Cornwall Coast Path - Bude to Boscastle

The section between Bude and Boscastle, another stretch of around sixteen miles, is one of the more remote sections of the path. Fascinating geology, ancient seaside settlements and far-reaching views characterise a walk that is demanding but well worth the effort.

Bude Crab Pots
At Bude the path crosses an unusual sea lock over the historic Bude Canal before climbing to the top of the cliff at Compass Point. On a clear day you can see Dartmoor, Lundy Island and Hartland Point from here.

Across Widemouth Bay, a somewhat overdeveloped sandy beach popular with swimmers and surfers and the last place with facilities until Crackington Haven, and on to Dizzard Point, managed by the National Trust, where there is a large area of ancient stunted oak wood.

On along the cliff to Crackington Haven, an ancient seaside hamlet squashed between impressively dark 400 foot cliffs at the mouth of a lush river valley. There are two cafes, a pub and a basic hotel in Crackington Haven, where smuggling in the coves on both sides has been recorded since 1342.

The Strangles from High Cliff
The Strangles from High Cliff
After Crackington Haven the path climbs steeply up to Cambeak, which offers more spectacular views, before continuing up and over High Cliff, which at 723 feet represents the highest point on the Cornish leg of the South West Coast Path. High Cliff, which has a very steep descent, overlooks the Pentargon inlet where a great waterfall crashes dramatically into the sea.

The path winds up a massive landfall at Rusey Cliff, which is the site of a major geological fault zone and tends to be overgrown with rampant brambles and gorse in the summer months.

Boscastle - View up the valley
Boscastle from Penally Point
As the path approaches Buckator, a sheer cliff hanging over a remote inlet, you will start to see striking white bands of quartz in the rock, which represent a geological shift from the brown and grey sandstone cliffs to the north. Stepping stones guide you across a marshy stream and the path continues up again to Five Beacon Point, from where a steep descent, helped by slate steps, leads you around the cliffs to Penally Point, with views of the ancient harbour at Boscastle.

Below Penally Point is a landform known locally as the Devil’s Bellows. This is essentially a blow hole from which a horizontal jet of water shoots across Boscastle harbour around an hour each side of low tide.

Boscastle was brought to national media attention in 2004 after flash floods destroyed much of the ancient and well-preserved harbour village, most of which is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is a spectacularly atmospheric place, almost perfectly restored since the flooding. Nestling at the mouth of what is effectively a mini-fjord, Boscastle is the perfect place to rest after a long day's hiking