Discover some of Britain’s spectacular mountains, forests and coastal trails, perfect for a wild run on the magnificent stretch of Penwith Heritage coastline along the South West Coast Path
Cornwall offers a wealth of running adventures, with its heady mix of dramatic coastline, colourful fishing villages, white sandy beaches and windswept moorland.
The peninsula is edged with some of the most spectacular sections of the 630-mile South West Coast Path, offering well-signed, exciting and varied running, with plenty of opportunities for a cream tea at the finish. In spring, the fields are ablaze with daffodils and the scent of the bright yellow gorse fills the air.
Should you dare take your eyes off the path for a moment, seals can be spotted sunbathing on the rocks and playing in the surf. You might even spot a rare Cornish chough, with its bright red beak and glossy black plumage.
The cliffs that edge the sea here are granite, making for terrain that is often rocky, steep and strewn with large boulders. Many of the features of the coast path, such as the stepped ascents and descents, stiles, stream crossings and walls are hewn from this local rock and can take some negotiating, especially on tired legs.
There’s plenty of fun, fast running in the mix too though. The north and south coasts of Cornwall have their own distinct characters: the Atlantic coast to the north is exposed and rugged, often feeling wild and remote, while the south coast has a somewhat gentler feel, with its pretty beaches and harbours. There’s a great variety of running, both along the coast itself and, further inland, where wooded creeks and stone-edged fields are just waiting to be explored.
- This route follows the Penwith Heritage coastline along the South West Coast Path.
- Access to the Coast Path is from the little car park by Pendeen Lighthouse, and the 13.5 mile-run continues eastwards all the way to the pretty village of St Ives. The path is tough and technical for much of the way with rocky trails, boulders and hilly terrain, but the stunning views more than make up for it.
- Bosigran Ridge (3 miles from the start) is a dramatic and classic rock climb that makes its way up a perfect granite spine from the turquoise seas that boom around Great Zawn, to the hillside above.
- The run ends in St Ives, with its stunning white sand, palm-lined beaches and plenty of good cafés and restaurants. There are buses to return to Pendeen via Penzance.