Sunday, 2 September 2012

Boscastle to Tintagel

Last week’s walk between Looe and Polperro was rather disappointing, but this weekend we were in north-east Cornwall, and walked one of the most interesting and dramatic sections of the coast-path, the 5-mile stretch between the villages of Boscastle and Tintagel. If you are attending an MEI Conference in Falmouth, and you have a car, then I would highly recommend the 50 mile drive to Tintagel, where you can leave your car and take the short bus journey to Boscastle to undertake this stunning, moderately graded walk.

The River Valency, Boscastle
Boscastle August 2004
Boscastle is a picturesque harbour village at the mouth of the River Valency. It is hard to believe, as you wander down the bank of the river to the harbour, that eight years ago the village suffered extensive damage after an exceptional amount of rain that caused the river to burst its banks. The ensuing flash flood was filmed and extensively reported, being the worst in local memory. Although, miraculously, nobody was badly injured, the destruction was vast. When the waters receded the following day the streets were strewn with cars, boulders and uprooted trees, shops were torn in half and many houses were uninhabitable.
Boscastle Harbour
The harbour in 2004
From the harbour, there is a very steep climb to the top of the cliff, from where the tortuous channel leading into the little harbour can be seen, a route which must have been nightmarish in the days of sail.
The entrance to Boscastle Harbour
This is very much slate country, and all around is the evidence of the unimaginable tectonic forces which laid the foundations for the rugged beauty of Cornwall over 300 million years ago.

Approaching Tintagel, the famous island castle comes into view.

Tintagel Island and its ruined medieval castle

This is one of Cornwall’s busiest tourist destinations, being associated with the mythical King Arthur, whose legend has only the most tenuous links with real historical evidence. The 12th century castle was built by Reginald de Cornwall, illegitimate son of Henry I, and was extended in the early 14th century by the Black Prince, and it was in ruins by the 16th century. Nevertheless it is well worth a visit and the views from the top of nearby Glebe Cliff are impressive.

From the castle there is a steep walk up to Tintagel Village, which has little to recommend it apart from its host of souvenir shops, which exploit to the full the Arthurian legend.

More Cornish Walks
More on Cornwall

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have difficulty posting a comment, please email the comment to and I will submit on your behalf