Gwithian

Gwithian Church, near Hayle
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Gwithian Church, near Hayle

Gwithian, named after St Gwithian, the patron saint of good fortune on the sea, lies 3 miles northeast of Hayle. Relics of the original church built in 490  were uncovered from the beach and dunes in the early part of last century but have since been reclaimed by the shifting sands. The present church was built further inland.

Gwithian beach is a wonderful stretch of sand linked to Hayle Sands and a great place for outdoor activities including swimming, snorkelling, surfing, wind and kite surfing, skim boarding, paragliding, etc.The beach is patrolled by lifeguards from Easter to September and there is a nearby surf shop where you can hire or buy surfing equipment.

Gwithian Dunes Photo courtesy of Jacquie Wilkes Photography
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Gwithian Dunes Photo courtesy of Jacquie Wilkes Photography

To the north of the beach lies Godrevy Point, whose coastline is owned by the National Trust. This area is ideal walking country with breathtaking views across St Ives Bay and out towards Godrevy Lighthouse. You might even spot a seal or two! A Bronze Age Barrow lies on the point, likely to have been used for ceremonies or as a burial site, and south of the point are the remains of an ancient farmstead built over 1600 years ago.

Gwithian Dunes Photo courtesy of Jacquie Wilkes Photography
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Wild flowers growing in the dunes at Hayle Towans Photo courtesy of Jacquie Wilkes Photography

The Red River, which runs to the sea at Gwithian, was one of the most industrialised valleys during the mining period.

However natural regeneration has helped this area recover much of its natural beauty with areas of woodland, heath, lakes and ponds along with a healthy resident population of badgers, foxes, otters, woodpeckers and a whole array of butterflies and insects. The Red River area at Gwithian has been designated a Local Nature Reserve and much conservation work is under way to improve its habitats and to create better public access.

Red River Inn, Gwithian
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Red River Inn, Gwithian

Named after the local river, the Red River Inn is a family and dog-friendly pub in Gwithian providing food and refreshments.

Another small nature reserve on common land – Gwithian Green, is made up of grassland, wetland and woods and is highly prized by local residents. A lovely tranquil spot to enjoy the wildlife of this area.