Holywell Bay


The large, open sandy beach at Holywell Bay is located on the North Cornwall coast. Holywell beach is exposed to large Atlantic swells and it is a popular beach with surfers and body boarders. Cliffs encompass this rural beach, which at low tide is a mile long and there is a large expanse of sand dunes.

Holywell beach adjoins the settlement to the northwest and Penhale Camp, an army training establishment regularly. On the north side of Holywell beach Holywell Cave is accessible at low tide and contains many pools formed by natural buildup of minerals.


Holywell Bay unsurprisingly gets its name from a holy well - a freshwater spring in a sea cave at the North end of the beach. In Cornish, the name is Porth Elyn, meaning "cove of the clear stream" which could either be a reference to the spring in the cave, or simply the stream running across the beach.

The pair of rocks off Penhale Point are owned by National Trust and are known either as Carter's or Gull Rocks. It has been reported that some locals refer to them as "Fishtail Rocks", which nicely describes their shape.