OS Grid Reference: SW 848 695
Situated just a few miles along the coast from Padstow, Bedruthan Steps offers a highly spectacular stretch of coastline offering superb views of the dramatic Atlantic battered sea stacks from the cliffs. A staircase cut into the rocks leads to the sandy beach below.
Known in Cornish as Bos Rudhen, meaning Red-one's dwelling, Bedruthan Steps is owned by the National Trust. The name Bedruthan Steps is said to derive from a giant known as 'Bedruthan' who used the rocks on the beach as stepping stones,this now seems to be a late nineteenth century invention for Victorian tourists.
The first recorded mention of the name 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.
There are some excellent walks from Carnewas to the plateau of Park Head. The views from the cliff tops are superb, past the famous stacks to the distant promontory of Park Head. There are magnificent walks along the coast path towards Park Head and the sheltered Porth Mear Cove beyond.
There are two Iron Age hill forts and six Bronze Age burial Barrows which stand nearby. Bedruthan Steps is overlooked by Redcliff Castle, which dates back to at least the Iron Age. Redcliff Castle (OS Grid reference- SW 849 696) has three ramparts which stand approximately two metres high and are divided by two ditches, part of which have been quarried into the bedrock to improve the fort's defences.
Much of the internal parts of the castle have been eroded by the sea, presumably when the fort was built, the headland was a lot larger. There is a second castle within a mile to the north at Park Head and two miles to the south at Griffin's Point, a third
At low tide the beach at Bedrutan Steps, one of the Cornwall's most dramatic beaches. stretches for over a mile. Swimming is not allowed on the beach, as the strong under currents are considered to be dangerous.
There is a National Trust Car Park and the Carnanton Estate Car Park, adjacent to Bedruthan Steps - both of which are a short walk from the cliff top. The National Trust car park has toilets, a a shop and a Café which sells refreshments. A paved viewing area, the Piazza, is situated on the cliff edge, where visitors can enjoy the spectacular series of stacks on Bedruthan Beach. The National Trust have rebuilt the steep cliff staircase to the beach, but visitors need to be aware of the risk of being cut off by the tide when the beach practically disappears.
Images reproduced courtesy of Adam Burton Photography