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Discover wildlife at Boscastle

A close up of pink thrift growing above the water at Boscastle
Thrift growing at Boscastle | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Discover Boscastle harbour inlet and the wooded Valency Valley with wildflowers and plants attracting a wide range of insects and butterflies. Step further beyond Boscastle to see coastal plant life with sea life and farmland birds.


Boscastle is teeming with wildlife. Look out for sea birds including fulmars, razorbills and guillemots. Gulls to spot include herring and the greater and lesser black-backed gull. Seals can be seen in and around the harbour.

Pennywort, harts tongue and other ferns and lichen grow on the hand-built stone walls that line the river to the harbour. Butterflies such as the peacock, red admiral and fritillaries are common to the area, particularly in the sheltered Valency Valley.

A brown and white dipper bird above water at Quarry Bank Mill
Dippers can be seen in the Valency Valley | © National Trust Images/Derek Hatton

The Valency Valley

Walk upstream to reach the secluded retreat of the Valency Valley. An area of mixed oak woodland that is rich in lichens and mosses can be found here.

Listen out for the sounds of birds in the woodland including jays, woodpeckers and chaffinches. You may also see small dippers darting quickly from rock to rock.

At dusk and dawn bats can be seen flitting up and down the valley. They hunt and eat a wide variety of small insects over the river and around the meadows.

Wildflower meadows

Alongside some stretches of the river lie meadows that come alive in summer with wildflowers. Plants such as yellow rattle, bird's-foot trefoil and knapweed attract a variety of butterflies including tortoiseshells and red admirals.


This high look out point is just a short walk away from Boscastle. Situated just west of the harbour at the edge of the coastal headland, it’s a good place to spot sea birds including shags and fulmars.

In spring you'll see saw-wort and spring squill and, in summer, sheep’s bit, ox-eye daisies and kidney vetch. Look out to sea for bottle nosed dolphins that swim in small pods along the coast.

Forrabury Stitches

Sitting just inland from Willapark is the high ground of Forrabury Stitches. This historic type of field system divides up a much larger piece of land into multiple sections. This helps to create more diversity of habitat for the wildlife that lives here.

During the summer you should be able to spot rare arable wildflowers such as corn marigold and red dead-nettle.

Farmland birds such as the linnet, meadow pipit and skylark are often seen feeding on the insects and seeds at the edges of the stitches. It’s easy to see larger birds here including crows, jackdaws and kestrels.

Crackington Haven

The rich vegetation on the cliff tops and slopes of Crackington Haven provide habitats for several species of birds. Regularly seen in this area are the whitethroat, skylark and stonechat. Stand on the highest point for views out to sea and the chance to spot Atlantic grey seals and occasionally the basking sharks that make this area their home.

The steep sided valleys in the summer months are home to a variety of butterflies including red admiral, gatekeeper and meadow brown.

Dizzard wood

This unusual woodland is mainly oak with a few other native trees. Because of the exposure to coastal weather the oaks are stunted, particularly lower down the slopes. The trees grow densely together on the steep cliffs and provide a habitat that mosses and lichen love. Find out more about Dizzard wood in the video.

A view into Boscastle harbour and village

Discover more at Boscastle

Find out how to get to Boscastle, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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