Crackington Haven

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A stunning view along the coast from Crackington beach to Samphire Rock © Joe Cornish

A stunning view along the coast from Crackington beach to Samphire Rock

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The small coastal village of Crackington Haven in North Cornwall is a great place to visit whether you love walking, wildlife, geology or simply relaxing amidst beautiful scenery.

It began life as a small port importing limestone and coal for the lime kiln and exporting slate from small, local quarries. Look out for the traces of a donkey path going down to Strangle Beach where sand, stone and slate were collected.

In 1836, plans were drawn up to create a development called Port Victoria, with grand ideas for a 12 acre harbour and docks, a new town and a rail link to Launceston. As is evident today, the scheme didn't materialise.

Geology

Crackington Haven is a fascinating place for its geology and has even had a geological phenomena named after it; the Crackington Formation, a fractured shale that's been bent and contorted by the Earth's movements millions of years ago.

The cliffs to the north and south of Crackington, particularly at St Gennys and Rusey, have interesting geological exposures, and the best example of strata folded into dramatic zig-zags is at Milook. Where the rock meets the sea the waves are winning the battle; landslips are common, and the cliff slopes are angled with ledges and platforms which tell of past slippages.

Wildlife

The rich vegetation on the cliff tops and slopes provide habitats for several species of birds, like linnet, whitethroat, meadow pipet, skylark, dunnock and stonechat, as well as larger birds such as jackdaws, magpies and kestrels.

Head to the steep sided valleys in the summer months and you may spot a variety of butterflies, including red admiral, ringlet, gatekeeper, meadow brown and the small pearl bordered fritillary.

Out to sea, look out for Atlantic grey seals and, if you're lucky, you may see bottle-nosed dolphins and basking sharks.

Other things to see and do

  • One mile south of Crackington is High Cliff, Cornwall's highest cliff standing at 735ft (223m) high
  • The stone and slate farmhouse of Trevigue dates from the 16th century, with a number of more recent alterations. It continues to be a working farm, that has won awards for nature conservation, but has also diversified into the hospitality trade. Enjoy a meal or a stay at Trevigue.