The Atlantic coast of North Cornwall stretches for over seventy miles along a wildly beautiful landscape where towns and villages huddle in the cliffs for protection against the sea. It’s 5 years since my last visit to Cornwall and on that occasion, most of the time was spent in West Cornwall on the Penwith Peninsula so on this return visit I was intending to stay on the North coast between Bude and Newquay.
North Cornwall Coast
On arriving at my base for the week just outside Tintagel as you would expect it was raining and grey skies but during the time I was there I was fortunate enough not to see any further rain which would disrupt my plans but it started to change just as I was leaving which was unfortunate for those that were staying and the arrival at Land’s End of the Olympic Torch at the start of its journey around the UK.
My base gave me direct access to the South West Coast Path so for my first sortie, I decided to leave the camper on-site and walk to Boscastle and beyond and back. It was strange seeing Boscastle bathed in sunlight and so peaceful and then recalling those images of the dramatic floods of 2004. It is still difficult to believe how our landscapes can be transformed so dramatically in such a small space of time.
I had noted a number of photo opportunities on this stretch of the coast in my pre-trip planning including a location known as Ladies Window which I only found by chance on my walk back despite using GPS to try to locate it. On the way out I had just walked past it as it is not easily seen when walking North.
The following day I decided to walk from Port Isaac, the home of “Doc Martin” and “Fisherman’s Friends” to Port Quin and back cross country away from the coast. The walk I was following(although there was not much choice on the coast path) was titled “a roller-coaster path” and boy did it live up to its name as you can see from the image below.
Day 3 saw me visiting Crackington Haven another village affected by the 2004 floods and a walk south along the path towards another of my locations at The Strangles.
Unfortunately, I had to cut this walk short as my knee was playing up following the exertions of the previous day on the roller coaster, so I never made it down to the bay at The Strangles and to make things even worse I managed to go off course on my route back. Still, on the early part of the walk, I managed to capture some images at Cambeak, a headland just south of Crackington Haven.
The following morning saw some rain, which had been forecast, so at least it gave me the opportunity to rest my knee. Although the rain stopped with no real signs of improving skies or light at lunchtime and not wanting to place too much further pressure on my knee I decided to drive further south and along the coast south of Padstow as far as Mawgan Porth picking up Porthcothan Bay and Bedruthan Steps on the way. This turned out to be a good decision as the weather in this area was more suitable for landscape photography than what I had left behind.
The first stop was at Portcothan and a virtually empty bay. A great location with some wonderful moss-covered rock formations on one side of the bay. Onwards next to Bedruthan Steps arriving late afternoon just as the car park was closing and reasonably quiet so I walked down to the top of the staircase to the beach deciding not to venture any further and capture the view from the clifftop, which I suspect is the best POV anyway although I am sure that there are some great photo opportunities on the beach. Reasonably happy with the timing of my visit and the images captured I made my way back to my base.
I had already decided that I could not visit this area of Cornwall without taking a trip onto Bodmin Moor, an area that I had not visited previously, except of course like the majority of us do by passing through on the A30 and I also felt the need to have a break from the coast to see a different landscape.
Such is the importance of the moor it has a whole swathe of designations including World Heritage Site status which recognises the importance of the tin mining industry dating back over 4,000 years.
It has also been named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and most of the moor has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
My first location was Minions and a visit to the Hurlers and the Pipers standing stones and a walk over to the Cheesewring. Due to the sparse landscape surrounding them, I found the Hurlings more difficult to capture and was happier with the Pipers as a location. Perhaps it was that it was easier to provide a reasonable background with those stones.
I managed to visit most of my planned locations during my day on the moor including Golitha Falls, although I was not sure that I had actually reached the end of falls if there is such a place but walked, scrambled as far as I felt it was safe to do so. A great location and again fortunately at the time of visit very quiet.
When visiting popular locations always plan your visits to coincide with the quieter periods normally mid-week and outside the main holiday periods and you will be well rewarded for your efforts.
The last location on the moor was Rough Tor. From the top of Rough Tor, the second highest peak in Cornwall, the views are spectacular, while below you ancient buildings, standing stones, and medieval farms add to the feeling of a land full of history waiting to be explored.
There is a good car park close to the area easily accessible from just North of Camelford although the road is quite narrow in places. From the car park, I made my way up to Showery Tor and across to Little Rough Tor and finally Rough Tor itself all with wonderful views over to Brown Willy the highest point in Cornwall. Just over two miles there and back, hardly a soul in sight again. A really enjoyable day on the moor and plenty more to see so next time I am in Cornwall I won’t be just passing through.
On my final day in North Cornwall, I decided to head back up North just beyond Bude, parking at Crooklets Beach at Flexbury and a seven and a half-mile walk to Duckpool and back. Despite walking so far looking for photo opportunities the best location was within five minutes of the car park at Wrangle Point with its fascinating geology and a cliff face with exposed bands off strata pushed up at an almost vertical angle. I spent ages capturing the rock formations for my Intimate Landscapes Collection to be added shortly and could have stayed there much longer. A great location and well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Well, that concludes a brief resume of a most enjoyable trip to North Cornwall. 830 miles by road and over 30 miles of walking mainly on the coastal path despite my knee problems. More will be added shortly as processing is completed. On the way back I had considered a trip over to Pembrokeshire to coincide with the National Park Diamond Jubilee but with the weather about to change I decided to head home and save the Pembrokeshire visit till later. Watch out for the next stage of my journey – where will I be next ?? Any suggestions please contact me.
Prints, canvases, and downloads of all these images and many more can be found in the Cornwall and Dartmoor gallery.