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Rinsey to Porthleven: Walking Story

Trewavas tin mines on the cliffs along the south west coastal path.
Small Kate Holding a brown Mermaids Purse probably belonging to a spotted dog fish at Rinsey Beach.
Wheal Prosper beyond reddish brown undergrowth.


North Coast


Rinsey Head

Rinsey to Porthleven is a 3.4 mile walk, which should only take 1 hour according to Naismith’s rule. It took me about 2.5 hours, one way.

In fact, it was practically twilight when I reached Porthleven and I called my youngest brother to come out and give me a lift back to the car I’d abandoned in Rinsey.

He wasn’t best pleased.

But like a dutiful, loving brother he did it anyway and found me in Porthleven hiding from torrential rain in a pasty shop, soaked to the bone – this is not an exaggeration. And I call myself an explorer.

Rinsey - the tiny hamlet

Owned by the National Trust, Rinsey Cove aka Porthcew is just beyond the hamlet. And to get to the NT carpark, you need to have faith in Google Maps.

Trust, it feels like you are driving down the SW footpath itself and you’re going to meet the cliff edge at any minute. Please drive slowly through Rinsey as people do live there (shock) and dogs may or may not run in front of your car and scare you half to death whilst testing your emergency stop skills.

Entering a space fit for about 15 cars, I parked up and it started raining a little bit. Undeterred with my hat and coat, I followed the south west coastal path down to Porthcew.

Orange and white lichen contrasting with vibrant blue choppy sea at Rinsey.

Porthcew and Rinsey Head

To get to the sandy beach, you do have to walk down a path which abruptly turns into a rocky, steep slant, so watch out cause it’s pretty slippery. Apparently I lucked out on my visit because the tide was low and it engulfs the beach when it’s high. Also, in the winter storms there can be no sand at all!

A big house sits on top of Rinsey Head that you can actually rent on Air B+B if you have 9 more people to go on holiday with. On the beach I looked for treasures in the seaweed and on the rocks but unfortunately the only secrets of the sea I found was plastic and micro-plastic which was a shame.

On the brighter side, I found a mermaids purse – specifically, the egg case of a Small Spotted Catshark. I picked up and pocketed as much plastic as I could before climbing back up the rocks and over to the magnificent Wheal Prosper Tin Mine.

Kate holding micro-plastic found on the beach at Rinsey Cove, Cornwall. Including colourful rope, bottle caps and straws.

The Wheal Prosper Tin Mine and Trewavas Mines.

I mean any cornish mine looks really cool but I think they looked especially good in the grey moody skies. Trewavas mines are further along the path if you keep walking towards Trewavas Head (figures lol).
Part of Trewavas Mine photographed contrasting against the ocean.

Rinsey to Porthleven - the coastal walk

This section of coastal path has so much to offer. A highlight was Camel’s Head – a massive granite rock that looks like.. well a camel’s head. I haven’t got a decent photo but google it, it’s amusing. This area is popular with the serious rock climbers among us.

The path goes up and down, crosses fields, skits around sheer drops and passes a few cows and mines for good measure. The rain continuously picked up over the duration of my galavanting and I ended up the definition of a drowned rat in Porthleven. But do you know what.

I didn’t care.

I love the rain and reaching that point just accepting nature. Even if you could suffer a bad cold. Which, I did. Please prepare yourselves for the Cornish weather, as I did not.

I spent most of the walk pratting about, obviously. Taking these photos, stopping and drinking in the grey, moody views. Is that what being an explorer means though? Who knows. All I know is that the walk between Rinsey and Porthleven is great, even if it ended in me being scolded by my little brother.

South west coastal foortpath leading to Wheal Prosper at Rinsey.

Things to do next visit :

  • Go when it’s sunny and calm
  • Rinsey – snorkel destination
  • Explore the deep natural pool which is apparently 100 metres to the south between the rocks (internet says so)
  • Spot at least 2 of the 23 species of butterfly on Rinsey Cliffs
  • Make it to Porthleven and back on a circular
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Read more:
23.5 degrees: Where is the Light?

As the evenings darkness creeps in with the time shift. Read about how the difference of 23.5 degrees made me more connected with nature and the light.

Walking Cornwall on Rainy Days: A Guide.

We love Cornwall. We love walking. I love the rain (and I hope you do too). So why not do all three! Walking around Cornwall when it’s raining gives me energy, awakens my senses and connects me to nature – like a big wet hug.

Portreath’s Tidal Baths

There are baths cut into the cliffs of Portreath, a visit at low tide and you will discover many of Lady Basset’s Baths.

If you have any questions or comments, pop them below or email me. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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