Overlooking it all is Godrevy lighthouse. Built-in 1858, it was the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s seminal novel ‘To the Lighthouse’, and it continues to be a handsome, life-saving landmark protecting passing vessels from the perilous rocks of Stones Reef.
Godrevy Beach is found at the very north end of St Ives Bay. It’s a beach with a lot to give. Seals congregate around the rocks, especially in autumn and winter. All year, experienced surfers catch the area’s biggest waves. It’s perfect for windsurfing, kiteboarding, and surfing seriously or for the first time. There are even lifeguards on watch from early May through to late September.
Dear dogs: This could change at any time so check the sign, but you can only run riot on this beach before 10 am and after 6 pm in July and August. The rest of the year, it’s yours all yours.
Next up is Gwithian Beach. It’s just a 5-minute walk from Three Mile beach to the steps that lead down to it. Turn right at the bottom of the steps for Godrevy Beach. Turn left for Gwithian Beach’s rockpools, dramatic cliffs, and miles of sand stretching out towards Hayle. This is a great one for families who like to explore marine life in the rockpools and run free in the untamed wilderness.
Dear dogs: This one’s all yours, all year except from 10 am – 6 pm in July and August.
Upton Towans and Mexico Towans are the next ones along. Their massive expanse makes them dog running, swimming, fetching heaven. And set back from the sand are grassy dunes brimming with wildlife, so it’s an explorer’s dream too.
Dear dogs: This one’s all yours, all year.
On the western end of The Towans, Hayle Towans Beach is more sheltered from the swell, making it a surfer’s favourite. It’s fringed by Riveria Towans and leads onto Hayle Sands, Hayle estuary, and, if you keep on walking, Hayle itself – the nearest town to Three Mile Beach.
Dear dogs: This could change at any time so check the sign but – sorry – you can’t live your best life here between 10 am and 6 pm in July and August. Not even if you beg.
The Hayle estuary area is out of bounds from Easter Sunday until 30th September from 10 am – 6 pm.
The beaches don’t stop there. St Ives Bay continues west to Porthkidney Beach, incredible Carbis Bay, and ends at the beloved beaches of St Ives. Walking the South West Coast Path along this stretch and dropping down into the beaches and, eventually, St Ives, is life-affirming stuff.