Hell’s Mouth, Cornwall – Area Information, History, Walks And More




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England is a beautiful country, especially if you get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to one of its idyllic counties. 

One such place that has been generating more interest among travellers recently is Cornwall. This place is known for its beaches, epic party culture, historic cinema halls, and many sightseeing spots.

But while most people head to the usual tourist attractions, we recommend you go to Hell’s Mouth. As the name suggests, the place will get your heart beating and adrenaline pumping through the veins; such is its gorgeous beauty.

Let’s find out why and the reason it’s called Hell’s Mouth, among other things.

Hell’s Mouth – An Overview

Along the South West Coast Path, in the northeast of Gwithian, lies an ominously named place in Cornwall. Despite its fearsome name, Hell’s Mouth is one of the most scenic locations in the county, situated in an area owned by the National Trust

Hell’s Mouth is one among many cliff faces in the region that tourists flock to see. Perhaps, the only place that comes close to having an even more dangerous name is Deadman’s Beach, which stretches along the north coast. 

So, why is this place called Hell’s Mouth? 

History Behind The Name

No one knows how the name Hell’s Mouth came into being, but it certainly provides an apt description of the place.

Most blogs about Hell’s Mouth run along the same lines – “it’s a tragic stretch of coast.” Before narrating what makes it tragic, let’s back up a bit to 2011 when a major natural disaster changed the geography of this place forever.

While running along the Cornish Coastal Path, a jogger spotted that the rocks had developed large cracks. It’s important to note that rocks in the region are mostly made of sandstones and mudstones of the Porthtowan Formation, while siltstones from the Devonian belong to the Mylor Slate Formation.

As the cracks grew bigger, the jogging path was changed until 23 September, when 110,000 tonnes of rocks broke off and crashed into the sea. Apart from this episode, many people have lost their lives in Hell’s Mouth, falling over the edge of the cliff, which adds to the dangerous reputation of the place.

Is It Worth Visiting?

Like the rest of England, if you visit this part of Cornwall in summer, you’re likely to be blown away by the beauty of the place. The cliffs rise to 300 ft high, and the awe-inspiring drop tends to drag people closer to the edge.

From the top, you get unhindered views of the ocean below and a panoramic view of everything surrounding the area. It won’t be an exaggeration to say this part of Cornwall has remained largely untouched and allowed to grow wild and free, so keep your eye out for rare birds and animals.

Best of all, you can treat yourself to delicious Cornish Cream Tea at Hell’s Mouth Cafe while enjoying the serenity of this secluded cove. And if you’re lucky, you might spot seals frolicking on the beaches below.

Wildlife At Hell’s Mouth

Hell’s Mouth is a paradise for nature lovers, and all you need to do is stroll along the coastal path. This area is a hotbed for rare bird species, like the Peregrine Falcon, darting between the cliff faces and mesmerising tourists.

But the animal most abundant in this untouched environment is the seal. You can watch seal pups playing or surfing the waves, providing enough opportunities to take photographs. 

More adventurous tourists can even walk to Mutton Cove or check out Godrevy lighthouse, which brings us to the biggest attraction at Hell’s Mouth – its walking trails.

Walking Trails

Hikers and trekkers love the trails dotted around Hell’s Mouth, and we have shortlisted the popular ones below –

1. Hell’s Mouth To Godrevy

This is one of the most well-known routes that pass through the high cliffs up to Navax Head. You will cross several north-facing coves and steep paths, so carry a backpack with all the essentials. 

The destination is Mutton Cove. After walking through the heathland reserve and going around Godrevy, head to catch stunning views of the lighthouse. After turning inland, you will also encounter multiple small coves and the Red River Valley. 

Returning to Hell’s Mouth is even more scenic, as you must use the narrow path to Gwealavellan cross and follow a path through a wooded valley. Overall, you get jaw-dropping visuals of the rugged cliffs, seals lazing on the coast, Godrevy’s sandy beach, and many wildlife species.

2. Portreath To Hell’s Mouth

Another scenic route is Portreath to Hell’s Mouth, with rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and quiet coves. The best part is that compared to the earlier route, you will find many colourful flowers on this path in summer. 

Some abundant floral species are Yellow Rattle, Primroses, vanilla-scented and bright-yellow Gorse, and Sheep’s Bit Scabious. You will be fascinated to know this is where the cliff fall happened, and now it has been declared an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

If you are driving, we suggest leaving the car behind Portreath Beach and walking up Western Hill. Once you make it up the hill, you will get a magnificent view of Portreath Beach behind you, Gull Rock in front, and Western Cove and Smuggler’s Cove lying below.

Other interesting and majestic spots that you will cover on the way include – 

  • Ralph’s Cupboard
  • Carvannel Downs
  • Porthcadjack Cove
  • Samphire Island
  • Mirrose Well Cove
  • Basset’s Cove
  • A monument dedicated to Francis Basset
  • Crane Island
  • Greenbank Cove 
  • Reskajeage Downs
  • Deadman’s Cove
  • North Cliffs
  • Derrick Cove
  • Hudder Down and Hudder Cove

Hell’s Mouth- Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Although the beauty of many places is blown out of proportion, Hell’s Mouth does live up to expectations. There are lots to see on this scenic side of the county, from playful seals to dangerous cliffs and endless sandy beaches.

The best part is that Hell’s Mouth is ideal for relaxing with family and friends because it’s peaceful and quiet. You can hang out in the cafe or explore its many wonderful trails to have the experience of a lifetime! 

About The Author


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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.