Cornwall Coast GPS Waypoints & Take-Along Guide

Click CornwallWaypoints.pdf for a copy of this report, OR click to read my Cornwall Report to help plan your own walk and share my walk OR click to view the photo gallery of my walk, OR for my other walks and whatnot click on


This report describes a comprehensive set of GPS waypoints and a companion hard copy guide (called the Take-Along Guide) for England's Cornwall Coast. The report also lists various how-to information to organized your own Cornwall Coast walk. A companion report on the Cornwall Coast describes in detail my journey and other how-to information available at

For long walks, in my opinion, a good quality GPS is essential. On my walk I carried a Garmin etrex 30 GPS (superceded from the larger, more comberson Garmin 62S) with downloaded maps. The GPS was always attached to my daypack for easy access and was always turned on. In addition to the GPS, downloaded maps, and sheet maps, I also carried the Take-Along Guide to reference GPS waypoint IDs with directional instructions. The mapset I used was Harvey's National Trail - Southwest Coastal Path which I two-sided, color, photo-copied and then inserted into a waterproof Ortlieb brand (9"x11") map carrier for easy access while on the walk. I found the combination trustworthy, it kept me on track and helped me to quickly return to path when I misstepped.

I can't help but recommend carrying a good quality GPS. A GPS that does not have capacity to hold sufficient waypoints or one with poor satetilite tracking capabilities is probably not up to the job for a serious walk. Nonetheless, these less than ideal GPS units can still be valuable as long as you understand their limitations. One morning while on another long walk I awoke to thick fog that severly hampered visibility especially as I gained elevation. At one point my GPS confirmed I had passed a turnoff into the woods. So I retraced my steps to a point where my GPS indicated the waypost should be, and there the nearly hidden, thick-fog-shrouded waypost guided me to that turn. That following evening I learned at my B&B that a group of walkers lost there way in that day's fog to the extent that they arrived very late into the night to worried B&B hosts. Again, I can't help but recommend carrying a good quality GPS or for that matter any GPS where you can at least spot check your position to a map just in case you misstep, it may save your life.

The waypoints described here identify the main route, numerous alternate paths, and many points of interest. These waypoints were extracted primarily by the routing of Google Maps and verified by walking the path. These waypoints and the associated Take-Along Guide (a) use independent waypoint ID prefixes to identify the main route (Annn) from common alternate paths (Bnnn or Cnnn) and adds numerous points of interest (Pnnn), hotels/lodging (Hnnn), food/pubs (Fnnn), railroad crossings (Xnnn), and a few bus stops (Znnn), (b) uses unique GPS display icons to more easily demark alternate paths and points of interest from the main path, (c) includes descriptions with heading directions such as N (north), S, E, W, (d) includes elevations, and (e) provides a hard copy of pertinent waypoint data that is expected to be used as a Take-Along Guide with your GPS.

About the Files:



How & where to get

It is recommended that these files be downloaded using your browser's save link as option rather than just clicking on the link. The files are available from the website of

All of the following files packaged into a single *.zip file.


This file.


GPS waypoint files for the Cornwall Coast starting from Senna Cove (1 mile west of Land's End) and walking along the coast to Plymouth, a distance of about 160 miles.

The Take Along Guide

Consolidated waypoint list which is intended to be printed double-sided, then clear-plastic laminated, and then sliced into 2 inch wide columns to be used as a Take-Along Guide for use with your GPS.


A readable text file of waypoints and miscellaneous information. It is a spreadsheet which can be imported into MS Excel. The tab-delimited report has column heading: # (reference number), WP (waypoint ID), WGS-Lat (WGS-84 latitude), WGS-Lon (WGS-84 longitude), Elev (elevation), OSGB-Grid, Miles (accumulated miles), Grade (approximate % grade), and Description.


The primary waypoint input data which is used by software utility makegpx.exe to create: (1) GPS waypoint *.gpx file, (2) Waypoint report (text) file, and (3) Waypoint PDF Take-Along Guide.


All total, this waylist version for the Cornwall Coast includes about 750 waypoints: 500 along the main route from Senna Cove to Plymouth, 24 alternate paths (official diversions or directions to lodging or points of interest) comprising 100 waypoints, and 150 waypoints demarking various points-of-interest (such as bus stops, lodging, food/pubs, and points-of-interest). In addition to the GPS *.gpx waypoint file, a PDF file of handy waypoint information makes a useful Take-Along Guide to supplement the GPS while walking. It is intended to be printed double-sided, then clear-plastic laminated, and then sliced into 2 inch wide columns to be carried as a quick reference with your GPS.




Cornwall Coast

Take-Along Waypoint Guide




Cape Cornwall, head S




Head SE past Cam Gloose Rd




Hairpin R onto road, head W




Turn L to S, follow coast path




Hairpin L then R, then head S




Bear R to S past Waterwheel Pits

The Cornwall Coast is part of the larger path called the Southwest Coastal Path, some 630 miles in length starting in Minehead and ending at South Haven Point. The section described here is 160 miles of coastline from Senna Cove to Plymouth, and I walked about 80 miles of this coastline. The map of Cornwall (above) illustrates the coastal paths I walked (red and blue but not green).

The GPS waypoint file is called CornwallWaypoints.gpx. It uses multiple categories of IDs represented by unique GPS icon display symbols: Main Cornwall Way waypoints (Annn) are identified with a red flag, alternate (Bnnn) path waypoints with a blue flag, alternate (Cnnn) path waypoints with a green flag, points-of-interest (Pnnn) waypoints with a medium city dot, pub/food (Fnnn) with the bar-icon, lodging (Hnnn) with the lodging-icon, all Cornwall railway stations (Xnnn) with the crossing-icon, and a few bus stops (Znnn).

Although GPS *.gpx files are always specified with the WGS-84 (World Geodetic Standard, 1984) datum in decimal-degree longitude-latitude, the table of the Take-Along Guide uses the OSGB grid system to coordinate with hard copy maps of the Southwest Coastal Path. Therefore, you should configure your GPS to the OSGB grid system. Additionally, I suggest when you arrive at the start of your walk in Cornwall, you should instruct your GPS that this is a new location so that it will more quickly synchronize with satellites. This also might be an excellent time to synchronize your camera clock with GPS time.

The table for the Take-Along Guide identifies the waypoint path in four column slices. The first column identifies the waypoint ID (WP) followed by the accumulated distance in miles (Miles). The second column identifies the OSGB grid to a resolution of 10x10 meters. The third column identifies the Elevation in meters as extracted from Google Earth followed by a very approximate +/- % incline, so an incline of say 2% relates to a gentle rise in elevation, while an incline of say -30% implies a very steep loss in elevation likely with zigzags along the path. The forth column is a Description.

The description field is generally concise. Heading directions are abbreviated as single letters of N, S, E, W or compound directions such as ESE. Turning right or left use letters R and L. While w/ means with, e.g. Bear R, head NE w/wall on right interprets as Bear right, head northeast with wall on right.

Alternate Paths:

Walking the Cornwall Coast is generally straightforward, just follow the coast. But there are numerous alternate paths demarking official route changes and others to lodging or various points of interest. The alternate paths I walked are identified with an asterisk * in the Set column of the table below.


Waypoint IDs




To St Michael's Mount



To Acton Castle



To An Mordros Hotel in Porthleven



To Mount's Bay Guesthouse in Mullion



Shortcut to The Caerthillian B&B in The Lizard



To The Caerthillian B&B in The Lizard from Lizard Point



Shortcut from The Caerthillian B&B in The Lizard to track nearby Landewednack Castle



Low tide shortcut over Gillan Creek nearby Helford River



Shortcut to skip Dennis Head nearby Gillan Harbour



To Braganza B&B in Saint Mawes



To Caerhays Castle



Shortcut to skip Dodman Point



Formal diversion to avoid cliff fall near Porthpean Beach



To Marsh Villa Gardens



To Galleon Inn in Fowey



Alternate path nearby Pencarrow Head closer to cliff edge



Formal diversion around beach in Killigarth



To Meneglaze B&B in Looe



Alternate beach walk near Downderry



Formal diversion near Britain Cove



Alternate to avoid Tregantle Fort/Range



Formal diversion around very confusing area



To Rainbow Lodge in Plymouth via ferry from Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall to Devon



To Rainbow Lodge in Plymouth via train station

Maps and Reference Guides:

1) Harvey's "South West Coast Path" polyethylene maps are continuous strips to 1:40000 scale and consist of six different map sets. For this walk I used two: Map Set 3 "Portreath to Lizard via Land's End" and Map Set 4 "Lizard to Plymouth." These maps identified mostly the main route, while walking off track to nearby villages the map is sometimes missing. Nonetheless, I found these maps useful to absorb a days journey. Before the walk I two-sided, color copied sections of the map to fit into a waterproof (Ortlieb brand) 9"x11" map carrier. The sections generally comprised one day's walk.

2) "The South West Coast Path" by Paddy Dillon is a comprehensive book of the path from Minehead to South Haven Point. It includes numerous maps of the route and sites along the path.

3) My GPS was downloaded with Great Britian contour maps. Although these maps should be available through your GPS manufacturer, I chose to use free open source maps from Talky Toaster and I found these maps were both detailed and reliable. Alternatively free world-wide open source maps are available from

Lodging and Gear Transfer:

I used Luggage Transfers (LT) for gear transfer, and found their service very reliable. Besides gear transfer, their website lists extensive places to stay along the track. You can arrange your own accommodations (as I did) or they can do that for you. Refer to my trip report for a list of the places I stayed along with a few comments.

Google Earth:

When planning your trip, you may find it useful to view the path via Google Earth (a free software download). With Google Earth, you can upload the *.gpx waypoint file to view the terrain. If you plan to customize the waypoint list, Google Earth is a valuable tool.

Customized *.gpx Files:

For the adventurous you can modify the waypoint list to create your own *.gpx GPS waypoint file or a new *.pdf guide file or a new *.txt report file. The author created a Windows command line utility called makegpx.exe. It converts a text file with lines of space/tab delimited {WaypointID Longitude Latitude [OptionalElevation] Description} into a *.gpx file and/or *Guide.pdf file and/or *Report.txt file. Get this tool from

Notes and References:

The Wildtramper would like to thank those who preceded him to help generate this waypoint file. Hopefully this version will find wide acceptance and some future trampers will improve upon this work.

1) A description of British Grid can be found from England's Ordnance Survey.

2) Elevations were extracted from Google Earth.

3) The accumulated distance values in the table was obtained by first using the British grid northing and easting values along with the Google Earth's elevation to generate (x,y,z) coordinates. The distance between these coordinates were then calculated and accumulated. The result yielded a total distance slightly less than the expected. Hence, the values in the table were then tweaked higher.

4) The % incline values in the table were calculated as the straight line slope between adjacent waypoints. Because the waypoints are often distant from each other, the incline values are at best approximate. Large incline values, certainly those greater than 15%, generally mean steep slopes and maybe a path between the waypoints with zigzags or switchbacks to make the elevation gain or loss more tolerant.