OS Grid ref:- SW585412
Known in Cornish as Godhyan, Gwithian is a highly popular spot among artists as the village boasts a number of picture postcard style thatched cottages.
The village, which backs onto the sand dunes, was named after the obscure Irish saint, Gwthian, who was patron saint of good fortune on the sea, who founded the first church here in 480 A.D. The church and relics of St Gwithian or Gocianus, built in 490, were uncovered from the beach and dunes during the early part of the nineteenth century, but were then allowed to be reclaimed by the shifting sands. The beach also covers the remains of a Bronze Age farm.
Gwithian was home to the last known monoglot speaker of the Cornish language, Chesten Marchant, who died in 1676. (Dorothy Pentreath, reputed to be the last Cornish speaker, who died at Mousehole in 1777 spoke English as well as Cornish).
The beach and sand dunes form part of a large expanse which stretches from Hayle. Gwithian Beach stretches three miles from the Hayle River mouth to the Red River mouth at Godrevy. The beach is popular throughout the year with surfers, windsurfers, and other beachsport enthusiasts. Gwithian beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards from Easter to September and surfing equipment can be purchased or hired from the nearby surf shop.
Dolphins can be seen playing in the bay, often in groups of 6 or 8. They are thought to be simply passing groups.There is a colony of Seals resident at Godrevy, about 30 of them remain all all year round. They can often be sighted from the rocks and cliffs past the island.
The village pub, the Red River Inn, was formerly known as the Pendarves Arms. The pub derives its name from the nearby Red River which, in turn, was named due to the discolouration caused by mining effluent. The river's earlier name was Dowr Coner.
The area is a popular spot for camping and caravan holidays and has a number of sites. the Red River flows into the sea at Gwithian, it acquired its name due the fact that it used to carry residues from the tin mines and was quite red in colour up until around 1990.