Boscastle -North Cornwall
Boscastle on the North Cornwall Coast
Boscastle The only natural harbour for 20 miles along the North Cornwall Coast. A hundred years the village was a thriving port, with schooners, ketches, smacks and luggers, dropping off cargoes such as coal from South Wales, and collecting slate from the local quarries. The coming of the railways, whilst ending the isolation of North Cornwall, soon saw its decline as a trading port.
Boscastle village, complete with cottages with higgledy-piggledy roofs, clings to the side of the beautiful Valency valley. Explore the delightful High Street, many of whose properties have stone and slate porches, and large slate flagstones leading up the garden path. Craft and gift shops, a Museum of Witchcraft, a former water mill, newsagents, tea gardens, restaurants, even a bakers and a fruit shop. Old inns such as the Napoleon dating from the 16th century, and the Cobweb, once a warehouse, both full of character. Visit the Old Post Office, a 14th-century yeoman's farmhouse, with an undulating slate roof, supported by massive oak trusses, a maze of small rooms, containing many original features.
Boscastle is a delight in spring, beautiful in the colours of Autumn too- like many of the wooded valleys of Cornwall. At the harbour entrance is the 'Boscastle Blowhole', audible just after low water under certain sea conditions, as water surges in. In summer divers sometimes explore its murky depths. Please take care near moorings, fishing gear and unfenced drops. The slate bedrock of the harbour paths can be particularly slippery when wet.
A mile or so up the River Valency Valley is St Juliot Church.
Worked on by the 19th Century novelist Thomas Hardy whilst he was a still a Practising Architect. Boscastle
was where Hardy met his wife to be Emma.
Much of his novel A Pair of Blue Eyes is based on places in and around the Boscastle Area.
Just shut your eyes, and maybe just maybe, you can imagine the happy couple walking along the Valley.
WalksThere are great Cornwall Walks to be had both inland and along the rugged Atlantic Coast. Walk North along the Cornish Coastal Path ,to High Cliff, the highest point on the Coast of Cornwall and look down on the Strangles. Feeling really fit? Then walk, more a climb, down to the pebbly Strangles Beach itself, but make sure you are not cut off by the incoming Atlantic tide. Else just continue along to lovely Crackington Haven. The friendly and helpful staff from Boscastle Tourist Information Centre may have more suggestions for local walks. The Centre is now housed in a former pilchard cellar in the heart of the village just upstream from the harbour.
Walk south along the Coast across Willapark, a defensive site since the Iron Age,
with its white washed lookout tower, wave lashed Long and Short Islands in the distance.
Walk over to the beautiful Forrabury Church,
one particularly poignant inscription on a lichen covered headstone reads:
"Thomas Henry Danger, aged 17. Lost from a boat near Boscastle 1846". See the remains of cultivated strip fields dating back to medieval times, hay meadow, arable crops still grown on a four year rotation, Forrabury Stitches are one of the few remaining examples of this method of farming left in the Country.
Look down on hidden coves such as Bossiney, stopping off at Tintagel to see the Castle ruins and the legend of King Arthur, maybe even a cream tea, then to Trebarwith Strand with its lovely low tide beach, lifeguard patrolled in Season.
Boat Trips For an unforgettable experience, take a boat trip out of Boscastle Harbour, down the North Cornwall Coast to Long Island. During the breeding season you may be lucky to see see the seabirds; razorbills, guillemots, and if your are very very lucky puffins ,and only maybe even a seal. Got good sea legs? take an all day wreck fishing trip, 5 miles out to sea, onboard the Peginina.
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There are lots of nice places to stay in and around the village. Such as The Old Rectory Bed and Breakfast where Thomas Hardy stayed while drawing up plans for the restoration of St Juliot Church.