This Hidden Beach In England Is Dangerous To Get To But A Secluded And Stunning Paradise

Cornwall in the U.K. is famous for its wild and rugged coast, a world away from the hustle and bustle of London. As England's most southwesterly county, it is a jagged peninsula surrounded by the Celtic Sea to the north and the English Channel to the south. It is a true haven for people seeking a charming beach vacation with 422 miles of coastline to explore, ranging from the wide golden sands of Newquay to secluded former haunts of smugglers like Prussia Cove. Even in the 21st Century, some Cornish beaches are still difficult to reach, including Nanjizal Beach on the very tip of the British mainland. Indeed, getting to it can be downright dangerous if you don't mind your step.

Its name is derived from the Cornish name Porth Nansisel, which translates to "cove of the low valley," and it is home to an even more evocatively-titled natural wonder, a cave called the Song of the Sea. Nanjizal Beach is tucked away in a cove not far from Land's End, where a signpost reads 3,147 miles to New York. From this part of Britain, there is nothing but ocean to the west until you hit North America. As such, Nanjizal Beach is the perfect place to enjoy a little solitude, ranked second amongst the top 25 beaches in the world for switching off. The important thing is not to switch off as you make the challenging walk to the beach itself.

The remote and rocky path to Nanjizal Beach

One of the most attractive aspects of Nanjizal Beach is how remote it is. Without access from a nearby road, the only way to get there is either cross country from the small hamlet of Polgigga or along the rugged South West Coast Path from Porthgwarra to the south or Land's End to the north. Each has its benefits: the public byway from Polgigga is the shortest route; Porthgwarra has a gorgeous little cove of its own and a cozy cafe for refreshments; and, while Land's End is more touristy, it offers an excellent photo opportunity with its famous signpost.

The coastal path is the better way to go if you want to take in the spectacular scenery, but it can take up to an hour to reach Nanjizal Beach. Cornwall is generally a warm and sunny county, but the route is sometimes challenging in the winter when the rugged path can become very muddy and slippery. Whatever time of year you go, it is always a good idea to stick to the path and well away from the edge of the cliffs. A slip or misstep can prove fatal, and there have been deaths along the Cornish stretch of the South West Coast Path in the past. The section nearest Nanjizal is also no stranger to accidents; in August 2021, Land's End Coastguard attended to a woman who fell on the path and stretchered her off to hospital for treatment.

The beauty and danger of Nanjizal Beach

If you reach Nanjizal Beach safely, you're in for a treat. The secluded cove, also known as Mill Bay, has white sands, turquoise waters, and plenty of rocky nooks and crannies to explore. The highlight is the narrow cave known as the Song of the Sea, named for the sound of waves crashing through its seaward entrance when the conditions are rough. In the winter, the rays of the setting sun shine through the arch to magical effect.

The cave is reached via a reef and two pools that provide a gorgeous swimming spot when the sea is calm, but it is not accessible when the tide is high. The footing is often treacherous with loose rocks and boulders covered in seaweed, and swimming can be dangerous due to powerful swells and hidden currents.

Although it is extremely beautiful, Nanjizal Beach is far from a pristine beach resort. There are no facilities, lifeguards, or phone signals, and recovery can prove a significant undertaking if an accident occurs. In October 2021 a person fell from the cliffs and landed on rocks in the cove. A Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team, lifeboat, and helicopter were needed to get the patient to safety. If you take heed of the dangers, however, the cove is an unforgettable sight and a great place to unwind from the stresses of everyday life.