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Whitsand Bay

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About Whitsand Bay

A small town on the Cornish side of the River Tamar.
A beautiful coastal village which is a mecca for divers following the sinking of HMS Scylla on 27th March 2004, The ship was intentionally scuttled and now forms the first artificial reef in Northern Europe.

There are some excellent coastal walks here and some very good beaches, including:
Little coves at Portwrinkle
Long stretch of golden sand at Freathy and Tregonhawke

Within a short distance:

Anthony House - owned by the National Trust, arguably the finest Queen Ann building in the West Country.

St Germans - 12th century church

Summary: A quiet area to explore coastal paths, good beaches, the Tamar Estuary, Nare Head and Close to Plymouth City, ideal for the business community not wishing to stay in the city.

Just east of Looe and west of Rame Head, this is an impressive stretch of coastline consisting of several small coves rather than one large expanse of sand. Although there is a 3 mile stretch of lovely sand when the tide is out at Freathy and Tregonhawke.
There are various paths leading down from the cliff top, some of which are over 250 feet high.
The bay gently curves around, but bathers should be wary, there are notoriously strong cross currents.
Part of Whitsand Bay is the little seaside village of Portwrinkle. The village developed around its medieval harbour, which was once home to a thriving fishing industry.
The fishing no longer exists, it is now a small holiday resort boasting a large Victorian Hotel that was moved here from Torpoint at the turn of the 20th century.
The bay is a mecca for divers following the sinking of HMS Scylla on the 27th March 2004. The ship was scuttled making the first artificial reef in northern Europe.

Portwrinkle Beach - there are actually two beaches here, a shingle beach on the western side and a sandy beach to the east, this is locally known as 'Finnygook' Very popular with families but access is by a steep path. Surfing is quite popular on this beach when conditions permit.
Access to the beach is not easy and probably not suitable for the disabled.
Facilities include toilets, two small car parks.
Directions to Portwrinkle
Take the A38 from Plymouth. At Trerulefoot, turn left onto the A374. Two miles after Polbathic turn right onto the B3247 to Crafthole. At Crafthole turn right at the mini-roundabout then take the next left and follow the road down to Portwrinkle

Freathy Beach – right in the middle of Whitsand bay this is a 3 mile stretch of golden sand and probably the best beach in Southeast Cornwall. Due to its size and lack of accessibility it never gets busy and is in the main used by locals. At high tide it is split into several little coves – caution –don't get cut off by the tide. Access to the beach is down a narrow cliff path, limited roadside parking at the top. It is good for surfing it beware of strong cross currents. The information that we have is that there is a lifeguard service between the 14th July and the 2nd September, but this has not been confirmed as there were indications that this was being discontinued owing to cost. There are no toilets or services here, the nearest is at Tregonhawke beach which is to the east and is really an extension of Freathy Beach, there is also a beach café at Tregonhawke.
There is a car park near Freathy but to get close to the beach there is limited roadside parking.
Dogs are permitted all year.

Tregonhawke Beach – immediately to the east of Freathy beach with similar high quality sand and similar geography. Again, our information is that there is good surfing to be had here but care should be exercised owing to strong cross currents.
There are toilets, a beach café and our information is that there is a lifeguard service, but this has not been confirmed. Dogs are permitted on the beach all the year.

Directions to the Freathy and Tregonhawke beach's:
A38 from Plymouth. At Trerulefoot turn left on the A374, 2 miles after Polbathic turn right onto the B3247 to Crafthole. At Crafthole turn left continuing on this road. There is a car park just before th truning to Freathy. To park closer to the beach follow the Freathy road and there are parking places along the roadside. There are steep paths down to the beach at Tregantle, Sharrow Point, Freathy and Tregonhawke.
Parking: Car park with limited roadside near the beach
Toilets: Only at Tregonhawke
Café: At Tregonhawke
Dogs: Permitted
Lifeguard: Not confirmed
Caution: Strong cross currents along this stretch of coastline.

A popular walk from the village:
From Portwrinkle to Whitsand Battery and Freathy (just under 3 hours)
Walk east out of the village towards Crafthole. Opposite the Whitsand Bay Hotel Golf Club look for a wooden sign marked 'Tregantle Fort 2 miles'. Leave the road and cross the stile before climbing some steps to meet the cliff top. Head uphill climbing more steps, some lovely views from here, have a rest. The path begins to level out as you pass a seat. You should then meet the golf course (hole 4). The route is well signed here. Follow the path as it veers towards the sea, leaving the golf course at hole 5. Enter the National Trust property of 'Trethill Cliffs'. Walk through another gate then drop down a shallow valley looking below to see the beach at 'Old House Cove'. Climb once more to another gate. Follow the field boundary ahead then left as it nears the road. Leave Trethill via a gate where you turn sharp right to take a stone stile following the signed route east along a grassy path. Caution – there is MOD property here and should not be entered, frequent warning signs emphasise this. Stay on the path as you near a road junction. Leave the path at its end by steps following the markers. To the left shortly after this you can see the Royal Albert Rail bridge, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1859, an din the distance the River Tamar road bridge, opened in the early 1960's. Cross the road with care, walking up to a large car park. Cross the road once again where signed Whitsand Bay,Freathy and Tregonhawke. It is now about half a mile into Freathy. By a lay-by look seaward to see a marker post which you can follow away from the road. The small headland below right is 'Sharrow Point'. Go down the steps if you want to look at the beach. Make your way up the steps to the road by the large car park and continue with care on the road into Freathy village. As you leave Freathy you enter an area known as 'Withnoe'. After about 10 minutes of level road walking you pass a large rock. This is 'Chamber Rock', and the beach here is Tregonhawke Beach. A short climb leads to Whitsand Bay Holiday Park with a cliff top café. (time for a cup of tea). The coast path now leads off to the right leaving the road and is indicated with the usual markers, basically follow the markers.

Whitsand Bay is a neighbour to the very popular resort of Looe, there is very little accommodation available in the immediate Whitsand Bay area.