The classic sandy beach
Crantock Beach is a long sandy beach popular with both bathers and surfers between the twin headlands of East Pentire and West Pentire. (Pentire meaning headland.) The River Gannel reaches the sea along its northern edge, there is a passenger ferry across from the Newquay side.
The dunes rise steeply to the gently undulating grassy plateau of the Rushy Green, and are dynamic, that is they are constantly changing their shape on the side facing the sea, but gradually achieve stability the further inland they progress.
On the west side of the beach the deep cleft of Piper's Hole is a sanctuary for fulmars, jackdaws and pigeons. At low tide the first cave on the right can be entered and a flat slab will be seen on which the outline of a female figure is carved, and a few lines of verse have been cut:-
Mar not my face but let me be
Secure in this lone cavern by the sea
Let the wild waves around me roar
Kissing my lips for evermore.
A small incised horse can also be seen cut into the slab. These carvings are the work of a local man, Joseph Prater, and are thought to have been completed in the early 1900's.
Just west of Piper's Hole the beach can be reached down Pusey's Steps, though the tidal section is slippery. These are named after Dr Edward Pusey (1800-1882), an Oxford academic who fell foul of the establishment in 1843 and was suspended from his office for two years. He became fond of North Cornwall, and stayed at West Pentire, then an isolated hamlet, and now a holiday village.
In 1847 The 'Marchioness of Abercorn' was driven ashore at Crantock Beach in heavy gales, most of the crew were saved and the vessel was repaired and re-floated several weeks later.
Much of the coastline around Crantock Beach, Holywell Bay and the Gannel Estuary is owned by The National Trust.
Crantock Village Holywell Newquay The Gannel Estuary The Coastal Footpath
Cornwall's Beaches Surfing in Cornwall