Bossiney’s Rocky Valley

Quiet field paths lead to a hike down an atmospheric valley and along a dramatic coastline.

NEAREST LOCATION

Bossiney

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

1.75 miles (2.8kms)

ASCENT
213ft (65m)
TIME
1hr 20min
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Hard
STARTING POINT
SX067889

About the walk

The village of Tintagel and its dramatic headland ‘castle’ is where Cornwall’s King Arthur industry reaches a climax. It’s a serious business for some, and good fun for all, but even King Arthur and all the trappings that go with him pale into insignificance before the truly awesome coastline of this part of North Cornwall. This lovely walk takes you from Tintagel’s quieter neighbouring village of Bossiney through an inspiring landscape that needs no souvenirs to keep your memories fresh. You can even let your Arthurian imagination run riot as you walk down the atmospheric Rocky Valley, with its tumbling stream, cauldron-shaped rock pools and gushing waterfalls, to emerge on a coastline of castle-like cliffs and pinnacles.

Rocky Valley is said to have been the last breeding ground of that other Arthurian symbol of ancient Cornwall, the red-legged, red-billed chough, a member of the crow family. The chough became extinct in the mid-twentieth century, although today it is being re-introduced in the far west of Cornwall. From the Gothic depths of Rocky Valley, the walk takes you on to the high cliffs of Bossiney Common, with impressive views of the vast cliffs and rocky pinnacles of Trewethet Gut and Saddle Rocks to the east and the great headland of Willapark to the west.

Atmospheric ruins

The stream that runs through Rocky Valley once supplied power to at least two mills. In the depth of the valley the footpath passes through the evocative ruins of Trewethet Mill, where cloth and yarn were produced until 1861. What gives the site added interest are two labyrinth symbols, or petroglyphs, that are found on a natural rock wall amongst the ruins. As you descend to the buildings, first divert down to the right into an open area between the walls of the mill and a rock outcrop. Here on the smooth shale are carved two small labyrinth symbols, uncovered from beneath lichen and vegetation in 1948 by a local man. They have since inspired much fanciful speculation to match the Arthurian excitement of Tintagel.

A large plaque on the rock wall above the carvings suggests a Bronze Age date for their creation, but they are much more likely to have been the work of a reflective mill worker of the 18th or 19th centuries with time on their hands.

 

Walk directions

From the car park, cross the main road (B3263) with care, then turn right past houses. In about 70yds (64m) turn left by the corner of a house, signed ‘Public Footpath’. Cross some gravel, go between two wooden fences, and continue directly down a surfaced driveway with wooden holiday chalets on your left.

Where the surfaced driveway bends round left, keep ahead and go down a surfaced track. In about 80yds (25m), just before the track peters out at a signpost to Halgabron, turn right and descend steeply, to cross a small bridge over a stream and go over a stile into a field.

Go up the steep field, bearing very slightly left, towards the opposite hedge. Go over a very high slate stile into a field. Go straight across the field, go over a stile and follow the right-hand edge of the next field. Go through a gate into a lane.

Turn left and follow the narrow surfaced lane through the hamlet of Halgabron. Descend a final steep section to reach the main road (B3263).

Cross the main road with great care and bear left down a surfaced driveway. Just before the first house on the left, go right, cross a wooden bridge and follow a rocky path alongside the often boisterous stream. Cross another wooden bridge and follow the stream to the ruins of Trewethet Mill, to seek out the rock carvings. Cross a wooden bridge and continue to a junction with the coast path.

Turn left along the coast path. (A rocky side path leads down right here towards some rock shelves. It can be dangerous when wet, and is only for the agile.) Follow the coast path up steep steps. Bear round left where it levels off, and follow the obvious well-worn path above the huge gulf of Benoath Cove. Keep to the main path ahead.

Descend steep, slate-faced steps into a deep trench above Bossiney Haven. You can descend to the beach here, but again this is only advised for the sure-footed and agile. Leave the coast path by turning left, and then follow the path through fields towards a TV mast and the car park.

Additional information

Easy field paths, sometimes awkward rocky paths; may be muddy during wet weather; several stiles

A dramatic coastline of high cliffs and headlands backed by green fields and small wooded valleys

Lead required through fields and built-up areas

OS Explorer 111 Bude, Boscastle & Tintagel

Bossiney

Bossiney car park

Been on this walk?

Send us photos or a comment about this route.

Know a good walk?

Share your route with us.

Walking in safety

Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.

Find out more

About the area

Discover Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Cornwall has just about everything – wild moorland landscapes, glorious river valley scenery, picturesque villages and miles of breathtaking coastline. With more than 80 surfing spots, there are plenty of sporting enthusiasts who also make their way here to enjoy wave-surfing, kite surfing and blokarting.

In recent years, new or restored visitor attractions have attracted even more visitors to the region; the Eden Project is famous for its giant geodesic domes housing exotic plants from different parts of the globe, while nearby the Lost Gardens of Heligan has impressive kitchen gardens and a wildlife hide.