The village of Towednack is around 2 miles to the east and inland of St Ives. Bordered by the West Cornwall moors the village is very much on the edge of civilisation! It is probably best known for the parish church which is dedicated to St Trewnnocus. Set a little way from the village the church has a particularly squat tower. The story goes that when the church was being built, every night the Devil would visit and knock down the day’s work. Obviously the builders had enough of this so gave up and went home.
The small village of Sennen Cove is located around 12 miles west of St Ives and is just short of Land’s End. The village’s main attraction is its beach, a mile long stretch of pristine sand facing into the full might of the Atlantic Ocean. As you can imagine, Sennen is a popular spot with surfers all year round. Generally speaking the waves get bigger the further down the beach you head, so there is something for all levels. If you fancy surfing and don’t have a board (or a clue!) there are boards for hire and lessons available.
In the Summer the beach can get busy but there is plenty of parking so this generally doesn’t cause a problem. It is a great family beach with plenty of facilities and the experienced lifeguard team are very much on the ball, and well equipped making it pretty safe. It’s only a 3 minute walk into the village from the beach if you need a shop. There is also ‘The Beach’ restaurant which, as you may imagine, is right by the beach – the food here is good but pricey.
Located less than a mile out of St Ives is Carbis Bay. It is a wide sandy beach with good facilities making it particularly popular with families. It is also fairly sheltered both from the wind and the waves owing to its position in the lee of large, tree covered cliffs.
In times gone by the beach was known by various names including Barripper, Porthrepta and Carrack Garden Cove. Back in those days the beach was mainly used by fishermen to launch their boats. Despite its sheltered aspect there have been several shipwrecks at Carbis Bay, 3 of them in one night in 1893. At low tide it is possible to see the remains of the Cintra in the centre of the beach.
On rare occasions it is possible to surf at Carbis bay but this requires an enormous northerly swell. When there is surf it is particularly popular with body boarders with powerful, wedgey waves occurring close to high tide.
Carbis Bay is also convenient to get to. Being outside of St Ives you can avoid the worst of the Summer traffic and in addition it also has its own station on the St Ives train line.
The village of Zennor is located about 3 miles from St Ives on the north coast road. It has some fine coastal scenery and a pretty church and pub with a very pleasant beer garden. Zennor is possibly best known though from the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor
Is it a harbour or is it a beach? Well it actually does a pretty good impression of both! The golden sand stretches along the wharf side and at low tide all the way to Porthminster beach. One of the best things about the harbour beach is it is right in the heart of the town.
Porthminster is often regarded as St Ives’ other beach after Porthmeor around the headland. However, Porthminster has plenty going for it, from the highly rated Porthminster Beach Cafe to the safe sheltered bathing. It is also right next to the town’s train station and main bus stop.