Praa Sands to Rinsey Head

If you are staying near Praa Sands on Cornwall’s south coast with your dog, the walk from Praa Sands to Rinsey Head must be on your agenda. It is particularly useful as Praa Sands has seasonal daytime dog restrictions, whilst Porthcew Beach at Rinsey Cove is a beautiful beach with a bonus of no dog restrictions.

Planning your visit

  • Address: Praa Sands, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 9TB.
  • Opening times: Open all year round.
  • Parking: You have the large beach Car Park (W3W:///lectured.treating.nags). Alternatively, you can take this walk in the opposite direction by starting at the Rinsey Head National Trust car park (///worth.peach.decrease).
  • Public transport: Regular buses from Penzance stop close to the Praa Sands beach.
  • Toilets: There are toilets beside the Praa Sands car park, but nothing once you get going
  • Food & Drink: Your only option is at Praa Sands, either beside the car park or on the approach road to the beach.
  • Path surfaces: This is a rough coast path, steep in parts with some slippery rocks.

Brief History

Praa Sands is a large sandy beach backed by dunes, and at the eastern end, you have Rinsey Headland.

The headland is managed by the National Trust and is steeped in mining heritage, positioned on the beautifully unspoilt stretch of coast between Porthleven and Praa Sands. Today, you can still see the Wheal Prosper engine house, which pumped water from the mine below, which was only operational for six years between 1860 and 1866.

The Walk

We start at the Praa Sands car park. If you are outside of the dog restriction times, you can walk the length of the beach, but if not, then you still have a nice walk through the sand dune paths. In either case, this is just over 1km.

Path through the Dunes at Praa Sands
Path through the Dunes at Praa Sands

We continuously head uphill for about 500m as we leave the beach. This path is narrow in places and can be close to the cliff edge, so if you can’t trust your dog, you may need to think about a lead. At the top, you will see the house on the cliff edge, a spectacular self-catering cottage, although not our route. We now have a route to choose. The shorter option is to cut the corner, but this is a steep walk down into the valley and back up, or we can keep to the same level and walk around the valley. We will arrive at Rinsey Head and the National Trust car park.

Rinsey Head Walk
Looking back on the valley shortcut

From the car park, it is time to explore. You have multiple paths around Rinsey Head, but we believe you need to head for the Wheal Prosper engine house, which gives you some great views and can look down to the beach.

Rinsey Head, Cornwall
Wheal Prosper engine house at Rinsey Head

The beach at Rinsey Cove is also known as Porthcew Beach and is dog-friendly all year round. The walk down to the beach is steep and rocky in places, and you need to be careful at the last stage as if, like me, you rush the transition from the path to the wet rocks, you could end up on your back. Ouch!

Porthcew Beach, Rinsey Cove, Cornwall
Porthcew Beach, Rinsey Cove, Cornwall

This beach is great; you can spend some time on the sand or rock slabs with many rock pools to explore.

Porthcew Beach at Rinsey Cove
Porthcew Beach at Rinsey Cove

When visiting Rinsey Head, it’s advisable to wear sturdy footwear, especially if you plan to explore the coastal paths. Additionally, be mindful of safety, especially near the cliff edges.

Looking back down to Praa Sands Beach
Looking back down to Praa Sands

Overall, if you enjoy coastal walks, stunning views, and a sense of tranquillity away from the crowds, this walk from Praa Sands to Rinsey Head can be a memorable part of any Cornwall trip.

If that has interested you in the area, then why not check out our dog-friendly Cornwall Destination Guide?