Kastell Boterel

Tiny picturesque harbour


Boscastle Parish Council


Three Inns, three Rivers, three Churches, and a most popular harbour. An attractive village protected not only by the National Trust, but also by the steep hillside holding back adverse weather. When the sun shines as it so often does, even though national forecasters don't seem to know about it. Boscastle traps the warmth. This is also evident with its proprietors of accommodation and a friendly atmosphere prevails. The village is approached by the B3263 and the B3266 roads about three miles from the A39 Atlantic Highway. The population of the village was 838 at the 2011 census.

The Elizabethan Harbour, built in 1584 by Sir Richard Grenville of 'Revenge' fame, has been the scene of many acts of heroism and treachery over the years with privateers and volunteers, smugglers and wreckers.

Until the 1890's there was a regular import trade in coal, limestone, ironwork and general merchandise, with 200 ships calling in one year and cargoes of timber coming directly to Boscastle from Canada. Local slate, china clay and oats were the main exports.


An hour before low water, with a rough sea that is, you can see and bear a splendid blow hole rendering water and spray across the harbour mouth. Along this stretch coastline lives the legend of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, the Quest for the Holy Grail. The Chapel of St. James is believed to have been built on the ancient pilgrim route to Compostella in Spain.

The Rivers Jordan, Valency and Paradise flow through the village. The Valency Valley is a fine walk around to the dark and intriguing Minster Church, almost enmeshed by rare trees and shrubs looking for light. Jordan Vale is the steep hill running from the Bottreaux House Hotel to the Wellington. A walk up or down takes one "back in time".


Forrabury church (St. Symphorian) stands high up to the south of Boscastle and not too far off the coastal path. St. Symphorian was beheaded here for his religious beliefs in AD178. The site of "Bottreaux Castle" is at the top end of the village dating back to 1100 A.D., and the views over Boscastle are quite magnificent when approaching from this direction. It' s worth turning around and going back again should you be travelling upwards.

The Castle of Bottreaux, from which Boscastle gained its name, has, alas, vanished but it is said that much of the village was built from its stone. Indeed there are stone windows in the Wellington that are reputed to have come from the Castle. A tiny opening and a road near here takes you down past Minster church through a valley to Lesnewth and St. Juliots church.

Thomas Hardy fell in love with Boscastle when working as an architect on the renovation of St. Juliots church. He also fell in love in Boscastle, to Emma Gifford, whom he married after a four year courtship it was not a successful relationship and ended in tragedy after thirty years. Hardy was not daunted but returned to the land he loved and wrote some of his most moving poetry. A copy of "A Pair of Blue Eyes" will describe all the valleys and cliffs up to High Cliff (731 feet), the highest in Cornwall.

Boscastle's use as a port dates back to the Middle ages and lasted up to the coming of the railway. A few fishing boats still make use of the sheltered inlet, and the area is now under the protection of the National Trust.

On 16th July 1847 devastating floods swept down from Davidstow Moor, caused terrible damage and washed away all but two of the bridges along the River Camel - Wadebridge and Helland being the only survivors.

On 6th September 1950 the torrential rain, the heaviest in living memory, and the rapidity with which the Valency river rose and burst its banks was amazing. Trees twenty feet high were ripped up along the valley and carried along the river, passed through the road bridge but then piled up against the lower bridge forming a dam that then caused the waters to back up into the village causing much damage.

On 3rd June 1958 the Valency river is estimated to have risen fifteen feet above its normal level in the short space of twenty minutes after a cloudburst on the high ground around the village. This was the worst flood in living memory and tragically claimed the life of 45 year old Mr Berryman, the Bandmaster of Boscastle Silver Band, who helping neighbours, was washed off his feet, down the river and into the harbour where he drowned.

The Wellington Inn is an old coaching inn (16th-century) near the harbour; its furnishings include church lamps which were donated by the architect Thomas Hardy and stained glass windows installed in 1846.

In 2004 British television channel BBC 2 began broadcasting 'A Seaside Parish', a weekly series focusing on the life of the newly appointed Rector of Boscastle, Christine Musser.

Although Boscastle was badly affected and several buildings totally destroyed by the flood on 16th August 2004 when the river rose by seven feet, it is now well on its way to full recovery with most of the shops, pubs and cafes having been re-built.

The village was flooded again on the 21st June 2007 with three feet of water flowing down the roads, although the scale of destruction was not nearly as serious as in 2004.

Charles, Prince of Wales, visited Boscastle on 15th July 2019 to commemorate the anniversary of the Cornwall AONB and to visit a local Cornish hedge restoration project.


The Harbour Walk, A gentle one mile walk around the scenic village of Boscastle. The walk allows you to take in the river, the ancient harbour, and the famous blow hole, as well as several of the local shops and sites of interest. There are magnificent sea and coastal views, and lots of interesting wildlife.

Valency Valley Walk, A four mile walk beginning in the picturesque seaside village of Boscastle, this walk explores the cliffs above Boscastle's medieval harbour before heading inland across the Valency Valley and through peaceful woodland, alongside the meandering Valency River.

Art Galleries

The Old Forge Gallery


The Boscastle Food, Arts and Crafts Festival is held every October.


Harbour Light Tea Garden

Toby Jug Cafe

Boscastle Farm Shop and Cafe

The Riverside


The Napoleon Inn

The Wellington Hotel

The Cobweb Inn

Boscastle Pottery       Bossiney       The Museum of Witchcraft       The Crystal Cave       St. Nectan's Glen

Boscastle Youth Hostel       Bottreaux Castle       Crackington Haven       Tintagel       Boscastle Visitor Centre       The Coastal Footpath