Nature sites around St Ives
St Ives is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with nearby Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
There are a variety of nature trails and sites to explore in the St Ives area, we have highlighted several below. Why not take the South West Coast Path and take in the breathtaking sea views from the clifftops? Or discover the rugged moorland heaths where there are vivid wildflowers whilst. Take a walk around a still lake or through the ruins of an old engine tin mine. There are a huge variety of bird species to observe (a great place to observe would be the RSPB Hayle Estuary Nature reserve) these include guillemots, shags, curlews, kestrels, geese. In the water, there are dolphins, porpoises, minke whales, and basking sharks can be seen.
A nearby SSSI is the St Erth Pits, providing evidence of the climate and geography of this part of Cornwall going back two million years to the Pilocene age.
The Steeple Woodland Nature Reserve is a 40-acre public open space around Knill's Monument (a 50 ft pyramid of hewn granite) from which are spectacular views across St Ives Bay and the surrounding countryside.
Visitors can explore the woods, stroll over heathland and discover areas planted with young trees. A variety of activities take place at the reserve, including volunteer work sessions, wildlife surveys, environmental research projects and community events.
Seal Island (The Carracks), 3½ miles along the rocky coastline towards Zennor, is home to a colony of grey Atlantic seals. A boat trip from St Ives will virtually guarantee you the chance to watch seals up close and you may also spot dolphins or porpoises on the way. It is also common for the odd seal to be spotted snoozing in St Ives harbour!
Cornwall is one of best places in the British Isles to see bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, basking sharks, and seabirds.
Oceanic sunfish are not uncommon and even a few whales and loggerhead turtles are sighted annually.
Although sightings come from all around the hundreds of miles of Cornish coastline there are several places that have historically produced consistently large numbers of records.
Conveniently, in south-west Cornwall, visitors are never too far away from one of the top sea watching places.
Trencrom Hill is the site of an Iron Age hill fort with splendid views over the Hayle Estuary and St Michael's Mount and beyond. It is strewn with interesting rock formations and standing stones. Higher Hill wood is awash with bluebells in early Spring.
OS Grid Ref: SW 51807 36188
The Tinners Way
A circular walk offering splendid views of the Cornish countryside and coast around St Ives and St Just.
The walk begins at the beautiful town of St Ives, taking you past the harbour and pier and around St Ives head. The path then climbs through or past Venton Vision, Trowan, Trevalgan, Trevega, Trendrine, Boscubben, Wicca, Lower Tregerthen and Tremedda, mostly at between 350 and 400 feet – before descending to the pretty little village of Zennor.
St Michael's Way
This fabulous walk runs from Lelant on the north coast of Cornwall to Marazion and the iconic St Michael's Mount on the south coast.
You start in Lelant near St Ives, and head along the coast to Carbis Bay passing the beautiful Porth Kidney Sands on the way. The route then heads inland through the delightful Cornish countryside to Trencrom Hill where you can enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding areas.
website / map
OS Grid Ref: SW 55158 37384
Hayle Estuary, is the most south westerly estuary in the UK and is home to a wide variety of wetland birds.The best time to visit is during winter when you can see a vast flock of teals and wigeons and maybe a vagrant ring-billed gull from North America!
Website / Info pack
Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth, TR18 5JZ
An amazing valley of exotic plants and wildflowers leading down to Durgan beach and the stunning coastline of the North Helford countryside.