Holywell Bay

View map of beach Parking available South West Coast Path SSSI Dog friendly RNLI lifeguard cover May 18 - September 29 Beach cleaned regularly Good water quality for swimming

Extra autumn photo gallery

Season: spring

The extreme low tide on this visit enabled me to see the Holy Well, as in Holywell Bay.  The photo below is a still from deep inside the cave, showing the calcareous deposits that form the white well itself.  A couple of thanks are due – to Alex Davies for pointing me at the cave and to Theresa at The Well Cafe and Crafts in Cubert, for putting me onto Quiller-Couch’s guide to Cornish Holy Wells.  If you go to the Holy Well at low tide, please don’t be so seduced by its beauty that you forget the tide.

The Holy Well, at Holywell Bay in North Cornwall.



What the beach means to a local girl, Sharon, who, like so many, had to leave but has returned to live in Cornwall.

The friend Sharon mentions, Don, kindly sent me the photo in question.  Here it is:


The pristine beach at low tide.



Under storm clouds at low tide.

Season: spring

This is a magnificent, iconic North Cornwall beach at any time, but it was a particular pleasure to catch the scene just after low tide on an early spring day, with the beach largely deserted and the rocks exposed on the waterline.  Holywell Bay is known for its dune system, separating the village from the beach and creating an unspoilt, natural feel, next to the Atlantic breakers.

Spring visit photo gallery


Jamie’s eulogy to this beach.


A view of the beach at low tide from the high dunes behind.

Extra autumn visit photo gallery

Season: summer

The colours were from a silver grey palette this evening at Holywell Bay.  On a rising tide, the expansive, flat beach shone silver, as each waves receded after breaking.  There was a wistful, reflective atmosphere in the early evening light, with couples having a last look at today’s sea, before going for a drink or back home.

Summer visit photo gallery


With Simon, fishing from the beach in the early evening.


Holywell Bay’s beach, as seen from the water’s edge

Season: winter

It was a cold and still morning at the start of February.  The sand crunched under my feet as I walked down to the beach, among the first frost of this mild winter.  The sea shone silver against a pale sky, mirroring the fragile beauty of the sand dunes next to the beach.

Winter visit photo


With Carol and Tony, on the beach at Holywell Bay, explaining the changes in the structure of the dunes over time.

Season: autumn

Located between Newquay and Perranporth, this beach has a less trippy fee.  It takes a walk through the dunes to get to the sea.  On the beach, there’s an unspoilt feel, with the Atlantic breakers crashing in.



Here is Jenny at the National Trust car park near to the beach.  The organisation have protected so much of the coastline for us from unscrupulous development, so this was a chance to say thank you.

9 thoughts on “Holywell Bay

  1. Alex Davies

    Just wondering if you have ever been in the ‘holy well’ cave with the amazing mineral deposit formations that’s at the far end of the beach at low tide? I expect you must have seen the cave. I bet it might be a little dark for you to film it though!

  2. Alex Davies

    Thanks for the thanks at the top of the Holywell Bay page Manonabeach! I am glad you found the Holy Well in the cliffs at Holywell! I hope you were as amazed by it as we were the first time we saw it. As you say, you can only view at very low tide & have to keep a mind on the waves coming in but well worth the effort to see such an unusual sight! I have read that apparently women used to dip their babies in the mineral water hoping it would cure them of any ills. Also in one of the Poldark books 3 characters visit a Holy Well on a visit to a beach; author Winston Graham got the idea from the very same cave at Holywell!

  3. Don

    Hi manonabeach,
    You interviewed Sharon on Holywell beach recently & she mentioned a nice photo that a friend took. Well I’m the friend & have a cool photo I took last april of the sun setting over the undulating sand. Can send it to you if you want mate. I love walking along the beach & also the sky, hence take lots of piccies. Let me know yeah 🙂
    Cheers Don

  4. Sangeeta

    To me the beach means wide, open horizons; space to breath and contemplate my place; surf; playing with the kids; rock-pooling; lazy days; a feeling of well-being; peace; exciting strand-line finds; scanning the horizons for passing sea creatures; and finally the beach means to me my favourite environment –the sea – the one which I love to study and to help conserve.

  5. Melia

    We walked to Holywell Bay from Crantock last month whilst on holiday. We didn’t get to see the Holy Well but will definitely try to track it down next time. Love the photo you’ve posted by Don of the lunar beach!

  6. Stacey

    For me the beach is my chance to switch off and relax. Over the years i have spent many a day with family and friends just enjoying the beach and all it has to offer, even having a go at surfing. I look forward to many more of these days. I love to take a walk along the beach with my Springer Spaniel Harvey who loves nothing better than running through the water or digging for stones in the sand. There is also something very calming about sitting down to watch and listen to the sea, to me it is the best form of relaxation.

  7. Sara

    The beach means sand and sea, smiling children, seagulls, lots of dogs. It makes me feel invigorated and my soul lifted.


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