Anyone walking to Looe is more than likely to come along the Cornish coastal path and will either walk via Fowey and Polperro to the west or Plymouth and Portwrinkle to the east.
The Cornish coastal path is 258 miles long and has public rights of way for the entire walk! It hugs the cliffs and hillsides for most of its length and never ceases to surprise and amaze with sheer drops to the ocean and crashing waves below.
As beautiful as it may be, the Cornish coastal path is not a ‘stroll in the park’! Walkers are advised to be fit or to walk sections of it as opposed to attempting mammoth hike! Plan your walk well and you’ll have a great time.
Walking to Looe from Fowey (12 miles)
If you’ve walked to Fowey, you’ll need to cross the River Fowey to Polruan by the passenger ferry. Follow the path to the right beside the sea and go up Battery Lane which takes you around the outside of Polruan.
Next there is a steep climb up above Bluebottle Rock after which you drop down to lower cliffs (National Trust) above Lantic Bay. After Lantic Bay continue on to Pencarrow Head and past the old coast guard hut to Lantivet Bay.
The coastal path now drops fairly steeply to a stream at West Coombe which was a smuggler’s cove. After another mile you will come to another steep climb down to a stream, followed by a climb to a white navigation point. This lets ships know the position of Udder Rock which lies approx. a mile off shore.
Yet another sharp descent (and another stream crossing!) with a steep climb on the other side will lead you up to Blackyball Point. Larrick Rock lies just off shore. You now have to climb some steps up to the cliff tops and on to the picturesque fishing village of Polperro.
The views on the way are magnificent but Polperro in the summer can be extremely busy. Just out of season is the best time to visit, wander around the narrow lanes and have some refreshments in one of the pubs, tea-rooms or restaurants.
To get through Polperro follow the coastal path into the village, walk around the tiny harbour, over a small foot bridge and turn right up a narrow lane between the old period houses. This will lead you up and out of Polperro and onto the Cornish coastal path once again.
The coastal path is well marked, obvious and easy to follow. You’ll pass a war memorial and drop down (gently) to Talland Bay. There are two small cafes here (not open all year) which makes a nice refreshment stop. Talland bay has a little sandy beach but is mainly rocks and rock-pools.
Now there is a steep climb up from Talland Bay and onto the cliffs on the headland. Once round the point you enter Portnadler Bay. After Portnadler Bay, the ancient ruins of the Celtic Chapel of Lammanna can be found more-or-less opposite St. George’s Island.
St George’s Island was once used by smugglers to store their ill begotten gains and shelled by the German fleet in World War I when they mistook it for a British Battleship! It is now a marine nature reserve, owned and run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trusts.
You will now be walking into Looe along Marine Drive at Hannifore Point. Just follow the road around and into Looe. If you are lucky, you can catch a ferry across the river to East Looe town for 40p per person. If not, you’ll have to walk along to the magnificent seven arched bridge, across Looe River and back up Fore Street into East Looe. It’s not such a hardship!
Looe is a busy and lively town throughout the summer holidays. Out of season it returns to normal and is a great place to put up your feet for the night and take a well earned rest. For information about places to stay in Looe, try our accommodation pages for Hotels, Bed and Breakfast or Self Catering accommodation.
Walking to Looe from Plymouth (20 miles)
Once you have left Plymouth by ferry and traversed the River Tamar to Cremyll, you have officially entered Cornwall! Welcome.
The first few miles are through the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park Estate. You can see the house from the walk which will eventually lead you into Kingsand, past the Sun Inn and then into Cawsand.
Heading out of Cawsand you walk along a made up road through some woods to Penlee Point and the Grotto, which was once a lookout point. The coastal path now takes you onto Rame Head via a coast guard station and a ruined chapel which was built in 1397. Rame Head is approx. 300 feet tall with amazing views out to sea, along the coast to the west and back over Plymouth Sound.
Leaving Rame Head you will eventually come to Whitsand Bay and beach. This is extremely beautiful and lovely to walk along (2.5 miles) if the tide allows. If the tide is just going out you will be fine but if not then be aware that it is easy to get cut off and stranded. Check your tide time tables if you decide to do this part of the walk on the beach.
You will eventually come to the town of Freathy which you need to go through. Keep following the road and path (which cuts across open land) and yet more road to Portwrinkle, a small fishing village.
Walk through Portwrinkle (on road) for about a mile before the path cuts through open fields and onto another road which leads you into Downderry and then Seaton. Once through Seaton there is a steep walk down a lane and back into some lovely countryside.
You will now be heading into Millendreath and a small beach. Ignore the mess that has been created in Mellendreath by run down and closed up holiday chalets and head on into Looe.
Needless to say Looe will be a welcome stop after the past 20 or so miles, some of which are not the best parts of the Cornish coastal path.
Many people finish walking the path in Plymouth, having started 258 miles away on the north coast at Marsland Mouth on the Devon Cornwall border. Whatever you decide to do, welcome to Looe, stop a while and enjoy its hospitality.
For information about places to stay in Looe, try our accommodation pages for Hotels, Bed and Breakfast or Self Catering accommodation.