Walk - Boscastle Farm Shop - Minster Church
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the Farm Shop go into the field at the rear. Cross the field, bearing right and downhill to the stone stile in the Cornish hedge at the bottom. Cross the stile and follow the Coast Path to the left. Pass through a kissing-gate into a field then a second gate into another field.
The Coast Path bears right here along the field edge to a stone stile. From this stile there is an excellent view back to the cove at Pentargon, including its waterfall which drops 120 feet (37 metres) from a hanging valley to the sea.
- Return from the stone stile to the kissing-gate and walk along the right-hand side of the Cornish hedge.
Cornish hedges are stone-faced earth banks with vegetation growing in the top. They are often of great age.
- At the end turn right and follow the field edges down to emerge by a road at Penally House. Continue down the road for a short way and pass through the white gate ahead.
Penally House was built in 1836 by a successful local businessman, William Slogatt. The path from here down was his private path between the harbour and his house.
There are excellent views over Boscastle from this length, 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.
Follow the path to the bottom then, arriving at the cottages, turn sharp back left and downhill to the riverside.
This is the head of Boscastle Harbour, which dates back at least to Elizabethan times. It is the only harbour along 20 miles (32 km)of the coast of North Cornwall.
- Descend to the footbridge. Do not cross, but continue along the riverside to the road bridge.
Here in Boscastle is a range of general shops, refreshments, newsagent, Post Office, toilets, buses and even a kit shop should new boots or socks suddenly be necessary.
Cross the road bridge and turn left, up Old Road.
As its name suggests, this is the old main road linking Boscastle Harbour with the older, higher part of the village and the outside world. It is generally quiet now, lined with attractive buildings, but is something of a climb.
The road levels out and bears to the left, becoming Dunn Street as it passes the War Memorial.
Just beyond the War Memorial a path on the left leads to the site of Bottreaux Castle. This was first recorded in 1214. It was named after the Norman landowners and in turn gave the village its name. There is a small information board here, but no remains of the castle.
Return to the road and go left, uphill again, almost to the road junction at the top.
- About 30 yards (28 metres) before the junction, immediately after a house called “Fairfield”, turn left on a public footpath along a track, bearing right at a junction to descend to a picturesque river crossing.
This is the River Jordan, one of the two rivers converging on Boscastle. It is said to have got its name from the “jardin”, or garden, of the castle, through which it flowed.
Pass the house. Do not cross the wooden footbridge but bear left into a field. Turn right along the bottom of the field, cross two stiles then climb diagonally over the next field to a stile near the far top corner. (Aim to the right of the large wooden barn.)
This is part of Home Farm, which runs pedigree North Devon cattle. While the cows are kept for breeding the males are sold to Boscastle Farm Shop for high quality meat it certainly hasn't travelled far! Most of Home Farm is ecologically important and is farmed without the use of chemicals. This is important for insects, which in turn feed the local bat population
The stile at the top leads to a minor road. Follow this ahead, still climbing. Bear left at a fork.
There are superb views over the valley of the River Valency on the left. Looking up the valley it should be possible to see the tower of St Juliot church. The author Thomas Hardy, who was an architect by profession, was retained to rebuild the church and met his first wife there. The Valency valley inspired much of his poetry of the time.
- When the road arrives at a wooded area look out for the gate and stile on the left to Minster church. Go down the path to the church.
Tradition has it that a church was founded here by Madryn, a Welsh princess who set up a ministry here around 500 AD. If true, it makes it a very early Christian site. A new church was built around 1150 although the current building is largely of the 15th century, with an earlier aisle. There was a major rebuilding in the 19th century, when the unusual “saddleback” roof was added. there was further renovation following the floods of 2004. The church really does have bats in the belfry a colony of the rare and protected Greater Horseshoe Bat.
From the lower side of the church descend some stone steps to a kissing-gate and descend further through woodland to a footbridge in the valley bottom.
This is the River Valency, the larger of the rivers which descends to Boscastle.
- Cross the footbridge and turn left.
The woods are mostly oak, possibly the remnants of ancient tree cover. Although they have been managed for many centuries they remain rich in wildlife, including a rare species of butterfly, the pearl-bordered fritillary.
There is little evidence of the floods that swept down the valley in 2004 other than a large number of boulders and rocks in the river.
Follow the path parallel to the river until it arrives at a large car park. Descend to the riverside path and continue along it to reach Boscastle.
- Walk down the road then cross and bear right along the riverside to the footbridge (point 4 on the outward leg). Bear right at the footbridge then turn sharp right just before the cottages at the top on the “panoramic path”. Retrace the outward route, following the path to the gate by the road then along the edges of two fields to point 3. Now go through the gate ahead into the next field, bearing very slightly left to the gate in the hedge. Climb the next field ahead to return to the Farm Shop.
Boscastle Farm Shop