Dogs love beaches, but unfortunately many of Cornwall’s most popular beaches are closed to dogs during the summer months. However, this doesn’t mean no beach for your dog this summer; there are several dog friendly beaches in and around St Ives even during the holiday season. As for the rest of the year, as long as you pick up after your pooch you can take your pick.
Dogs allowed all year
Hor Point beach
Clodgy Point beach
Lambeth Walk beach
These beaches are open to dogs all year. Out of all of them Porthkidney at low tide is probably the best option with a mile of wide open sand to run around on. It is also worth noting the first 2 on the list are quite difficult to get to and are accessed via the coast path. Bamaluz and Lambeth walk are both only really beaches at low tide.
Dogs not allowed from Easter day to 1st October
St Ives Harbour beach
Carbis Bay beach
Whilst you cannot take your dog on these beaches during the day there is some flexibility with the seasonal ban only being in place between 8am and 7pm.
For a town of its size St Ives has a surprising number of churches and chapels of varying sizes and denominations. From the fine Anglican parish church of St Ia to the diminutive chapel of St Nicholas perched on top of the Island there are nearly ten in total. Three of these are Methodist churches with St Ives having a strong tradition in Methodism following the numerous visits of John Wesley, the movements founder, in the 18th century.
The town of St Ives (Porth Ia) means the ‘cove of St Ia’ and it is little surprise that the town’s first church should be dedicated to this Irish missionary. Built around 550 years ago the parish church is an attractive and fascinating building. The church and many of its contents provide a history not only of the church, but of local industry and culture. The tower is of Zennor granite and stands at nearly 90 feet tall making it visible from any point in the town. Inside is a vaulted wagon roof, some fine stained glass windows and richly carved sandstone and wood. One of the most celebrated objects is the Madonna and Child sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth, carved in memory of her son Paul who was killed whilst serving with the RAF in 1953. Outside, at the base of the tower is a 15th century cross, possibly relocated from an earlier church.
St Ives has a further Anglican church, St John’s in the Fields which dates back to 1858. St John’s was built as the parish church for the village of Halsetown and as the name suggests it was originally set in the middle of a field. However, over the years it has been absorbed into the outskirts of St Ives. The church is clearly visible from the top of the Stennack as one enters St Ives from the Penzance or North Coast road.
As mentioned Methodism was well established in St Ives. There are currently three Methodist chapels in service, the United on Bedford Road, the Bible Christian on St Peter’s Street and a further chapel on Fore Street. There are also other former Methodist chapels around the town including a large one at the bottom of the Stennack. Initially Wesley and his followers were met with open hostility when they came to preach in the town. It was commonly believed that the Methodists sympathised with the Pope and Wesley’s early visits were disrupted by angry mobs. It is not only the chapels that stand as legacy of Wesley’s Methodism; Teetotal Street in the Downlong commemorates the temperance movement which was growing in the nineteenth century. The town even had its own Teetotal Society, possibly to counter the concentration of drinking establishments in the town’s harbour area.
Amongst St Ives’ curiosities are the two tiny chapels of St Leonard and St Nicholas. Both were built to serve the seafarers of the town with St Leonard’s looking after the fishermen and St Nicholas’ watching over the sailors from high up on the Island.
St Leonard’s is located at the landward end of Smeaton’s Pier and dates back to medieval times. It was where fishermen would pray before going to sea and it is said that a proportion of their catch would be paid to the chaplain on their safe return. The single room chapel is now home to a collection of model fishing boats and a memorial to local fishermen lost at sea.
The Chapel of St Nicholas is again a simple one room affair and is of similar age. Whilst originally a chapel for the sailors of St Ives this diminutive building has had several roles over the centuries. In the 1800s it was used as a lookout for smugglers by the Customs men as this area was ideal smuggling territory. In 1904 the building was tagged for demolition but following a public outcry was saved and restored several years later.
Set at the top of Skidden and Tregenna Hill is the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart and St Ia which was built in 1909.
Porthgwidden beach sits in the lee of ‘the Island’, the large rocky headland that sits at the limit of the St Ives peninsula. Just around the corner from the much bigger and wilder Porthmeor beach, Porthgwidden is much more sheltered from wind and waves. It’s a great spot for catching a few rays and families with all the facilities at hand including car parking and a good cafe.
The village of Zennor is located about 3 miles west of St Ives. Located on the wild and rugged north coast and backing onto the West Cornwall moors this is a place that can feel far removed from modern life. It is a pretty little village with a pub, the Tinner’s Arms, a small museum and an attractive church. In years gone by the folk of Zennor made their living from farming, fishing and mining. Now-a-days the fishing and mining have gone and those involved in farming are greatly reduced. This doesn’t mean there is no life in the village. There are a constant stream of visitors to the village, many on their way through whilst walking on the nearby South West Coast Path.
Zennor is steeped in history and legend. The surrounding moors are home to many ancient monuments most notably Zennor Quoit, the imposing remains of a now collapsed burial chamber. It has been estimated that the capstone that originally sat on top of the quoit weighs more than 10 tons.
The village church is St Senara and it is from this saint that the village gets its name. Dating back to Norman times the church is intertwined with Zennor’s best known legend – the Mermaid of Zennor:
In the legend the eye of local man Matthew Trewella is caught by a mysterious and beautiful women who watches him singing at the church every Sunday. As she became bolder the two fell in love. When Matthew asked her to stay she told him she had to return to the sea. He told here he would follow her wherever she went and carried her down to the cove, into the sea and under the waves. The two were never seen again but it is said that on fine summer evenings, if you listen carefully you can here the sound of Matthew’s singing.
In the church there is a carved bench end of a mermaid that dates back over 600 years.
The coast around Zennor is spectacular and is the perfect example of the West Cornish coast. Rugged granite cliffs stand firm against the relentless might of the Atlantic Ocean. A popular walk is from the village centre to Zennor Head around a mile along the coast. From here there are views up and down the coast to Gurnard’s Head and out over the treacherous Pendour Cove.
Trencrom Hill is located a couple of miles south of St Ives and is the highest hill in West Cornwall. From here the views are great taking in Godrevy and St Agnes beyond to the east and Mount’s Bay and St Micheal’s Mount to the south. Trencrom is also of historic importance and features in many local legends
During the 19th century St Ives was one of the biggest pilchard ports in Britain with fish being exported all over Europe from here. Life was centred around the harbour as it was 100s of years before, and to some extent still is. Fishing was dangerous work and many lives were lost at sea yet despite this poverty was rife in the warren of streets behind that run from the harbour. It wasn’t just fishermen who risked their lives at sea; over the years many ships have run aground in and around St Ives causing loss of life to both mariners and lifeboat men.