Boscastle is more than just a harbour village. Explore upstream to reach the Valency Valley with woodland walks. Rugged Cornish cliffs line the route to Willapark and Forrabury Stitches. Venture further north to find geological formations at Crackington haven and the steep-sided Dizzard Wood.
Harbour and quayside
The Elizabethan quay sits in a natural amphitheatre of steep cliffs and is home to stone cottages, shops and tea-rooms. The cliffs rise up around the river as it leads out to sea. Wander down to the harbour passing lime kilns and the blacksmith’s forge.
Harbour launch and mooring fees apply (for vessels including kayaks). Details can be found here and payments can be made (in cash) at the National Trust shop in the harbour.
Walk further to Penally Point to see Boscastle’s blow-hole which is often called the Devil’s Bellows. It can be seen thumping and snorting about an hour either side of low tide, blowing a horizontal waterspout halfway across the harbour entrance if the conditions are right.
The Valency Valley
Boscastle sits in the Valency Valley. Head up the river to see one of the few wooded areas in North Cornwall. The River Valency meanders through the valley, flanked by woods and meadows. One of the best views of the woodland can be seen from the path between the footbridge in Peter’s Wood and Minster church.
Follow the cliff path to the heights of Willapark headland which reaches 96m. The white-washed tower stands as a look out to sea and is a good spot to use your binoculars to stand out of the wind against its walls.
Sitting just inland from Willapark is the high ground of Forrabury Stitches. Walks around Forrabury Stitches offer a rare glimpse at a surviving farmed landscape showing a strip field system. If you wander further inland you'll discover the half-forgotten churches of Minster and St Juliots.
The small coastal village of Crackington Haven is home to many geological rock features. The rock strata here is so significant it was given its own name - it's known worldwide as the Crackington Formation. It features a fractured shale rock that's been bent and contorted by the Earth's movements millions of years ago.
The cliffs to the north and south of Crackington have interesting geological exposures at St Gennys and Rusey. One of the best examples of rock strata folded into dramatic zig-zags can be seen at Milook.
Beyond Crackington Haven stands the ancient woodland of Dizzard Wood, just off the South West Coast Path. The woodland features a mix of native trees but are mainly oak which diminish in size the lower on the slopes they grow. Find out more about Dizzard wood in the video.
Uncover more about the history of Boscastle harbour village. It was once visited by a famous writer and rose from the rubble of a flood.
Discover wildflowers and plants attracting a wide range of insects and butterflies. Step further beyond to see coastal plant life with sea life and farmland birds.
Grab some refreshments from the café, stop to browse gifts and souvenirs in the National Trust shop, and pick up a bargain read in the second-hand bookshop.
Plan a visit to one of the special countryside places in our care and discover the benefits of being in the great outdoors. Pack your walking boots and get ready to explore woodlands, valleys and rivers.
Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.
Cornwall has a wealth of woodlands, bridleways, trails and paths to explore including a wet willow woodland. Experience fresh air outdoors with the whole family this summer and look out for an abundance of wildlife and butterflies that call this place home.