Cornish Days Out: Musseling at Whipsiderry Beach (Which Needs Saving!)

*feature photo credit to my Brother & his drone!*

I’ve been back home at my Mum’s in Cornwall for the past week celebrating her birthday, and we’ve had the most amazing weather too! It’s been the best place to get over our Glastonbury blues/ regain health and feel human again – there’s nothing quite like that vitamin sea. We’ve tried to go to the beach as much as possible, even if it’s just for a quick swim or kayak. I really forget how lucky I was to grow up near the sea, as now when I come home I appreciate it so much more.

One beach that’s always close to my heart is Whipsiderry, which is kind of like ‘our’ family beach. My mum grew up in a hotel overlooking the beach, and my uncle still lives just up the road. She spent her childhood running up and down the 100+ steps, whether it was with a surfboard or to sell melon to people on the beach – a story she loves to tell! We’ve spent many a summer afternoon/evening there having BBQs, though I’ve missed out in recent years from not living down here. I decided I had to show James the beach that was so special to me and my family, so last week when it was sunny we decided to head there for the day! 

Whipsiderry Beach, Newquay

Whipsiderry is known for its steps – I’m pretty sure there’s 130 something of them! They’re also pretty steep/narrow, so it’s not exactly the easiest to get to accessibility-wise. The benefit of this, however, is that the beach is never too busy! The beach was actually closed earlier this year due to a cliff fall, meaning the steps weren’t totally safe. The barrier has now been pushed to the side – I don’t think this means it is open again, but you can get down there. So please, know this and go at your own risk! You can also walk from Porth at low-tide, so maybe do this as the safer option.

Another note, before I get on to our day – I promise that will be soon – is that the beauty of Whipsiderry is currently in jeopardy. A developer wants to build a hotel on the front of the cliff, and to do so has put a plan in to fill the caves with concrete and steel, and spray concrete on the cliffs. WHAT?! This is not what Cornwall’s beautiful beaches are about – and there doesn’t need to be hotel there. This would completely ruin the beach and destroy the homes of different species who live in these caves. This has nothing to do with the steps – it’s purely to ensure the cliffs are strong enough to build on. If you have a spare second, please oppose these works to save our beach! All details on how to sign against the works can be found on this facebook post. I made an account but couldn’t see where I was meant to object, so in the end sent an email using the template someone left in the comments!

Cave at Whipsiderry Beach

We spent much of our day exploring the beautiful caves of the beach, as it was a spring tide so the tide was really far out! We then decided to pick some mussels – something I used to do a lot when I was younger. Musseling is best to do when it’s a spring tide, as this is when you get the best mussels! We were going for the biggest ones we could find, though these still weren’t huge in comparison to what you’d get in a restaurant, but they were a pretty decent size. Probably between 2-3 inches? We picked around 40 in the end, which we served into three ‘starters’ before our BBQ, but they really filled us up! Maybe 20 per portion as a ‘main’…

After picking our mussels we went for a swim. As a Newquay girl I’m used to waves, but this past week the sea has been super flat. It’s a nice change for swimming though, as you realise how crystal clear the water really is. It was really idyllic, just floating around and being the only ones in the sea. There were a few jellyfish on the other side of the beach, but we found a part that was jellyfish-free (though they were only the clear ones and blue ones, which don’t really sting!).  We got out after a while, then the sun went in meaning I had gone from being really warm in the sun to freezing cold and wet. Time to go home!

We got home and put our mussels in some ice cold water, then got to work taking off the barnacles and de-bearding them. I was pretty rubbish at this! I don’t even usually like mussels, but I forced myself to eat them seeing as we’d picked them ourselves. I don’t know if it was the mussels or the creamy white wine sauce I’d cooked them in, but I really enjoyed them! I used Rick Stein’s Moules Marinière recipe which you can find here. It’s such a good feeling to get in from a fun day out and cook dinner that you’ve sourced yourself! 

If you’re in Cornwall or anywhere near the sea this summer, I’d definitely recommend a day out picking mussels for dinner! Please, please also spend a couple of minutes opposing the works on the cliffs at Whipsiderry if you can. 

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post – I’ve not had a phone (it died at Glastonbury) so could only steal James’ to take a few snaps!

Char xo




    • Charlotte
      July 16, 2019 / 2:20 pm

      It is isn’t it! I hadn’t either – I didnt’ like them as a child but I do now! x

  1. July 13, 2019 / 7:41 pm

    I’m from U.K. but the North end. I must admit I need to travel around more! Cornwall looks beautiful. We need to promote more local tourism instead of allowing other countries to promote theirs.

    • Charlotte
      July 16, 2019 / 2:18 pm

      Cornwall is so beautiful, but it is the very end of Cornwall! Growing up there meant it took so long to get anywhere – I remember a school trip to London being an 8 hour coach! You should definitely try and get down South to visit the beaches though as they are amazing. x

  2. July 14, 2019 / 9:41 pm

    This place is beautiful!! And it sucks about the hotel developer wanting to fill the caves with concrete just to build his hotel! I’m sure there are better and safer ways to build a hotel close-by rather to ruin the homes of different species. Those mussels look amazing by the way!

    cabin twenty-four

    • Charlotte
      July 16, 2019 / 2:17 pm

      Isn’t it gorgeous! Yeah – there really isn’t any need for any more hotels in the Newquay area anyway, most of the ones there are just being developed into flats! They were delicious – I’m glad I’ve grown out of not liking them! x

  3. D. Veal
    August 1, 2020 / 4:29 pm

    Whipsiderry beach hotel is where I stayed as a child – probably late 1960s – early 1970s loved it. So natural and beautiful. Remember the steps which were quite scary for a child. It should be left alone for future generations to explore.

    • Charlotte
      August 23, 2020 / 7:05 pm

      Really! My Mum grew up living in another hotel there so it’s always been a special beach for my family – she always says about how often she used to run up and down those steps as a child whenever I complain now, they’re just so steep! I’m glad they’re there though as it means it’s much quieter than all the other Newquay beaches!

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