When my children were growing up, Polridmouth beach was one of our closest and favourite beaches for a day out. Most locals call it Menabilly after the estate of that name, the historic Rashleigh family home, which lies hidden behind the beach.
Daphne du Maurier rented Menabilly from the Rashleigh’s in 1943 on a 20 year lease. She lived there with her family and wrote many of her books in a garden shed on the lawn. The house and beach are believed to be the inspiration for the setting of Manderley in her famous novel, Rebecca and whenever I go there I can’t help reliving the story.
Polridmouth can be reached by car by taking the turning for Polkerris on the Par to Fowey road and continuing straight on to Menabilly Barton farm where there is a car park with an honesty box charge of the princely sum of 50 pence for the day. There is a 10 minute walk down a leafy farm lane to the sandy beach, which has plentiful rock pooling opportunities and is safe for swimming.
The setting is beautiful with a lake complete with swans and ducks, Keepers cottage (now a holiday let) and views up to Gribbin Head, a daymark for shipping, now owned by the National Trust and open most Sundays in the summer to climb up for even more glorious views.
This is a beach used mostly by locals and I have never seen it crowded. There is nothing here besides nature (no toilets, cafes, deckchairs etc) so you have to carry everything you need down with you and back up the hill!
However, if you want to enjoy a day at the seaside with a hint of magic in the air, this is the spot to choose, it’s one of my favourites.