National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting


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About National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps is a coastline on the north Cornish coast between Padstow and Newquay, in Cornwall, England. The cliffed coastline is laden with rocks stretching along its beach and is a popular spot for tourists and painters. The most well-known of them is the impressive series of rock stacks on a small sandy beach.

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Things to Do at National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps is one of the most popular destinations on the north Cornish coast because of the spectacular cliff-top view of sea stacks stretching across Bedruthan beach. The coastline keeps its magic hidden until you take a walk along the well-established paths.

The section of the coastline from Carnewas to Stepper Point, where Bedruthan Steps is located is part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is subject to special landscape protection. Bedruthan Steps and nearby Park Head is an 80.8-hectare (200-acre) Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated for its geological and biological interest in 1951. It is noted for its slates and fossils from the Middle Devonian period, various mosses, and beetles. Bedruthan Steps is also a Geological Conservation Review site because it is a source of rare fish specimens.

The coast at Bedruthan Steps is exposed to westerly winds and the clifftops are an exposed environment best suited for low-growing plants. Along the coast, visitors could find a vast array of wildflowers depending on the season.

Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps is a favourite spot for picnics, even during the Victorian era. Throughout the coastline trail, there are picnic spots with dramatic clifftop views.

The coastline walk too is breathtaking. With views of sandy beaches, cliffs and meadows with wildflowers along the way. Over the years, significant improvements to the paths that cross the clifftops have been made, making the accessibility to the clifftop walks much better.

Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps was awarded Dark Skies status. The accreditation is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Dark Sky Discovery Programme. The status is given to sites that are accessible and free enough from light pollution that they offer visitors fantastic panoramic views of the night sky- an ideal place to stargaze.

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History of National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Humans have been in the area of Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps since at least the Bronze Age. The six barrows nearby to the north, and Redcliff Castle overlooking Bedruthan Steps is an indication of this. Redcliff Castle dates back to at least the Iron Age.

Carnewas mine started in 1855 and followed a lead lode accessible from near the tideline at low water with lodes containing silver, copper and nickel at a lower level. This working ceased operation in 1863 but was opened again in 1868 to extract iron, closing in 1874 having produced over 6000 tons of iron ore. Ladders and steps to the beach are thought to have been needed to reach the mine workings. The National Trust shop was originally the office of Carnewas Mine, and the cafe was one of the mine buildings.

The first written record of the name "Bedruthan Steps" is from the West Briton newspaper in February 1847 and is likely to refer to one of two cliff staircases used by miners to get to the mine workings and now refers to the whole beach.

Each of the popular stacks at the beach has a name and from north to south they are Queen Bess, Samaritan Island, Redcove Island, Pendarves Island, and Carnewas Island.

Beach access at Bedruthan closed due to a cliff fall

In November 2019 a significant cliff fall took place at Bedruthan beach with a further rock fall nearby in January 2021. The rock fall caused damage to the lower section of the steps to the beach as well as the cliff face safety netting. The National Trust commissioned a geological survey to determine the stability of the cliff face and assess whether access could be reinstated. The report concluded that further, in-depth, specialist feasibility studies would be required. These will identify whether there are options for stabilising the rock face and repairing the steps and safety infrastructure.

The unprecedented pandemic delayed this important work. The steps are expected to be closed for the foreseeable future, with no confirmed timeline for the assessment and potential repairs.

Best Time to Visit National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Spring is the best time to visit Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps as visitors will be treated to carpets of flowering squill along the walking trails.

Tips for Visiting National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

  1. It is very unsafe to swim on the beach due to heavy rips, fast tides and submerged rocks.
  2. The steps down to the beach are damaged, it is not recommended to go down the beach through them.
  3. The pay and display machines at the site only accept cash in coins. An exact change is required.
  4. Entry and parking fee payments are also possible using PayByPhone with location code "803546". The mobile reception is quite bad in the area so it is recommended to make the payment before you reach the site.
  5. The trails along the cliff can be a lot muddy, careful with the shoe selection.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

  1. The name Bedruthan Steps is believed to be taken from a mythological giant called Bedruthan, who used the rocks (stacks) on the beach as stepping stones. This seems to be a late 19th-century invention for Victorian tourists.
  2. The stack named "Queen Bess" was supposed to resemble the outline of Queen Elizabeth I, although the head was lost after a storm in 1981.
  3. The stack named "Samaritan Island" is named after a ship the Good Samaritan, which was wrecked there in 1846 with the loss of nine lives.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

It takes about 1 to 2 hours to explore Carnewas at Bedruthan. There are so many hiking trails through the coastal area, so it is also easily possible to spend half to one day.

How to Reach National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

The nearest city of Carnewas at Bedruthan is Newquay. From Newquay, you can take bus 185 from Manor Road stop to Bedruthan House Hotel stop. It takes 30 minutes. From there it is only a 3-minute walk to reach.

If you are driving from Newquay, it is 20 minutes to reach. Newquay is connected to rest of the country by trains and buses.

Entrance Fee of National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Parking Charges:

£2 up to 1hr

£4 up to 4hrs

£8 all-day

National Trust members and blue badge holders can park for free.

Winter charges (1 November to 28 February):

£1 up to 1hr

£2 up to 4hrs

£4 all-day

For up-to-date seasonal pricing, visit the national trust website.

Opening Hours of National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps is open daily from 10:30 AM to 5 PM. For an up to date opening hours, please visit the national trust website.

Attractions Near National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay

4.56km from National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Watergate Bay beach, about 3 miles from Newquay on the North Cornwall coast, is a large beach. Two miles of golden sand at low tide stretches towards Newquay and out to sea enormous waves come in from the Atlantic providing a spectacular sight and a popular surfing and kitesurfing spot. One of the iconic location and it provides a refreshing mood and can enjoy with family.

Treyarnon Bay

Treyarnon Bay

5.05km from National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Treyarnon Bay is a beautiful, clean, and sandy north-west-facing beach backed by sand dunes and surrounded by low cliffs. It is one of the most popular beaches in the area, especially with families because of the expanse of soft sands and low waters. It has a partially constructed rockpool that acts as a swimming pool for older children at low tide.

Porth Beach

Porth Beach

6.53km from National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Porth beach is a famous white sand beach and has a large area of flat golden sand that offers safe bathing. There's level access to the beach and there is pleasant walking around Porth Island. The long tidal drop reveals many beautiful rock pools and some fascinating sea life; in addition, due to its position being protected by headlands on both sides, it is very sheltered.

Lusty Glaze Beach

Lusty Glaze Beach

6.99km from National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Lusty Glaze is a beautiful beach in Newquay, Cornwall. which is privately owned although it has full public access. An outdoor activity company runs a range of beach-based activities. The cove is naturally sheltered by high cliffs. Lusty Glaze is a Cornish tourist attraction with 133 steps from the clifftop to the beach below.

Newquay Zoo

Newquay Zoo

8.21km from National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

A beautiful zoological garden which was located within Trenance Leisure Park in Newquay, England. It now covers over 13 acres of land, as well as housing over 130 species. It also has an immersive tropical house exhibit which houses rainforest plants and animals including a sloth, tropical birds, reptiles and insects.

Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay

Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay

8.25km from National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

Blue Reef is a national chain of public aquariums in England.Over 40 naturally-themed habitats take you on a fantastic journey from Cornish waters to exotic seas. Come face to face with freshwater turtles, watch pulsating jellyfish and meet amazing pufferfish. Over 40 living displays are home to various species from tropical sharks and lobsters or seahorses and tropical fish.

Discover More Attractions in Cornwall, Home of National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps



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One of the UK’s favourite summer destinations, holiday makers flock to Cornwall for its sandy beaches and surf-ready waves but look beyond the coastline and you’ll be rewarded with world-class galleries, fantastic food and many one-of-a-kind attractions.

Location of National Trust - Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps


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