Porthcurno - the digital beach

Cycling Porthcurno, Land's End and West Cornwall

West Cornwall is ideal country for cycling, with fantastic scenery, picturesque country lanes, and convenient B&Bs and campsites for cyclists. The popular End-to-End ride from Land's End in Cornwall to John O Groats in Scotland starts its 800 mile challenge just three miles from Porthcurno, attracting numerous holidaymakers, day rides, training rides and charity rides all year round on a wide variety of bicycles. Here we present a scenic guide to a number of local cycle ride routes for any cyclist, just scroll down and pedal on.

Bicycles, including fascinating vintage bikes with easy modern gears retrofitted, can be hired about 6 miles away in St Just at Cape Cornwall Cycle Hire, and the nearest full service bike shop is The Cycle Centre in Penzance, which has an excellent reputation. At Porthcurno cycle parking stands are available at the Telegraph Museum and the Minack Theatre, but not yet in the main Porthcurno carpark, meaning some still have to chain their bicycles to available signposts. Only folding bicycles may be taken on local bus services in Cornwall.

Gradients on hills here can be sharp, in some cases 17% or more in steep sections, though no hills in the area are more than 100m in total height and the highest point in all of Cornwall is just 420m above sea level, on Bodmin Moor. In memory of local cyclist and ride leader Ken Barclay, an annual winter charity ride in West Penwith climbs the seven most challenging on-road hills in the area, including Sennen Cove, Treen Hill at Penberth, and the uninterrupted 100m climb up Chywoon hill in Newlyn. So to cycle here you need either a good range of gears on your bicycle, or just the time to walk up a few steep sections. And you need properly working brakes for cycling down curvy hills, especially offroad. Occasional strong winds can be an obstacle, but temperatures here are rarely below freezing and traffic is relatively light, though rain in Cornwall can be heavy.

The following rides are all circular, meaning you could join or leave them at any point. Where possible they travel in anti-clockwise direction to make the turns at junctions mostly easy left-hand turns.

Circular Local Day Rides

The sea is never far away in Penwith, but this ride explores some of the quiet interior landscape of moors and little wooded valleys before meeting the Atlantic at Cape Cornwall or the Cot Valley, both of which are reached from St. Just, an... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 18

This is a Coast-to-Coast ride which climbs out of Penzance to cross over the moors to the rugged Atlantic Coast at the delightful village of Zennor. On a clear day, there are spectacular coastal views on both the outward and return journey. At... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 19

Once it leaves Penzance, this ride follows back roads and lanes to Hayle.At one point there is a short off-road section which is not too demanding. There is along, but manageable, climb up from Relubbus to Fraddam through delightful wooded... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 27

This ride leads to one of Cornwall's most famous destinations but, before reaching Land's End, it takes in the fishing port of Newlyn and the highly picturesque harbour village of Mousehole. It then leads you to beautiful Lamorna Cove and from... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 28

A ’Coast-to-Coast’ ride which takes in a rich variety of Cornish scenery. It crosses the narrowest point of Penwith from Marazion, with its famous castle on St. Michael's Mount, to the Atlantic beaches of St. Ives, returning by quiet lanes across... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 21

Here is a full day's ride with a few strenuous sections, but great scenic variation of countryside and seaside. In addition to the inland back lanes,it takes in a brief stretch of the Coastal Path, the formal landscape of the Penrose Estate as... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 28

St. Ives, famous not only for its superb coastal setting but also its many contemporary artists and new Tate Gallery, is amongst the most visited of all Cornish towns, but this route takes you there mostly by quiet back roads. There is a lengthy... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 14

This is a ride for the adventurous and you could call it Bike to the Stone Age! Some of it is off-road and best suited to mountain bikes. There are frequent undulations and a very steep climb out of Newlyn, but it is a route which gets right off... read full details

Round-trip distance in miles: 21