You’ve probably seen photos & videos of Pedn Vounder beach (also known as Treen) doing the rounds on social media lately!
Ever since I was young (and probably for years before!), it’s been a pretty well-established fact that Porthcurno (the neighbouring big brother of Pedn Vounder) is one of the most beautiful beaches here in Cornwall – no arguments necessary!
Situated at the tip of Penwith coast near Land’s End, it is certainly one of the county’s most remote spots, and yet it’s always been one of the most popular tourist spots in the summer. This is probably due to the immaculately clear blue waters, soft white sand, and rugged surrounding cliffs that house the famous Minack Theatre.
After only visiting as a young child, I made the hour journey down to Porthcurno last summer and was amazed at how beautiful it was in person – the photos you see in guide books and online can never do it justice!
BUT this year, attention seems to be focusing on the ‘hidden gem’ that is Pedn Vounder; a smaller, secluded cove about 400m East of Porthcurno. I’m sure it has been well-known for a while, and I’ve certainly heard whisperings of its name in previous years but thanks to a few viral videos on Facebook and a whole load of Instagram love towards this little beach, it’s now well and truly got its name on the Cornish wishlist map of many!
My friend Keda and I decided to head down there this week to made the most of the sunshine and see what all the fuss was about. We may have been a little bit crazy to do this (being the hottest day of the year AND the start of school summer holidays), but we made it and amazingly managed to find a car park space too.
These photos pretty much speak for themselves – you don’t need me to tell you how stunning this cove is! With the clearest water I’ve ever seen, it genuinely looks like somewhere on a Greek island, and in the heat it felt like that too. I thought I’d instead share some of our tips that we learned from our first trip, that we’ll definitely be using when we return!
1. Suss out where to park to get to Pedn Vounder
As far as I’m aware, there are two options for parking at Pedn Vounder beach. You can head to Porthcurno and park in one of the car parks there where you then have a 15 minute walk along the coast path past Porthcurno to get to the Pedn Vounder cove. This is what we did, but the Porthcurno car parks get VERY full and are quite expensive (about £5 a day or more!).
But you can also park in the village of Treen where there is a grass car park in the village (TR19 6LQ) that costs around £2 a day. Then I think it’s more like a 5 to 10 minute walk to the cove instead… so we will definitely be doing that next time!
2. Get there early
I don’t know how busy the Treen car park gets, but in the high season it gets ridiculous at Porthcurno! We got there at around 2:30pm and only managed to get a space out of pure luck that someone was leaving just as we pulled in, but most other people were circling wondering what to do.
To be in with a good chance of a good parking space, and also to get yourself a good spot on the beach, I’d definitely suggest heading there early morning.
3. Pack light and use rucksacks
Pedn Vounder is NOT easy to get to. There is a pretty rugged cliff path to get near the beach, and then you literally have to climb down a cliff to get onto the sand (think coasteering style!). Luck was on our side this week and we just happened to be behind two mountaineering professionals, who helped guide us down the rocks, telling us to keep three points of contact at all times and to not look down…
Thank GOD we just had a rucksack and packed pretty light; you do not want to be trying to climb down those rocks laden with bags, windbreaks and tents.
4. Wear trainers!
Yes, I was the stupid girl who thought I could get away with wearing flipflops down what I thought was just going to be a steep coast path. Guys, you will look like an IDIOT if you don’t wear sensible footwear, so wear trainers or at least sandals that are okay for rock-climbing/hiking.
5. Be very wary about bringing young children and dogs, or if you are pregnant/have injuries
I actually don’t understand how people managed to get down to the beach with their children and dogs… so much stress! I didn’t actually see any kids younger than 8 or 9 on the beach though, so I would suggest if you have children younger than that or if you are an anxious parent, maybe stick to Porthcurno.
As I said, you literally have to climb backwards down a cliff with your hands and feet so be sensible; the mountaineers in front of us were local and said at least 5 people have to get airlifted off Pedn Vounder each year because of injuring themselves or getting caught by the tide.
6. Go to the loo before you go
As with any ‘hidden’ cove or secret beach, there are no facilities (and in this case, you need to scale a cliff before you can access any too!) so just remember to do your business before you head to the path. There are public toilets at the Porthcurno car park and I’m sure there are probably some at Treen as well.
7. Pack plenty of water (and snacks!)
There is a small cafe next to the Porthcurno car park that sells beach stuff, food to eat-in or takeaway, drinks and ice-cream, but I’d suggest bringing a picnic with you and definitely packing water in your rucksack. It’s tiring work getting down to the beach so you’ll need it!
8. Check the tide times before you leave
We arrived quite close to high tide, mainly because it was our only option that day but we also weren’t sure how much beach there would be. I think we had about an hour on the beach itself before we had to leave as the tide was cutting off the base of the cliffs. It was strange because even as we were leaving there were still people coming down to get to the beach… not sure if they knew it was about to be cut off or if they’d just come at the wrong time by accident… oh well!
It was also a shame that we didn’t get to see Pedn Vounder at low tide because it has the most incredible sand bank that creates an island effect, and the water gets beautifully warm and shallow like in all the videos and photos you may have seen online. I can’t wait to go back again in low-season at low tide to experience this for sure!
9. Give yourself plenty of time
What with walking from Porthcurno along the coast path, scrambling down cliffs and stopping to take photos, it took us at least half an hour to actually get to the beach once we’d parked, so you don’t want to be rushing to get home for something or for a parking ticket.
Thankfully, it’s much easier getting back up the cliffs than it was getting down, so it didn’t take too much time coming back. At least that’s how we found it, but again if you have children with you or struggle with climbing or fitness, it’s probably a different case.
10. It’s a nudist beach, so be sensitive with photography
I’d definitely encourage you to bring a camera with you – it is the most amazing place to take photos! However, Pedn Vounder is actually a nudist beach, and there were plenty of people walking around naked when we visited (although 90% were just tourists not in the nude), so just be very careful about where you are pointing your camera.