Circular walk from Boscastle to Rocky Valley

Boscastle to Rocky Valley

A circular walk from Boscastle along the dramatic coastline of islands and arches towards Tintagel, following the cascading river up Rocky Valley past the ruined mills and labyrinthine carvings and returning via the mediaeval churches of Trethevy, Trevalga and Forrabury.

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The walk starts with a climb from Boscastle Harbour onto Forrabury Common and joins the coast path, passing the mediaeval field system of "stitches" and the coastguard lookout. The route continues past "The Ladies Window" archway near Trevalga, before descending into the salte canyons of Rocky Valley. The walk follows the river to the top of Rocky Valley and then climbs up to Trethevy, where there is a mediaeval chapel and holy well. The route from here heads across farmland to Trevalga, passing the church and ancient wayside cross, before reaching the church at Forrabury and finally descending into Boscastle.


  • The route includes a 400 metre stretch and a couple of shorter stretches of the B3263 where traffic is likely, especially in busy holiday periods.
  • Route includes paths close to unfenced cliff edges.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 111
  • Distance: 6.2 miles/10 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots, or trainers in summer

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 111 OS Explorer 111 (laminated version)

Click or tap on map for more info (blue=laminated)


  • Historic fishing village and harbour at Boscastle
  • Spectacular coastline around Trevalga
  • Labyrinthine stone carvings in the ancient woodland of Rocky Valley
  • St Piran's holy well and chapel at Trethevy
  • Picturesque hamlet of Trevalga
  • Mediaeval land tenure at Forrabury Common, surrounding its historic church

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Cobweb Inn
  • The Wellington Hotel


  1. From the car park in Boscastle, turn left and follow the road, past the shops and cafés, to the signpost on the bridge.

    As you pass the Cornish Pasties on offer, consider that the potato came from South America and wasn't widely available until the late 18th Century.

    "Pasty" was another word used for "pie" throughout England from the Middle Ages onward, and did not necessarily imply the characteristic shape and crimping we associate with the Cornish Pasty. A pasty recipe from 1746 contains no veg, just meat (venison), port wine and spices. The first "Cornish pasty" recipe is from 1861 which contained just beef and no veg.

    Even during Victorian times, main meat available to poor people would have been pork. The Cornish dialect word for a pork flatbread eaten in the mines during the 18th and 19th Centuries is hogen (pronounced "hugg-un") which evolved into "oggy" - the dialect word for pasty. The really poor had a "tiddy oggy" (with no meat at all).

    The "traditional" Cornish Pasty recipe contains beef, onion, potato and swede (referred to as "turnip" in the local dialect from its more formal name of "Swedish turnip") seasoned with salt and pepper. It's thought that this probably dates from the late 18th Century (when the Poldark novels were set) when potatoes and turnips were a staple diet for the poor but the first documented "traditional" recipe is not until 1929. Over 120 million Cornish pasties are now consumed each year.

  2. Turn right at the signpost, and follow the path along the right-hand side of the river, past the Visitors' Centre to another bridge.

    The building just before the Visitor's Centre is the old lime kiln.

    The lime kiln in Boscastle is located next to the Visitor's Centre, beside the harbour. It was built in late 18th century and was used to convert imported limestone into quicklime, using either culm (soft sooty coal found in North Devon and Northeast Cornwall) or "proper" coal shipped in from South Wales to fire the kiln. The lime was used to reduce the acidity of the soil in the fields (improving the absorption of nitrates from animal dung) and also to make mortar, plaster and whitewash for the cottages.

  3. Turn left, across the bridge, onto the other side of the river and take the track signposted for the coast path to Willapark. Follow it a short distance to a fork.

    As you cross the bridge, the terrace of cottages to your left on the opposite bank were once a manganese mill.

    The terrace of cottages opposite Boscastle's visitor's centre (on the other side of the river) was once a manganese mill. The mill was used to crush the ore to a powder which was then exported by ship for a variety of uses: glass manufacturers for colourising; cotton mills for bleach-making; and steelmakers for hardening iron. Whilst manganese is an essential trace element, prolonged high doses are toxic and the harm from the dust in the air, in mills such as this, was not known about until late Victorian times.

  4. At the fork, keep left to follow the stony track, passing one waymarked path to reach another waymarked path just before a gate.

    The small house at the end of the terrace on your left is known as The Old Store House.

    The house now known as The Old Store House is located on the harbour opposite to Boscastle Visitors' Centre. Although the name might suggest storage of cargo, in fact it was built to store horse-drawn rocket-firing equipment for marine rescue.

  5. At the waymark, bear left up the steps and follow the path a short distance to where it joins another.

    The adjoining pair of cottages by the harbour wall in Boscastle, known as Highwater and Highwater Cottage, were built at different times. The cottage on the right with four-paned windows dates from the mid nineteenth century. The left-hand cottage with the protruding upper windows is older and is thought to date from around the mid-late eighteenth century. It's thought the latter could be the former Sun Dial Inn which was listed for sale in 1792 and has since vanished. The proximity of the inn to the harbour would certainly have been good for "passing trade" from thirsty sailors coming ashore.

  6. Bear right at the junction and follow the path to another waymark at a junction of paths on the headland.

    The steep-sided valley of the river Valency forms a sheltered natural harbour at Boscastle. The two stone harbour walls date back to Elizabethan times, built in 1584. The outer breakwater was built in 1820, but destroyed in 1941 by a drifting mine and then rebuilt by the National Trust.

    The harbour was very difficult to approach in a sailing ship and it was not safe for ships to enter under their own sail. On a ship's arrival, a boat with eight men, known as a "hobbler", would go out to tow them into the harbour, whilst men on the shore held the ship in the middle of the channel, using ropes.

  7. From the waymark, follow the steps of the coast path gradually up the headland until you reach a pair of gates.

    There are excellent views over Boscastle Harbour from this stretch of path. You can also take a short diversion to the right onto the quay, returning here to continue the walk. The rocky island in the mouth of the harbour is The Meachard.

    The Meachard is an island rock in the mouth of Boscastle Harbour. In the spring and summer, it is home to colonies of seabirds, in particular razorbills which can be seen tumbling off the edge of the rock and spreading their wings at the very last moment before hitting the sea. There is a small blowhole on the inside of the island which can be seen venting spray when the sea is rough.

  8. Go through the gate on the right, in the direction of Willapark shown on the waymark. Follow the path, bearing right when it merges with another, to reach the coastguard lookout.

    Boscastle Coastguard Lookout is located on Willapark headland, to the south of Boscastle's harbour. The coastguard lookout was built in the 1800s, originally as a summerhouse, by a successful merchant, similarly to Doyden Castle at Port Quin. After this, it was leased to the Board of Trade and used by the Revenue men to prevent smuggling. When duties were cut and smuggling collapsed, it was used as a coastguard lookout until the 1970s. After this, it was acquired by the National Trust and maintained as a folly. In 2002 it was leased to the National Coastwatch Institute and is now run as a voluntary lookout.

  9. Pass around the coastguard lookout to face inland then follow the path along the right-hand side of the headland. Keep following the path until it ends at a gate.

    On your right is Western Blackapit which is a notorious spot for shipwrecks.

    In January of 1843, the Jessie Logan was en route from Calcutta to Liverpool, with a mixed cargo. On 16th January, a heavy gale drove it on the shore and it struck, between three and four in the afternoon, on the rocks near Blackapit, on the approach to Boscastle Harbour. All the crew perished. A great part of her cargo came ashore including bags containing rice, sugar, and some cotton. Customs officers and the coast guard attempted to protect the cargo from a crowd of locals armed with sticks, which involved punches being thrown and cutlasses wielded. Despite their efforts, a large amount was carried off by the locals. The two ringleaders were later prosecuted "for feloniously plundering and stealing from a ship" and received twelve months of Hard Labour.

  10. Go through the gate and turn right onto the coast path, keeping right along the coast, until you reach a waymark for Tintagel in front of a gate.

    At the bottom of the cliffs on your right, debris from the wrecked ship Alliance was washed up.

    The Alliance was a ship wrecked near Boscastle, with debris washing up just west of Boscastle near Willapark headland. In December 1884, the steam-powered cargo freighter disappeared while en route from Cardiff to St Nazaire with a cargo of coal from the Welsh valleys. The type of coal she was carrying was liable to produce methane in wet conditions and was known to cause ships to spontaneously explode. However, an investigation found the ship to be well ventilated and in good seaworthy condition when she left port and they concluded that the ship probably foundered off the North Cornish coast in the North Westerly gale. All 16 members of the crew perished.

  11. Go through the gate and follow the path down into the valley and across the bottom to reach a stile.

    California Quarry is the northernmost of the coastal state quarries between Boscastle and Tintagel. You can still see the stone foundations of the wooden tower used to haul the slate up from the cliff face.

    Trilobite fossils can occasionally be found in slates in the slate tips here. They used to be common, but much of the slate tips have now fallen into the sea. If you're hunting for trilobites, look for slates with yellow or brown blotches as these are the slates from the Carboniferous period (about 340-350 million years ago) which are the ones containing fossils.

  12. Cross the stile and follow the path through a gate and down into the next valley to a footbridge over the stream.

    The remains of Welltown quarry lies on the headland between California and Grower quarries, near Trevalga. These three quarries have been earmarked as "heritage quarries" which, in principle, could be reopened in the future for small scale extraction for repairs to heritage buildings. If so, dangling above the raging sea to extract slate from the cliff face may present some modern-day Health and Safety challenges.

  13. When you reach the footbridge, cross a stile and a second footbridge and follow the coast path up from the valley to a waymark in a field beside a wooden walkway.

    Grower Quarry is situated on the coast between Boscastle and Trevalga. The slate quarried along this stretch of coast was deposited in the transition between the Devonian and Carboniferous periods, around 360 million years ago, when Cornwall was still at the bottom of the (Rheic) Ocean. The older Upper Devonian slates (which is the period in which Delabole slate was deposited) are harder and finer than those that came later. The later slates, deposited as the ocean became shallower, are more likely to contain fossils.

  14. Bear right to cross the walkway and then follow the path across the diagonal of the field to a stile consisting of slate footholds in the opposite corner.

    There are several quite common plants (catsear, hawkbit and hawksbeard) which all have yellow flowers similar to dandelion. Their main flowering period is later in the summer (late June and through July) than dandelion which itself peaks in April-May. If you want to have a crack and figuring out exactly which you are looking at, the leaves offer a good clue.

    Catsear is the most common, especially along the coast, and is the easiest one to tell apart as the leaves are hairy (hence the name).

    Hawkbit and hawksbeard both have non-hairy, deeply toothed leaves like dandelion but the leaves are narrower than dandelion. Hawksbeard has very well-defined "shark teeth" along most of the stem leading to the solid patch of leaf on the tip that all three have - these teeth are as wide as the widest part of the leaf. In hawkbit, these teeth are so tiny that the stem is nearly bare for about half its length.

    One other plant with flowers similar to the dandelion is the sow thistle but this is easily recognised by its spiky thistle-like leaves.

    Purple loosestrife usually grows in damp places such as next to a stream and can be spotted from spikes of bright purple flowers in August-September.

    The common name is thought to be the result of a 16th century mistranslation of the Latin name. Attempts were then made to make "loose strife" fit with reported uses for the plant to try to rationalise the wacky name. The Latin name is now thought simply to refer to the name of city in Thrace (Greek-Turkish border) which perhaps had the plant growing along its watercourses.

    Stonechats are robin-sized birds with a black head and orange breast that are common along the Cornish coast all year round.

    A similar-looking bird called the whinchat is also present in the summer but this can be identified by a white stripe across its eye. Both stonechats and whinchats can often be spotted perching on dead sticks or brambles protruding above gorse and heather, and consequently the term "gorse chat" or "furze chat" has been used locally to mean either species. For a long time, stonechats and whinchats were thought to be members of the thrush family but genetic studies have revealed they are actually members of the (Old World) flycatcher family.

  15. Cross the wall via the stile and follow the path until it merges onto a track.

    The offshore rocks are home to colonies of razorbills and guillemots.

    Razorbills and guillemots are the surviving cousins of the extinct great auk. After centuries of being hunted for feathers, meat and eggs, the last great auk in Britain was beaten to death in 1840 for being a witch.

    Razorbills are the now largest of the auk species and only come to land to breed. They have a characteristic thin white stripe across their eye in the breeding season. Guillemot is a fairly loose term used for any auk that isn't a razorbill! There are two distinct families of species referred to as guillemots: the first are the members of the razorbill family which are also black with a white belly; the second family are all black with red legs.

  16. Bear right onto the track and follow this to where a path departs to the right marked with a Coast Path signpost, just before a gate.

    The coastline around Trevalga is particularly spectacular, with a number of offshore rocks which provide homes for seabird colonies. Guillimots, razorbills, cormorants and shags, puffins and several types of gull are known to nest here.

  17. At the signpost, turn right off the track onto the coast path towards Tintagel Castle and follow it through two kissing gates to a waymark on the skyline.

    From the waymark, a path leads to a bench and on to The Ladies Window overlooking Short Island.

    The rock arch on the cliffs at Trevalga, known as the Lady's Window, was formed around 370 million years ago. Sediments laid down at the bottom of the ocean, initially formed crumbly shales. Around 40 million years later, when Cornwall was pushed out of the sea, the intense pressure and heat from the colliding contents transformed some of the shale into hard rocks called phillites. The softer rocks above have been worn away, exposing these hard rocks. Gradual weathering has created the hole through the middle.

    More about The Lady's Window.

  18. From the waymark, follow the path along the coast and eventually down into a deep gorge at Rocky Valley, to a footbridge.

    Along this path is a viewpoint over Long Island, which is also a nice spot for a picnic in the summer. To reach it: from the waymark, follow the coast path over the ridge and over one bed of slate to a second bed of slate. The footpath to the viewpoint departs to the right where the coast path crosses the slate.

    Long and Short Island are two rock stacks off Firebeacon hill at Trevalga. The names of Long and Short Island are known to date back at least as far as the 1750s, and are presumed to refer to the respective heights of the two rocky islets, with Long Island reported as being 300ft high. There are large seabird colonies on both islets and a few pairs of puffins are sometimes seen nesting here; before the mid-20th century, there were many more.

  19. Cross the footbridge at the bottom of the valley and head to the coast path signpost. Turn left towards Halgabron and follow the path up the valley to another footbridge.

    Rocky Valley, on the way out of Tintagel towards Boscastle, has been formed by the Trevillet river carving its way through the slate bedrock, and was mentioned in travel books as a place of exceptional beauty as early as 1897. The river cascades through woodland, before opening out into a canyon which meets the coast.

  20. Cross the bridge and continue a few paces to a waymark, then bear left between the buildings until you reach another waymark. Follow the path from here to pass over a bridge and reach a fork in the path. Keep right at the fork to reach a footbridge crossing the river.

    On the rock face beside the waymark, about half way down Rocky Valley near Trewethett Mill, are some labyrinthine stone carvings. The age of the carvings is unknown: some historians think they could be as early as bronze age, others think they are much more recent.

    More about the Rocky Valley carvings

  21. Cross the footbridge and follow the path on the other side, keeping right along the fence to another footbridge (ignore the little bridge on the left).

    Trout are members of the Salmon family who all have an extra tiny (adipose) fin on their back towards their tail, that most other fish don't have. No-one is quite sure what the purpose is of this fin but a neural network in the fin indicates that it has some kind of sensory function.

    The trout that supermarkets and trout farms stock is the Rainbow Trout (which has a red flush along its side) and is native to North America not to the UK. Our native trout is the Brown Trout which has well-defined dark red spots along its sides. You can often make out the spots when you see them lying in pools. Rainbow Trout are often stocked in fishing lakes so do sometimes escape into the wild.

    Small trout typically feed on invertebrates whereas larger trout generally feed on other fish but have been known to eat anything of a suitable size unlucky enough to fall into a river. In fact in New Zealand, mouse-shaped lures are sold for trout fishing!

  22. Cross the footbridge and follow the path a few paces to reach the driveway. Bear left to follow the driveway uphill to the main road.

    Overshot wheels can achieve higher efficiencies than undershot wheels and can operate using a smaller volume of water which explains why they were generally preferred, particularly in steep-sided Cornish valleys.

    A 2004 Civil Engineering publication concluded that high energy conversion efficiencies (of around 85-90%) were possible from overshot waterwheels and that if these can be manufactured cheaply, they could provide an environmentally sound means of small-scale electricity production.

  23. Turn left onto the main road and, being careful of traffic, follow it to Halgabron Mill and up the hill to Trethevy.
  24. From the Trethevy sign, follow the road to a car park on the left. Cut through this to rejoin the road and follow it to a slate bus shelter with a brown sign.

    Trethevy has been recorded on OS maps as Trethevey (with an extra "e") since Victorian times and still appears on modern OS maps like this despite road signs, Cornwall Council and Google all using "Trethevy".

    The first record of the place name is from 1196 as Tredewi. It is thought to be based on a personal name ("Dewi's farm"). The "d" in the recorded name is likely to be from the Cornish letter "dh" which is pronounced a bit like "th". The place name Trethewey is from the same origin. There are some other places in Cornwall named Trethevy too (all formerly Trethewy) so perhaps the Dewi family were quite successful landowners in early mediaeval times.

  25. Where you see the brown St Nectan's Glen sign, take the second right off the main road onto a tarmacked residential road passing Trethevy Barns. Follow the road round to the left past a row of houses to a junction onto the main road.

    The chapel in Trethevy dates from mediaeval times, first recorded in 1457 mentioning a chapel dedicated to St Piran. Most things dedicated to St Piran occur further west in Cornwall but the association here dates back at least to Norman times when the Domesday book records that the nearby manor of Tregrembri was owned by the monks of "St Pieran". After the dissolution of the monasteries during the Tudor period, the chapel was used as a farm building. This continued until 1941 when its owner gave it back to the Church of England and it was rebuilt in 1942. The first mass was held in the chapel on 8th February 1944 and he died later that day.

    St Piran's Well at Trethevy is recorded in 1880 and included a hand pump behind it to draw water. The pyramidal slate structure above the well is relatively recent, built in the mid-20th Century. This was built onto the slate support for an open-fronted hut for a cart which formerly stood next to the well.

  26. At the junction, cross the main road and turn right. Then follow the road past the house on the right until you reach a public footpath sign on the left.

    King Arthur's Quoit is in the entrance to a caravan park to your left.

    The round stone beside the main road outside the holiday park in Trethevy is thought to be a Dolmen (burial chamber) roof slab. It is one of the two known as "King Arthur's Quoit". The other one is on Bodmin Moor near Minions. The one near Minions is sometimes known as Trethevy Quoit. It you're confused, you're not the only one!

  27. Follow the public footpath over a stile and cross the diagonal of the field (or follow the footpath signs through the crop if present) to a gateway in the opposite corner.

    The field here is often used for crops with a corridor for the footpath around the edge.

    In the 40 years since 1960, the global production of cereal crops tripled, with wheat accounting for more than all the other crops combined. One of the factors driving the increase is processed foods where the stretchy and adhesive properties of gluten are made use of.

  28. Go through the gate and turn right onto the track. Follow this towards the church until it ends in a junction.

    Silverweed is a creeping plant which is fairly easily recognised by its silver-green toothed leaves. The silver colour is caused by hairs on the leaves. Yellow flowers with 5 petals appear in late June. It is said that the Romans used it as insoles for their shoes on long marches.

    An acre is a unit of area dating back to mediaeval times, based on the amount of land that could be ploughed with a yoke of oxen in one day. It was standardised in 1824 as a rectangle of 4 rods (66 feet) by one furlong (660 feet). The 10:1 "letterbox" aspect ratio comes from the long, thin field shapes in mediaeval times to minimise the awkward process of turning the oxen around. In fact the name "furlong" comes from the Old English for "one furrow long". The acre has since lost its prescribed shape and now just means 43,560 square feet.

  29. At the end of the track, turn right and follow the lane to a waymark next to the church.

    The entire village of Trevalga is owned by Marlborough College - a public school in Wiltshire. It was left in trust so that the village and parish would remain unspoiled for future generations. Consequently there are a number of original old slate buildings that have remained unchanged for many decades. In 2010, the college was told that it was breaking charity law by owning a hamlet, and thereafter placed the entire estate on the market causing uproar amongst the tenants, and became know as "The Battle of Trevalga" featuring in the national news and a radio 4 documentary. The legality of the sale is being disputed by the Trustees and Tenants of the estate and the sale has been suspended until this is resolved.

  30. Turn left at the waymark and follow the track past the church gate to a junction.

    The Norman church at Trevalga, dedicated to St Petroc, makes use of a type of stone known as Blue Elvan or Greenstone which occurs in small pockets in North Cornwall and was highly valued by local stonemasons as it can be finely carved. The church tower was built a little later in the 13th Century and reworked in the 15th Century. The wheel-headed wayside cross next to the south door could be as old as 8th Century (just before Celtic Cornwall was conquered by the Anglo-Saxons).

  31. Take the footpath on the opposite side of the road, either over the stile, or through the gate, if open. Cross the yard to the gate opposite.

    Swallows are known by the name "barn swallow" due to their preference for nesting in man-made structures open to the elements such as stables or under bridges. Before these were available, swallows used to nest in caves and on cliff faces but they now nest almost exclusively on man-made structures. In the case of barns, these are conveniently located near insects associated with livestock. They may also be using presence of humans to help keep predators away.

    Originally, the religion of the Cornish Britons was Celtic polytheism - a pagan, animistic faith, assumed to be led by Druids. Celtic Christianity was introduced to Cornwall in the year 520 by Saint Petroc, a Brython from the kingdom of Glywysing, and other missionaries from Wales, as well as by Gaelic monks and holy women from Ireland.

  32. Go through the gate and follow the right hedge to the gate in the far corner.

    The Ramblers Association and National Farmers Union suggest some "dos and don'ts" for walkers which we've collated with some info from the local Countryside Access Team.


    • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves
    • Be prepared for farm animals to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
    • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
    • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
    • Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep.
    • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
    • If you and your dog feel threatened, work your way to the field boundary and quietly make your way to safety.
    • Report any dangerous incidents to the Cornwall Council Countryside Access Team - phone 0300 1234 202 for emergencies or for non-emergencies use the iWalk Cornwall app to report a footpath issue (via the menu next to the direction on the directions screen).


    • If you are threatened by cattle, don't hang onto your dog: let it go to allow the dog to run to safety.
    • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way around the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible.
    • Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
  33. Cross the stile next to the gate and cross the field to a stone stile next to the gate opposite.

    The word "crow" is sometimes used to refer to the whole crow family (including jackdaws, rooks and ravens) and sometimes specifically to the common (carrion) crow. Carrion crows can be distinguished from their cousins by being totally black (jackdaws have grey heads, rooks have pale beaks) and having a slender and fairly straight beak (i.e. not the broad beak with a hooked top that a raven has). Biologists use the word "corvids" for "crow family" to avoid ambiguity, or to show off.

  34. Cross the stile next to the gate and continue ahead to meet the hedge opposite then follow along this to reach a stone stile next to a gate.

    Slate is formed when clay or volcanic ash is compressed under millions of years of deposits to form shale, and then the shale is subject to a (relatively low, in geological terms) heat and pressure transforming it into a harder, less-crumbly rock - slate. The heat and pressure can arise from an intrusion of molten magma into the sedimentary rocks or from the friction associated with collision of tectonic plates. Like shale, slate also has a layered structure, splitting into thin sheets which have proven ideal for shedding water from roofs without collapsing them under the weight of stone. However, the direction that the slate splits into layers is often not the same as the direction of the layers that were laid down in the original shale. This is because a reorganisation of the mineral components occurs during the metamorphosis, based on the direction that the pressure was applied. In other words, it's possible to have stripey slates.

  35. Cross the stile then head across the field to the stile opposite.

    One of the nutrients that plants need are nitrates in order to make amino acids for building proteins. Plants in the pea family (also known as legumes) are able to manufacture their own nitrates from nitrogen in the atmosphere. The nitrates are later released into the soil when the leaves die and rot. The overall process of turning atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates in the soil is known as "nitrogen fixing" and this makes legumes useful in crop rotations to replenish nitrogen removed by other crops without resorting to chemical fertilisers. As well as peas and beans, clovers and vetches are also members of this family.

  36. Cross the stile and the footbridge, and head across the field to the stile opposite.

    Since prehistoric times, a year of fallow was used to allow soil nutrients to recover before planting a crop the following year. By the end of the Middle Ages, a three-year scheme was in use with alternating crops allowing production two out of three years. In the 18th Century a four-crop rotation was introduced (wheat, turnips, barley, and clover) which not only resulted in continuous production but included a grazing crop and a winter fodder crop, providing food for livestock throughout the year. Crops used in the rotation had different nutrient demands, giving the soil chance to recover. In particular, bean crops and clover impart nitrogen into the soil and are therefore a key part of modern rotation schemes. As well as balancing the use of soil nutrients between years, by staggering the rotation in adjacent fields, the spread of pests and diseases is reduced.

  37. Cross the stile then head to the left of the enclosure containing the buildings to reach a waymarked gate.

    The "herringbone" style of walling built with tightly packed alternating diagonal slate courses, is unique to Cornwall's heritage.

    Traditionally, hedges (stone boundary walls) were built with whatever was cleared out of the fields, whilst buildings were constructed from stone that was quarried and cut. On a long wall, the herringbone sections are often between "towers" of flat-laid slate (built from the larger and squarer stones) which helped to prevent the wall slumping sideways.

  38. Cross the stile next to the gate and go through the waymarked kissing gate directly in front of it. Follow the drive leading away from the houses through a gate and pass the barns to reach a waymark where the driveway bends.
  39. At the waymark, turn right to stay on the tarmac and follow the driveway to a junction onto the main road.

    Welltown Manor is situated just off the main road between Trevalga and Forrabury. The manor was built towards the start of the 16th Century and has been described as having "remarkably well-preserved details". It was built for the Tinke family who were middle-class farm owners (which was termed yeoman at the time). Many of the surrounding fields between Forrabury and Trevalga would have been part of this estate.

  40. Turn left onto the road and follow it a short distance until you reach a Y-shaped junction.
  41. Bear left down the small lane and follow it to a T-junction.
  42. At the T-junction, turn left and follow the lane to a bend where a stony track continues ahead.

    Nettle fibres have been used to make clothing since at least the Bronze Age (textiles made from nettle fibre were found at a Bronze Age site in Denmark). During the First World War, almost all German army uniforms were made from nettles to avoid a shortage of cotton. In more recent years, some European countries have started modern commercial production of nettle-based textiles. A textiles student who produced "nettle knickers" for her university project commented that the fibres are coarser than cotton so it is probably more suited to workwear than underwear.

  43. At the corner, go straight ahead onto the stony track (with a "To the coastpath" signpost gradually disappearing in ivy), and keep right to follow the path through the gate and reach a kissing gate.

    Once you've made your sloe gin, don't throw away your gin-soaked sloes! Instead buy some cheap sweet "cooking" cider (the kind that comes in 2 litre plastic bottles preferably with words like "value", "basic" or "economy"; do not commit heresy and waste good quality drinking cider) and replace the gin with this. Ensure your lid is on tight so your cider doesn't lose its fizz. Leave to infuse for a few more months for your cider to become osmotically fortified. The resulting delightful drink is known as "slider" (after several glasses anyway). Based on "experience", small-sized glasses are recommended.

    Since the multi-lobed leaves are found in shade, whist the teardrop leaves are found in sun, this allows the leaves of ivy plants growing up trees to be used as a compass. Unless something is in the way then the sunniest side of a tree is to the south and the shadiest is to the north.

  44. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path along the right hedge to another kissing gate in the corner of the field.

    The name "Kissing Gate" is based on the way that the gate touches either side of the enclosure. Romantics may however wish to interpret the name as part of the walk instructions.

  45. Go through the kissing gate and follow the right hedge to a waymark. Then turn right along the track, following it until you reach the entrance to the churchyard on your right.

    Forrabury Common, overlooking Boscastle, can be reached via the coast path from Boscastle, or the path from Forrabury church. The Common is divided into 42 plots known as Stitches. This was a mediaeval form of land tenure called Stitch Meal, where long, curving plots of land with 1-2 feet of grass in between, are planted with different crops. The Stitches are most visible between late March and late September; over the winter, the Common is grazed.

  46. Go through the gate on the right and follow the path through the churchyard to the church.

    St. Symphorian's Church, on Forrabury Common above Boscastle, was originally built over 900 years ago and featured in the poetry of J.S. Hawker as "the silent tower of Bottreaux". According to legend, it has no bells because the ship carrying them was hit by a freak wave and went down just off the coast, with only one survivor. In Victorian times, the main part of the church was rebuilt and extended significantly, but the original Norman tower was left intact.

  47. At the church door, turn right and follow the path out of the churchyard gate. Once through the gate, bear left past the bench and cross over a track. Follow the path leading downhill to reach the lane.

    Along the path to the right from the church gate is a 10th Century granite wayside cross. The back of it has drill holes from where it had been used as a gatepost by a local farmer until being rescued by the Victorian gentry and relocated near the church.

  48. Turn left onto the lane and follow it downhill to a junction with the main road.

    The site of Bottreaux Castle can be reached by a small diversion; on reaching the junction with the main road, cross onto the lane opposite and bear right, following the lane uphill and around a long left corner until you see a signposted path to Bottreaux Castle on your left.

    The site of Bottreaux Castle is located on the west side of the Jordan Valley in Boscastle, about half way down the old main road; there is a signposted path to the old castle site. Bottreaux Castle was the 12th century fortress of the de Botterells which included extensive dungeons. Very little apart from the mound now remains, as over the centuries the residents of Boscastle "reused" stones from the castle to build their houses, but it provides a good view point over the village and harbour.

    The stream at the floor of the valley is the River Jordan.

    The River Jordan joins the River Valency at the Bridge in Boscastle and collects water from another steep-sided valley, doubling the floodwaters that descend on Boscastle in heavy rain. The name is thought to be a corruption of the French - jardin - from Norman times, and may refer to the gardens surrounding Bottreaux Castle, which could conceivably have run down to the river. The River Jordan was originally the dividing line between the separate parishes of Forrabury and Minster until they were united in 1702.

  49. Cross the road onto the lane opposite and slightly to the left (with a No Entry sign), and follow this downhill to a junction onto Old Road. Turn left and walk down the hill back into Boscastle until the road ends in a T-junction next to The Wellington Inn.

    The Wellington Hotel is located at the bottom of the old main road in Boscastle, across the road from the harbour. "The Welly", as it's known locally, is the old village coaching inn. Some parts of the building are 4 centuries old, but most of it dates from 1853 when the number of travellers to the area increased. It was once called the Bos Castle Hotel, but was renamed on the death of the Duke of Wellington in 1852. The lamps are originally from St Juliot Church and were quite possibly designed by Thomas Hardy.

  50. Turn right at the junction and follow the main road over the bridge back to the car park.

    Opposite the entrance to the car park is the Cobweb Inn.

    The Cobweb Inn is a public house located in Boscastle at the south-east edge of the village, opposite the public car park. The inn was previously a wine cellar and flour store dating from the late 1700s. It has traditionally always had cobwebs hung from the roof beams as apparently this was thought to keep flies off stored wines and spirits. It was converted to a pub in 1947 when tourism to North Cornwall surged after the end of the war. The cobwebs remained on the beams until the 1990s, when Health and Safety inspectors required that they be removed.

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