A bewitching reason to visit Boscastle

The north coast of Cornwall boasts some of the most striking scenery and charming villages imaginable.

We’ve spend treasured time in this lovely area of England, visiting villages like Portreath with its unspoilt coastal character; ‘Doc Martin’s’ Port Isaac with its whitewashed cottages and narrow alleys; Tintagel with its eye-catching Cornish castle ruins; and picture-postcard Bude by the sea.

But, among all this Cornish beauty, tradition and friendliness, we’ve developed a particular fondness for the quaint harbourside village of Boscastle.

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Located a short distance north-east of Tintagel, the Boscastle area has a particular appeal.

For a start, it has a wonderful Elizabethan-era harbour protected by two stone walls built in 1584.

The village of Boscastle then extends inland from the harbour up the valleys of the River Valency and the River Jordan.

The mainly stone cottages, visitor’s centre, hotel and sprinkling of shops are set against tree and bush-lined hills that creep right to the edge of the village.

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Streams and rivers dominate the landscape and the sound of water can be heard running beneath many of the buildings in the heart of Boscastle.

Because rivers converge in the harbour and hillsides loom almost above your head, Boscastle has suffered severe flooding, never more so than in 2004 when heavy rain caused extensive damage to the village.

The village lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which affords it the same status and protection as a National Park.

Boscastle was once a small port, importing limestone and coal, and exporting slate and other local produce.

Forrabury Stitches open fields

These day, much of the land in and around Boscastle is owned by the National Trust, including both sides of the harbour.

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The Trust also owns an area of land high above the village known as Forrabury Stitches – a site of great historic, landscape and wildlife value.

The fields on Forrabury Stitches are farmed in the ancient ‘stitchmeal’ open field system – once widespread in England but now extremely rare.

Oats, barley and grass are grown in the stitches and sheep or cattle graze there in winter.

Like much of the Cornwall’s north coast, the Boscastle area is popular with hikers and England’s South West Coast Path winds through the village.

A special enchantment

With such haunting natural beauty, it’s probably apt that Boscastle is also known for its link with witchcraft and the occult.

The village is the site of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, which houses exhibits about folk magic, ceremonial magic, Freemasonry and Wicca.

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Established in the area since the 1960’s, the museum is a popular tourist drawcard and, on our last visit to Boscastle, the village was hosting some type of European witchcraft conference.

In an area of the UK where stunning natural scenery and quaint villages are around almost every corner, the geography of Boscastle stands out from the crowd.

It is a beautiful and peaceful village, in a tranquil setting along one of the finest stretches of coastline imaginable.

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Distance from London

Boscastle is in Cornwall, about 250 miles or about four-and-threequarter-hours drive from London via the M4 and the M5.

Alternatively, the journey can be done by train and bus from London Paddington. This journey takes about eight hours.

Thanks: Main harbour photo courtesy JUweL Wikimedia Commons 2hoto of witchcraft museum courtesy of Überraschungsbilder Wikimedia Commons.

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