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Free things to do Outdoors this Summer in Cornwall

The Summer months in Cornwall highlight just how lucky we are to live in this County!  Whether it's a stroll through the woodland, a visit to the beach, a trek along one of the many beautiful coastal paths in the Duchy or even your own garden we have put a list together to help you get on your way! 

The idea is similar to that of your typical Summer Reading Challenge, with the aim to attend as many different beach cleans on as many different beaches, from July-September, between Padstow and Porthcothan. All you have to do is get yourself a Summer Beach Clean Passport for just £1, which you can get on the beach cleans or from Trevisker Garden Centre. After each beach clean you must log what you found and get a stamp from either Emily or Rob. At the end of the Summer they will hold a Grand Awards Ceremony and each participant will receive a certificate and be mentioned on their social media channels. More here.

Download the Free ORKS App 
This app enables you to record wildlife sightings in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, UK with GPS coordinates, details of your sighting and photos. The ORKS Recording app makes collecting and submitting wildlife sightings while you're out exploring quick and easy, even without a mobile signal.  The ORKS App is available for free download on iPhone and Android

Download the Free iNaturalist app 
iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Record the things you see as you walk around the countryside, take a trip around your community, visit a park, or investigate your own garden. Kids can learn about biodiversity and how to classify living things. You can use this app as a sort of mobile field notebook to help you keep track of the animals and plants you see.  Available for free download on iPhone and Android.

Big Butterfly Count 
[between 19 July - 22 August]
Download the handy butterfly chart or free app for iOS and Android to identify and record the butterflies you spot.

Join in the hunt for FREE BOOKS!
Cornwall is a magical place full of generous people who love to read. Check out the pages below and get searching for a free book, the only rule is to pay it forward. If you're lucky enough to find a book, enjoy it and put another one down for someone else to find. 

Official Cornish Book Fairy

The Great Cornish Book Hunt

Enjoy the Summer safely:

Sun Safety for Children - NHS tips to keep your child safe in the sun.

Beach Safety in Cornwall - the 4 point safety code to help keep you safe at the beach and in the sea.

Select from a drop-down below to view activities in your area.


Kernow Rocks! 
Join the world’s largest treasure hunt and get searching for hidden gems all over Cornwall. You’ll need no more than a smartphone with GPS and some eagle-eyed volunteers to help solve the clues.
Go seeking for hidden painted rocks, or get creative and paint and hide others to be found!

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor adventure that is happening all the time, all around the world. To play, participants use the Geocaching app and/or a GPS device to navigate to cleverly hidden containers called geocaches. 

Fly a kite
Take a kite to one of the many beaches in Cornwall and you can have hours of fun. Here is a handy DIY if you'd like to make your own.

Feed the ducks
Children (and adults) love feeding the ducks and there are loads of places throughout Cornwall to do it! 

Did you know?
Bread can damage their health and pollute the water they swim in - it is suggested to feed them sweetcorn, lettuce, oats, bird seeds or even peas!

Inspiring Garden Themes for Children

Check the weather and tide here:

Enter your location or postcode in the search bar below and press the magnifying glass to load your area:

weather for Cape Cornwall

EAST Padstow | Wadebridge | Bodmin | Liskeard | Looe | Camelford | Launceston | Bude | Saltash | Torpoint

Take to the shade with a woodland walk: 

  • Luxulyan Valley - Luxulyan PL24 2RZ - Take a walk through the woodland at Luxulyan valley which is also home to the huge Treffry viaduct.

  • Cardinham Woods – Bodmin PL30 4AL - There are four waymarked walking trails to follow and many other paths weave their way through the 650 acres of scenic woodland. The woods are home to buzzards, dippers, kingfishers and deer. Otters also inhabit the stream here. Why not bring a picnic and relax by the river as children paddle and make dams, or make use of the free BBQs there. Indulge yourself with a cream tea at the Woods cafe where there is a great play area alongside to keep the youngsters amused.

  • St Nectan's Glen - Tintagel PL34 0BG - Experience St Nectan's Kieve, a spectacular sixty-foot waterfall through a hole in the rocks. Accompanied by two additional waterfalls and a beautiful woodland walk. Free entry, but there is a small fee to visit the waterfall.

  • Bishop's, Hustyn, and Grogley Woods - Wadebridge PL27 7LD  - Hustyn Wood has many trails and tracks which are popular with walkers and cyclists. The woods are dog-friendly. Polbrock Car Park is a popular spot for fishing and there are steps down to the River Camel for kayakers and canoeists to launch their craft. Wildlife that can be seen along this stretch of the River Camel includes otters, kingfishers and dippers.

  • Kilminorth Woods - Looe PL13 2NE - One of the largest areas of oak woodlands in Cornwall. The Nature Reserve contains many lichens, mosses and ferns. There are excellent opportunities for birdwatching with many species of birds in the woods and on the estuary including kingfishers, curlew, herons, Canada geese, and sparrowhawks, peregrines, woodpeckers and little egret. Roe deer live here but they are very shy.

  • Lower Lewdon Nature Reserve - Bude EX23 9RY - Lower Lewdon provides a great habitat for birds, flowering plants, fungi, badgers and butterflies. Wildlife you are likely to see at Lower Lewdon: Marbled white butterfly from late June to August; Willow tit; Devil's-bit Scabious; Marsh Fritillary butterfly. Dog-friendly.

  • Lanhydrock - Bodmin PL30 5AD - There are plenty of footpaths and parkland to walk.  Dog-friendly.

  • Peaceful walks at Cotehele - Nr Saltash PL12 6TA - There are lots of woodland routes and some are Dog-friendly

  • The Camel Trail - Padstow to Wadebridge | Wadebridge to Bodmin | Bodmin to Wenfordbridge  - This well-known trail is suitable for walkers, cyclists, horseriders and wheelchair users

Visit your local park:

The ‘Pirate Ship’ play area, Crooklets Beach Bude EX23 8NE: Conveniently situated close to the child and dog-friendly Rosie’s Kitchen, this fun play area means big kids can sup a well-earned cup of coffee, while the little people let off steam.

Bude Playpark EX23 9TH: A well-equipped spot, with safe play apparatus for younger children, the grassy playpark is a hound free haven. Ideal for picnics or football, you’ll find it right behind the Tourist Information Centre. Don’t forget to pop into the Centre find out about all the nature, craft and beach events, too.

Priory Park, Bodmin PL31 2AE: Priory Park Bodmin has a large play area with a range of equipment including slides, swings, roundabout, multiplay units, roundabout and more. Public conveniences and carpark adjacent.


Lake, Harbour or Riverside walks:

  • Siblyback Lake - Bodmin Moor PL30 4NN - Visit Siblyback Lake, located on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Surrounded by moorland and dramatic tors, this impressive lakeside location offers a great day out for families in Cornwall.

  • Tamar Lakes Country Park - Bude EX23 9SB - An off-road trail connects Upper and Lower Tamar Lake, spot kingfishers, butterflies, herons, dragonflies or even a deer as you venture through the borders of Cornwall and Devon. There’s plenty of open spaces to let your children play freely and our new play area is the perfect place to let them run off steam. [There is a charge for activities at the resort]

  • The Camel Estuary - Padstow - The large estuary features a calm waterway which is great for paddling and a wide sandy beach that stretches across the shore. The route down to the beach is a little unsteady, so make sure you’re wearing sensible shoes, but once you reach the sand, you will realise this hidden gem is worth the ten-minute jaunt from Padstow town.

  • Wacker Quay - Torpoint PL11 3AH - A gem within the Tamar Valley AONB, Wacker Quay provides stunning views and free public access to the River Lynher.

  • Explore Golitha Falls - Liskeard PL14 5ED - The Golitha Falls are a series of spectacular cascades and waterfalls along a section of the River Fowey as it makes its way through the ancient oak woodland of Draynes Wood. The route is suitable for walking children but will not be suitable for prams.

  • Boscastle & Pentragon Waterfall - Boscastle Harbour PL35 0HE - A short walk from Boscastle Harbour towards Pentdragon waterfall and returning via inland paths.

  • Visit at low tide to see the water cascade from the harbour blowhole!

Visit the Beach:


Pick a beach to explore.  A few suggestions for East Cornwall below:

Bude Sea Pool
Bude Sea Pool is a beautiful, part natural, part man-made swimming pool in the rocks at Summerleaze Beach. It is one of the very few tidal swimming pools which still remains open to the general public today and is open throughout the year, free for all to enjoy. The Pool is topped up by the sea at high tide each day.

Other ideas for the beach: Crabbing, skimming stones, Sandcastle competitions, collect seashells or use the Orks or iNaturalist apps to help identify wildlife around you!

MID - Penryn | Falmouth | St Agnes | Truro | Perranporth | Mevagissey | St Austell | The Clays | Newquay | Lostwithiel

Take a walk or cycle through the many trails in mid-Cornwall:

  • Pentewan Trail - St Austell PL25 5BU - Enjoy wildflowers, wooded countryside and fine views on this route which takes you along a flat, former railway line to the beach and harbour at Pentewan.

  • Clay Trails St Austell  - Five mostly off-road, dog-friendly Clay Trails in spectacular rural scenery near St Austell and ideal for walking, cycling or horse-riding.

  • Lostwithiel to Fowey walk - Lostwithiel / Fowey  - Discover St Austell has created a helpful guide for this popular walk

  • Goss Moor Multi-use Trail - Roche / St Columb - 7 miles mostly flat and relatively easy trail

  • The Saints' Way - Padstow to Fowey  - Follow the trail through valleys, woodland, pastures and moors. 

Visit your local park:

  • Boscawen Park - Truro TR1 1SG -  Great park for all ages. Toddler swings, big swings, lots of climbing apparatus & netting, mock pirate ship, wooden posts for walking along, masses of green space for picnics

  • Poltair Park - St Austell PL25 4BT - Suitable for all ages.  The park also has a tennis court, skate park and bowling green.  Why not tie it in with a visit to the Library across the road too!

  • Kimberley Park - Falmouth TR11 2DA - Free all year round.  A seven-acre site providing a green oasis for visitors and the local community.  Dogs must be kept on a lead

Harbour, lake or riverside walks: 

  • Lerryn - Lerryn, Near Lostwithiel PL22 0QB - Lerryn is a picturesque village divided by a large river, used by locals for kayaking, which can be crossed at low tide. There is a shop and a woodland perfect for a long stroll. 

  • Malpas to Tresillian walk - Truro - Follow the path out of Malpas, following the river, heading towards St Clement. Pass through this charming village, keep following the river to Treslillian.

Visit the beach:

Rockpooling: Pick a shore to explore!  

Chapel Rock Sea Pool, Perranpoth Beach
Chapel Rock on Perranporth beach is on the 3 mile long stretch of golden sand. Home to a natural open air pool which is filled with sea water at high tide and warmed by the sun during the day.

Other ideas for the beach: Crabbing, skimming stones, Sandcastle competitions, collect seashells or use the Orks or iNaturalist apps to help identify wildlife around you!

  • Beaches in Newquay - Wherever you are in Newquay you are never too far from one of the 12 beaches that stretch across Newquay's shoreline! 

  • Swanpool to Pendennis Castle walk - Falmouth Swanpool Beach Car Park TR11 4EJ - A visit to Pendennis Point, where there have been fortifications defending Falmouth's waterways for over two millennia. Also taking in the sandy beach at Gyllyngvase and the exotic plants along the seafront, the walk is mostly flat and on easy paths and pavement

For animal lovers:

The Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary - Penryn TR10 9J

All year round - please visit the link for days and times. During the summer months, nearly all the donkeys are out in the paddocks Entry to the sanctuary is free, but we would be extremely grateful for a donation.

WEST Penzance | St Ives | Hayle | Helston | Redruth | Pool | Camborne

Take a trek through the woods or along the coastline:

  • Friendship Woods - St Hilary TR20 9DR - The woods are a favourite with walkers. There are a variety of tree species including many mature pines.  Friendship Woods are dog-friendly. There is an entrance to the woods opposite the campsite.

  • Gwennap Pit - Redruth TR16 5HH - A tiered amphitheatre-like structure.  This geographical and historical anomaly is less than a mile away from Redruth Town Centre.  

  • Lizard Point - the most southerly walk - Helston TR12 7NT - Take in the dramatic views on this walk along the most southerly place in Britain.

  • Lizard rarity walk - Predannack TR12 7EZ - This is a short walk along the west coast of the Lizard Peninsula

  • Silver dollars, shipwrecks and scenic views walk - Helston TR12 7QE - A scenic route along the coastline, with views of Mounts Bay to the Penwith Moors and inland over Gunwalloe Marsh - a nationally important wildlife site

  • The Great Flat Lode trail - Camborne - TR16 6JX -  Circular trail around Carn Brea Hill. 
  • Tehidy Country Park - Camborne TR14 0EZ - Whether you are visiting on your own or with a group, walking the dog or orienteering, we hope you will enjoy the tranquil setting and variety of wildlife at Tehidy.  With a different type of beauty for every season, Tehidy is an enchanting place to visit all year round.

Visit your local park:

  • Heartlands Pool TR15 3QY - The biggest free adventure playground in Cornwall.  

  • Morrab Gardens - Penzance TR18 4HD - Morrab Gardens is located in the heart of Penzance.  It is a public space for all to enjoy!

Harbour, lake or riverside walks:

Stithians Lake - Redruth TR16 6NW - Create your own pirate adventure, take to the water on a sailing quest or let your children run free in our pirate-themed play area. Fill your day with fun and adventure, walk our nature path or bring your bike and cycle off-road. 

Hayle Valley from St Erth circular walk - St Erth TR27 6HR - This walk follows the riverbank of the River Hayle to Trennack Mill 


Visit the beach:

Rockpooling - pick your favourite beach to go rock pooling and explore the shore! 

Preist Cove Sea Pool, Cape Cornwall
A little bit of shingle can be found at the back and a small pool has been created amongst the rocks for safe paddling. At high tide much of the beach is underwater. A slipway onto the beach is still used by local fisherman, whose huts cling to the cliff, covered in flowers in the late spring/summer.

Other ideas for the beach: Crabbing, skimming stones, Sandcastle competitions, collect seashells or use the Orks or iNaturalist apps to help identify wildlife around you!

For more beaches in the West of Cornwall visit Cornwall Beaches 

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