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Ms Humdrum recommends ... beaches around Padstow, Cornwall

(1) Lighthouse walk around Trevose Head to Booby's Bay
Trevose Head round to Booby's Bay and Constantine
We walked around Trevose Head from our campsite in Mother Ivey's Bay, but of course you can access it from the coastal path. Passing over the lifeboat station, this afford you a view back over Harlyn and Trevone beaches, Stepper Point at the lower mouth point of the Camel Estuary and even as far as Polzeath and Pentire Point and the Rumps on the other side of the estuary. Once you have passed the lighthouse and the blow hole, the view is south to Booby's Bay and Constantine beach. Last year, we walked this route starting off drenched with rain and ending up in full sun, with a pasty pitstop by the lighthouse on the way. Watching the waves crash into Booby's over the rocks kept us occupied for quite some time.

(2) Padstow walk

Walk the war memorial and beyond
Padstow, or Padstein as it's sometimes unfavourably known, is seen as a touristy town with the harbour as the main attraction. And it is and attraction. But there is much more to the area. A friend of mine was recommended to avoid visiting as it was "packed" this year. Even when "packed", I still find things to do, including what I call the walk out to the monument, which is in fact the war memorial. We usually start off with lunch in Green's Cafe, which is at North Quay, then we walk out with the estuary on our right. If you look back, you can see the Camel Estuary winding its way to Wadebridge and opposite is Rock and you can watch the ferry cross regularly. 

Once we were treated to a multi-agency rescue training exercise almost at head height here. It's a wonderful place to sit and have a picnic, or just watch the (sea) world go by. It's a quick and easy walk out to the monument and back, but one year we walked further. We visited Tregirls beach and had a fabulous time exploring old brick ruins. If you carry on past the old lifeboat station, you can walk uphill toward Lellizzick B&B for a cream tea with amazing views. There are options to continue on the coastal path or make your way back down into Padstow. A speedboat trip is an exhilarating way to see the whole of the estuary.

(3) Bedruthan Steps
Triangles, triangles, triangles
This is not one of Padstow's Seven Bays for Seven Days - it's a little further down the coast past Treyarnon and Porthcothan. When I was little, we never visited it and I realise now it's not lifeguarded. We parked in its National Trust car park and wandered over the headland to eat our pasties. It was a dull day, just right for exploring a new beach. Over 120 steps later down the steep staircase, we were among the pointed stacked rocks which, according to legend, were used by the giant Bedruthan as a short cut across the bay. Rock climbing is not allowed there but we managed to sit atop a rock to enjoy our flasks of tea and a cake. Well, we needed energy to climb back up!

(4) Mother Ivey's Bay
No lifeguard but a lot of fun
For the last two years, we've stayed at the stunning campsite of the same name mostly because of the beach which although isn't private, has private vehicular access from the campsite only. You can access it from the coastal path but this means that it is relatively quiet compared to nearby bays. This beach is not lifeguarded and although you can't say that the beach is "safe", it is a good place to swim, snorkel and sometimes surf. I was surprised to find we enjoyed the waves as much, if not more at times, than neighbouring Harlyn - probably because the water isn't that crowded. We have had much fun rock climbing, jumping huge waves, surfing (albeit a short distance), snorkeling out around the rocks and this year, kayaking (model's own!) around the bay. It really is a beautiful, quiet beach, which is great for barbecues later on in the evening, when you can watch the sunset with a gin and tonic!

(5) St Michael's Mount
It's all about the views
This is something I'd wanted to do for ages, and being Cornish, I can't believe I never have! We set off early hoping to get there to park and walk over the causeway before it was closed. The traffic was worse than we'd envisaged and time was ticking on - the causeway was due to close at 10.40. The nearest car parks were full so we had to go to the next one. I then sprinted, pushing ahead of everyone so I wouldn't be the first one they didn't let over! We made it and actually, it didn't close for at least another half an hour. 

The walk felt similar to walking out to Looe Island, but not quite as good. There was a huge queue for the castle, but once you started climbing up, it all evened out. They put on storytelling performances on the way up on the grass - I thought my son wouldn't be interested at 12, but he was and we didn't manage to catch a whole one. The views are stunning from the castle, even when you're winding round waiting to enter the actual castle. It's hard to believe it's still occupied, and that they still entertain from time to time in the 900 year old dining hall. The gardens were closed that day, but you did get a good view of them from the battlements. My son's favourite artifact from the house was an Egyptian mummified cat which he said looked like a burrito. It did. We ate in the Sail Loft restaurant. They messed up our order but the food was delicious. The queue was long again for the boat trip home; we managed to skip more than half the queue when they shouted out for a "three" - there's something to gain from having only one child I guess. I will definitely return.

(6) Treyarnon to Porthcothan circular walk
Don't get too close to the edge!
It wasn't a proper good beach day so we set off across Treyarnon beach, up by Rose's Ice Cream van and up to the clifftop to walk the coastal path to Porthcothan. The views are stunning. Even my tweenager son was impressed with the walk. We tried to find the Iron Age forts which were mentioned online, but we could find no sign of them. This is a conservation area with work being done to increase the corn bunting bird population. Also of interest are the curzyway or Jack and Jane stone walls along the cliff. Approaching Porthcothan, you can try to work out which scenes this beach was used in to film Nampara and Hendrawna bays in Poldark! Back on the road after Porthcothan, you can rehydrate at The Tredrea Inn, which I remember fondly as a child in the 70/80s with the menagerie outside in the garden. You do then need to walk a bit on the road, until you come to cross fields again, before arriving back at Treyarnon car park. 

(7) Trevone Bay
Stunning beach
One of our most-visited beaches in the area, Trevone is a good family beach. We've spent many a happy summer holiday there with our son, from when he was being pulled around in a dingy to perfecting skimming as a tweenager. The beauty of this beach, like Treyarnon, is the pool. It's not quite so natural as Treyarnon's, but it's deeper and affords more places to jump in from. When the tide is low, you can climb all across the rocks to the pool, walking back along the cliff to the Trevone car park. We haven't visited the blowhole for a few years, but that's good fun up on the headland. We usually think that Trevone isn't the best for surfing, but this year we were proven wrong. The waves were the best we'd surfed on in our two week holiday. My Fitbit registered something like 6km walking back out to surf in again! We topped off an already perfect day with pizza on the beach from the Trevone Beach Cafe, perched on the sand safely against the wall at the top of the beach, waiting for high tide and sundown. You can't get much better than this.

(8) Treyarnon Bay
Saving the best til last - my absolute favourite
This is my favourite beach. It has everything for a day out. I've been here in the rain, at Christmas, in the full sun and those drizzly/dry days when you don't know whether to take off your wetsuit or not when you dodge the showers in the beach tent. I first came to this beach as a child and now my child loves it too. 
Typical day here:

  1. Arrive
  2. Swim/surf in the sea
  3. Pasty
  4. Cuppa
  5. Sit for a bit
  6. Walk around the left side of the beach, finding the rapids and the plunge pool (these are natural - Centreparcs eat your heart out) and climb a few rocks
  7. Back up for a cuppa
  8. Swim/surf and visit to the pool (tide dependent of course) - find out the best way to climb up depending on how the sand has settled this year; watch your son climb the hardest way, just because ...
  9. Lose sight of your son then relocate him climbing down a completely different rock face
  10. Wander back up via the rock pools
  11. Ice cream
  12. Decide whether to play boules or bat'n'ball
  13. Last swim
  14. When you've packed up your car, take a walk along the headland to Constantine, at sundown if possible to get the best views, watching the pool fill in and the holes in the rocks blow the water up!

See, it really does have it all.

(9) Walk to Harlyn Bay from Mother Ivey's Bay
Different views this time from a different angle
Harlyn Bay is the surfer's choice. Harlyn Surf School is based here and the length of the beach is perfect for all water activities. We've tried SUP from here, very reasonable and quite easy except for Mr Humdrum who couldn't quite balance. This year, we only visited once but took few photos so these came from a walk from our campsite along the coastal path to the left side of the beach. The views are of course different, and you can see Trevone from here. There is a "door" at the far side of the beach which we like to walk through every year. This is a stunning beach in terms of sand and water, but it doesn't have quite as much to do as some of the others, but it is good for just walking across. The tide comes in quickly and families are often caught out, having to move back very quickly. There always used to be a pool which formed at the top of the beach, but this year it wasn't there and the beach looks very different for it. It is also great to take your pasty and walk from Trevone along the path to Harlyn, stopping at one of the seats along the way to lunch.

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