• Start: Boscastle car park (fee), OS grid ref SX101914
  • End: Boscastle car park (fee), OS grid ref SX101914
  • Country: England
  • County: Cornwall
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger190
  • Difficulty: Medium
Google Map


Enjoy a walk from the pretty village of Boscastle, following the River Valency

Enjoy a walk from the pretty village of Boscastle, following the River Valency

Boscastle is one of the most scenic villages in the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that runs from Widemouth Bay for about 30 miles to Pentire Point. Our walk starts in this pretty fishing village then traverses the Coast Path over high cliffs before turning inland across fields and back down through woodland following the River Valency. A tributary, the River Jordan, meets the Valency in the middle of the village.
The Museum of Witchcraft, one of the villages attractions, has been located in Boscastle since 1960 and houses the worlds largest collection of witchcraft-related artefacts and a library of over 3,000 books relating to witchcraft. Nearby there is a small and attractive Youth Hostel in the former stables and a refurbished Visitor Centre.
The National Trust owns and cares for the beautiful medieval harbour and coastline on either side. The small harbour now hosts a number of little fishing boats but was once a hive of activity, with trade taking place between Wales, Bristol and the south of England.
Out on the Coast Path is the waterfall at Pentargon, and high Beeny Cliff is the chasmal beauty of Thomas Hardys poem of that name. Below is the Seals Hole, aptly named as more than 100 seals have been spotted there at one time.
Inland lies rich woodland clinging to the valley sides and the tumbling River Valency. Most of these woods are oak, some very ancient, and have been managed in the past for wood fuel, building and furniture, while the bark has been used for the leather-tanning industry. The woods are also home to colonies of horseshoe and lesser horseshoe bats, both protected species. Above the woods are wildflower meadows that attract butterflies like the rare pearl-bordered fritillary. Further on is St Juliots Church, where Hardy met his first wife, Emma Gifford, who was the rectors sister-in-law.

This walk was kindly supplied by Cornwall AONB, which comprises one single protected area, divided into 12 parts. These make up some of the best of Cornwalls coastland, moorland, farmland, woodland, streams, creeks and estuaries and covers an area of 958 sq km or 370 sq miles more than a quarter of the countys countryside. For further information contact 01872 322350,


Park in the refurbished car park in the centre of the village and walk down past the pub and shops to the Visitor Centre. Just past here and before the Youth Hostel, take the path uphill to your right on the north side of the harbour. When it forks, follow the Coast Path, climb the hill and continue along the cliff tops to Pentargon. (On the opposite side of the harbour to the south lie the Forrabury Stitches, an ancient strip-field farming system dating back to the 4th century.) The path runs between a stone hedge, covered in sea ivory lichen and the open maritime grassland topping the cliffs. This grassland is one of our rarest habitats and features many wild flowers.


Just before a stone stile you will see the view of Pentargon waterfall for the first time. After crossing the stile follow the path down and around the top of the waterfall, over a wooden bridge. Here you can take a small path to your left to see the waterfall from above but take great care the cliffs are steep and there is a serious overhang. Back on the main path there is a steep climb up then along Beeny Cliff. The path now turns east and after about half a mile there is a turning inland to the road by North Lodge.


Turn left onto the road and after 50 yards take the right turning into Higher Beeny. Take the first footpath on your left down to a stream, then up to Trebyla farm. Just past here the path crosses the coast road (the B3263) and across four fields to Penventon Farm. Turn right onto the farm track up to the Old Rectory then onto the footpath with a little patch of woodland on your right.


At the crossing of footpaths turn right (if you take a detour and climb to the left you will soon come to St Juliots Church) and head downhill, following the Valency River. Pass through the little hamlet of New Mills, just after which is a footbridge over the river on your left. This would take you up to the other side of the valley to Minster Church, which can be spotted on the skyline. Our path, however, continues downstream.


Pass the weir and then a series of leats running parallel to the river and make your way back to the car park and your starting point.



Start/parking: Boscastle car park (fee), OS grid ref SX101914
Distance: 6 miles/10.5km
Time: About 3 hours
Map: OS Landranger190
Terrain: Coast Path and inland footpaths; some steep ascents on coast
Public transport: Buses to Boscastle from Bude and elsewhere; Traveline 0871 200 2233
Refreshments: Cafs and pubs in Boscastle

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Cornwall Life