Breathtaking Coastal Views: Treyarnon Bay to Harlyn Bay

Seriously, is there really no end to beautiful places in Cornwall? I thought I’d covered them all, but I’ve been missing out. It’s time to shine the light on the gems dotted along the north Cornish coast.

bright sea with low rocks and pockets of water

As if the views aren’t enough, I picked a corker of a day to check out this stretch of coast path from Treyarnon to Harlyn Bay. I’ve heard so many positives about the coastal views from Treyarnon Bay, particularly those at Trevose Head. However, I’d say walking (or in my case, running) from Trevose to Harlyn Bay, is incredibly pretty. At times it was hard to believe I was still in Cornwall and not somewhere on the Mediterranean.

It was during the May Bank Holiday that I decided to head towards Harlyn Bay by foot from Treyarnon Bay. Thankfully, the sun worked its magic, making this a truly memorable and even more beautiful experience.

Getting to Treyarnon Bay was relatively easy. It’s at the end of a narrow road. Treyarnon is actually a hamlet so through traffic is pretty much non-existent. The car park is easy to locate with the parking cost being quite reasonable compared to other parts of Cornwall. In May 2024, I paid £5 for the day.

After having a swim in the popular Treyarnon Tidal Pool, I changed into my running kit and embarked on one of the most beautiful bits of Cornish coastline.

the sea in Cornwall with low rocks

First stop towards Harlyn Bay: Constantine Bay & Booby’s Bay

While I decided to run on this occasion, it’s very popular with walkers. In total Treyarnon Bay to Harlyn Bay is about 4 miles, making this an 8 mile jaunt for me. The good news is, there’s quite a few flat(ish) stretches of coast path. If you’re familiar with the south west coast path, you’ll know how unusual this is. There’s no endless steep steps here, thank goodness!

The path from Treyarnon Bay is low and quite near the sea. Heading past Treyarnon Bay Youth Hostel, there’s plenty of places to sit and gaze out to sea. The first stop, which I don’t think was even a mile from Treyarnon Bay, is Constantine Bay.

Trevose Headland and the sea at Constantine Bay in Cornwall
Constantine Bay in Cornwall

Once I was running across Constantine Bay, I knew I’d been here before. I didn’t think I had but I recognised the view. It also means that I had run past Treyarnon Bay (no memory of that though!) albeit many years ago.

Constantine Bay is a large, sandy beach – it’s gorgeous. As with most of the beaches along this part of the Cornish coast, it’s lined with sand dunes. There’s a small coffee outlet on one side of the beach, which is handy. In fact, most beaches mentioned here have a ventor somewhere, selling essential drinks and food for your time at the beach.

Constantine Bay was swiftly followed by Booby’s Bay which always makes me chuckle (childish, I know). Surfing is quite popular on these beaches and there were quite a few people taking advantage of the waves as I made my way onto the next point of interest.

bright sand and rocks with bright sea near Harlyn Bay in Cornwall
Trevose lighthouse and the sea

Trevose Head

After Booby’s Bay, I wasn’t far from Trevose Head. You may have seen photos of this pretty area. There’s a white lighthouse which pops against the coastal cerulean. I’m quite partial to a lighthouse view; I’d actually like to stay in one, that would be an experience.

Given that it’s Spring, the lighthouse was visible against all the bright spring colours – yellow, pinks, whites and greens. It really is worth visiting and I would imagine it’s a lovely place for a picnic. I see on the OS map that there’s an inlet called Stinking Cove 😂. I think it’s inaccessible. Probably just as well with a name like that (although it didn’t look, or smell, that bad)!

Trevose Head Lighthouse with yellow flowers, near Harlyn Bay
vibrant sea with grey cliffs and rocks

Onward to Mother Ivey Bay and Harlyn Bay

After Trevose Head, the south west coast path does not slack when it comes to views and scenery. Approaching Mother Ivey Bay, you can opt to take the road down to Padstow Lifeboat station, if you fancy a closer look. It’s operational and not open to visitors, but still. I didn’t venture down on this occasion but I’d like to another day.

The path here comes away from the coast slightly. I found myself glimpsing the sea inbetween high shrubbery as I passed through a field and sheltered fenced bit of coast path. I couldn’t wait to reach Mother Ivey Bay, or Polventon Beach as it’s also known. For me, this is the jewel on this stretch of coast path. It’s totally stunning. Looking at the views, all bright and basking in the Spring sunshine, I felt like I was in paradise. It’s quite something to say as, believe me, there’s more than one location in Cornwall that exudes such a vibe.

Mother Ivey Bay in the sunshine
Padstow lifeboat station with the tide in and turquoise sea

I was tempted to get back into the water. It was so enticing; all azure and calm. Plus, running in the sun makes for one hot Penny!

There are a few historic tales attached to Mother Ivey Bay. It’s thought to be named after a witch who lived in the area. Apparently, the land was cursed in the 16th century, something to do with a disagreement about pilchards! It’s a wonder that somewhere so beautiful could have such a dark and tempestuous history.

yellow sand and a beach with a lifeboat launch
Harlyn Bay in the distance from the south west coast path

Harlyn Bay

Just around the corner from Mother Ivey Bay is Harlyn Bay. I admit, I didn’t run the length of Harlyn Bay but know it’s a popular, spacious beach that holds much appeal for families and surfers. Instead, I stopped on the edge of the bay, finding a small cove and a quiet slipway for a little rest. It was good to stop and soak up the mesmerising scenery.

Even though I wanted to stay much longer, I knew I had to get going at some point. Running the return journey was equally enjoyable. I passed several walkers enjoying an ice cream. After that, I wanted one so badly. Perhaps I should’ve run a little further to Harlyn Bay Beach Box Cafe who would’ve sorted me out.

Harlyn Bay and the sea
Harlyn Bay in Cornwall

Returning to my car, my cravings changed and I had a much needed milky coffee. Once changed, but still a tad sweaty, I retraced my steps and sat near Constantine Bay. Here, I stayed another hour or so, painting the coastline before me. If you’d like to see more of my paintings and prints, you can find my art homepage here.

It’s fair to say, it was a day well spent.

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Author: plbedford

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