Distance: about 4 miles (one way)
While staying in Boscastle, North Cornwall, we decided to walk along the south west coastal path to Tintagel.
Most folk would start in Boscastle itself (there is a large pay and display car park in town if you are just coming for the day). We started here the first time we visited – followed the path along the river to the harbour and join the coastal path which is signposted on the left.
This time we found a short cut from our holiday cottage that ended up on the hill above at Forrabury Church and joined up with the coastal path, cutting out about half a mile or so.
From there, just follow the path.
Last time I did this walk I did my knee in – on the way back. Ended up having to go to physio for a few sessions.
So this time, I came prepared to go 4 x 4 with my trusty walking poles. It might have been overkill. I’d like to think not.
It pays to be prepared in my mind because there are lots of Cornish undulations.
Ups and downs.
Loads of them.
You will see the town Tintagel on the horizon so it acts as a beacon really.
My beacon said ‘cream teas over here’.
As you get closer to the beacon, the road forks after about 3 miles or so – option one: turn left to head towards Tintagel town (the beacon is calling) or carry on straight to follow the coastal path to Tintagel castle itself (a slight detour but you still end up at the beacon)
Tintagel castle is most impressive, dramatically split across 2 cliff tops and in ‘The History of the Kings of Britain’ by Geoffrey of Monmouth implies that the castle at Tintagel was the birthplace of King Arthur and later became is court i.e. Camelot.
And yes, Merlin has a cave here too.
In 2016, a statue of King Arthur (holding Excalibur) was unveiled at Tintagel Castle, on the cliffs overlooking the sea. It is officially called Gallos, which is derived from a Cornish word for power.
The statue is rather interesting but it does muddy the waters a bit. The ruins of the castle date back to Richard, the 1st Earl of Cornwall in the 12th century – so quite some time after the proposed time of Arthur and it has been suggested that Richard built the castle in that particular location because it was linked to legend of Arthur by Geoffrey of Monmouth. So, what is real and what is myth or legend?
I suppose it doesn’t really matter in the end, the castle is well worth a visit and when you see it, you can believe that powerful leaders once lived there.
Just bear in mind that you need to book a timed entry to the castle with English Heritage as accessing it from the coastal path is limited. Have a look at Tintagel Castle | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk) for more information.
Overall, this is a very popular walk and the views are so worth it.
Totally do-able, just take your time.
The cream teas are always calling 😊
P.S. If you don’t want to walk back…..no. 95 bus leaves from the Tintagel Visitor’s Centre quite regularly and goes back to Boscastle. It takes 15 minutes. 😊 Ask at the Visitor’s Centre for timetable info.