South West Coast Path: Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand

Another spectacular hike on the South West Coast Path – this time from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand in Cornwall.

Bossiney Cove is roughly halfway on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand.

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Dramatic start

Our hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand began with a bit of unnecessary drama that took place due to misinformation from Cornwall Council, a very confusing online time table from Go Cornwall Bus and some serious misjudgment by both Go Cornwall and Google Maps about how long it actually takes to walk up the hill from Trebarwith Strand to the bus stop at Trebarwith Turn (or Trebarthwith Turn, as Go Cornwall Bus calls it). First of all, the Council car park is a lot more expensive than it says online. It was £6.90 for 24h, not £3.50, despite the webpage supposedly having been updated only two weeks ago). Secondly, the parking metres only accept coins. We only managed to scrounge up £6 between us (which, to be fair, is pretty impressive in 2023!), so we were forced to find somewhere else to park.

Running for the bus

At this point we were running late for the bus that was supposed to take us from Trebar(th)with Turn to Boscastle, which according to the timetable online was leaving at 09:36. So we headed up the steeeep hill as fast as we could. I have no idea how long it took, but it was definitely longer than the 18 minutes estimated by Google Maps and the 17 minutes estimated by Go Cornwall Bus. We were heaving for breath like two geriatric asthmatic chain smokers by the time we finally made it to Trewarmett. Yes, Trewarmett, not Trebar(th)with Turn. If there was a bus stop there, we certainly didn’t see it, but we were undoubtedly a little stressed at this point. The bus only goes every two hours, you see.

We eventually made it to the starting point of our hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
Don’t worry, we got to Boscastle in the end.

Not humanly possible

In the end, the bus arrived at Trewarmett Postbox at 09:53, exactly on time according to the timetable posted at the bus stop. Which incidentally is exactly 17 minutes after 09:36. Which leads me to believe that Go Cornwall Bus include the estimated walking time in the time of departure they display. If only they would also tell you that they do this… Not that it would be possible for a mere mortal to do that uphill trek in 17 minutes! Anyway, we caught the bus, which was only £1.75 for a single ticket. Even cheaper than the bus from Porlock to Minehead!


We soon arrived in beautiful Boscastle, which definitely needs to be explored properly some other time. I’d love to visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, but I would also love to just get one of those delicious-smelling pasties from the bakery and have a lazy lunch by the picturesque harbour.

It took some time to get started on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand - mainly because Boscastle is so pretty! Photo by E.
E photographing me filming the video below

We quickly realised this wouldn’t be our fastest hike, because everything was so beautiful and there were motifs everywhere that needed to be properly documented by means of photography and videography. In fact, we ended up taking over 200 photos each on this hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand! Several of the photos in this blog post were taken by E.

The actual hike, according to the guide book Walking the South West Coast Path guide book by Paddy Dillon, goes from Boscastle to Port Isaac. It is section 11, and it is 22 km long and should take 7 hours. Whatever, Paddy.

Tintagel 3 1/2 miles - and Queen Victoria's Rock. Photo by E.
A Cornish friend of mine tells me the headland on the right is known as Queen Victoria’s Rock – can you see her? She’s looking out to see with her little crown on top of her head!

After duly photographing and videoing everything in sight, we eventually made it up onto the cliffs. We immediately took a short detour in order to say hi to the horses and visit the Lookout, the coastguard tower on Willapark headland.


Willapark with the Lookout coastguard tower

From there on, the hike from Bocastle to Trebarwith Strand got more and more beautiful with every step we took.

Willapark headland near Boscastle. Photo by E.
Me admiring the view of the sea stacks from Willapark headland
The view from the Willapark Lookout. This has got to be the best office view in the UK!

Views of Lundy Island

We were actually able to see Lundy island from here!
Lundy Island in Devon
Lundy in the foggy distance

Apart from the gorgeous wildflowers, the horsies and Lundy, we also spotted a red kite. By now, we were starting to joke that maybe we had peaked too soon. Perhaps we had accidentally chosen the prettiest walk on the entire South West Coast Path? Maybe every hike from hereon out would be a bit of a disappointment… And perhaps there was some truth to that joke. Because it just kept getting better.

Staggeringly beautiful

Grower Rock in the foreground, with Meachard Rock in the background
A Cornish slate wall somewhere near Trevalga on the coast path between Boscastle and Trebarwith Strand
A Cornish curzyway wall is a sight not to be slated. (Geddit?) (I know, you got it.)

By the curzyway we met a group of lovely ladies who were posing for a photo. I offered to take one so they could have one with everyone in it, and they thanked us by telling us about the Ladies Window – a must-see over the next headland that ought not be missed. And we found it!

Ladies Window

Peaking through the Ladies Window

I do love a window by the sea. I was fortunate enough to see the Azure Window on the island of Gozo before it collapsed in 2017. Although to be fair, that was more of an archway. This is a window. Next up is hopefully a door – Durdle Door in Dorset, which is also on the South West Coast Path.

View though the Ladies Window - don't miss this on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand!

Long Island

Photo by E.
Then we took a little detour up onto a little ledge…
E looking back at Long Island
… so we could properly admire the sea stack that is Long Island…
… except that little ledge wasn’t so little. Humans for scale. Poor little Short Island wasn’t tall enough to make it into the photos.

The next bend in the path revealed sandy beaches, turquoise water and some cute little sea stumps (which are the remnants of former sea stacks).

Rocky Valley

Bossiney Cove
Bossiney Cove

The path led down, down, down, down, down…

Climbing down into Rocky Valley on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand. Photo by E.

… and into Glynn Duwy, otherwise known as the Rocky Valley (not to be confused with the Valley of Rocks in North Devon). Another spectacular landscape was revealed.

Stunning photo by E of Rocky Valley, a spectacular landscape along the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
It left us speechless. E took this fantastic photo.
The waterfall at Rocky Valley. Photo by E.
Climbing down to sit by the waterfall for a bit.
Rocky Valley is another highlight on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand. Photo by E.
Again, human for scale. Another amazing photo by E.
There are two headlands called Willapark on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
Not very surprisingly, the descent into Rocky Valley was followed by a steep ascent back up onto the cliff, which is called… (drumroll, please): Willapark. Just for total confusion. At least we got another look at Long Island.

Here we met a lovely Dutch couple who had noticed lots of seagulls following two unidentified, indeed unobserved, objects who were very slowly making their way through the water. The Dutch guy had been told by a local that whales come into the cove quite often, and we do think that is probably what we saw. Or didn’t see, as the case may be. But they were just too far out to sea for the iPhone to see, if you see what I mean, so I won’t bore you with another grainy photo (à la Lundy) that will just be a mess of blue and white pixels. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Bossiney Cove

Bossiney Cove
Bossiney Cove is just something else.

The next highlight of the hike (basically, the entire hike was one big highlight) was Bossiney Cove. We actually missed the signposted way down to the beach, probably because we were trying to do some whale watching. We asked some locals about the way, and found another path, which technically was closed due to unstable rocks. So this is where you do as I say, and not as I did. Follow the signposted path and do not expose yourself to unnecessary risk.

Close-up of a robin
I met this cutie on the way down to the beach, though
Bossiney Cove
Check out the crystal-clear, turqoise water of Bossiney Cove
The Elephant Rock at Bossiney Cove
You can see why this is known as Elephant Rock
Photo by E.
Of course I went in – I had brought a swimming costume precisely for this moment.
Post swim selfie
And it was so nice I went in twice!
Inside the cave.
Wildflowers, Trewethett Farm Club Campsite and Long Island. Imagine waking up to the spectacular view of Bossiney Cove every morning!

The evil stile

See that hideous stile right at the end of that terrifying, sheer-faced cliff edge?
Photo by E.
Yeah, I didn’t like the look of that stile. Not great with heights, you see. Especially in strong winds. Or mild breezes.
Photo by E.
Conquering my fear (as quickly as possible). *shudder*

Tintagel Castle

Shortly after the evil stile, we had our first glimpse of the bridge to Tintagel Castle! You’ll be forgiven for thinking that I’m talking about that huge castle on the hill to the left, but that is the Camelot Castle Hotel, built in 1899. Tintagel Castle dates back to the 13th century. I am definitely coming back here one time to explore the legendary birthplace of King Arthur, The Once and Future King, but I will NOT be crossing that bridge!

The colours were stupendous.

The one thing that ‘everybody’ knows about Tintagel, is that its only link to King Arthur is based on ancient legends, not reality. But in 2016 the news broke that ‘everybody’ may have been wrong about that. Archaeologists discovered some much older castle remains on Tintagel Island, so those legends are quite possibly true, after all. I can’t wait to go back here and explore the place properly.

But nuh-uh. This is not happening. I will have to use the smaller bridge below!
Merlin’s Cave, which is only accessible at low tide.
Sunburnt selfie with Cornish pasty

We took a well-deserved break at the Beach Café, which is a little over halfway on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarhwith Strand. There, this tired and somewhat sunburnt woman enjoyed the World’s Yummiest Cornish Pasty. More importantly, the sweet girl at the till very kindly refilled both my water bottles with a smile. I had brought 1900 ml of water, but by now it was all gone.

Tintagel Castle spotted from the South West Coast Path on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
After a nice break inside the cool café, we climbed back up to the top of the cliffs, past the ruins of Tintagel Castle
Look back at Tintagel Castle during the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
One last look back to Tintagel Castle and The Island from the top of Glebe Cliff
This rock formation doesn’t look entirely natural – perhaps there has been yet another castle here?

Don’t slate the quarries

Eventually, the end was in sight! We had almost hiked all the way from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand! We could see the Port William Inn in the far distance and were fantasising about cold drinks… There were a few more ups and downs to contend with before we would reach it, though.

E passing through Bagalow on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
Bagalow is a disused slate quarry now owned by The National Trust.
A stack of slate on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
A stack of slate at Lanterdan Quarry, another of the many disused slate quarries in this area
Slate, slate and more slate. Photo by E.
You can’t slate views like this, though! (You got this one too, right?) (Of course you did.)
Slate stacks spotted during the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
We saw even more slate stacks at West Quarry

End in sight

The Port William Inn, the end point of our hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand. Well, almost.

And there it is! The end point of our hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand. Just one more descent to go… and then a bit of an uphill to where we left the car…

The last descent of the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand. Photo by E.
The last descent on the hike from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand

The path forked here, and as always, I chose the inland route. I firmly believe that people only create paths further inland when the previous path has been deemed unsafe, and I don’t like unsafe paths. Or heights. Or drops. Or deep waters. Or strong winds. I do love hiking the South West Coast Path, though. Go figure.

Apple Fitness showing the path we took from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand
All those squiggly bits in the middle are from when I went in the sea at Bossiney Cove 😄


Stats: 16.04 km from Boscastle to Trebarwith Strand in 7h 46m including breaks, with an active calorie burn of 1761 (which is strange, as it felt far more strenuous than the Minehead to Porlock hike!) and an ascent of somewhere between 678 metres (Apple Fitness) and 854 metres (Strava). That does not include the walk from the car to the bus stop, though. That was another 2 km – and steeep. Quite the warm-up.
Company: My lovely friend E, who still is much fitter than she claims – she did this just a few days after cycling clear across Devon from coast to coast!
Weather: Clear blue skies and extremely hottt! Both Apple Fitness and Strava says it was 18 degrees, which is complete nonsense. In East Devon the temperature peaked at 27 degrees that day, it was probably about the same in North Cornwall.
Fauna: Two wild ponies, cows with their calves, a red kite, possibly two whales, a very cute robin, tons of jellyfish and not a single tick!
Flora: Mostly tall grass and wildflowers, with the odd foxglove and very few stinging nettles.
Parking: Best not disclosed, as it was a bit cheeky. Bring lots of coins and park in one of the two council car parks in Trebarwith Strand – and set aside at least half an hour to hike up to the bus stop!
Bus: £1.75 for a single ticket on the Exmoor Coaster
Would I do it again? Most definitely! When can we go?

PS: Check out my other hikes along the South West Coast Path!

2 comments Add yours
  1. Its a tough walk along there, in fact each side of Boscastle is difficult, going east you’ll hit the high point of the whole SWCP and some tough up and downs. I loved the slate mine section of this walk, considering they were working here in the 14th and 15th centuries. Carry on from Trebarwith and you hit more up and downs. I gave up at Dannonchapel so still need to do the rest to Port Isaac

    1. Didn’t know the highest point of the SWCP was just the other side of Boscastle – thanks for letting me know! Despite my best intentions, I tend to hike first and read later, so will definitely keep that in mind!