36. Polzeath

Situated north west of the Camel Estuary, on the north coast, Polzeath is a west facing beach.

Car parking takes up a significant amount of the beach.

The sand is very soft and medium grained with a high shell content.

On the left (south) side the beach is bounded by cliffs of purple and green bounded slate. On the right side (north) there are a couple of coves with coarser gravel. One of these supports some sand dune but in a poor condition and restricted by the road.

Some of the exposed rocks support a population of mussels and the shells provide material for the beach.

Generally, dune development is restricted by the road and built development.

There is some rock block infill to stabilise the cliffs and protect the road and properties and some private vertical concrete block walls protect private gardens.
The Polzeath Stream flows onto the beach at the southern end of the bay.

Walkover report and photos of 6 March 2022


Coastal community and infrastructure threatened by sea level rise. Response requires input of numerous landowners. Parking on upper beach creates flat profile which encourages wave run-up and risk to road, property, etc.
Potential Actions
Relocation of beach car parking, freeing up around 1 ha of upper beach in which to encourage sediment retention and dune growth (use of wind fences, planting, etc.). Development of Community Resilience Plan.
Community Groups
  • Polzeath Marine Group
  • Polzeath Surf Life Saving Club
Key Stakeholders
None yet identified
CCMA potential
Shoreline Management Plan
SMP Management Area: MA36
SMP Policy Unit: PU36.2
SMP Policies:
  • Present - Hold The Line
  • Transition - Managed Realignment
  • Target - Managed Realignment
Link to SMP Chapter 4 assessment for Management Area 36

A link to the Polzeath page on the 'Let's Talk Cornwall' website will appear here in due course.