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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357


The end of The Smugglers Way and great overnight to finish your coast to coast walking holiday.

Boscastle's medieval harbour is a dramatic spot, a twisted miniature fjord squeezed into a knife-like ravine of crags and cliffs. There is plenty to explore here and it is a worthy overnight stop on your walk for those who want to see more of the Boscastle and Tintagel areas.

Above the harbour, below Penally point, is the Devils Bellows, a blow hole which blows a horizontal jet of water across the harbour opening about one hour each side of low tide. The whole harbour area, promenade and walls are fascinating to wander around, but don't miss the excellent Museum of Witchcraft. The museum houses a historically focused exhibition with a very un-Harry Potter like collection of fascinating artefacts which explore beliefs and practices whilst tackling the stereotypes often associated around Cornwall's pagan past.

Boscastle became known to an international audience in the summer of 2004 when freak weather conditions caused a three metre high flash flood, water funnelling into the harbour area wreaking havoc to both buildings and people. With over 90 residents and visitors airlifted out, this was a true battle against time and nature that is now a significant part of the harbour’s history. There is lots of information in the visitor’s centre about the events of that day and the epic efforts of both locals and rescue services that amazingly resulted in no fatalities. Today, with restoration work virtually complete the village is back to its stunning and appealing former self.

For the walker seeking a rest from the path, the harbour area itself has a good selection of art and craft shops, bakers, restaurants and tea gardens and several atmospheric 16th Century inns for some liquid refreshments. If staying, visit the excellent National Trust Visitors Centre, Cafe and Shop in one of the restored harbour buildings, with exhibitions covering the village history and its highlights.

If you choose to stay overnight, Boscastle village itself is set back up the hill from the harbour area and has plenty to hold your interest.  There is a rewarding short walk (details from the visitor centre) taking in its most interesting spots and excellent views of the harbour and inland valleys. More exploring will take you to the 42 Forrabury Stitches behind the church,  one of the best examples left of medieval strip farming and Celtic land use known as Stitchmeal. Combine this with a pre-dinner sunset stroll to the viewpoint at Willapark with excellent views back over the village and along the coast in both directions.

For Thomas Hardy fans (and those who want a break from the coastal delights), there is a 4 mile walk up the beautiful ancient woodland in the Valency Valley. 

A climb over its old granite gate post stepping stones takes you past an abandoned hamlet and up to the isolated and stark St Juliot's church. This is true Hardy country and locations from ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’ are all around. He met his first wife Emma here while working to restore the church and they spent their early days together picnicking by these waterfalls in the wildlife filled woods of the tranquil Valency River.

You can easily extend the walking from here along the superb South West Coast Path from Boscastle Harbour. Either East via Crackington Haven towards Bude or West to Tintagel and Port Isaac. 

In season there is a good bus service connecting Tintagel, Boscastle, Crackington Haven and Bude meaning you can spend a couple of nights here and do some Coast Path walking by taking the bus out in the mornings to walk back to your Hotel.

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