The Bedruthan Steps are located between Newquay and Padstow and are a must see when you are visiting Cornwall. Many people say that this stretch of land is amongst the most beautiful in the South West and we can certainly see why! In this blog we hope to give you an insight of the history of the Bedruthan Steps and show why you should plan it into one of your days in Cornwall. You won’t be disappointed we promise, the views are just spectacular.
The History of the Bedruthan Steps
The Bedruthan Steps are actually called Carnewas and the Bedruthan Steps. The former part often gets left off and it is more famously known as the latter. Carnewas comes from the Cornish language meaning the ‘rock pile of the summer dwelling’ and there is evidence of people living in the area since the Bronze Age. Back in the 19th century Carnewas was a hive of industrial activity. The buildings that are left today give an insight of what once stood in their place. The National Trust shop was the original Count house of the Carnewas Mine and the Cafe was once the mining ponies stables.
Unfortunately the information regarding the mining that took place in the area is very scarce. One idea is that miners tunnelled into the cliffs from the beach to search for iron, copper and lead. Another idea is that the area was mined for haermatite. It is thought that the ladders and steps to the beach were needed in order to allow them to reach the mines.
How did they get their names?
The name Bedruthan Steps comes from an old mythological giant that was called Bedruthan. It was believed that Bedruthan would use the stacks (rocks) on the beach as giant stepping stones to hop across the water.
Each of the stacks has been given a name and starting from the North side to the South side they are known as, ‘Queen Bess’, ‘Samaritan Island’, ‘Redcove Island’ , ‘Pendarves Island’ and ‘Carnewas Island’. The Queen Bess stack was named in Victorian times because of the likeness to Elizabeth I, over the years erosion has caused the ‘head’ to fall into the sea. The Samaritan Island is not such a happy story and was named in memory of a ship called the Good Samaritan. This ship was wrecked there in October 1846 and sadly eight people lost their lives that day.
What can I do at the Bedruthan Steps?
The Bedruthan steps as I mentioned above are located between Newquay and Padstow. They make the perfect destination for either a quick pit stop for lunch or a day of walking and exploring what the beautiful coastline has to offer.
Due to it’s close proximity to us, it doesn’t matter whether you want to spend half the day here or the whole day. Those that are short on time can park in the car park and enjoy a fabulous lunch at the cafe. If you look out towards the North end you can see a rocky shelf, this is known to the locals as Diggory’s Island and this separates the main beach from another cove.
For those with more time to spare why not head out on one of the magnificent walks? They take you down past coves that are fit for a postcard and along the windswept headlands. If you enjoy taking photos you will certainly not be short of options to capture the perfect image down here. The old fashioned holiday resorts still remain and fit in perfectly with the gorgeous coastline.
Are you looking for an adventure?
If you are feeling brave why not take the 120 steps down to the beach so that you can explore below? At low tide you can walk right up to the stacks which gives you a better idea of just how big they are. A word of warning in advance, access is fine for those that are fit and able but this is not the easiest route. The steps are steep and narrow, as can be expected when they have been carved into the rock edge. It is also very important to remember that it is easy to be cut off by the tide as the steps are not reachable when the tide gets to a certain point. My goal here is not to scare you, but instead educate you so that you can be prepared.
Another suggestion for ways to enjoy this beautiful location is to turn up a bit later and watch the sunset. It is breathtaking. That’s honestly the only way I can think to describe it, it’s one of those things that you must experience for yourself. Of course, sunsets are beautiful wherever you view them but I think our sunsets in Cornwall are definitely some of the best. The sun sets at Bedruthan over the coast, it almost looks as if the sun is slowly melting down into the water.
Poldark fans . . . Look here!
Now I know that a lot of our guests are huge Poldark fans with some of them even flying in to see them film! So we have to mention Bedruthan’s links to Poldark as it wouldn’t be fair not to! Many may wonder where the team filming Poldark got their inspiration from to film in our beautiful County and Carnewas and The Bedruthan Steps are one of the main reasons why.
The team fell in love with the views that this area has to offer and it is so easy to see why. The most wonderful thing about this area is that wherever you look the views are undisturbed. It still feels like there is a close resemblance to what it would have been like back in that time. If you head over to the clifftops at Park Head they offer stunning views over the towering sea stacks. This was the location was that persuaded them to film in Cornwall. Keep an eye out and you might see Ross galloping along this very land!
How can I get to the Bedruthan Steps?
The Bedruthan Steps are very easy to get to from us, so easy in fact many guests make a day of it and either walk there or walk back! If this seems a bit too adventurous for you then fear not, there are other ways to get there all of which are very easy!
If you have your own car you can drive as the National Trust Car Park is available and you can find the steps just off the B3276. if you are a National Trust member then you can park here for free, if you are not a National Park member there is a charge of around £4 for 3-4 hours.
Another option is to catch a bus that goes from the Great Western Hotel at the top of town which is around a 5-10 minute walk from us. The bus that you need to catch is the A5, this will take you directly Tregona, The Bedruthan House Hotel. From here you will have to walk for roughly 10 minutes to get to the actual steps.
We hope you love the Bedruthan Steps as much as we do. It’s so lovely to have places enriched with so much history right on our doorstep and it’s wonderful to see the look on peoples faces when they get to experience this view for the first time. A mixture of awe, bewilderment and complete wonder at all those that have trodden the paths before them.
Look at booking your stay now by visiting our accommodation page here!