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Marine Places

Porthcurno Beach

Porthcurno is a typical pocket beach located near Land’s End at England’s southwesternmost tip. Like all pocket beaches, it nestles between two headlands that protect the sandy cove from erosion by winter storms and strong currents. Pocket beaches are common where cliffs made of different types of rock are subject to strong wave action. Rock that is especially hard and resistant to erosion forms headlands, while intervening areas of softer rock are worn down to form pocket beaches. Unlike other beaches, pocket beaches exchange little or no sand or other sediment with the adjacent shoreline, because the headlands prevent longshore drift. The sea at Porthcurno is a distinctive turquoise, possibly due to the reflective qualities of the sand, which is made mainly of shell fragments.

Porthcurno Beachzoom image
  • Atlantic Ocean Northeast
  • Type Pocket beach
  • Composition Yellow-white sand, composed mainly of shell fragments
  • Length 500 ft (150 m)
  • Location Southwest of Penzance, Cornwall, southwestern England, UK
Porthcurno Beach habitat mapzoom image