The 'Unofficial' Naturist Beaches of North Cornwall
The first of our naturist beaches on the coast of North Cornwall is Flexbury Beach, just north of Bude. It can be approached either by parking in Bude and walking north or by parking at Northcott Mouth and walking south. There have been recent reports of naturism there.
Travelling south down the North Cornwall coastal footpath or, more likely, down the A39 you will arrive at Crackington Haven. By turning south and parking at the National Trust property of Trevigue, you are within easy distance of the beach. Head towards the cliff and then follow the path down onto the beach. The generally accepted area for naturists is at the north end known as Little Strand Beach. Just be aware of the tides.
Unfortunately, Penhale Sands at the north end of Perranporth is no longer naturist. The area is owned by the MOD which has training grounds on the cliff above. It has always been naturist tolerant but now, due to the behaviour of 'less savoury persons' the area has attracted, the situation has been reviewed. In conjunction with the local parish council and a local holiday park, a total ban has been introduced.
Naturists are still reported to use Holywell Bay which is just up the coast from Penhale.
Carrying on down the North Cornwall coast we go past Portreath towards Hayle on the B3301. Soon after you leave Portreath having gone up a really steep hill you can turn right down a bumpy lane to a car park above Basset's Cove. If you now walk north along the coastal footpath after about twenty minutes it is possible to climb down the cliff over shale where you arrive at Samphire Island. Depending on the state of the tide it is possible to climb around to the left to a little sandy cove. Carry on and you will arrive at Basset's Cove, directly underneath where you parked the car. However, a word of warning. This certainly isn't for the faint hearted. It is quite tricky but well worth it on the right day tidewise. I have had some great sunbathing there. You would be very unlucky to see anyone but be very careful of the tides.
Carry along the B3301 and, despite the fact that you are on the North Cornwall Coast, you are now heading into West Cornwall. Just as you drive past Hells Mouth Cliff (don't go near the edge!) St.Ives Bay comes into view and you can park immediately on the right (see photo). Walk along the path in the same direction and in a few minutes you come to a little path on your right leading through the bushes. This leads you to the path taking you down to Fishing Cove. This has been used by naturists for many years, as was the case last time I was there.
Apart from being very aware of the tide situation the one other thing to remember is the sun. The one downside of some of these coves is that they are situated in North Cornwall under very high cliffs. This means that with the sun setting in the west you can find yourself in shade much earlier than you would have wished. However, if you get there early enough it is still possible to have hours of nude sunbathing.
Head for St.Uny Church in Lelant and, if you are lucky, you can park right by it. If not you should find free parking nearby. You then head down the path past the church and towards Hayle Estuary. On your way you actually cross the fourth fairway of West Cornwall Golf Club but the path is below ground level so you should be ok! You can now either turn left before the railway line which takes you along a fenced off area beside the ninth fairway or, probably better, go under the bridge and turn immediately left. Either way will bring you to the dunes and Porthkidney beach.
For reasons similar to Penhale at Perranporth, this area is now getting a bad reputation with the locals. This is unfortunate because, with discretion, it would be possible to spend the day there without disturbing anyone. You do have to bear in mind that the branch railway line from St.Erth to St.Ives runs along the back of the dunes and the other side of that is the golf course. However, even if you don't end up staying it is worth a visit for the sheer beauty of the area.
We hope that this page will have been of some assistance to add to your enjoyment of the North Cornwall coast.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
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