Cornwall; Pedn Vounder Beach

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It is early morning and my day has begun with a walk along the cliff path, hedged on one side by Cornish countryside and on the other side by a wide expanse of turquoise ocean.

It was finally Wednesday, a day that I had marked out the previous week due to it's status on my BBC weather app... Sun for the entire day? No cloud? No wind? 23 degrees?! This is pretty much a phenomenon in Cornwall. A day like this is a Pedn Vounder day, the perfect day for lounging on a secret beach and floating in it's green lagoon like waters, for soaking up sun and scrunching toes in to white sand.

I climb down the very steep cliffside (BEWARE!) and on to the beach. My early rise is rewarded by an empty stretch of sand that is slowly being bathed in morning light. As the sun creeps over the headland, I notice the sand that has been newly washed by the high tide; there is not a footprint to be seen.

Unable to resist the appeal of swimming on a deserted beach in aquamarine water, I immediately get changed and go for a swim. The water is cool and crystal clear, and as I wiggle my toes, I can see them in perfect clarity beneath me.

 When I tire of swimming I get out and fight off the sea chill with a cup of tea. I try to read my book but I can barely concentrate and instead I sit and stare at the waves like a moth hypnotised by a bright light. It's too peaceful, too paradisical, I can only stare as the waves ripple and brush against the shore. I know this sounds cheesy, but that's what this place has done to me, it's turned me in to a total dork waxing lyrical over the beauty of the ocean. Oh dear.

As the sun gets hotter and the tide goes out Pedn's famous lagoons and sandbar are revealed. The sea is calm today so I explore to the left and right of Pedn where tidal beaches have been revealed. When the sea is so still, this is also a great place for paddle boarding or kayaking. Just park up at Porthcurno, Pedn's bigger and busier big brother, then paddle round the coast. Make sure to look out for the basking sharks and dolphins that sometimes hang out in the bay!

Unfortunately this peace doesn't last long though. A picture of Pedn Vounder has recently gone viral, which has led to the beach becoming a destination for sun seeking tourists and social media types searching for that golden selfie.

I get it, this place is pretty much paradise, but when I watch a barrage of flip flop wearing tourists tackling the dangerous cliff climb down, chucking windbreaks, tents and cool boxes in front of them, whilst dragging babies, pets and their elderly grandparents behind them, I start to understand the problem. Then there are no facilities or bins here which leads some people to believe that they are entitled to leave their rubbish behind them, after all, it's the council's fault right? If they don't provide bins then what do they expect? No wonder all the locals are chucking their pasties out of the pram and morphing in to old Cornish men types with pitchforks, growling 'Ge' orf me land'.
So after my final swim I decide to cut my losses and wait patiently for my turn to climb back up the cliffside.
"The locals must mourn this place," says a woman to me who is sat on the rocks nearby.
"Probably," I admit, but how can this be helped? A locals-only turnstile at the top of the cliff? Hardly seems fair. So what is the answer? Preservation vs freedom? If any of you have the answer then let me know!

Swim Stats
Month: July
Water temperature: 19 degrees
Bed: Sand
Weed factor: 1/10 (hooray!)
Good for: Swimming, paddleboarding or kayaking. There are jumps from the cliffside when the tide is high. When the swell is right it is also possible to surf and bodyboard here.
Top Tips: The climb down is steep and can be dangerous, wear appropriate footwear and pack light. At high tide it is possible to be cut off from the path so be aware of the incoming tide. Pedn is famous for its lagoons but they are only revealed on a low spring tide. 
Getting here: Drive to Treen and park up in the car park at the end of the road. The walk to Pedn is signposted and takes you past the campsite before coming out on to the cliffside. Alternatively park at Porthcurno, which has a much larger parking area, shop and cafe, then walk along the cliff path to reach Pedn Vounder.
Treen and Porthcurno are also reachable by a local bus service from nearby towns and villages.
Facilities: There is a pub, decent cafe, toilets and campsite in the village of Treen a ten minute walk away. Porthcurno has more facilities and is more suitable for families.

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