Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps is one of the most spectacular beaches in Cornwall, if not the whole of the UK. The name relates to the huge rocky outcrops that are dotted around the beach, which were said to be stepping stones used by the giant Bedruthan. In more recent years the name remains appropriate as access to the beach is by a steep set of steps that winds down a gully in the cliffs. Unfortunately during our most recent visit in 2023, the steps were closed due to rockfalls that had rendered them unsafe, so for the moment the beach is out of bounds, but can be enjoyed from the cliff-top path.

If access to the beach is restored, it should be noted that it is completely covered at high tide, and there are many rock outcrops that could result in unwary visitors being cut off from the steps when trying to leave the beach. Visiting on a receding tide is therefore always the safest option, and for photographers this also has the advantage of removing footprints in the sand and the wet sand can be used for reflections.

Location and Parking

Postcode: PL27 7UW

There is a National Trust car park at Carnewas Tea Rooms. From the main A30 turn onto the A39 at the Highgate Hill roundabout, signposted for Wadebridge. Continue on the A39 for 3 miles and at the second roundabout turn left onto the A3039. After 1.5 miles, turn right onto an unmarked road which goes around Newquay airfield to a junction with the B3276. Turn right at the junction and the National Trust car park at Carnewas is just under 3 miles, on the left. The path to the clifftops starts from the left of the tea room and the steps to the beach are about 400m to the north.

The Clifftop Path

From the clifftop path immediately behind the cafe at Carnewas, there is a view over the full length of the beach. Most of the interesting rock pinnacles are in the stretch of beach beyond the small headland in the image below. The steps to the beach are also beyond this headland.

Bedruthan Steps From Carnewas

As can be seen from the image below, the tide comes up to the cliffs, and the rocky outcrops mean it is possible to get cut off in some areas of the beach.

Incoming Tide At Bedruthan Steps

From the top of the steps down to the beach, there is a fine view to the rock pinnacles below. The next two images show the beach at low tide, and a long exposure image taken at high tide. The first picture was taken in 2023 when the steps were closed, hence the absence of people on the beach. We did see some people who probably climbed down at the far end of the beach, however this is not recommended by the National Trust, so we did not investigate.

Low Tide At Bedruthan Steps Beach

High Tide At Bedruthan Steps

Accessing The Beach

When we first visited in 2018, the steps to the beach were open. We arrived at high tide and had to wait for the tide to go out before we could access the beach.

Waiting On The Tide

With a receding tide, there is plenty of time to explore the beach with access gradually opening up as the tide goes out.

Receding Tide At Bedruthan

The various rock pinnacles make interesting subjects, especially when reflected in the wet sand.

Bedruthan Outcrops

Rocks And Reflections At Bedruthan

Bedruthan Steps would make a fine location at sunset, however if accessing the beach itself, it would require a particular combination of sunset and tide times and plenty of time should be left to leave the beach before it gets too dark.

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