A serious candidate for the most beautiful beach in Cornwall, this beach is utterly unspoilt. Sitting round the headland from Crantock on the North Coast, Porth Joke or Polly Joke has no development on its edges and looks as it always has, throughout time. My visit was during the Indian summer of 2011 at low tide, when I caught it at its best. There is National Trust parking and all access is a bit tricky but well worth it. It’s perhaps best to park next to the Bowgie Inn on the headland and walk round.
A wonderful eulogy to Polly Joke, expressing the affection so many people have for this special beach.
Bright sunshine at Polly Joke beach, viewed from the path above.
A low tide greeted me for this summer season re-visit to Polly Joke. The arresting beauty here never alters, but its nuances are ever changing. Today, the warm breeze and bright sunshine highlighted the paler colours in the granite headlands on either side of the beach. Seasonal visitors were surfing and sunbathing and there was room for everyone. Highly recommended.
Vanessa emerges from the sea, here with her son Henry.
Jason, by the water’s edge.
A view of the beach from next to the ocean.
Looking down on the beach at low tide.
This is a magical beach at any time, but I recommend catching it in the morning at low tide, as was the case for this seasonal re-visit. Springtime wild flowers were starting to deck West Pentire’s hillsides, the rare cowslips, bluebells and primroses mingling with the cliff-side sea pink. The beach was deserted and is unspoilt and undeveloped, provoking a sense of timelessness in the visitor. Polly Joke is a wild inspiration, a real tonic in a complicated world.
Part of Pete’s routine, in a stunning setting.
A view of Polly Joke from West Pentire.
Down on the beach.
The beach was quiet and tranquil for this visit, just the sound of the birds and the distant sea, as I walked down from West Pentire, past the fallow poppy fields. On mornings like this, you can lose yourself in the beauty completely. Polly Joke is pristine, its timeless nature intoxicating. You get to the waterline and have to remind yourself how and when you got there, most odd and satisfying.
Part of Elaine and Jane’s routine, through time.
Looking down on a wonderful beach in the morning.
This iconic beach is one of the most viewed in the manonabeach series, reflecting people’s deep affection for it and the surrounding countryside. At low tide, a long band of sand led back from the waterline to the dunes and fields beyond. You can stand in the middle of Polly Joke beach and turn a full circle, without seeing a sign of human development. There are magnificent walks in both directions from this beach, plus wildlife throughout the year and wild flowers during this spring and early summer season.
With Christine, at Polly Joke beach.
On the waterline at low tide.
Polly Joke is an unspoilt inlet, on the other side of West Pentire from the expansive Crantock beach. If you’re heading this way in late Spring or early Summer, I’d advise approaching Polly Joke from West Pentire, to see the spectacular wild flowers, that are being encouraged by the National Trust’s Arable Fields Project. The lime-rich grassland is a haven for poppies and marigolds.
The beach at dawn.
Seals feeding off the rocks at Polly Joke.
The beach, after the tide has receded and the day has begun,