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Three miles north east of Tintagel on the B3263 Boscastle is a pleasant little coastal village with a sheltered harbour quite close to Tintagel, a conservation area with some of the most beautiful countryside in the British Isles.
Boscastle was brought to national attention when on the 16th August 2004 a 12 feet high wall of mud and water swept down the steep valley of the River Valency destroying many of the historic buildings around the harbour. Who could forget scenes of cars being swept along the main street and into the harbour. It is now virtually returned to normal with great improvements to the flow of the river, hopefully it will never happen again.
Although most of the attention was around the small area surrounding the harbour, Boscastle is a spread out village that originally grew up and takes its name from the now demolished 'Bottreaux Castle', built in Norman times. The picturesque little medieval harbour is totally unspoilt and has a narrow entrance between towering cliffs, the only natural harbour between Hartland Point and Padstow which was originally formed by the rivers Valency and Jordon.
The harbour's inner jetty was built in 1584 was the port was a hive of activity with fishing, grain and slate. The outer breakwater dates from the 19th century, when Boscastle had become a commercial port handling coal, timber, slate and china clay. Because of the narrow entrance to the harbour and the often heavy seas ships were towed in by rowing boats, somewhat similar to 'pilot' boats today. There is a blowhole in the outer harbour that when conditions are right sends up plumes of spray, this is usually an hour before low water with a heavy sea running.
Alongside the slipway and one of the main casualties of the flood is the 'Museum of Witchcraft'. It claims to be the largest museum of its kind in the world, and was originally opened in 1951.
Thomas Hardy was a regular visitor to Boscastle, the port appears as 'Castle Boterel' in his early novel 'A pair of Blue Eyes'.
Much of the land around Boscastle is owned by the National Trust, the cliffs providing some excellent, and sometimes quite demanding walks. The South West Coast Path goes through here, it has now reopened after substantial damage during the flood.
The heart of the village consists of little old cottages with scattered rooftops clinging to the side of the beautiful Valencey Valley. The High Street buildings, many of which have stone and slate porches, and large slate flagstones. Featured in the village are craft and gift shops, a former water mill, tea rooms, restaurants and old Inns such as 'The Napolean' dating from the 16th century and 'The Cobweb' once a warehouse, both full of character that can only come from age.
Boscastle Tourist Information centre,is now housed in a former Pilchard Cellar in the centre of the village.
A mile or so up the River Valency is St Juliots Church, worked on by the 19th century novelist Thomas Hardy. Boscaste or where he met his wife Emma.
Boscastle Walking Festival:
There are two festivals in Boscatle - Boscastle Walking Week Festival is 15th -19th April this year We have some new walks and a non-wlaking activity each day for the non walker! and the Boscastle Food Arts and Crafts Festival is 5th and 6th October and all details can be obtained by our new website:- http://boscastlefestival.co.uk
or phoning the Boscastle Visitor Centre 01840 250 010. Website:- http://www.visitboscastleandtintagel.com
Boat Trips and Fishing:
Enjoy a trip to Long Island, sea birds such as Razor Bills, Guillemots and if you are very lucky Puffins can be seen and maybe even the occasional seal.
If you have good sea legs and enjoy fishing, join motor fishing boat 'Peginina' for a spot of wreck fishing 5 miles offshore. You will certainly sleep that night.
Boscastle is a good touring base with most of Cornwall being easily accessible, plus North Devon, with local moorlands, woodlands and rugged cliffs.