Located midway between Looe and Polperro are the secluded twin coves of Talland Bay. This section of the Cornish coast is surprisingly unspoilt and is designated both an Area of Outstanding Beauty and a Heritage Coast. Both towns are within easy walking distance via the South West Coast Path, although at the time of writing the path is diverted away from the coast in the Polperro direction.
The main beach, Talland Sand, is the most westerly of the two and is a popular, well-equipped beach. There is a car park, toilets, shop and the Talland Bay Beach café with tables practically on the beach.
As the name suggests there is a good deal of sand here, albeit a little on the coarse side towards the high tide mark. As the tide drops it reveals a wealth of rock pools which are home to all manner of little sea creatures from hermit crabs to suckerfish. Along with safe swimming this makes Talland Bay an ideal family beach.
The shoreline between the two beaches is rocky and makes for good fishing and snorkelling. These colourful rocks are also of some geological significance. Known as the Meadfoot bedrock strata these slates, siltstones and sandstones dating back to the Devonian period have been eroded at different rates to reveal red, green and brown rocks.
Rotterdam Beach, on the other side of the bay is overlooked by St Tallanus Church and is generally much quieter. There is less sand here and access is a little more difficult (via steps) but there are still the numerous rockpools and safe swimming. This beach is served by the Smugglers Rest café which has a fair sized car park.
Given the bay's relative seclusion tales of smuggling abound. It has also been the site of a fair few shipwrecks including the French steam trawler, 'Marguerite', which hit the rocks here in 1922. All 21 of the boat's crew were rescued and to this day the boiler of the 'Marguerite' can be clearly seen in the middle of the bay at low tide.
Type of beach
Sand and rocks
No lifeguard cover
Dogs friendly beach?
Dogs allowed all year
There is easy access to the beach in the car park close to the beach
OS grid ref.
SX 2242 5152
There are a few parking spaces on the roadside near the sea along with a small, free car park near Smugglers Cottage along with a pay and display car park at The Beach Café. At Rotterdam Beach there is some roadside parking and a customer car park at the Smuggler's Rest.