Boscastle is a pretty village and fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall located in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ just a few miles from the popular holiday towns of Tintagel and Bude.
Its harbour is a natural inlet protected by two stone walls and was built in 1584 by Sir Richard Grenville, an English sailor and Captain of the galleon ‘Revenge’ who died at the Battle of Flores in 1591. Boscastle Harbour is the only main port along the 20 mile coastline and is a place of great beauty and steeped in history. It is a popular tourist attraction.
The port was once a hive of activity. With its fishing fleets and small trawlers it was also a location for importing limestone, coal and slate as well as local produce. However, the entrance to the harbour was hazardous and the ships had to be towed in by eight man rowing boats called ‘hobblers’ to prevent accidents.
Trading took place between Wales, Bristol and the South of England. Ox and horse wagons would have met the ships on the quayside ready to load and unload the cargo. This meant that the district between Boscastle, Tintagel, Camelford and Delabole was mainly dependent upon the harbour at Boscastle for its imports.
On the outer harbour a ‘blowhole’ sometimes sends plumes of spray up into the air creating a dramatic scene and adding to the somewhat mysterious atmosphere of the port.
The harbour has been the location of many dramas and the area is synonymous with smugglers who would use the nearby coves to stash their contraband and then, when the time was right, they would move the cargo on board the ships and be on their way out to sea.
FLOODS AND RESCUE
The village was prone to severe flooding and during the floods of 1950 a number of houses had sea water coming in at the back door and going out through the front, taking everything with it.
Two young women were trying to save their possessions when the flood water came through the back door and they got washed away but a man who was near the river some distance downstream rescued them. Had he have not been there at that very moment the two women would have drowned.
‘PRETTIEST VILLAGE IN ENGLAND’
Boscastle has been described as the ‘prettiest village’ in England, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The landscape is spectacular with its twin valleys fed by the Rivers Valency and Jordan. With rugged cliffs and shoreline it certainly lives up to its wild yet reputation.
The village is unspoilt by change; it is steeped in history both maritime and commercial and has been a location that has inspired many a poet, artist and author over the centuries. For walkers the village provides a dream setting with access to the south west coastal path.
THE LONELY CAVE DWELLER
In the late 1970s, at a place known as ‘Willa Park Promontory,’ there lived a cave dweller fondly, known as ‘Bill Goat.’ His age was not known and all of his family had died. He was rarely seen by locals and was shy and quiet and always kept himself to himself.
What became of Bill is not known but below his cave was a sheer, perpendicular drop and those who knew him think he may have fallen to his death
Boscastle and its Rector at the time, Christine Musser, provided the focus for the BBC television series ‘A Seaside Parish’ that was broadcast in 2004.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A39 (Rd), Gillards Moor, St Gennys, Bude
Cornwall, England, EX23 0BG
+44 (0)1840 230 650
- Address: Penally Hill (Rd), Boscastle, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, PL35 0HA
- GPS: 50.69129722,-4.697288889
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: PL35 0HA
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Helen Hotson