River Gannel Walk To CrantockRiver Gannel Walk

River Gannel Walk From Newquay To Crantock

Newquay, Cornwall

Situated just a stone’s throw from the bars, amusement arcades and general chaos of downtown Newquay lies the beautiful Gannel Estuary – county wildlife site and area of great scientific value. Whether you are a casual stroller, bird watcher or dog walker, the River Gannel Walk is sure to capture your imagination!

River Gannel to Crantock Circular Walk

When it comes to the River Gannel walk, I am a little biased. My sister and I would spend many summers with my Grandmother who used to live just a 5-minute walk from the Gannel.

During our school holidays we would be packed off to Newquay for weeks at a time, where we would have the most wonderful summers playing and swimming in the Gannel estuary.

In June 2017, I headed back to Newquay with Didem and wasted no time in heading to the Gannel to share its beauty and the many wonderful childhood memories that suddenly came flooding back!

Important! Check Tide Times Before Setting Off On Your River Gannel Walk

The Gannel is a tidal estuary and as such experiences dramatically varying tides throughout the day. So, before you head down there to commence your walk, check the Gannel tide times to avoid disappointment and to remain safe. Also, check out a map of the area to get a sense of where you are headed.

The small Gannel car park

Gannel Car Park

The River Gannel To Crantock Walk

If you are driving to the Gannel to commence your walk, there is a perfectly located (and free) car park that we used just off Gannel Road/Tregunnel Hill. Here’s the postcode for this car park if you are using a Sat Nav (TR7 1QU).

The car park is small so it is wise to get there early, especially if you are visiting in the summer! If you are not fortunate enough to grab a spot at this location, you can head for the Tregunnel Carpark (TR7 1QH). If you are planning on staying for a few hours you should expect to pay approximately £6.00. It is around a 10-15 minute walk to the Gannel estuary from here.

If you are not fortunate enough to grab a spot at this location, you can head for the Tregunnel Carpark (TR7 1QH). If you are planning on staying for a few hours you should expect to pay approximately £6.00. It is around a 10-15 minute walk to the Gannel estuary from here.

Alongside the Gannel car park is a slipway that leads you down onto the Gannel estuary and your River Gannel walk is underway. Continue along the right-hand side of the estuary for approximately 800 metres until you see the small wooden Penpol footbridge. The bridge is typically passable 3-4 hours either side of low tide. Again, remember to check the tide times prior to setting out!

Sign post to Crantock

Crantock is Not Far Now!

Choose Your Route To Crantock

Once across the bridge, head directly ahead of you across the sand and into Penpol Creek where you will soon see a sign for Crantock. Head to the right and up Penpol Hill where in approximately 150 metres you now have a couple of options:

1. Continue on small country roads into Crantock, or
2. Take the South West Coast Path to Crantock

Check out this map to view these two options in more detail.

We chose the road as we were in more of a hurry not knowing exactly how the tide would affect our trek back up the Gannel estuary. The Coast Path does however look like the more picturesque choice if time is not an issue.

Continuing on the Penpol Hill road, you will soon meet Trevelveth Road where you will turn right and shortly after you will take a left turn onto Vosporth Hill which leads you directly into the centre of the picturesque Crantock village.

Welcome To Crantock

The small coastal village of Crantock dates back to 460 AD and really is a charming little stop off point during your walk. It is well worth having a stroll around the village just to take in the wonderful architecture dating back over hundreds of years.

You will quickly notice that many of the quaint cottages are dedicated to the flourishing Cornish holiday rental market or which Crantock a part.

You will quickly notice that many of the quaint cottages are dedicated to the flourishing Cornish holiday rental market or which Crantock a part.

Find out more about Crantock’s history right here.

You Won’t Go Hungry In Crantock

If you are feeling a little peckish you certainly will not go hungry in Crantock! I can certainly vouch for two of the village’s eateries that will leave you far from disappointed. If you fancy something on the light side, the Cosy Nook Café the place to go. Try one of their Cornish cream teas; it would be rude not to!

Visit the Old Albion Pub in Crantock

Old Albion Pub in Crantock

Ploughman's Lunch at the Old Albion Inn in Crantock

Ploughman’s Lunch at the Old Albion Inn

If you are on the lookout for something a little more substantial, head on over to one of the two Crantock pubs, the Cornishman and the Old Albion Inn. Here you will find a wide selection of traditional pub grub that should satisfy anyone’s hunger. I have never actually eaten in the Cornishman but online reviews are certainly positive.

The Old Albion Inn, on the other hand, has presented many pleasurable culinary experiences over the years. Online reviews very much back up my opinions!

You should now be feeling stuffed and ready to burn off some of those newly acquired calories. From the centre of Crantock village, head for Beach Road and follow this for approximately 500 metres down the hill to Crantock Beach Cornwall.

Stunning Crantock Beach

Beautiful Crantock Beach!

Time To Head Home

Once you hit the beach you will need to walk the short gentle incline over the dunes and then you will see the vast expanse of Crantock Beach out to the west.

If you are are a dog walker you will be happy to know that both the Gannel and Crantock Beach are dog-friendly.  Find out about other dog-friendly beaches in the Newquay area.

At this point, it is time to head east back up the Gannel Estuary sticking to the south side of the river channel. If you have planned your River Gannel walk well and the tide is sufficiently out, there will be plenty of sand to walk on and there should be little danger of getting your feet wet.

Fern Pit Café and Ferry Newquay

Fern Pit Café and Ferry

Just a little way up the estuary on the left-hand side you will see the Fern Pit Café perched on the south-facing bank of the estuary. At low tide, the Café is accessible via a small wooden footbridge.

Approximately 3 hours either side of high tide there is a small Crantock ferry that will take you across the estuary when the footbridge is under water. The ferry is operational between the hours of 10:00 and 18:00 between the end of May and Mid September.

In approximately 500 metres you will see the Penpol footbridge but this time on your left-hand side. Once again, cross the bridge, turn right and within 10 minutes you will be back at the Gannel car park.

Your River Gannel walk is complete!

A Little History For You

The Gannel Estuary was once home to Reeds Boatyard, one of a number of boatyards in the Newquay area during the 1800s. It was owned by the Clemens family who built schooners and ketches. The last boat constructed by the family was the Triumph which was completed in 1881. In later years the area was used by pilchard and mackerel boats to moor up out of the fishing season.

What Can You Expect To See


Just down from the picnic area (that will appear on your right-hand side 5 minutes into the walk) you will find sea purslane and common glasswort. Common glasswort, also known as marsh samphire or poor man’s asparagus can be found growing amongst the salt marshes and sandy shores.

Heading west down the estuary, cliff vegetation takes over and spring guill, kidney vetch and wild carrot will be readily visible. Kidney vetch is one of Britain’s most colourful native wildflowers.


Look out all year round for Goldfinch, Linnet, Thrush, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Stonechat and the Great Spotted Woodpecker. In the summer, Whitethroat, Swallows and House Martin frequent the area.

The salt marshes around the Gannel are home to the Grass Snake and Newts can be found in the pools around Penpol Creek. These salt marshes also give much- needed shelter to the wide variety of gulls that visit the area. These include the Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull.

Throughout the year you can also regularly spot Heron and Kingfishers. During the winter months, look out for Widgeon, Redshank and Redwing.

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