A circular walk around Tintagel via St Nectans Glen and Rocky Valley

Beach at Tintagel in Cornwall from the air, showcasing the sandy beach, rolling hills and green sea.

This walk can be found in my favourite Cornish walks book, Classic Walks Cornwall, sadly now out of print. It is graded moderate to strenuous and rightly so as it involves some rugged cliff walking and some steep climbs. Having said that, the views are spectacular and the landscape varies from high grassy cliff tops to secret wooded valleys with gurgling streams and moss covered trees – a wonderful combination.

The walk begins in Tintagel. I parked in the car park near the Old Post Office – £2 for all day. Leave the car park and turn left past King Arthur’s Hall and the Visitor Centre, then continue along the road till you reach Trenale Lane on the right hand side of the road. Shortly after the lane you will see a footpath sign to the right. Take the path across fields, which has been clearly marked by the farmer with plastic bin lids on stakes.

Soon you come to an iron gate leading down a path through woods to a stream with a footbridge. Cross it and turn right if you want to see the waterfall at St Nectan’s Glen. It is quite a climb for children but you are rewarded with a cafe selling drinks and snacks. Retrace your steps to the footbridge and return to the bridge.

Image of the Rocky Valley

Carry straight on following the sign for St Piran’s Well and Chapel (the tiny old chapel is well worth a look inside). Turn left in front of the chapel and onto the main road – take care as it can be busy. Descend into the valley and as you pass a parking area on the left, fork right to follow the path past some holiday cottages and towards Rocky Valley – a spectacular steep sided river valley cut into the slate. It is has over 160 species of moss and is home to a great diversity of wild flowers and insects. Cross the stream via the footbridge and continue to a series of ruined buildings – Trevillet Mill (18th century mill used to manufacture woollen textiles).



The path crosses a wooden bridge to follow the stream down to the sea. Continue down to the coast path waymark and turn left towards a second waymark post where you can watch the sea surging up the narrow gorge. The path now climbs steeply up with views across to Willapark headland then descends to cross the access path to Bossiney cliffs. Climb the opposite steps and cross a stile before descending to a wooden footbridge with a National Trust sign for Willapark. The coast path climbs steeply to emerge on a grassy plateau. Keep to the seaward path and follow the route back to Tintagel Head via the headland of Barras Nose.


Turn left past the exhibition shop and toilets and head up the wide path back to the centre of Tintagel, where there are a number of cafes and pubs to stop for the tea and cake you have earned whilst doing this walk!

Allow about three hours for this four mile walk (with obligatory stops to admire the view and get your breath back)!

Alternative walks in and around Tintagel

The National Trust website has details of a shorter walk through Rocky Valley and you can find suggestions for other walks in this area on the South West Coast Path website.

If you’re exploring Tintagel as a family, the castle is also well worth a visit – take a look at Nanny Pat’s recent blog about her trip to the castle with her grandchildren.

Getting there

Tintagel is approximately one hour’s drive from Bosinver. Postcode for SatNavs PL34 0DB

Self catering accommodation for walking holidays in Cornwall

If you’re planning a walking holiday in Cornwall, we have a variety of luxury self catering cottages ideal for groups, families or couples available for week-long stays and short breaks. Several of our cottages are also dog friendly. Take a peak at our cottages to find out more, or check availability for your preferred dates.

Where’s your favourite place to go walking in Cornwall? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook page or tweet @bosinver – we’d love to hear your suggestions.

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