Bedruthan Steps - Carnewas (NT)
What's Available and facilities:
- Two Car parks,
National Trust carnewas car park
Carnanton Estates car park (closest to the Stacks and View
point - with easier access)
- Disabled toilets
- NT Shops,
- Refreshments (NT Cafe )
Camping in the summer months adjacent to the Carnanton Car
- clifftop view point
OS Grid Reference: SW848695
Latitude: 50.4810° N
Longitude: 5.0320° W
Postcode: PL27 7UP
(postcode is for SatNav purposes only)
Carnewas (NT) and Bedruthan Steps
Bedruthan Steps is a truly spectacular coastal landscape
on the north Cornish coastline, near St Eval, a few miles east of
The cliffs at Bedruthan have been systematically
eroded over the years, leaving a series of impressive volcanic rock
stacks. Theses pillars of detached cliff rise majestically from
Bedruthan Beach, forming a series of columns that stretch across
the bay from Pendarves Island to Diggory's Island.
The area around Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps is ideal
for walking, particularly between Bedruthan and Carnewas.
There are stunning views from the cliff tops past
the stacks- to the distant promontory of Park Head. Within two miles
of Bedruthan Steps, there are two Iron Age hill forts and six Bronze
Age burial Barrows.
There is ample parking in the National Trust's Carnewas
Car Park ( west of bedruthan steps) and the Carnanton Estate Car
Park (adjacent to Bedruthan Steps) - both car parks are a short
walk from the cliff top. The Carnanton Estate carpark is the closest
to the stacks - the edge of the carpark being directley adjacent
to the coastal path over looking Bedruthan Steps. The car park has
picnic tables along and offers camping during the summer months.
The National Trust Carnewas car park has toilets,
a National Trust Shop and a Café, for refreshments. Paths
have been created across the cliff tops in an attempt to reduce
the environmental impact that the numerous visitors have on the
area. The paths are steep in places, requiring a fair degree of
physical exertion. The National Trust have created a "paved"
viewing area "the Piazza" on the cliff edge, where you
can enjoy the spectacular series of stacks on Bedruthan Beach.
To one side of the viewing area, the National Trust
have created a series of steep steps - cut into the cliff face to
take people down to the inviting sands of Bedruthan Beach, below.
The path down to the beach, is quite difficult, but worth the
effort. But you must take caution as they are extremely difficult,
narrow and steep - requiring a degree of agility, stamina and care.
Sensible walking shoes are strongly recommended for anyone who wishes
to make the decent down to the beach.
Bedruthan Beach is a fascinating place. You can explore
the large cave adjacent to the foot of the steps; stroll around
the stacks that rise from the beach; or sunbathe on the almost perfect
There is no swimming from the beach at Bedruthan,
as the strong under currents are a danger to anyone who ventures
into the water.
A memorial plaque has been placed on the cliff top,
dedicated to Alex Laurie from Derby, who drowned in the waters off
Bedruthan Beach, in 1903. His friends, who were with him at the
time, survived the incident and erected the plaque in his memory
and as a warning to others.
Carnewas and Bedruthan became a popular tourist location
during the Victorian era. As, nearby, Newquay grew in popularity
as a holiday destination, more and more of the tourists began to
make journey to Bedruthan - to see the dramatic coastal landscape.
Local farmers responded to the opportunity and began to make an
income from this growing trade - charging tolls for each horse that
pulled the visitor's carriages to the site. It is thought that the
local population embellished the experience by attributing the creation
of this impressive landscape to 'Bedruthan,' a Cornish Giant, who
used the stacks as stepping-stones across the bay.
One of the stacks is known as the 'Samaritan'. The
Samaritan was a cargo vessel that was wrecked against the pillar
in 1846, with the loss of nine lives. The local population benefited
from the tragedy by salvaging the 'Samaritans' cargo of barrelled
beef and printed cloth. A song was composed to commemorate the event;
'The Good Samaritan came ashore, To
feed the hungry and clothe the poor.
With Barrels of beef and Bales of Linen, No Poor Soul shall want
for a Shilling'.
From time to time the strong currents that are prevalent
in the bay, shift the sands from around the base of the 'Samaritan',
exposing the remnants of the rotting keel of its namesake.
The name Bedruthan Steps, though currently applied
to both the beach and the stacks, originally referred to the perilous
steps that were hewn out of the cliff face. Originally there were
two separate rock stairways leading down the cliff face to the beach.
A steep decent, near to the location of the present day steps, that
Charles G. Harper in 'The Cornish Coast' - published in 1910, describe
'Rude flights of steps, cut into the profile
of the cliffs, and fortified here and there by a crazy iron or
timber hand rail… The steps are ancient beyond knowledge, and
have given a name to the place.'
And, Pentire Steps, a more winding path that zig
zagged its way down to the beach, just north of Diggory's Island.
Landslides destroyed both of the original routes to the beach during
the 1960's and early 1970's - closing the beach below.
The National Trust opened the current steps in 1975.
Wire netting was bolted into the sheer cliff face to fix the rock
adjacent to the path securely in place and to protect visitors from
falling debris. The National Trust close the stairway down to the
beach during the winter months, due to the increased danger of rock
Bedruthan Beach and the land along the cliff tops
and coast path to the East of the " Piazza" Viewing platform
(along to Pentire Head) are owned by the Carnanton Estate.