A 5 mile Running loop on the South West Coast Path, taking in St Anthony Head and wonderful Towan Beach on the Roseland Peninsula.
This Towan Beach to St Anthony Head run is one of my favourite trail routes. Why keep it to myself? In fact, I can’t wait to share it with you. Although this is a great running route, it’s popular with walkers too. Either way, take your time and soak up the views.
It’s simply beautiful.
St Anthony Head sits on The Roseland Peninsula on the Cornish South West Coast Path. This circular route is about 5.5 miles long. If you’ve ever run one of the longer distances of the Roseland August Trail from MudCrew, some of this trail will be familiar to you.
Why do I love running from Towan Beach to St Anthony Head so much?
Well, it’s a run of 2 halves. You start off on trails through shaded, cool woodland leading you to Place Quay. After this, you take on the coastpath. Needless to say it’s a very pretty route, with views I never tire of along the way. In fact, this could easily be a blogpost where the pictures speak for themselves, but I kind of want to give you directions too!
From Towan Beach at Porth to Place Quay
I always park at Porth, a National Trust car park that’s popular with those who frequent Towan Beach on the Roseland (not to be confused with Towan Beach in Newquay). I’m a National Trust member but if you’re not, it’s £2.50 to park for the day.
The St Anthony Head loop starts here. From the car park head down the road between the two houses and head for the public footpath. You’re running through woodland from the outset so there’s plenty of shade and shelter. The route is signposted every now and again – you’re following the signs for Place Quay.
As you amble along you’re treated to views of Fal River peeping through the trees. Get used to it, this is the sort of scenery that’ll follow you all the way round. In fact, I’d say it becomes more glorious the further you go.
The wooded part of this Towan Beach to St Anthony Head loop lasts just over a mile. You’ll come to a gate which brings you to an open field (excellent view on the right here!) before you venture into more trees and cover. At around the one mile mark the path opens up and you’ll see the roof of Place House. Carry on for a few hundred yards and take the gate on your right. You’ve landed at Place Quay.
I usually stop here and appreciate the view for a moment.
Place House and Place Church
Place House and the little quay offer a stunning, peaceful stop. The yellow statuesque house is an impressive sight. Take a moment to look to your right too. The view from the little slipway is worth it. There’s usually a few boats bobbling away, and a house that has a wonderful view almost all to itself.
Once at Place House you turn left. You take the road, not for long, and look out for the first turning on your right past the last house. The turning is signposted but you could miss it. Take this track and you’ll start to see headstones. Yes, you are about to run through a little graveyard that belongs to Place Church which must be the prettiest bijou church I’ve ever come across. It’s usually open so do go in and have a look, it’s beautiful.
Towards St Anthony Head
The markings for the path from the church are quite clear – simply follow the little yellow acorns and arrows. The path takes you up some steps before levelling off. Go right at the top of the steps from the church, and follow the trail round to the left. You eventually come off the trail and take on an incline in a field. The signpost for this field isn’t obvious to me. If I hadn’t been with a friend the first time I ran this route, I think I would’ve missed it. At the top of this field is a gate and you’re greeted with an outstanding view Falmouth and St Mawes.
I think this next bit is my favourite part of the run; it always makes me smile. You run or walk down the slanting side of the field with water on your right, it’s open and I always feel free as I try to put the brakes on and continually look to my right. I particularly like the tall trees that are synonymous with this part of Cornwall dotting the stretch of South West Coast Path ahead. Follow the path round several bends, stride up and down some steps, and you’ll see St Anthony’s Lighthouse ahead of you. This has got to be one of my top 10 running views – I think I have a thing for lighthouses.
The coast path takes you across another little bridge next to a secluded cove. You have 2 options – take the route to St Anthony Head car park or run further around St Anthony Head. I always take the car park route, and I’m guessing whichever path you take, you’re going to end up scaling a considerable incline and some steps. Both take you to the car park area so I guess it doesn’t really matter. Once you’ve caught your breath in the car park from the climb, go right and head out on the coast path. When I reach this bit, I feel I’m on the home stretch.
The Final Miles To Towan Beach
This bit of coast path is undulating. There are a few gradients but nothing to worry about. My advice would be the same as before: take you time and enjoy the amazing views of the Cornish coast. You’ll know when you’re near Town beach – you’ll see it of course but there’s also this totem pole thing by it. No idea what this is for, so answers on a postcard…
You’ll find the coast path meets the sandy path for the beach. Turn left and when the path forks, keep left. You’ll run over some cobbles and through a passage way where the Thirsty Tea Co. sit. You’ll see the road and the car park.
Well done, you’ve made it back to your car!
I think we all have some favourite running routes, where are yours? I feel so fortunate to be able to explore the Cornish coast whenever I want to run, do you have anywhere that’s special to you?
If you’re signed up to Strava, come and say hi.
You can find the St Anthony Head route here.