Bedruthan Steps - Carnewas (NT) - Holiday Guide
Bedruthan Steps

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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)
  • Toilets
  • Disabled toilets
  • NT Shops,
  • Refreshments (NT Cafe )
  • Camping in the summer months adjacent to the Carnanton Car park
  • clifftop view point

Bedruthan Steps
Bedruthan Steps Cornwall
National Trust Cafe at Carnewas
National Trust Cafe at Carnewas
Bedruthan Steps - Carnewas (NT)

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 Newquay.

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 sands.

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 as:

'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 falls.

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.


NB ALL map locations are approximate - please verify location with the owner prior to booking - Map not displaying in IE? try the F5 key


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