Boscastle is an old fishing village set in a steep valley about 5 miles (8 km) to the north-east of Tintagel. Its name derives from an old Cornish word for dwelling "bos" and Bottreaux Castle, an old Norman fortress of which little now remains. The village's tiny but picturesque harbour shelters in a natural inlet cut through the slate rocks. It provides the only safe refuge along some 21 miles (34 km) of rocky coast, which is spectacular in both sunny and stormy weather.
The surrounding coastline is owned by the National Trust and is a popular visitor destination due to his idyllic setting an unspoilt charm.
The harbour (shown above) was once a busy port for transporting coal and other supplies for the county, including a flourishing seal industry. The harbour it fell into decline following the arrival of the railway in the 19th century. Its entrance looks impossibly narrow and can be very difficult to navigate.
River Valency © TAB
The main part of the village is a short walk up the hill from the harbour; arranged a long broad street lined with fishermen's cottages and stone houses. There are many small shops and craft workshops to browse, plus plenty of eateries where a cream tea or delicious pasty can be found. The river Valency runs along the middle of the main thoroughfare down to the harbour (shown right). Local craft shops include Camelot Pottery and a Museum of Witchcraft located near the quay.
Forrabury Stitches (located above the village) and the nearby Valency Valley, is known for its connections to Thomas Hardy. St Juliot's Church (just inland) was restored by the novelist when he was a practicing architect. It was here that Thomas met the vicar's daughter, Emma, who was later to become his wife.
Boscastle was much in the news back in 2004 when a flash flood resulted in a torrent of water pouring down through the village. Villagers were trapped in their houses and on roofs as buildings and cars were swept away by the storm. Today, however, the damage has been repaired and Boscastle is very much back in business as a popular holiday destination.