Walk - Boscastle Harbour

Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2022. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.

Route Description

  1. The walk starts at Boscastle car park. Here there are toilets with disabled facilities. Walk towards the harbour, crossing at the bridge and keeping to the right hand side of the river.

The charming village of Boscastle is sheltered in the steep sided Valency Valley. From the reign of Elizabeth I, right up until the end of the 19th century, the practise of pressing and preserving pilchards was a vital source of income for the village and was carried out in the building that is now a National Trust gift shop.

Pass the Boscastle Visitors Centre and then cross the bridge over the river. Venture both left and right having crossed the bridge.

  1. Heading towards the sea the path becomes rougher for the last 50 metres before the harbour wall.

Boscastle Harbour is very picturesque. It is very difficult to access from the sea, but it is the only harbour along some 20 miles (32 km) of the North Cornwall coast. There has long been a harbour here. The first record dates from Elizabethan times but it almost certainly pre-dates this time. During the 1800s in particular this was an important harbour, importing coal, salt, bricks and beer for local use and exporting locally quarried slate and minerals, china clay from inland and local agricultural goods.

  1. The path on the right leads a gradient of 5┬░ approximately 1 in 10 leading uphill to a view point. This is the start of a good scenic path. NOTE access to this path is uneven and to great care should be taken.

There are excellent views of Boscastle from here, showing its position at the meeting point of two deep valleys. It was this position which contributed to the impact of the flood of 2004, when 2 million tonnes of water cascaded down the valleys following a severe rainstorm.

The area around Boscastle provided inspiration for one of Thomas Hardy's early books, 'A Pair of Blue Eyes'. It is also where Hardy met and courted his first wife, Emma. He returned to the wild cliffs of North Cornwall in 1913, after Emma had died, and was once again inspired by the landscape, resulting in twenty-one of his most emotional poems.

The cliffs above Boscastle Harbour are frequented by birds such as kestrel, peregrine, stonechat, gannet and fulmar. The blowhole in the harbour booms and spouts water two hours each side of low tide - an impressive site if you're lucky enough to catch it!

When you have finished exploring return to the car park.

Nearby refreshments

There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Boscastle.

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