Winter – when waves crash on the beaches and winds batter the cliffs – can be the best time of year to fully appreciate Cornwall’s dramatic coastal scenery.
And with daylight in such short supply at this time of year, it’s a good idea to get outside when you can. So wrap up warm, lace up your walking boots, pack a flask and hit the coast path.
Boscastle & Pentargon Waterfall, 1.7 miles
This is a lovely, easy walk that offers not only a waterfall, but a blowhole too, and a choice of cafés at the end in which to warm and reward yourself.
- Park in the main Boscastle carpark (PL35 0HE for SatNavs) and walk down towards the harbour. Follow the Coast Path from the north side of the harbour, climb the hill and continue along the cliff tops to Pentargon. Just before a traditional stone stile, you will see Pentargon Waterfall. Time your visit at low tide and the water cascades in a booming torrent from the harbour blowhole.
- After crossing the stile, the walk runs inland towards a road and then alongside the hedge through a kissing gate, then through a white field gate to follow the private lane. The lane brings you back to the harbour and has great views over the village.
- At the end of your walk, choose from the National Trust Cafe or Sails for a spot of lunch or afternoon tea.
Mawgan Porth to St Mawgan, 4 miles
- From the junction in Mawgan Porth, head along the small lane, signposted to Mawgan. Follow the lane past the Magic Cove sign until you reach a public bridleway sign on the left.
- Bear left down the bridleway to reach a junction in the campsite. Cross to the track opposite, marked Bridleway to Eco Terrace. Follow it to the end of the buildings.
- After the buildings, follow the track ahead, until you reach a waymark and footpath sign.
- Turn right down the footpath, signposted to St Mawgan, and cross the stream. Follow the path until it reaches a footbridge over the river.
- Cross the footbridge and follow the path a short distance to reach a lane.
- Bear right onto the lane and follow it uphill until you reach a junction opposite Menalhyl Yard.
- Go through the pedestrian gate into Menalhyl Yard towards the far gate. Follow the pathway to the left of the gate across the meadow until you eventually reach a stile.
- Cross the stile and follow the path through the trees, until it emerges onto a track next to a public footpath sign.
- Follow the lane away from Windsor Mill until it eventually ends at a crossroads beside a public footpath sign.
- Turn right at the crossroads and follow the lane downhill, and over a bridge, to a junction.
- Turn left at the junction and follow the lane to the entrance to the churchyard, opposite the Falcon Inn.
- Turn right, through the archway, into the churchyard and follow the path to the church door.
- At the church door, climb the steps and follow the path through a gate out of the churchyard, and a short distance further until you reach a lane.
- In St Mawgan churchyard you’ll find a memorial carved in the shape of a boat’s stern. It’s dedicated to 10 men who died of hyperthermia in a boat that drifted ashore on 15th December 1846 at Beacon Cove at the northern end of Tregurrian Beach, now known as Watergate Bay.
- The reason they men were buried here in the churchyard is that in 1808 the Dead Bodies Interment Bill came into force, which required a Christian burial for any bodies recovered from a shipwreck, and that a reward be paid to those who discovered the bodies.
- Turn left onto the lane, then almost immediately right, through a farm gate opposite the cottage. Follow the track through the field, to reach a farm gate on the other side.
- As you reach the lane, the large walled area to your left, above the church, is Lanherne Convent. The building is more than 800 years old, originally belonged to the Arundell family and was the servants’ quarters for their Manor House. Lanherne is a cloistered Convent, which means the Sisters never leave the grounds unless they need to go to hospital. In between worship, they live a subsistence lifestyle: cooking, cleaning, sewing and tending the gardens, orchards, ducks and geese. The Sanctuary light has remained alight for hundreds of years.
- Go through the gate and continue along the track, to a gate in the far hedge.
- Go through the gate and follow the track to a final gate.
- Go through the gate onto a lane. Follow the lane past Polgreen Manor and the lakes. Continue, beneath the trees, until you reach a track on the right marked ‘Unsuitable For Motor Vehicles’.
- Turn right down the track and follow it until it ends at a lane.
- Turn left on the lane and follow it back to Mawgan Porth.