Porthcothan Bay came as quite the surprise to me, because I’d never even heard of it until a couple of months ago. Situated on the North Cornwall coast, it falls under the Padstow area, and is around 4 miles away from the famous harbour town.
Whenever we plan a campervan trip for a week away, I want to be by the sea. And when I say by the sea, I mean I want to see the sea; if not directly from the van then within a 2 minute walk. Getting to the beach is a rare and time consuming treat living in landlocked Birmingham, so I want to be as close as possible on holiday.
The things with touring parks is that they tend to need quite a lot of space, which often isn’t available near to the sea, due to things like property development and pesky hotels. So quite often you’ll see a site advertised as “near to beaches” and it’s a 15 minute drive away. Big fat no.
So, when my husband came across a new to us campsite called Macdonald Farm, my first question was”is it by the sea?” To which the answer was “ish”. You can’t see the sea from the site, but you can walk to Porthcothan Bay in 10 minutes, including a bit of a hill.
I used to think that the most picturesque beaches have expanses of pure white sand and palm trees with an uncluttered outlook to the horizon. Having spent holidays in the UK for the past couple of years, I’ve realised there’s much more fun to be had with craggy coves, jutting rocks and places to explore. Porthcothan Bay has all of those things in abundance.
Back to the surprise element. From the road you wouldn’t even know it’s there (apart from an innocuous sign pointing down a well concealed path). The area leading to it is very green and tree lined which conceals the sea from view. As you proceed down the path, the tarmac gives way to sand and the dunes come into view. Up and over and there is a deep sandy bay protected on either side by steep cliffs. To the left the rocks are covered with carpets of emerald green moss, almost unreal.
On the occasions I visited the tide was far out, so of course we had to walk down for a paddle. And that’s where the next surprise came.
Beyond the cliffs, where the sea meets the shore, the bay doubles in width; revealing craggy outcrops covered in mussels, deep crevices carved into the rock by millions of years of tides and even an opening through the cliffs into another, inaccessible, part of the bay.
The water was much warmer than expected, and so very very blue and inviting. Frank and I splashed, we climbed stacks of granite smoothed by the flowing tide, we paddled and we marvelled at this little slice of beach paradise, hidden from civilisation.
It’s so troubling to think that the UK coastline is held in so little regard by the government, who have sanctioned raw sewage being pumped into the sea. I can’t imagine these crystal blue waters being sullied by disgusting brown waste. It makes me wonder if they’ve ever visited these spaces; ever breathed the sea air, felt the tide bite at their toes and looked out to where the sea meets the sky. Or does it just not matter to them, because money and corporate deals/greed is more important?
Thanks, as always, for reading. x