Porthcothan beach

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

Season: winter

A subtle mix of grey, black and blue provided the palette for this winter visit.  Lively surf, topped with bright white horses, cut through this fused vista in dramatic style.  This is a deep, flat beach, so a rising tide always requires due care and attention.  At the back of the beach a re-directed stream had wreaked havoc with the dune system, leaving a dangerous fifteen feet high sand cliff and removing considerable natural habitat for wildlife.  A highlight of this unspoilt beach is the clash of elements as the sea arrives and claws at the stark black cliffs.

Winter visit photo gallery


With Chris at Porthcothan in North Cornwall.


What the beach means to Rakhi and Scott, enjoying downtime in Cornwall.


The magnificent natural environment at Porthcothan Bay.

Season: winter

A rising tide greeted me for this winter visit.  Clean sets of waves were completing their Atlantic journey at this most elemental of beaches.  This was the last day of the year, offering bright sunshine for the reflective beach walkers.  The weather-beaten black rock stood starkly against the clear blue sky and the ocean scene was interspersed with the vivid white of the rolling waves.

Winter visit photo gallery


What the beach means to Sharon and Tristan.


New Year’s Eve at Porthcothan Bay.

Season: summer

This was a chance to enjoy some evening sun on the north coast of Cornwall.  As the tide ran in the sun was framed between the headlands, with sand dunes behind.  Porthcothan Bay is unspoilt and natural, as it has always been, little known and wild, a great place to come and see what the tide has brought in.

Summer visit photo gallery


With Abby and Isaac in the evening.

Season: autumn

The best beachcombing beach in Cornwall, home to the late well-known film maker, beachcomber and fisherman Nick Darke, Porthcothan is an unspoilt North Coast beach facing the Atlantic.  It attracts flotsam and jetsam from as far away as the Amazon.  A deep rather than wide beach, it was being surveyed for erosion damage on this occasion.  There is a shop behind the dunes, toilets and plenty of parking to hand in the small adjacent village.


A friendly chat with two proud local residents.


A chat with one of two surveyors who were collecting data for analysis of coastal erosion.


Peace and quiet at Porthcothan, with the beach all to myself.

One thought on “Porthcothan 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.


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