There’s more to see at Perranporth than you might think, so why not spend some time exploring Perranporth round the edges of the sandy beach.
There are two streams which emerge on the beach at Perranporth, the course of one was artificially changed, and the wooden bridge installed, just before 1900 to make the beach more usable and attractive as the original path of one stream used to snake across the beach to join the stream on the South/West side. The beach stepping stones, to cross the stream, were also constructed at this time.
Just above the beach, the Ponsmere Hotel was built in the middle of the 1800s for Captain John Oates, a local mine owner – it was built as his holiday home. The house was sold in 1924 and converted into a hotel – at that time the railway was open at Perranporth and there was even a halt at the beach, next to the church, called “Beach Halt” – you could get on the train in London and step off right at the beach. In 1943 the American army requisitioned the hotel and used Perranporth beach to practice for the D-Day landings.
Wild Swimming at Perranporth Rock Pool
On the beach at Perranporth, there’s a small rock pool hidden behind the large rock on the beach (to the left as you’re looking out to sea). It’s not large enough for swimming, being about 25′ square, but it’s large enough for a splash around or floating on an airbed.
There are some great sea caves and arches to explore beyond this point too. One of the arches, known as Chapel Rock was a popular photo spot for newly-weds to be pictured in their wedding outfits with the arch framing them. You will also notice a lot of square shaped holes in the cliffs, these are the old mine entrances, called adits – don’t be tempted to investigate them as there is a sheer drop inside.
Local Artist Owens
Local artist David Dyer (1947-2006) used to paint a lot of oil paintings at Perranporth, particularly the iconic Chapel Rock. David Dyer’s paintings were often signed “Owens” and were sold locally, many in a small art shop in Newquay. He worked as a framer at his family’s shop in Camborne, so it’s likely he framed his own paintings too. Not many of Owens oil paintings have come onto the market yet, but I have seen some sold on ebay for £150-£250, grab one when you can they’re increasing in value!
While exploring Perranporth, on the far side of the beach, you might notice some steps to the top, beside these steps, about 15-20′ up the cliff, you’ll see an old hermit cave. You couldn’t get into it last time I was there, but I’ve been in it in the past. There’s a wooden door to the hermit cave, which is often locked these days. The Hermit of Perranporth
Cornish Time Sundial
At the top of the staircase is a sundial with a difference – this tall metal sundial displays Cornish time rather than GMT Time! The sundial at Perranporth was erected as part of the Millennium Project.
Built in a castellated style, on the cliff edge is Droskyn Castle. Built in the 19th century, this used to be a hotel and is now private apartments, some of which are holiday apartments. The site was originally believed to have been the site of a 16th century monastery, with some of the original walls becoming part of the building that’s there today.
Once at the top, if you follow the footpath close to the cliff edge, keeping Droskyn Castle to your left, then behind the wall you’ll find a wide staircase that brings you back down to the end of the beach, making this a nice short round walk to get acquainted with the area.
An alternative route back down is to turn left and go down the road to the car park at the bottom of the hill and into the town.
Perranporth/Perranzabuloe Folk Museum
Back in the town, in the street leading to the Ponsmere Hotel, there’s a small museum, housing lots of small, local exhibits of past life. The building was originally the Oddfellows Hall. The Oddfellows branch started in 1867 and built the hall in 1871, but the branch ceased in 1980 due to dwindling numbers. The Museum is open from Easter to October only.
There are a few small, local museums in the area to explore: Museums
Famous People in Perranporth
- Poldark: Poldark fans will be interested to know that the writer of Poldark, Winston Graham, moved to Perranporth with his parents and lived there many years, writing his first book in Perranporth. There is a memorial seat to Winston Graham, on the cliff footpath between Perran Sands holiday park and Perranporth beach.
- Healey Sports Cars: Donald Mitchell Healey (3 July 1898 – 13 January 1988), inventor of the famous Healey sports cars, was born at Woodbine Cottage in Perranporth, moving to Red House, Perranporth a little after this date. In 1916 he gained his Aviator’s Certificate at Military School in Birmingham, while working as a 1st Class Air Mechanic. After being shot down during the first world war, Donald Healey was invalided out and took a correspondence course in motor engineering, opening a car repair garage in Perranporth in 1919. Donald Healey was a world record holder and rally driver. In 1961 he bought the Trebah Estate in Cornwall and built some commercial greenhouses to build orchids, he sold the estate in 1961 and today it’s Trebah Gardens. Donald Healey died in Perranporth and is buried in Perranporth’s Parish Church. Woodbine Cottage is still standing today (I believe it is near the centre of Perranporth in Hanover Close, a few yards beyond the Green Parrot Pub. (TR6 0JT) and is now a holiday cottage, but this is not confirmed yet). Local Healey’s Cyder Farm, is owned by one of Donald Healey’s grandsons.
Filmed in Perranporth
Songs of Praise was filmed at Perranporth for their edition aired on Sunday 11 January 2009.
Where to Stay in Perranporth
There’s Haven caravans at the top of the hill, at Perran Sands Holiday Park or you can choose cottages to rent.
- Blue Chip have a number of cottages to rent in Perranporth and you can easily use their site to search for dates as well as personal choices such as parking or even dog friendly.
- Perran Sands holiday park, Haven Holidays.
Image: © newquaytown.com