Porthgwarra is a remote and picturesque sandy cove just a short walk along the coastal path from Porthcurno. It was once a fishing village but few boats now launch from the hamlet. Basking sharks and dolphins can often be seen in the waters.
The cove and slipway are privately owned but the public are allowed access. Folklore has it that the tunnel from the slipway towards the road was used by smugglers – the more mundane explanation is that it was excavated by tin miners from St Just to allow farmers to gather seaweed from the beach by horse & cart – seaweed is an excellent fertiliser.
A second tunnel, leading seawards, was the fishermen’s access to the tidal ‘hulleys’ built in the rocks to store shellfish. The ‘hulleys’, which ceased being used about 20 years ago, had wooden floors and topcovers with trapdoors and were used to store shellfish prior to taking the catch to market once or twice a week. The rope laid down the beach is used to steady boats while landing.
Porthgwarra is a mecca for birdwatchers. Both seabirds and rare ‘landbirds’ feature in an impressive list of rarities seen at Porthgwarra.
The cafe is open in the summer and caters for the large amount of people walking along the coastal path and the birdwatchers, many of whom go to see the migrant birds, particularly in October.
Other facilities include toilets, a car park and a public telephone.