Port Gaverne beach

View map of beach Parking available Toilets available South West Coast Path National Trust Dog friendly

Season: winter

Winter storms had cast their spell over Port Gaverne.  Extensive damage to the sheds behind the beach was being surveyed and repaired.  As the clean-up work continued, harbour master Richard Cook shared his passion for Port Gaverne and the beach’s role in his life.

Winter season photo gallery


What the beach and Port Gaverne mean to Richard.


The calm after the storm.

Season: autumn

Black and grey clouds blended into the horizon at Port Gaverne for this autumn visit.  As the tide raced in across the narrow inlet, stark rocks on each side were thrown into relief.  Looking back from the rocks at sea level as the tide passes inwards, you feel an intimacy with the interaction of the elements, the air, land and sea in unison.

Autumn visit photo gallery


The permanence of the coast and the beach in Judith’s mind’s eye.


Looking down the beach as the tide rushes in.


Looking back at the incoming tide from the rocks at sea level.

Season: summer

On a tide starting to fall away, the inlet at Port Gaverne was largely under water, the difference between this visit and my last one bearing witness to the twenty feet plus range of tides in Cornwall.  A warm evening sun lit the sea and the beach.  This village is just next to Port Isaac, but it has few visitors and little commercial activity.  For resonance, it sits somewhere between the busy Port Isaac and the tranquility of Port Quin, a happy mixture.


With Ken on the beach, back from fishing in the early evening and remembering times long gone, as well as good times nowadays with his friends, including Richard, below:


as straightforward as that.


The evening sun over a calm sea at Port Gaverne.

Season: winter

The third part of the manonabeach “Port…” trilogy, this visit to Port Gaverne allowed me to get down to the caves, nooks and crannies of the cove at low tide.  There’s a great pub in the village, which itself sits just down the hill from popular Port Isaac.  There was a wistful air to Mark, remembering happy childhood times on the beach.  Nicola Williams sent an interesting comment, relating to this beach:

It was chiseled out, this is Teigue’s pit,(SP?, pronounced Tag) one man’s life, taking slate from the cliff face for use as local building material. Now a bathing & jumping spot for the more adventurous. As you can see, below is just sand, it’s long been a spot that the brave jump from at high tide from the grassy headland above!

with reference to the “chiseled out” part of the cliff that I mention in my blustery scene-setting film at the bottom of the page.


Memories of times gone by


The beach and the sea, alive at Port Gaverne in January.

4 thoughts on “Port Gaverne beach

  1. Kate

    Offering immeasurable space, the beach stirs the mind, body and soul unlike any other location. The freedom it provides to run, play or just meander can be found nowhere else.

    The sights, smells and sounds are unique. They are held in the memories of any child who has dipped their toes in the lapping waves, skimmed a pebble across the surf, or encountered the joy of melting, sand covered ice cream, dripping down their chin.

    Proposals are written in the sand by hopeful young men, dogs leap like racehorses across the dunes. The day’s worries are washed away like the broken shells caught in the swell. The beach gives us time to reflect, to be inspired, to enjoy.

  2. Pip

    It means many things to me, but I’ll pick out 3 words:  memories, solace and fun!  I grew up just over the road from the beach, so it’s always been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  It was my playground as a young child, and I spent my summers swimming from the beach and winters playing on the beach and exploring the cliffs.  As a teenager, it became a social place, hanging out with friends, sun bathing, swimming and watching in awe, when the guys jumped off the top of Tags Pit – I was only brave enough to jump from the cave, carved out of the cliff half way up, which you can only swim up to when the tide is in.

    I know every nook and cranny, rock pool & cave. It’s a wonderful beach for swimming, when the water is clear and the tide is in, you can see the amazing colours of the rocks beneath you.

    When we were growing up, my brother had a fishing boat and we spent many a day fishing for mackerel just out to sea, through The Gut and out past Gulls Rock. The best days were when the sea was as still as glass, and bird feathers would float on the surface.  We used to jump overboard and swim. Sometimes you would see Basking sharks.   He would then sell his catch straight from the beach to holiday makers, or my parents (who owned the local pub & restaurant, where we lived) to put on that night’s menu.

    My own children have spent many summers on Port Gaverne beach too, and I have lovely family memories of rock pooling with them, making dams and just generally playing about on the beach as a family, including our dog, who loves it as much as we do.  Now the kids are older, they love the thrill of jumping off Tag’s Pit too (they go off the top).  We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with family and friends in Port Gaverne – and of course, the beach featured – the venue for beach games, a swimming competition and BBQ breakfast.

    Port Gaverne beach is such a special place, whatever the time of year, if I’m feeling happy or sad. I love the beach in winter, when you have it all to yourself.  It’s exhilarating standing at the water’s edge or sitting on the rocks during a storm, watching the sheer majesty and beauty of the sea and the waves crashing onto the rocks, when it feels like the sea is towering above you.


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