Bude to Newquay
Rugged rocks and sandy beaches
Bude to Newquay: 66 miles in 5 days at a good level of fitness
A challenging walk to blow away the cobwebs, featuring rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. The slate of the North Cornwall coastline has been eroded in spectacular ways, and this is a journey over ground that booms with the power of the waves crashing into subterranean caverns and even chimes underfoot near King Arthur's alleged stamping grounds in Tintagel! Offshore the many islands are topped with nesting birds and clumps of sea pinks and the sea-carved blowholes in the mineral-stained caves that pockmark the cliffs produce some dramatic effects. On the golden beaches high breakers roll in from the Atlantic Ocean, producing long clean waves that draw surfers from all over the world.
From the seaside resort at Bude the path travels over high cliffs with panoramic views, rising and falling through sessile oak woods stunted by storms and deep valleys full of flowers and butterflies. The spectacular folds and faults in the rocks at Millook and Crackington Haven are world-famous and as you approach Boscastle there are breathtaking waterfalls.
South of Boscastle the rocky coastline is rugged and remote, dotted with sandy coves and grazed by sheep and goats. Tintagel has been a hotspot for literary legend since the Victorian Romantic movement linked it with King Arthur, but its tourist bustle is soon forgotten as the plunging path takes you through deserted fishing hamlets and the much-filmed village of Port Isaac, past volcanic rocks and islands and on to the wide sandy mouth of the Camel estuary.
A ferry takes you across to the bustling town of Padstow and around the point from here you set out through an area of astonishing rock formations, from smugglers' caves and coves to enormous craters, slumping cliffs and grass-thatched stacks and arches. Seabirds nest on ledges and the lichen-clad walls of stacked slates are hedged with feathery tamarisk. Long beaches of golden sand finally lead on to the UK's surf capital at Newquay.
Day 1: Bude to Boscastle – 16.6 miles (26.7 km)
Day 2: Boscastle to Port Isaac – 13.8 miles (22.2 km)
Day 3: Port Isaac to Padstow (River crossing) – 11.8 miles (19 km)
Day 4: Padstow to Porthcothan – 13.6 miles (21.9 km)
Day 5: Porthcothan to Newquay – 10.3 miles (16.6 km)