Trebarwith Strand

Trebarwith Strand is the beach that Park Farm overlooks. You can get there with a 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk. On foot, the best way is down the lane to Treknow and down a footpath from there. See our Trebarwith Strand Circular Walk for detailed directions (which starts off on that route).

There is a large car park a couple of hundred metres before your reach the beach if you don't fancy the walk down (or especially back up the hill). Just past this the road ends in a turning and dropoff area which is no parking from May to October. The best way by car from Park Farm is down Trewarmett Hill and take the right turn at the bottom of the hill. Ignore satnavs that try to direct you through Treknow - the roads are very narrow that way.

About Trebarwith Strand

Denis Point at Trebarwith Strand near Tintagel
Port William at low tide
Lill cove at low tide
Lill cove at low tide
Hole beach at Trebarwith Strand
Hole Beach

Trebarwith Strand is a sandy surf beach with rocky outcrops and has been awarded the European "Blue Flag" Award for cleanliness and bathing water quality. There is no beach at high tide but from a couple of hours from high tide onwards you can get down onto the beach (there is sand from mid tide onwards on a Spring tide).

The beach at Trebarwith was recorded as "Trebarrow" on maps in the 1600s and even during the 20th Century, it was called this by some locals. By Victorian times it was recorded on OS maps as Trebarwith Strand. Several small beaches span the bay and at low tide these all join to form a mile long ribbon of golden sand.

The leftmost beach in the bay is Port William which is strewn with rocks except at the lowest point of the tide. Strong currents around Dennis Point make this a dangerous place to swim. The cliffs of the small point separating Port William from Trebarwith Strand are unstable and there have been a few cliff falls in recent years.

Trebarwith Strand is in the centre and is the lifeguard-patrolled area. It's sandy on the left and, to the right side, there are more rocks including some good rock pools. The large pool beside the rocks on the right side of the beach is known as "Horse Pool" from when horses were used to transport slate and sand, and this provided somewhere for them to cool off from their heavy work.

Lill Cove is the beach to the right of Trebarwith Strand, separated by rocks except at low tide. There is a gully between rocks that makes it possible to get through to Trebarwith when access is cut off by the sea (though this route isn't available at high tide). There is also a footpath up from Lill Cove joining the coast path which is accessible at all times of the tide. Vean Hole, further to the right, is a continuation of Lill Cove once the tide is a little way out, but is technically a separate beach.

Hole Beach is on the far right of the bay and apart from at the lowest couple of hours of the tide, Hole Beach is cut off by the sea. There is some good snorkelling along the right-hand edge of Hole Beach where boulders that fell from the cliffs of Dria and Bagalow quarries have been colonised by kelp.

NB. The only sane way to get on and off Hole Beach is along the sand at low tide. There is a very steep path (perhaps goat track is a better description) that leads up the cliffs to the coast path from Hole Beach which is unsuitable for children and indeed most adults! Unless you are an experienced rock climber and the weather is dry it's not recommended. Also it is not an easy climb over the rocks back to Lill Cove (it involves clambering up some steep rock faces and crossing rock platforms covered in slippery algae).

Tide Times for Trebarwith Strand

Ebbing tide at Trebarwith Strand
Ebbing tide at Trebarwith Strand

If you're in the area, a good way to check is to look out at Gull Rock. If you can see a couple of small rocks showing on the left then the tide is out and there will be a beach at Trebarwith Strand. In the event of a "proper" Cornish sea fog, you can check the tide times on the web (nearest/most similar recording is a Port Isaac: add 10 mins for High Tide; low tide is the same time as Port Isaac):

Map of Trebarwith Strand

Click on each icon for more information. Double-click to zoom in and drag to scroll the map. You can also view Trebarwith Strand in a larger map.

Swimming at Trebarwith Strand

Hole beach
Hole beach
Rip current between breaking waves
Rip current between breaks
Kayaking at Trebarwith Strand
Kayaking at Trebarwith Strand

Near low tide on a calm day there are pools along the edge of Hole Beach which are a pleasant spot to swim. Since Trebarwith Strand is a lifeguard patrolled beach from May until the end of September, it's quite a good place to go with children in the summer.

Dolphins can sometimes be seen in the bay at Trebarwith Strand and basking sharks also sometimes come into the bay in the Summer. June to early July is the best time to see them.

As with any west-facing surf beach in North Cornwall there can be very powerful waves and currents when there is a surf running, so please respect the sea and advice of the lifeguards and swim between the red and yellow flags where there are no rip currents. In particular there are often strong currents around Denis Point. The Tintagel Surf Life Saving club has a page on how to spot rip currents. The Surf Lifesaving Club also have a club house over the top of the public toilets (to the right of the rocky gully on the way down to the beach). If you're taking a sea kayak out you may want to let the lifeguards know when you set off, roughly how long you expect to be out and that you got back safely so they can make sure you're safe.

Surfing at Trebarwith Strand

Surfer at Trebarwith Strand
Surfer at Trebarwith Strand
Surf School
Surf School
Body boarder at Trebarwith Strand
Body boarder at Trebarwith Strand
Surf Shop
Surf Shop

For beginners, low tide is best as there aren't any rocks and there are some quite long rides on white water.

For experienced surfers, the waves are best at a quarter to mid tide, ideally on a rising tide. Port William has nice left hand breaks which quite often barrel. There are also often right-handers starting at Lill Cove. Ideal winds are east or south-easterly as the beach faces west.

You can hire longboards and body boards, wetsuits and fins from Trebarwith Surf Shop.

In Summer you can have surf lessons at Trebarwith with Trebarwith Surf School which is run by the local surfers.

Current forecast

More info

Snorkelling at Trebarwith Strand

Bass at Hole Beach
Bass at Hole Beach

Good spots for snorkelling include:

  • Hole Beach - there are a series of boulders (some remnants of slate quarrying and the wharf where slate was loaded onto ships) running out from Hole Beach alongside Penhallic Point which provide shelter for bass, pollock and wrasse.
  • Port William - watch out for strong currents around Denis Point. Backways cove round to the left of Denis Point has lots of bass and pollock and an interesting underwater landscape to explore.
  • At high tide the rocky area between Trebarwith Strand and Lill Cove is good for marine life but is not recommended when there is a big surf running.

Sea fishing at Trebarwith Strand and Penhallic Point

Beachcasting on Trebarwith
Beachcasting at Trebarwith Strand

With a beachcaster you stand a good chance of catching bass and flounder with the occasional plaice and turbot on the sand off Trebarwith Strand. Hole Beach in particular is good for bass, but be careful not to get cut off by the tide. If you do, there is a track up the cliffs but it is somewhat precipitous particularly if you're carrying fishing gear.

Penhallick point (the headland on the right of Trebarwith Strand is an excellent rock plaform for float fishing and spinning for mackerel, garfish and pollock. There is a natural deep water berth alongside the point that boats used to moor in to load slate from the quarries. You can get there either by walking North along the coast path from Trebarwith Strand or it's slightly closer if you park at St Materiana Church near Tintagel and walk South.

Walks from Trebarwith Strand

View over Denis Point from cliffs at Trebarwith Strand by Angela Channing
View from the coast path
View of Trebarwith Strand from Penhallic Point
View from Penhallic Point

There are spectacular views from the coast path behind Trebarwith Strand; the gate is just before the beach shop and cafe on the right. The path also has great views over the old Lanterdan slate quarry near Hole Beach where peregrine falcons can often be seen (and particularly heard) and continues on to Penhallick Point and then St Materiana church

In the other direction on the coast path you can walk to Backways Cove. The walk starts with climb up a couple of hundred steps behind the Port William which is not for the faint hearted!

Some circular walks you might like to try that include Trebarwith Strand include:

Photography at Trebarwith Strand and from the coast path

Summer sunset at Trebarwith Strand
Summer sunset
Autumn sunset over Trebarwith Strand from Park Farm
Autumn sunset
Sunset over Denis Point from Trebarwith Strand
Winter sunset
The beach at Port William in winter
Port William in Winter
Wave breaking over Gull Rock at Trebarwith Strand
Wave breaking over Gull Rock

Trebarwith Strand is west facing so the sun sets over the sea and in Autumn and Spring Gull Rock is silhouetted against the sea as the sun sets. In winter the sun sets further south over Denis Point

In a winter storm, Trebarwith Strand can be truly awesome with waves sometimes breaking right over the top of Gull Rock and Penhallick point. If you're going for a stormy winter shot, you can usually spot a rainstorm approaching from the West over the sea a couple of minutes before it hits land and you get soaked which should give you enought time duck into the Port William for a quick warm up whist it passes over.

Photos on Flickr

Photos on panoramio

Pubs, shops and facilities near the beach

Port William, Trebarwith Strand
The Port William at Trebarwith
The Port William pub, overlooking Trebarwith Strand
View from The Port William
Open fire at the Port William
Open fire in Winter
The Strand cafe
The Strand cafe
  • The Port William pub is on the cliffs overlooking the beach.
  • Next to the beach is Trebarwith Strand Surf Shop sells and hires surfboards/bodyboards, wetsuits and fins and naturally also sells buckets and spades plus good quality ice cream (from Callestick Farm in Truro).
  • Alongside is The Strand café who sell freshly prepared food and home made cakes.
  • There is a shop that sells fresh doughuts next to the steps that lead up the path from Trebarwith Strand to the Port William
  • There are toilets on the right of the steps that lead off the road onto the beach
  • The Mill House Inn (a former 18th century corn mill) is set in a leafy spot in Trebarwith Valley (about 10 min walk up the road from the beach).

The Port Willy is a good vantage point for stormy seas in Winter (or in the case of 2008, in August!) and offers a warm shelter when you've had enough of the elements.

Geology and Slate Quarrying at Trebarwith Strand

Sunlight on the rock pinnacles at West Quarry at Trebarwith Strand
West Quarry at Trebarwith Strand
Sunset over Lanterdan Quarry at Trebarwith Strand in North Cornwall
Lanterdan Quarry

The Lanterdan and West quarries above Vean Hole and Hole Beach at Trebarwith Strand were once some of the biggest in North Cornwall. In Lanterdan quarry there is a tall, distinctive, pinnacle of rock. This was left behind as the slate in the pinnacle was not of a sufficiently good quality; shorter pinnacles were left in West Quarry for the same reason. These chunks of inferior-quality slate were known locally as "scullocks".

The quarry workings never reached the shoreline as there is a fault along the base of the quarry, known as the Trambley Cove Formation. This is made of volcanic lava which was no good to the quarrymen. Lanterdan Quarry is now owned by the National Trust and is a site of geological interest for two reasons. The first is that it contains brachiopod (shellfish) fossils. Second, a rare mineral called monazite is present which contains rare-earth (lanthanide) metals.