polzeath, it’s on the north Cornish coast, a couple of miles from Rock and just behind the headland of the Camel Estuary. It’s also within driving distance of Port Isaac and is close to the dreamy looking Daymer Bay. Polzeath is a popular tourist destination with the usual smattering of holiday homes which are commonly found it Cornwall’s coastal towns and villages. It’s also a favourite with surfers. During my run, surfers were still on the water late into the evening, and who can blame them? Plus, there’s some good restaurants near Hayle Bay, such as The Waterfront for a post surf refreshment.

swirling sea water and low level rocks

Heading out of Polzeath

With my trusty running backpack on I headed along the south west coast path towards New Polzeath. I actually had trouble finding the coast path from the car park, the signage is pretty poor. You end up running through a car park then lane or cul de sac that runs at the back of some houses. If I’d have known, I would’ve run across the beach and up the steps on the other side.

At least I know for next time.

As with all my coast path running routes, I prefer to complete the road sections first. Even so, the prettiness remained as I headed away from the sea on the public footpath at New Polzeath. You’ll know when your in the right place as it’s the road by a really unique shaped house overlooking the sea.

a white house with a twin curved roof
the back of a person standing on grass looking at the sea with Polzeath in the distance

At New Polzeath to Downhedge Cove

With this being early May, sea pinks or thrift was making an appearance. A splash of pink along the coastline is always welcome, I love it. On the footpath at Pentireglaze, all flora and fauna looked bright and vibrant. The green hedgerow and cow parsley looked amazing under the evening sky.

a wooden gate on the south west coast path with a dry path and green flowers

Thankfully, the road section here is really short. Once you meet the road from the footpath, turn left and continue until you get to a T junction by a house. It’s really not far at all and if you choose you can take a shorter route by turning left, which takes you directly to The Rumps. I fancied eeking this run out a bit more, so turned right up a single track path.

The route runs alongside fields with rather large looking houses occasionally making an appearance in the distance. I was torn between taking the first turning onto the coast path or running for longer to Lundy Bay before heading to The Rumps. For me I made the right call and took the first turning. As stunning as this route is, by the time I left the Rumps and was on the home stretch, I was quite tired!

a white house at the end of a single track lan with bright green fields at Polzeath
a white house on the horizon with green and yellow fields and trees

To The Rumps!

Despite considering myself to be a seasoned trail and coast path runner, nothing could prepare me for the wash of colour that greeted me as I stepped onto the coast path at Port Quin Bay. By this time, the sky was a heavy grey, threatening rain which never materialised. Instead, rays of evening sunshine fought through clouds, making the surrounding nature pop and glow.

yellow gorse running alongside the coast path near The Rumps with the sea and dark clouds
bluebelles and tall grass along the Cornish coast near The Rumps

As this was early May, the Cornish coastline was intense and vivid. Rich greens, bright yellow gorse, snaking whites from the tall cow parsley, and hints of pinks and violets provided an infinite swathe of colour. It was like the coast path’s saturation had been turned up a notch. This is definitely one of the best times of year to be on the south west coast path.

a small cove between steep rocks and cliffs at high tide in Cornwall

It felt like it took me a while to get to The Rumps. I think this was mainly because I was stopping for photos every few minutes. The coast path naturally comes away from the coastline for a short distance and I wondered if I’d taken the wrong path. It all joins up with The Rumps becoming apparent in ahead.

the first twin headland of The Rumps near Polzeath

About The Rumps

The Rumps are a a twin headland at Pentire Point that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a little island too, just off the eastern headland called The Mouls. The western headland is called, Rump Point (so original!). Although I’ve been before, on this occasion The Rumps gave me proper Game of Thrones vibes with its curved edges and steep rock formations.

The Rumps a twin headland with rocks and a bit of grass and sea pinks
The Rumps headland with the sea and rocks

There’s a fair bit of history attached to The Rumps (the name always makes me smile). It’s actually an old Iron Age hill fort built before the Romans invaded. It’s believed to be the location of a cliff castle with 3 walls which was occupied around 4th Century BC. It even has its own cove (non-accessible), Sevensouls. How nice is that?

I ran around the first head of The Rumps but just to warn you, it is close to the edge. I found it quite exciting and not too intimidating (unlike some other stretches of the south west coast path). When it came to running the other part of The Rumps, I decided to pass. There appears to be a path that leads to the peak but I wasn’t sure I was up to it. My legs were really tired by this point. Plus, it was getting late and I wanted to get back to my car before dusk.

Pink sea thrift working its way down a shallow cliff edge with a bit of sea in the corner
Bright blue sea and rocks edging into the water under a dark sky with a streak of gold light

Returning to Polzeath

From here, I felt like I was on the home stretch. It was longer than I remembered though! There’s a gradual incline coming away from The Rumps and by this time, my little legs were tired. I was pleased to come across the gradual downhill before Pentireglaze Haven, a small cove at New Polzeath. From here, I was back on familiar territory back to the car. I stopped and watched the surfers, promising myself that one day I’d give that a proper go. While walking along, gazing out to sea, I sprained my ankle on uneven ground. So annoying. A reminder to look where you’re going rather than stare at the scenery.

A small sandy cove near New Polzeath
a black portable sauna cabin on New Polzeath Beach with a house in the distance
New Polzeath and Hayle Bay with Polzeath town in the background
Hayle Bay at dusk with a golden glow from the sky

For some reason I thought this was a 4 mile route, but it was almost 7. No wonder I was bushed and gasping for a cup of tea by the time I finished!

Even though I decided to run this 10km route around The Rumps, it would make an excellent walk. There is usually a coffee van on Pentireglaze Haven for you to stop at on the way out or back. Or you could take a picnic and sit either along the low ledge overlooking Hayle Bay or wave watch while sitting on The Rumps.

Pinterest pin for a running route by Penny Sherwodd around Polzeath and The Rumps

Author: plbedford

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