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, cycle rentals available, and convenient B&Bs, campsites and hostels 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. For a cycle-friendly hostel just 1/4 mile from Land's End you may enjoy the Lands End Holidays Hostel, and there is good campsite accommodation nearby. Here on this page we also present a scenic guide to a number of local cycle ride routes for any cyclist or ebike cyclist, just scroll down and charge on. 2020 saw a big increase in cycling, with many families and small children on the peaceful roads, and so a big increase in demand for sensible 20mph overall speed limits in towns and villages - as is so well explained by the national 20splenty.org campaign.

Cycling on pavements and footpaths is illegal and dangerous, resulting in fatalities, annoyance, and suppression of walking by vulnerable pedestrians. Cycling on the road is actually quicker, more convenient, and statistically safer, and even more so with 20 mph speed limits in place to help everyone. And it is also good idea to keep 1m between you and the edge of the road, not least of all as overtaking vehicles will tend to allow you as much space as they see between you and the edge of the road - this and other key skills are well explained in the UK's cycling manual titled Cyclecraft: the complete guide to safe and enjoyable cycling for adults and children which you can buy online.

COVID 19 UPDATE: you need to keep sufficient distance when following another cyclist, since we breathe out vapour which can carry the virus. 2m stationary social distancing becomes 4m when you are walking behind someone, and you need to stay 10m back when you are cycling or running behind someone, and if cycling fast you need to keep back 20m from the cyclist in front of you.

Bicycles, including ebikes, can be hired from Lands End Cycle Hire who also offer delivery, 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. There is a good selection of places to eat at Porthcurno, all of which can accommodate bicycles outside.

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.

To reach Porthcurno from Penzance the most direct route is to take the A30 westbound, then after three miles taking the signposted left turn onto the B3315 to Porthcurno via St Buryan. Alternatively from Penzance via Newlyn, Mousehole and Lamorna one can follow a longer and more scenic route. From St Ives or St Just to Porthcurno is a spectacular ride along the unspoilt north coast road, the B3306, passing through the village of Sennen and close to the surfing beach at Sennen Cove, and passing close to Lands End.

Dog Problem at Porthcurno There is a persistent problem with stray dogs running out into traffic, stopping traffic, chasing pets, and chasing and trying to bite cyclists and pedestrians at Porthcurno. If you see these dogs, please photograph them and report that to the police, who are very concerned and have visited the site multiple times to try to stop this hazard, apparently having already put in place a Dog Control Order, which the dogs and their uncaring owners just do not comply with so far. You can also contact Cornwall Council's dog warden, and if you "contain" the dog, the Council will send someone to fetch it and kennel it until the owner pays to retrieve it.

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