Pednevounder, near the westernmost tip of Cornwall, is regularly named one of the top nude beaches in Britain. Getting to it is a hard scramble but once there, both clothed and nude bathers - who share this unofficial nude beach in about equal numbers - are glad of the effort. The water is crystal clear and, for British waters, shallow and sun-warmed.
Pednevounder Nude Beach Essentials
- Description: The nude beach is notable for its outstanding rock formations, the cliffs of Treryn Dinas and Logan Rock, a famous, 80-ton rock that is naturally balanced about 100 feet above the sea. The yellow sand of this nude beach is almost underwater at high tide though at low tide there is a wide, shallow area. The beach is close to Treen, on the south coast of Cornwall. It's a popular vacation area so if you are planning to visit, make accommodation or campsite reservations early.
- To Bare or Not: Pednevounder's fans are a mixture of dressed bathers (or textiles as some nudists prefer to call them) and nudists. This is an unofficial nudist beach but apparently a very tolerant place. Just keep nude beach etiquette in mind and you should be fine whatever you choose to wear.
- Facilities: The beach has no facilities but there is a shop where you can buy drinks, snacks, and souvenirs in the village of Treen.
- Warnings: Getting to this beach involves some very steep paths and scrambling down a narrow path. This is not a beach for anyone who is afraid of heights and who can't manage steep descents over loose, rocky paths. Several sandbars emerge along this beach at low tide. Signs along the beach warn about dangerous currents for swimmers in certain areas. The beach is dog-friendly but I've heard reports of some dogs refusing to take on the last, steep part of the path.
- Getting there: Head for Penzance, near the tip of Cornwall and pick up the A30 dual carriageway heading west. About 4 miles from Penzance, look for the B3283 south, Penzance Road. After just under 3.5 miles, bear left onto the B3315 and look for signs for Treen. There is pay and display parking in Treen. On some maps and navigation systems, you may see the location spelled Pedn Vounder - a variation of the Cornish language name.
From the parking, follow signs for Treen Farm campsite (not to be confused, in your online searches, with Tree 'n Farm Camping, a completely different website). Head past the sign toward the coastal path. Look for a path that forks off the main path and is closer to the cliffs. A third, narrow path heads down over rocks to the beach. The last bit of this path is not for anyone unfit, afraid of heights or steep scrambles. The walk from the car park to the beach takes about 45 minutes.
It is possible to walk along the sands from Porthcurno Beach at low tide but when the tide rolls in, there is only the steep cliff path route out.
Sudden Popularity Brings Crowds
Recently hot summers, Visit Cornwall publicity campaigns and the popularity of the Poldark television series, brought so many tourists to Cornwall last summer that the tourist authorities have actually stopped promoting some places because of traffic jams and environmental damage. In August 2018, a photo of Pednevounder, looking a lot like the Caribbean went viral and brought crowds that put unusual pressure on the tiny nearby village of Treen, Many of the visitors were so unprepared for the difficult scramble and climb to the beach that locals put up signs to dissuade them.
There is no question that Pednevounder is one of the UK's most Instagrammable beaches. It is also very difficult to reach. That difficulty keeps the beach quiet enough for nude bathers to enjoy but that doesn't prevent tourists arriving on the roads above, clogging the roads.
The Story of Logan Rock
There is probably no place in the UK that doesn't have a fascinating historical story attached to it - even a deserted stretch of beach beneath inhospitable rocks. Logan Rock on Pednevounder is no exception.
Until 1824, the famous perched rock (look at the top of the second rock tower from the right in the picture above, about a quarter of the way along the cliffs) once rocked and swayed when pushed. The local belief was that Logan Rock could not be dislodged and it's swaying balance was a major attraction in the early days of tourism.
Then, in 1824, a group of Royal Navy sailors - possibly after a heavy session consuming rum - decided that they would disprove the theory and tumble the rock off its perch. Led by Lieutenant Hugh Goldsmith, a nephew of the Canadian poet Oliver Goldsmith (and distant relation of the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith), the party of sailors succeeded in dislodging the rock, to the fury of the public. In response to the outcry - which probably reached Parliament - the Admiralty ordered Goldsmith to return the rock to its former position.
The cost of doing so - £130 or nearly £10,000 in today's money - nearly ruined him on his salary of about £9 per month.
After they succeeded in repositioning Logan Rock, it never swayed again. If you have some binoculars with you, try to get a good look at the rock. You might see bits of metal sticking out of it. They were part of the early 19th-century lifting mechanism that raised Logan rock back into position.