Portreath is now a popular holiday destination ideal for families with its easily reached sandy beach. Portreath is surrounded by the dramatic scenery of the north coast – situated in a valley but abounded by high cliffs affording wonderful views and great walking along the Southwest coast path.
In the 19th Century Portreath was an important Cornish port as minerals mined at Camborne and Redruth were transported here along the Devoran to Portreath Mineral Tramway via horse drawn wagons and shipped to South Wales for smelting. This tramway which traverses the county has now been converted into a popular trail suitable for cycling, walking and horse riding and there are other mineral trails including the Portreath Branch line and Tehidy trail providing some circular routes.
As you face the sea, up to your right you will see the Pepperpot, a white tower created to guide ships into the difficult entrance of the harbour. On the tower is a plaque with the famous poem,’For the Fallen’ made famous by its use on Remembrance Days which was composed here by Laurence Binyon in 1914.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The beach itself is a wonderful place to explore, with lots of rock pools full of sea life. Remember to replace any creatures you may find to their original habitat.
The beach is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months and is a favourite place for local surfers and bodyboarders with surfing competitions held every July.
There is a smattering of shops, cafes and pubs just behind the beach making this is a popular seaside destination. Buses travel hourly or better between Camborne and Portreath town Centre. Or you can take the healthy option and cycle the Portreath Branchline trail to reach the sea!
Carved into one of the rocks on the beach are several ‘baths’ for female members of the Basset family who owned Tehidy. the Bassets of Tehidy who created a miniature Brighton here during the 1780s. Several rock-cut baths were then hewn in the rocks and cliff-face for female members of the family. They now provide a place of play for children who delight in the role of Lady Basset.
If you enjoy walking, the Southwest Coastpath runs the length of the county and if you start from Portreath, there are spectacular views to enjoy in either direction. If you take the westerly route you can enjoy a circular trail (about 2 hours) taking you onto North Cliffs, before heading inland to Tehidy Woods to join Tehidy Trail leading to the Portreath Branchline Trail which returns to the town. A mix of coast, moors, farmland and woods all in one walk!