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Exploring Boscastle

The harbour entrance at Boscastle, Cornwall
The harbour entrance at Boscastle | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

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.

Blow hole

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.

Visitors paddling in a river with their dog at Boscastle
The River Valency at Boscastle | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

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.

The Forrabury Stitches with a square grey structure on the top
The Forrabury Stitches | © National Trust Images/Rhodri Davies


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.

Forrabury Stitches

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.

Crackington Haven

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.

Dizzard wood

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.

A view into Boscastle harbour and village

Discover more at Boscastle

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