Walk - Crackington Haven to Tintagel

11.4 miles (18.4 km)

Crackington Haven Tintagel

Challenging - Strenuous to moderate

It is important to keep to the Coast Path in this section, even though you may be tempted to seek better views of the impressive cliffs and extraordinary rock formations, as you will be climbing through valleys and across cliffs with spectacularly sheer drops to the Atlantic below. This section of Coast Path is very rewarding if you enjoy bird watching and you may also spot the herds of Soay sheep and goats whose grazing helps to encourage the growth of spectacular wildflowers. There has reputedly been more imported post Roman pottery excavated from the headland of Tintagel than in the rest of Britain put together and this fact, along with the heroic and mysterious literary legends of King Arthur which surround the area, should highlight how historically significant this stretch of Cornish coastland really is.

Interactive Elevation


  • Breathtaking views from the seat on the highest cliff in Cornwall: High Cliff, over 700ft (223 metres). Slumping has caused an undercliff, which is rich in coastal heath.
  • Isolated beaches of The Strangles (a place of courtship for Thomas Hardy and his first wife Emma) and Rusey Beach and the Northern Door arch of Little Strand.
  • Spotting the herds of Soay sheep or goats that graze along the cliffs helping to keep down the scrub and encourage grassland and wild flowers.
  • The sheer black cliff of Buckator towering over Gull Rock.
  • Pentargon: a 120ft high waterfall.
  • Seal spotting from Beeny Cliff: “in all its chasmal beauty bulks old Beeny to the sky” (Beeny Cliff, Thomas Hardy).
  • Boscastle, with its ancient harbour almost invisible from the sea, is a beautiful fishing village in the bottom of a rugged, steep sided valley. Boscastle is especially remembered for the devastating flash flood in August 2004 (the torrential rainfall led to a 2m rise in river levels in just 1 hour).
  • Watching the peregrine falcons, buzzards and kestrels. You will also be able to see many breeding seabirds in early summer. Short Island and Long Island, near the rock arch known as Ladies Window, are favourite spots for guillemots and razorbills.
  • The medieval lynchets or terraced fields of Bossiney Common. The deep tracks up the cliffs from Bossiney Cove provide evidence of the practice of hauling sand and seaweed up to spread on the fields.
  • Birdwatching and seal spotting from Willapark with its Bronze Age tumuli thought to be more than 3000 years old. Lye Rock was once the site of Cornwall’s largest colony of puffins, yet sadly there are now few to be seen.
  • The attractive stone walls built in the ‘curzyway’ (herringbone) pattern.
  • Tintagel Head: the site was originally a Roman settlement and a Celtic fortress, but the majority of visual ruins are those of the 13th century castle built by Earl Richard. Geoffrey of Monmouth visioned the 12th century castle here as King Arthur’s birthplace.

Places of interest

  • Walking a little further out to Penally Point to enjoy the views and the spurting blow hole.
  • Walking up Rocky Valley to the beautiful St Nectan’s Glen and the 60ft waterfall at St Nectan’s Kieve. The valley is of national importance for its 161 different species of mosses.
  • Forrabury Church standing high on a hill near Boscastle, with its Celtic cross, Norman font and alter and pulpit made from medieval oak benches.
  • The 14th century Post Office in Tintagel, now owned by the National Trust

Shorter option

Walk to Boscastle (6.7 miles, 10.8 km).

Longer option

It is not easy to lengthen this walk without seeking accommodation inland, therefore it is recommended that you stop at Tintagel.

Nearby refreshments

There are shops, pubs and cafes in Crackington Haven, Boscastle and Tintagel. For locally sourced produce visit the Big Barn member The Good Food Deli & Cafe on Bossiney Road, Tintagel, Tel: 01840 770880 (open every day in the summer from 9.00-18.00 and Tues-Sat from 10.00-17.00 in the winter) or the Taste of the West member Cream in Tintagel, which is a café/bar on Atlantic Road serving homemade food, Tel: 01840 779270.

Public transport

There are a couple of good bus services running between Exeter (which has a mainline train station) and Bude. The Western Greyhound 595 bus service runs between Bude and Crackington Haven and on to Boscastle, where you can take the hourly 594 to Tintagel. For further details visit Traveline or phone 0870 6082608.


Crackington Haven (Postcode for Sat Nav: EX23 0NU), Boscastle and Tintagel.


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