Fancy the Rock to Polzeath walk?
If estuary views of glassy waters surrounded by rocky outcrops, chances to stop and picnic, wild swim or paddleboard and a surf beach at the end sound like your kind of thing, the Rock to Polzeath hike is for you.
This hike rewards with breathtaking views of the Camel Estuary.
But it’s generally a quieter hike than other parts of Cornwall; while Polzeath can certainly be busy in the summer months, areas around Daymer Bay typically bask in blissful solitude.
What’s more, it’s a fairly easy hike, at just about 4km one-way, so it’s suitable for nearly everyone!
I’ve completed the Rock to Polzeath hike a couple of times, once when I hiked most of the Cornish coast path one summer and more recently on a trip to this part of Cornwall.
So here’s my full guide and instructions!
Rock to Polzeath walk: setting off
Your journey begins in the village of Rock, famous for its estuary views and high-end restaurants (lots of celebs have bought homes here!).
Head to the Rock Quarry Car Park to begin. You can leave your car here (although I left mine on a road leading to the Rock Clock Garage, which was free) and there are public toilets.
You’ll notice a pathway at one end of the car park; this is the South West Coast Path, which you’ll be following all the way to Polzeath!
Rock Beach and St. Enodoc Golf Club
As you ascend the path above Rock Beach, catch your first glimpse of the Camel Estuary panorama.
On a sunny day, it’s an absolute corker, with the clear waters glimmering and reflecting the bright blue sky.
But even on a cloudy day, the views of the calm waters and the bustling town of Padstow are still a delight!
To your right, you’ll notice the neat terrain of the St. Enodoc Golf Club.
Keep to your path, and walk towards the outline of Brea Hill.
Brea Hill to Daymer Bay
Despite its imposing presence, you won’t need to climb Brea Hill.
Instead, your path meanders gently around its base, winding to a viewpoint of the tranquil Daymer Bay.
With calm, clear waters, this is an idyllic spot to for stand-up paddleboarding or wild swimming, should you fancy a mid-walk dip!
Daymer Bay to Polzeath Beach
You’ll bypass a few other beaches – there are some smaller pathways to get down to these, and they’re usually very quiet!
Continue on the path as the end of the Camel Estuary comes into view.
As you wind around the estuary, you’ll finally set sight on Polzeath Beach, a sweeping stretch of golden sand that extends far back towards the village.
The beach is actually divided in two at high tide, but you can access both sides via the village.
Follow the path as it curls round by The Cracking Crab restaurant and leads into the village.
Arriving in Polzeath!
The postcard-perfect beach of Polzeath is famous for its consistent yet gentle waves, which are ideal for beginner surfers.
The village itself is tiny, but it’s very tourist-focused and boasts an array of dining options.
Savour a pizza from the Stoned pizza van (my personal favourite) or indulge in some seafood at The Cracking Crab.
Returning to Rock
The 96 bus can conveniently take you back from Polzeath to Rock Clock Garage – this is why, the first time I did this hike, I made use of the free parking on a road by Rock Clock Garage.
Cornish buses aren’t known for their frequency, so check out the timetable here to make sure that there’s a return bus that suits you.
As it’s a short walk, you could also make it a two-way hike, enjoying the beach before venturing back to Rock (where you can take a ferry to Padstow if you’re staying there!).
The second time I did this walk, I was staying at the lovely St Moritz Hotel, so I actually hiked from St Moritz to Rock first, then completed this Rock to Polzeath hike and then made the short journey back to the hotel.
What to pack for the Rock to Polzeath walk (or Polzeath to Rock walk!)
This is one of the easier walks I’ve done on the South West Coast Path (want a toughie? Check out the Hartland Quay to Bude odyssey!), but remember to pack the following:
- Suncream: The Cornish rays can be very strong!
- Good hiking shoes: There’s still a bit of up and down.
- Practical hiking wear: Shorts in the summer and hiking trousers in the winter.
- Plenty of water: I love my Chilly’s bottle, which keeps cold drinks cooler for much longer!
Things to Do in Polzeath
- take to the waves on a surf lesson – there are plenty of schools in town!
- visit the Marine Conservation Centre to learn about how you can protect the Cornish ocean
- relax in the “saunas by the sea“, a fantastic new concept where you can have a spa experience right on the shores!
- just kick back and relax on Polzeath Beach – it’s a beauty!
Things to Do in Rock
- watersports on the Camel Estuary
- eat at Paul Ainsworth’s Mariners Pub or many of the other restaurants in Rock
- visit the RNLI shop to learn about the incredible efforts of the RNLI and purchase souvenirs
Where to stay near Rock and Polzeath
On my last visit to this area, I stayed at the wonderful St Moritz Hotel, a spa hotel with a range of luxurious, minimalist rooms, two restaurants and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.
If you want a hotel where you can enjoy the Camel Estuary at a leisurely pace and leave feeling totally refreshed, there’s nowhere better.
Are you ready to walk to Polzeath from Rock?
The Rock to Polzeath walk, or Polzeath to Rock walk if you fancy the reverse, is a treat for hikers of any ability.
Vivacious views of the Camel Estuary await at every footstep, and there are plenty of stops for scenic picnics, wild swimming or simply enjoying the views!
Plus, Rock and Polzeath are both worth checking out; so don’t miss this wonderful Camel Estuary hike if you’re in this part of Cornwall.