Cornwall; Nanjizal Beach & Caves

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It's a September day; the sun is still warm but the wind is cool as it whips up the Cornish cliffs and tugs at my hair and clothes. I am walking to find Nanjizal, a white sand beach famous for its sea caves.

The thing that keeps Nanjizal special is that it's not that easy to access, there are no cliff top car parks, no facilities, no cafes or mod cons. This ensures that crowds are kept away and most of the people that come here are walkers stopping off for lunch, taking a break from the rugged salt swept cliff paths. I am one such walker today. I started at Porthgwarra, a small working cove with a car park, cafe and its own small beach. The route from here to Nanjizal is worth seeing in it's own right; moorland cliff paths and a sparkling sea that sometimes calmly flows in to turquoise inlets, and in other stretches crashes madly against the rocks.
After about 45 minutes of walking I round the headland and there it is; a patch of white sand and turquoise ocean. On the cliff side wild ponies munch nonchalantly on a patch of thistles.

The sea is choppy today and waves gather and crash against the beach. I climb down the steps and clamber across the coarse sand and rocks to the left side of the beach. Here, I spot a pool of still turquoise water shrouded in shade by high rock walls and a natural arch. This is it: The famous Song of the Sea cave.

It is beautiful and I waste no time in stripping off and wading in to the cave.

At the far end the water is waist deep and my toes sink in to the sand. I am sharing my private swimming pool with a few fish and some black crabs which I make sure to keep my toes away from. 

On the other side of this green pool, rocks loom up and I have to exit the water and then clamber over these to reach the far cave. Here the water is deeper and I can fully submerge in to the cool water. The experience of swimming through this natural red rock arch encrusted with sea anenomes is magical. On the other side of the cave is the open sea, wild today and crashing against the rocks, contrasting with the serenity of the water within.

After I emerge from the water, feeling refreshed from my walk, I am ready for lunch. I find a spot on the cliff side and whilst the ponies munch on a patch of grass I munch on my sandwiches. 

Month: September
Temperature: 17 degrees
Bed: sand
Weed factor: 3/10
Atmosphere: Wild and quiet.
Good for: Hiking.
Top Tips: The cave is only revealed at low tide. If you can, head here in the afternoon to see the cave bathed in sunlight. The cave is more of a plunge pool and the sea can sometimes be rough here so if you are wanting a long swim then this might not be the place for you! 
Access: Walk along the clifftop from Land's End or Porthgwarra (45 minutes - 1 hour). Alternatively park in the village of Trethewey and walk from here. All three are also reachable by local bus services. 

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