Porthtowan is one of the famous surfing beaches of North Cornwall. The large sandy beach, bordered by rock pools is perfect for all the family and is patrolled by lifeguards throughout the summer. This is one of the best beaches in Cornwall,
This is a place with golden sands. The name derives from the Cornish meaning the Cove of Sand Dunes. The gently slopping beach is much smaller at high tide rather than low tide. At high tide in peak season the beach can quite crowded. At low tide the beach extends for four miles to Chapel Porth. Beach walkers should be careful though. The tide comes in quickly.
The beach currently has the coveted Blue Flag Award for cleanliness. Litter is removed from the beach every evening.
Porthtowan beach can be reached from a small car park with capacity for 137 cars. There are toilets close to the car park and there are a few shops selling ice-creams. Surfing boards and wet suits are available for hire at the Tris Surf Shop. The Blue Bar restaurant overlooks the each.
Surfers enjoy the beach because it has something for everyone, beginners, intermediates and the highly skilled alike. Connoisseurs prefer to visit in September when the waves are stronger than in August.
The Cornish coastal footpath climbs steeply from either side of the cove. The cliff walk to St Agnes which is just one mile away is popular during the summer season. The coastal path passes close to the old tin mines at Wheat Coates.
The history of Porthtowan is closely associated with tin and copper mining. Evocative ruins of wheel houses, engine rooms and chimneys perch precariously to the cliffs nearby. The Wheal Towan copper mine at Porthtowan was at peak production from 1815 until 1835. Many of the mines were controlled by Ralph Allen Daniel of Trelissick. He was said the make a ‘guinea a minute night and day.Ralph Allen Daniel developed the Tressick estate at Feock in South Cornwall. The Trelissick gardens are now owned by the National Trust and are a major tourist attraction.
In late Victorian and Edwardian times Porthtowan was used as local resort for day trippers from Redruth and Truro. Most modern visitors travel by care. The nearest rail station is at Redruth which is sx miles away.
For those on a limited budget there is a backpackers hostel in the village.
Porthtowan is a lovely place to spend a summer holiday, in an area that Daphne Du Maurier used to call vanishng Cornwall.