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In our last feature about Cornwall's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) we are focusing on four that can be found on the north coast of Cornwall, all within driving distance of one of the best boutique hotels, Cornwall; our Fowey hotel on the banks of River Fowey. Just like those on the south coast, these AONB boast some stunning scenery and interesting fauna and flora.

Wheal Coates in St Agnes AONB

Carnewas to Stepper Point AONB

The AONB that stretches from Stepper Point to Carnewas includes Trevose Head and the Bedruthan Steps, covers the coast near Padstow. The area is known for its beaches and bays; seven for seven days which include Harlyn Bay, Constantine Bay and Porthcothan. There are also a few less accessible beaches such as Harbour Cove, which you can get access from neighbouring Hawkers Cove. In the southern stretch of the AONB, you can find the famous Bedruthan Steps; giant granite rocks dotted across the beach which were stepping stones for a giant, according to legend.

At Trevose Head, you can enjoy fabulous views up and down the north coast, reaching as far as St Ives on a bright day. The lighthouse at the head is a famous local landmark, and one of many that are still in use in Cornwall. Stop by Winecove Point to discover an ancient cliff castle. There are several towns and villages along the coast that are perfect for stopping at for a bite to eat. The AONB between Carnewas and Stepper Point also includes two Sites of Special Scientific Interest at Trevose Head and Park Head, where there are birds, insects, animals and plants to discover.

St Agnes AONB

Stretching from Porthtowan to Cligga Head, St Agnes is a mining district in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, with the iconic Wheal Coates Engine House perched on the edge of the coastal slope above Chapel Porth. This coastal stretch has lots of high cliffs and headlands with St Agnes Beacon dominating the landscape. The area is one of the best places for a walk along the South West Coast Path, due to the breathtaking panoramic views you can enjoy at every step.

Wheal Coates is not the only historic building in St Agnes AONB; Blue Hills Tin Mine at Trevellas Coombe and St Agnes Museum are historic sites to check out that provide information on the history of the mining region in Cornwall. Several beaches and coves can be found within St Agnes AONB, including Chapel Porth below Wheal Coates, Trevellas Porth and Porthtowan.

Godrevy to Portreath AONB

Rocky beaches and high cliffs compromise this stretch of AONB coastline, and with Godrevy Island with its lighthouse and seal colony, it is a unique part of Cornwall's coast. Godrevy beach is the only accessible beach in the area, which is owned by the National Trust, and Portreath Beach can be accessed at the western end of the AONB. One of the most popular places along the AONB is called Hell's Mouth, part of some high cliffs, which offers some incredible views of the coastline.

Situated behind Godrevy beach is Godrevy Towans, a complex of historic sites and a burial site. Godrevy lighthouse can also be accessed from there, and it is a great place for views of the area. Inland on the border of the AONB is the Red River local nature reserve and Tehidy Woods country park where there are animals, birds and plants to discover.

West Penwith AONB

West Penwith is also known as Land's End Peninsula, and the AONB covers the coastline from St Ives on the north coast to Mousehole on the south. High cliffs, rocky moorland and small fishing villages make up much of the area and has the Atlantic Ocean on all sides. Beach highlights in the AONB include Sennen Cove, Porthcurno and Porthgwarra that are great for surfing and lazy beach days.

Points of interest in the area include the headlands of Zennor Head and Gurnards Head, granite moorlands of Carn Galver and sheltered woodland valley like Lamorna. Land's End is a popular tourist attraction, along with the Minack Theatre and Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. West Penwith AONB has more ancient and historic sites than any other in Britain, such as Chysauster Ancient Village, which is 2000 years old and several places which are part of the Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

Take a look at our other guides on Cornwall's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty below:

Discover Cornwall's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Outstanding Natural Beauty of Cornwall's Coast

Image credit: Ashley Dace

Tagged under: Cornwall   Coast