Cornish Running Routes
Words: Conan Marshall
Map illustrations: Jenna Poley
Maybe you’re new to running and looking for new places to explore. Running for Solace is an offshoot project from Dure and as we are based in Cornwall, it’s only right that we take a look at what Cornwall has to offer in terms of places to run.
Cornwall is home to a variety of trails for runners to try out. Here, we share a series of coastal routes in Cornwall with the aim to promote the benefits of running in the outdoors and in this case, by the sea.
Research by the University of Exeter’s Medical School has found that being by the sea reduces stress, slows down your heart rate and improves your mental health.
The following routes vary in distance and difficulty. If you’re new to running along trails, it’s recommended that you are equipped with the suitable running gear. If there’s a route you haven’t explored yet, why not bring along a running partner.
To save the routes to your phone, click the place names to view the routes in google maps.
A personal favourite of mine. Starting from either end, the coastal path will take you along Looe Bar beach and the lake opposite. An area known for its volatile waves and dangerous currents.
Beyond Looe bar, you will be greeted by the sands of Church Cove and Poldhu beach. Two perfectly picturesque opportunities for a quick rest. If you’re in the mood for a coffee, there’s a cafe on Poldhu beach that’s open 365 days a year.
Running towards Mullion Harbour you will find short but steep sections of elevation. This trail will test your endurance and hill running abilities.
A well-known part of the South West Coast Path, this route will take you around Land’s End while passing by some of the best views Cornwall has to offer.
Land's End is mainland Britain's most south-westerly point and one of the country's most famous attractions.
This mystifying landscape includes many features that can be found elsewhere in West Cornwall: crystal clear waters (depending on the weather), ancient monuments and the occasional ship wreck below the cliffs.
A shorter route compared to the others, this would be an ideal route to start on, then progressing onto a series of laps.
Starting at Swanpool beach in Falmouth, this route will take you along the windswept coastal path then inward towards the mouth of the more sheltered river Helford. On a summer’s day, be sure to look out to sea and enjoy the dozens of sailing boats out on the horizon.
Points of interest include, Maenporth, Durgan and Trebah Gardens. A longer route to the others, bringing a running partner might be a good idea especially if you’re new to this area.
Tip: If you aim to start from Helford and finish in Falmouth, this vibrant town offers various cafes, restaurants and shops.
Whether you decide to run the full route or just a section, both Godrevy Lighthouse and Gwithian beach (which is one of the longest beaches in Cornwall) are a must see. You will also pass the notorious Hells Mouth, with a cafe only 50 yards away.
The North Cliffs include a plethora of hidden coves that are hard to reach like Basset’s Cove. This route will take you along rugged terrain, steep elevations and a mixture of heathland and maritime grasslands.
Warning: In recent years, certain areas of this coastline have eroded, leading to hazardous cliff edges. So its best to be wary and not run on a stormy day.
This section of coastal path is part of the famous RAT 100k ultra-marathon. Portloe is a quaint village nestled into the surrounding cliffs. It’s one of the stereotypical Cornish fishing villages that have become a symbol of Cornwall with it’s amazing views.
The waves may not be as dramatic compared to that of the North Coast but this route offers you calmness, an obvious form of therapy in itself. This quiet route offers slightly less elevation, perfect for beginners.
Tip: If you’re driving from West Cornwall, why not take the King Harry Ferry over the River Fal, it will save your journey by up to 40 minutes. A day return ticket is £8.
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If you have any opinions about these areas of coastline. Tell us about them, use the hashtag #runningforsolace on twitter or Instagram.