Walking The Cornish Celtic Way - Cornwall's pilgrimage
Luggage Transfers cover the full Cornish Celtic Way route from St Germans to Marazion. Established in 2009, we move over 36,000 bags each year for visitors walking and cycling throughout the South West.
Below, you’ll find more information about the route, a popular itinerary for The Cornish Celtic Way, as well as a link to our walker friendly accommodation for the entire route.
This newly established route is not just for those seeking spiritual solitude whilst walking but for anyone wishing to experience a new and different way to hike across Cornwall immersing yourself in its heritage and legends. The Cornish Celtic Way starts as you cross the Tamar in St Germans utilising two popular pilgrim routes, The Saints Way with the popular busy towns of Padstow and Fowey and St Michaels Way giving you a chance to stay in artistic St Ives and the end point of Marazion linking with The South West Coast Path on both South and North coasts to bring a route offering the best of Cornwall. Whether you wish to enjoy the calm and serenity to be found in the ancient churches and chapels along the way or just wish to enjoy the sea, the mining heritage and fishing villages as well as the inland high points between the coasts. The Cornish Celtic Way will open your eyes to the diversity of one of the UK’s favourite counties.
Please note that this route takes in a great deal of road walking. The suggested locations are based on larger town and villages to aid with overnight accommodations. This walk has many hidden villages along the way which allows you to hide from the more crowded towns if you so wish, a copy of the official guidebook is a must with detailed information for the entire route to allow you to shorten or lengthen your days according to your own walking ability.
Popular walking itinerary for the Cornish Celtic Way
Start your personal pilgrimage at St Germans Priory Church. Initially todays walk takes you along the roadways down towards Downderry where you join the South West Coast Path passing the Monkey Sanctuary before reaching Looe.
A day mixing coastal walking with the occasional inland turn to explore chapels in Lansallos and St Wyllow. Whilst the guidebooks suggest finishing your day in Polruan, the Bodinnick ferry across to Fowey is a calm and fitting way to end the day.
Today you have the chance to walk in the footsteps of the pilgrims crossing from the South Coast over to the North with a midway stop to admire the open views and ‘the Cornish Alps’, testimony to the China Clay industry which has shaped this landscape. The Eden Project is close by and is well worth a visit to see how the area has adapted and promotes many diverse ecosystems within the biospheres nested in the old quarry.
Continue your cross-county hike through the fields and ancient trackways of the well-marked Saints Way, high vantage points intermingle with valley walking as the route takes you through nature reserves and enclosed woodlands, away from the bustling and busy world you will find when you reach journey’s end in Padstow. Solitude and celebration at a day well walked can be found in St Petroc’s Church or in one of the many pubs and eateries in the town.
Your North coast adventure begins here with a day criss-crossing between the South West Coast Path and the small inland roads to visit the smaller chapels along the way. Say goodbye to busy Padstow and stroll across the headland before reaching the coast at Constantine Bay meeting the wild and rugged North Atlantic Cornish coastline. A turn inland at Porthcothan takes you to St Eval Church, where you can end your walk for the day at 11 miles. A treat is to be experienced at Kernow Chocolate in St Eval before a lack of accommodation draws you back down towards the coast path and the notorious Bedruthan Steps and the village of Mawgan Porth just a further 3 miles on.
Today is a day of options, after such long walks on your previous day you can opt to allow yourself a shorter day and finish in Newquay or Pentire. Alternatively push onward to reach further down the coast. Leave Mawgan Porth and travel up the Vale of Lanherne to visit St Mawgan Church, stopping on the way to experience the peace and serenity of the Japanese Gardens nearby. Walk away from the noise of Newquay airport back towards the sea and re-join the coast path at Watergate Bay and let the clifftops blow away any cobwebs or stroll on the numerous beaches. A quick jump inland at Bridge gives you ample time to visit St Columb Church as you reach the northern outskirts of Newquay. Walk to the Pentire Headland and take one of the many roads back into Newquay for tonight’s stay.
Leave Newquay behind and make for the River Gannel, a small ferry runs from The Fern Pit Café between 9.30am and 6pm mid May – mid Sept (grab a packed lunch from there to enjoy later). If the tides are low, you can use one of the footbridges (Penpol or Trenance) across the river. Head up inland to Crantock to the Church of St Carantoc, renowned for its ornate carvings. The guidebook suggests heading across Cubert Common and the Golf course straight to the Holy Well at Holywell then onto St Cuberts Church. However, a trek down to the expansive sandy beach is a detour showing a more pagan aspect to the Celtic heritage of the county to Holy well and St Cuthberts Caves. A naturally occurring spring in the stone formation within the caves has produced a cave of cascading colours and a beauty which can only be done justice by a personal visit. The caves are only accessible safely at low tide and you may still end up getting your feet well to get inside but you are rewarded a breath-taking natural creation used for many centuries as a healing and holy space by locals and visitors alike. If the weather and tides allow walk along the epic sand dunes and beach to the site of St Piran’s Oratory and Church. The patron saint of Cornwall and tinning, this stunning building was lost in the sand dunes and ‘rediscovered’ by excavation in 2014. It is believed to have been a Christian site from at least 800AD.
Today is a day out on the coast path with a quick detour inland to visit the Church of St Agnes and the village which shares her name. This is a day to immerse yourself in the mining heritage of Cornwall passing ruined engine houses and mine stacks along the way. After a visit inland to St Agnes you have a chance to sit and watch the kittiwake colony near the beacon before heading down to Porthtowan for a dip in the sea and then onto the end of your day at Portreath, once boasting the title of copper capital of the world during the nineteenth century. This whole area is part of Cornwall’s UNESCO World Heritage Mining Site with many places of interest within easy reach.
Leaving behind the secluded beach at Portreath and rising out onto the clifftops your North coast goal is almost in sight. As you reach the headland at Godrevy Point with its majestic lighthouse out at sea, the expanse of St Ives Bay lies before you. Here you can choose to walk on the well-trodden path above the beach or take off your shoes and walk on along the sands of Gwithian beach before popping them back on again to head inland to Gwithian church. Head back to the beach and continue along the coast path. The guidebook gives you the option to head inland early at Phillack or you can continue along the path around the opening of Hayle harbour via The Towans to reach Hayle.
If wishing to stay true to your guidebook you will only wish to walk from Hayle around the estuary through Lelant and the into Carbis Bay area to climb Worwas Hill to visit the Knill’s Monument. However, it seems a waste to sit atop this hill seeing all that is spread before you without climbing back down and spending the evening in St Ives as a natural stopping point. This stunning town has so much to offer, outstanding accommodations, great places to eat and numerous galleries, exhibitions and shops. If preferring something a little quieter, spend time enjoying the beaches and little churches in the town.
This last section of your walk has been titled ‘The Cornish Camino’ as this is seen as a designated route for those in ancient times not wishing to battle with the treacherous tides of the Land’s End peninsula, preferring to travel any last miles across more firm and safe terrain. Your last day of walking is one which starts and ends with choices. You can retrace your steps back up to Knills Monument and begin the St Michaels Way or you can opt to walk back to Lelant and join the route from there. A separate guidebook is produced for this pilgrim path which can be used in conjunction with the Cornish Celtic Way book, however this is a well signposted route, so you may need neither. Wherever you start you will reach the high point of Trencrom Hill and Beacon, giving you views across the peninsula. The magnificent and imposing structure of St Michaels Mount sits in the bay beckoning you onward to finish your journey. You still have choices to make as to how to make those final miles memorable, as you reach Ludgvan Church you can take the flat marsh-based walk onto Marazion or opt for sturdier footings along the roads to Gulval before heading to Marazion. Both routes have been trodden by many and the churches have been used as meeting points for pilgrims over the centuries.
As you reach your point of pilgrimage and rest your weary feet in the ancient market town of Marazion why not have one more day to savour the fruits of your labour and spend tomorrow on the Mount. Its house (once a monastery) and unique gardens are open to the public everyday apart from Saturday. One more walk across the tidal causeway and up to its pinnacle see you finally reach your goal.