© Geograph

Water Quality

Annual classification

2018 Excellent

Today's forecast

Forecasts are not available for this location.

Porthtowan is a sandy beach flanked by steep cliffs on West Cornwall’s north coast within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is a popular beach for surfers and families alike. Porthtowan is within the St Agnes AONB.


Swimming, fishing, canoeing and surfing are all popular. Board hire is available and there is zoning for water sports.

Wildlife and Walks

The South West Coast Path along the top of the cliffs north towards Chapel Porth makes a wonderful scenic walk. Beware the tide comes in quickly at Chapel Porth covering this stretch of coast completely.

What's tested here?

Water samples are taken at this designated bathing water by the Environment Agency, during the bathing season, 15th May to 30th September.
Find out more about designated bathing waters.

High levels of bacteria in the water can indicate pollution from sewage treatment works or polluted rain water draining from the land.
Where does pollution comes from and how can you help?

Water quality can be reduced for up to 72 hours after heavy rain. Look out for temporary signs at the beach and on our website.

Annual classification

2018 Excellent

What does this mean?

At the end of every bathing season the water quality is classified as either:

Excellent — the highest classification meaning the water is cleanest

Good — generally good water quality

Sufficient — meets minimum standards

Poor — You are advised not to swim. The beach will stay open and an action plan should be in place to improve the water quality.

Today's forecast

Forecasts are not available for this location.

More information about potential pollution sources and improvement plans.


This Weather Widget is provided by the Met Office

Tide times

Potential hazards at this beach

Strong currents Strong currents
Large breaking waves Large breaking waves
Tidal cut-off Tidal cut-off
Deep shelving beach Deep shelving beach
Strong winds Strong winds

Lifeguarded locations - top five safety tips

Non-lifeguarded locations For those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach

For more information visit rnli.org.uk.

Facilities at Porthtowan

Food Food Toilets Toilets Bins Bins



There is car parking for 137 cars - there is a seasonal charge. There are also 4 disabled spaces.

Dog restrictions


Seasonal ban in place betwteen Easter day to 1st October.

Beach cleaning

Beach manually cleaned daily during the summer by the council.


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