Ancient fishing and smuggling cove
A superb, secluded cove just under 3 miles south-east of Land's End. Porthgwarra is steeped in history and tradition - one time a busy fishing cove, now just one boat regularly works crab pots from here.
The coastal footpath leads away west towards Land's End (roughly 1.5 hours walk), and east towards Porthcurno (45 minutes) - both very scenic and dramatic routes !
Swimming is safe within the confines of the Cove - though strong currents run near the western point. You may hear a 'moaning' noise in the vicinity; this is the hydrophone on the Runnelstone Buoy which rides at its mooring one mile off Porthgwarra guarding the dangerous Runnelstone reef, the scene of many shipwrecks. The noise is made by the swell rising up and down in a tube on the buoy.
Folklore has it that the tunnel from the slipway towards the road at Porthgwarra was used by smugglers - maybe ! - the more mundane explanation is that it was excavated by miners from St. Just to allow farmers to gather seaweed from the beach by horse and cart - seaweed is an excellent fertiliser.
The hamlet also has a public convenience, a public telephone and a small shop/cafe, mainly for the benefit of visiting tourists.
Porthgwarra was used as a filming location for the new Poldark series in 2016.
Porthcurno Land's End The Coastal Footpath