Google Street View – Porthgwidden Beach!

So who, when and why did this bizarre message appear on Porthgwidden Beach, just in time for the Google Street View car to turn up and snap it?!

View Larger Map

Shark Sightings off St Ives

Great White Shark - St Ives
Great White Shark - St Ives
Great White Shark

Cornwall is home to a surprising variety of sharks. The most commonly sighted are Basking Sharks, which, despite their size and their classic Jaws-style dorsal fin, are completely harmless, feeding on plankton, a kind of algae that lives in sea water.

Not all Cornish sharks are harmless. The Blue Shark, Porbeagle, Thresher Shark and Mako (Maori for man-eating) Shark are all capable of inflicting injury on people, although as yet no shark attacks have ever been reported in the UK. This does not prevent sporadic media feeding-frenzies, in which St Ives often seems to be centre stage.

In 2007 the tabloids decided that a Great White Shark was hunting off the Cornish coast, following a prank by a local bouncer, who sent footage filmed off the coast of Cape Town to the local newspaper.

Media interest was further fuelled in 2009 when a twelve foot Thresher Shark was spotted by surfers and later washed up dead on the beach at Hayle.

Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Oceanic Whitetip Shark

The most recent uproar happened in 2011 when a sixty-year-old Mackerel fisherman claimed that a two-meter Oceanic Whitetip Shark ‘zig-zagged’ towards his boat and ‘circled it a few times’ before ‘slamming into it’. He reported the sighting to the harbourmaster at St Ives. Ten minutes later two other fishermen reported a similar experience, one of them claiming to be ‘100% certain’ that what he had seen was an Oceanic Whitetip.

Although the Shark Trust said that the chances of the animal actually being a Whitetip were extremely small – these sharks are usually found in deeper waters much further south – the media took up the story with relish, causing mass hysteria when a large Basking Shark was spotted in the harbour in the same week!

Lambeth Walk Beach

Lambeth Walk Beach

Lambeth Walk beach is a small (and oddly named!) beach situated between the harbour and Porthminster beach. It is barely a beach at all when the tide is in but opens up to join with the harbour beach at lower tides. The backdrop to the beach is the town Church of St Ia and to the northern end is the RNLI lifeboat station.

The beach got its name in the late 1930s when the hit song “The Lambeth Walk” became a dance craze around the World.

Lambeth Walk is a dog friendly beach with no restrictions throughout the year.

Clodgy Point Beach

Clodgy Point Cove

Clodgy Point beach is located just around the point (Man’s Head) from Porthmeor beach. It is a fairly rugged affair with a mix of boulders and rocks strewn across a sweeping bay that reaches over to Clodgy Point. It is possibly a little more sheltered than Porthmeor from the force of the sea but is barely accessible and only sandy at low tide. Access is from the coastpath towards the Clodgy Point end and is not recommended for all but the most agile.

On a low tide, with a medium sized swell and when Jupiter is aligned with Uranus there is a mythical surf break here. Foxholes as it is known is a rare point break that I have only ever seen working the once.

Clodgy Point is a dog friendly beach with pooches free to roam throughout the year on or off the lead.

St Ives Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach from the Malakoff

Is it a harbour? Is it a beach? Well actually it’s both. Whilst you might imagine a grimy patch of muddy sand down a flight of steps you could not be further from the truth. St Ives Harbour beach shares the same beautiful, golden sand and azure waters as the town’s other main beaches. The fact that it is still a working harbour only adds to the beach’s charm.

As you might expect the beach is sheltered. With a near southerly aspect and Smeaton’s Pier to protect the boats from the Atlantic swells only the tiniest of waves make it to the beach. It is also sheltered from the breeze by the town and pier making it a veritable sun-trap (when it’s sunny!).

The other great thing about the Harbour beach is it is smack, bang in the middle of town. This means not only is it easy to get to but you have all the facilities of the town right on the Wharf behind you. So you are never more than 2 minutes from a harbour-front cafe, ice cream shop or choice of Cornish pasty – just be warned that if you don’t take care the seagulls ‘ll have it!

As mentioned this is still a working harbour. Whilst nowhere near as busy as it was 40 or 50 years ago fish are still landed here. Much of the harbour’s trade these days involves fishing trips and excursions, including the ever popular trips to ‘Seal Island’  a couple of miles down the coast towards Zennor.

Dog friendly beaches

Dog friendly beaches in St Ives

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
  • Bamaluz beach
  • Lambeth Walk beach
  • Porthkidney Sands

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

  • Porthmeor beach
  • Porthgwidden beach
  • St Ives Harbour beach
  • Porthminster 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.

This information can be downloaded from the Cornwall County Council’s dog friendly beach guide (2mb)