High Cliff // Boscastle

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High Cliff - Cornwall
High Cliff

The literal pinnacle of the rocky coastline between the villages of Boscastle and Crackington Haven, aptly-named High Cliff takes the prize for the tallest cliff anywhere along Cornwall's 420 miles of coast. A short distance from the visual pleasures of the Atlantic Highway driving route, the cliff is formed of black shale, quartz and sandstone laid down approximately a million years ago.

Rising to a maximum height of 223 meters (732 feet) above sea level, High Cliff is almost twice the height of the cliffs at Lands' End, which top out at 120 meters (394 feet). A footpath leads all the way over High Cliff, giving visitors a chance to experience the full force of the wind and waves, as well as some of the most spectacular views in Cornwall. Look down from the bench at the top, and you'll also be gazing down on the toffee-like swirls of the Voter Run rocks.

The Strangles from High Cliff
The Strangles from High Cliff

Of the variety of footpaths that wind through the area, look out for the one signposted to rather grimly-named Strangles. This was once a donkey track, used as a means of transporting sand, slate and stone collected on the beach for the local lime kiln at Crackington Haven.

It leads to two secluded areas of sand and shingle beach marked by a naturally-formed rock arch at one end. Owned by the National Trust, The Strangles are best explored at low tide, when the two beaches come together as one and offer a complete contrast to Cornwall's busier beaches.

Also keep your eyes peeled for kestrels soaring over High Cliff on the thermals, butterflies drifting amid the wildflowers in the summer, and Atlantic grey seals, bottlenose dolphins and basking sharks, which can all be seen along this section of coast.