Gunwalloe Church Cove lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the Lizard Peninsula. This stretch of the Cornish coast is full of history, and also it’s a great spot for spectacular winter wave watching.

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Right next to the sandy beach, the church of St Winwaloe (aptly also known as the Church of the Storms) dates back to the 14th century. There’s also a separate tower which is thought to be 13th century, part of an earlier church on the same site.

Nestled in the sand dunes, it’s a simple, lovely church that has changed little in over 600 years. Despite the thick stone walls, you can still hear the sound of the sea from inside, and it is wonderful place for quiet reflection.

There are some excellent walks in the area and plenty to explore (please note the beach has a seasonal dog ban from Easter to October). For a gentle stroll, take a look at this short walk from the National Trust. It’s a mile-long amble you can do in your trainers, which makes the most of coastal views across Mounts Bay to the Penwith Moors and inland over Gunwalloe Marsh. For those who fancy something a bit more challenging, The South West Coast Path runs through Gunwalloe Church Cove, leading to Poldhu Cove in the south.

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If you walk along the cliffs near the church, you might also find a smugglers’ passage cut out of the rock. As the cove itself is sheltered, and it’s not hard to imagine goods being transferred to shore under the cover of darkness.

After a bracing walk, the nearby Halzephron Inn is a good place to stop for lunch or a warming drink. Built around 500 years ago, it’s got plenty of history of its own, and you might even get one of the locals to reveal some of the smuggling stories of the area.

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Getting there

From Bosinver, it’s about an hour’s drive. Once you reach Helston, take the A3083 to the Lizard. After two miles, look out for the brown sign to Gunwalloe Church Cove (turning on the right). Pass through the village of Gunwalloe and you’ll reach the National Trust car park by the beach.

Postcode for SavNavs: TR12 7QE