Featured image - me standing on a beach of a tiny cover looking across to Falmouth on the horizon

South Cornwall Hike Day 5, Taking It Easy


A view of the coast from the cliffs

Glorious coastal views as the day heat up (Towan Beach in the background)


Day 5, Towan Beach to Falmouth

Towan Beach, St Anthony Head, St Mawes, Falmouth

Friday 26th August 2022

  • 5 miles to Prince of Wales Pier Falmouth (plus 1 mile through town to Gyllingvase Beach, some of which is on the SWCP – 6 miles total)
  • 82.5/160 miles complete
  • Weather: 22 degrees and full-on sunshine!

Previous and next journal entries

Index to all entries from this South Cornwall Hike

Shortest And Sweetest Day In South Cornwall So Far

Today is going to be a ridiculously short day. 6 miles or so with two ferry rides thrown in for good measure – it can’t get any easier than that! Plus, an early start means I can get to Falmouth, the most important town in south Cornwall, in time for an afternoon swim, and I’m definitely looking forward to that.

First, though, I actually have to get out of the tent and start moving…


I'm sitting in the opening of my tent and you can weathing my cap to keep the bright sun out of my eyessee me from above

Who wouldn’t want to savour the sea view for a while before heading off for the day?

St Anthony Head

There’s hardly anyone around except for the odd runner, too early for the dog-walkers it seems, or maybe just too far away from parking places. It feels good. I feel good – and I can’t wait for the day!

5 sweet miles and two ferry rides are an exciting prospect, more exciting than they’d normally be that’s for sure. Maybe it’s the weather – crossing the bay from St Mawes, sliding through all the yachts, and seeing the docks up close…the sparkling sea (rather than the stomach-churning sea!). And getting to Falmouth, home sweet home even though I don’t live so close now, much as I’d love to (Truro’s about 10 miles away).

It’s warm already and the temptation to glug down my remaining water is huge. This is about self-restraint. The shops in St Mawes might not be far away, but you don’t know what might happen in the meantime and there’s nowhere to get any until after the ferry ride.

Buy Your Ferry Tickets Online

It’s worth knowing you can buy your ferry tickets online, which means you can get a cheaper combined ticket as well as a 10% discount

I’ve got a phone signal and there’s a bench on the headland so it’s time to get the admin over before walking across the heather and gorse-covered headland.

As soon as I put my rucksack down my gut makes itself known, big time. Sunburn, lack of fluids, and the sudden release of pressure when I undo the waistbelt are not a good combination… Two people have just passed me and are still in sight – and there’s nowhere to hide. FFS. This is not going to end well. I grab my trowel, toilet paper, and a dog-poo bag and dive into the gorse too close to the path for comfort, but sometimes there’s no time and no choice. Just don’t leave anything behind. And, hope to god the two women don’t look back (at least they’re women). As predicted, It didn’t end well. Meh, shit happens haha!

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The South West Coast Path


As the nausea subsides and my gut starts behaving itself I can enjoy the views again, and they’re so beautiful it really lifts my heart. I look across to Falmouth and can name all the beaches I can see and yet as I come down to a beach on St Anthony Head I feel like I’m in another world. And it’s my world – I have such a strong sense of belonging it’s hard to describe.

Yet another stunning south Cornwall view - this one makes me feel like I'm on a tropical island! The crystal clear sea with a small sailing boat nearby sweeps across a sandy beach

Omg – a stunning secret beach, just wow! (St Anthony Head – but it’s only there at low tide)


Sadly, it doesn’t always feel like that with the multi-millionaire properties, high walls and fences, ‘keep out’ and ‘private’ signs around thousands of acres of land. They can sod off; they don’t own the air I breathe or the salt in my hair, they don’t own the south-westerly winds or the sunshine. And they don’t own my thoughts, or the journey I’m on. I don’t understand this possessiveness; life is about experiences. My life is about experiencing the natural world, step by step. And right now I’m having a wonderful time. And it’s about to get better…the ferry!!

A large country house can be seen across a tranquil creek with a small sailing boat and a rowing boat bobbing about in the foreground

Place House from Place Quay – idyllic views

St Mawes

I stepped off Place Ferry onto the quay with just two other passengers but St Mawes was bustling with holiday-makers from all over the place, judging by the conversations I overheard on the quayside. It’s a pretty village, but there’s not much to explore anymore (I’ve been so many times) so I just grabbed a drink and joined the queue for the next ferry across to Falmouth.

20 minutes of bliss; I totally get why people love being on the water – on a hot and sunny day like today!


A bustling harbour with a large white hotel on the quayside opposite

St Mawes Harbour


On the way to the most important town in south Cornwall: A view across the sea from the stern of the ferry. The ferry's flag (St Piran's with a white cross on a black ground with the union jack in one corner) is lit up by the sun. You can see a headland in the distance with a large tall ship on the horizon

St Anthony Head and lighthouse seen from the St Mawes to Falmouth Ferry


I sat outside on the stern of the boat opposite a woman who looked like she belonged on a yacht in the south of France, or a Hollywood film, dressed all in white, reflective sunglasses, blond hair loosely tied and blowing in the wind, trouser zip undone…I didn’t have the heart to tell her!

Was that mean? Whatever. I was one of the first up the steps onto the pier and scurried off down Market Street towards the beach.


Falmouth Docks, South Cornwall, seen from the ferry with St Piran's flag blowing in the wind in the foreground

Passing the ships in the dock


Falmouth, south Cornwall. A yellow ferry leaves the pier, with lots of old houses seen on the hill in the background.

Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth


Brightly coloured bunting flies high above old fashioned buildings on a cobbled street

It’s rude not to take a wander through town to the beach for a swim on a day like this!


Falmouth, South Cornwall. Heading towards the sea for a swim on Gyllingvase Beach

If you’re hiking the South West Coast Path I highly recommend you pack a swimming costume – it’s the perfect way to end a hike on a hot summer’s day

You can’t beat a day like this on a summer hike – no rushing, perfect weather, and time to take in the scenery and do whatever you fancy. It’s like you’ve hit the reset button and reminded yourself why you’re hiking in the first place. Such a contrast to how I left the trail last week!

Onwards to Land’s End then. But first… a navigation course on Dartmoor!


Today’s Costs:

  • Place and St Mawes ferries (combined ticket): £12.15
  • Train fare Falmouth to Truro: £3.30
  • Can of drink in St Mawes: £1.00
  • Lunch/coffee in Falmouth: £4.90
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More Entries From My South Cornwall Journal

Previous and next journal entries

  • Day 1 Plymouth, Kingsand-Cawsand, Rame Head, Whitsand Bay (14.5 miles)
  • Day 2 Portwrinkle, Looe, Polperro, Lantic Bay (20 miles)
  • Day 3 Lantic Bay, Fowey, Charlestown, Pentewan (20 miles)
  • Day 4 Pentewan, Mevagissey, Gorran Haven, Portscatho, Towan Beach (23 miles)
  • Day 5
  • Day 6 Falmouth, Helford Passage, Gillan, Coverack (19 Miles)
  • Day 7 Coverack, Cadwith, Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, Mullion (Predannick) (18 miles)
  • Day 8 Mullion Harbour, Gunwalloe, Porthleven (8.5 miles)
  • Day 9 Porthleven, Penzance, Mousehole, Lamorna (21 miles)
  • Day 10 St Loy, Penberth, Land’s End (10 Miles)

Planning A Hike? Keep Reading!

Plan Your Hike On The South West Coast Path The Easy Way!

Walking The Ridgeway – The Ultimate Guide To Hiking Britain’s Oldest Road

23 Ways To Care For Your Feet On A Hike Or Long Distance Walk


Thanks for joining me today; I hope you’ll pop in for my next day on the trail too. Don’t miss it – click the green button below and you’ll get an email when it goes live. Until next time…

Happy hiking!

Stephie x

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  • Sue Tyler-Jones
    25 October, 2022

    I very much enjoy your day journals Stephie – either to reminisce (sp? what a weird word) on sections I know or get the low down (or should that be the high up) on the bits I haven’t. I’ve still missed out on the Falmouth to St Mawes ferry – I’m in two minds as to whether the ferries count as ‘trail’ and I need to go back just to ride the boat.


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