Nanjizal beach is one of my most favourite swim spots in Cornwall and is situated just off the beaten track around the corner from Lands End and Porthcurno. There is no direct access via the road and so you have to park up and walk the footpath down through the farmers fields to get there.
There used to be masses of beautiful white sand when we visited here as children but this has now all unfortunately been washed away by the storms. The beach too has a steep set of steps from the cliff edge down to the rocks and a beautiful waterfall that rolls a constant stream of water straight off the fields into the sea below.
The plunge pool still has white sand in it - hence its wonderfully bright sub tropical colour and it is usually full of water at low and high tide (best enjoyed at low tide though to get the wonderful green colour). There is also an incredible passageway that the sea has naturally carved out. It runs straight through the centre of the rocks (known as Song of the Sea due to certain tide and wind conditions creating a song like sound) and its where you can also watch the waves gently lapping through the gap whilst you swim.
I went for a swim here at the start of January and I only saw one other couple for my entire visit there. My preferred route to get to this incredible plunge pool is via the coast path from either Porthgwarra, Lands End or Sennen Cove. It took me about 25 minutes to walk from Porthgwarra to Nanjizal in this way.
Alternatively, like on this trip I parked on the road just after the turn off to Porthgwarra and I walked the rest of the way travelling down through the farmers fields. You pass only a few houses with beautiful views of the fields rolling straight down to meet the sea.
You can get to Porthgwarra by following the A30 to Lands End, past Penzance and taking the left turn onto to the B3283 through St Buryan. The B3283 will shortly join the B3315 and you will go through a beautiful little village called Treen (another of my favourite Cornish swim spots). Past the turning to Porthcurno you then take the next left to Porthgwarra. Either park on the side of the road here and walk right down through the fields like I do or carry on and Park at Porthgwarra and take the coast path to Nanjizal which took me about 25 minutes max.
There are horses in some of the fields so please make sure that you close the gates. You are also likely to see red kites and buzzards - a real treat on my very quiet and secluded walk there. As it is a reasonable walk back up and with no facilities at the beach, please remember if you are planning to attempt a dip in the winter then make sure you plan ahead taking a lot of warm clothes with you, a hot drink and plenty of towels to dry off after your swim.
The clamber over the rocks to the pool can also be quite slippery, again if an accident were to happen it is quite a remote area to try to gain help quickly so always take someone with you and have a mobile phone just in case. The cliffs on either side are quite steep too, you can climb up to the top for a fantastic view but again be mindful of recent heavy rainfall and overhangs.
Whilst I was there the pool was incredibly calm but the wind was cutting coming straight in off the sea and if I hadn't planned so well I would have definitely suffered on the walk back up to the car. The water temperature was approximately 9.2 degrees so still reasonably warm for January swimming!
I don't really feel that overcrowding would be a problem here at any time of the year mainly due to it being so isolated and tricky to get to but I am sure there are a few more people in the summer. You only really see dog walkers, dedicated hikers and wild swimmers on your travels in the winter months.
There is also no car park at this beach, no lifeguard cover or safety phone and with no facilities either please visit and swim at your own risk. Check local tide times, weather reports and investigate issues with dangerous swells as these are very common here.
Nanjizal Beach is a real hidden gem, one of those places that you imagine Cornish legends are made up from, definitely worth the walk for the magical and enchanting views alone and if you can brave the elements its definitely worth getting in for a swim!