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The Ultimate Guide to St Nectan’s Glen

Finding a special place in Cornwall that you didn’t know existed is like opening an early Christmas present.

As you walk along the quiet leafy path towards St Nectan’s Glen, beams of sunshine piercing the tree canopy to light your way, the sounds of a little stream accompanying your steps, you can’t help but smile.

St Nectan’s Glen is such a magical place. Steeped in myth and legend, its waters are said to hold healing powers and when you first lay eyes on it, you’ll see why.

Here is our essential guide to St Nectan’s Glen:

Leave the car in the free carpark in the little village of Trethevy, about halfway between Tintagel and Bostcastle on the North Coast. It’s approximately 50 minutes drive from Ocean Blue.

Map from Ocean Blue Cornwall apartments to St Nectan’s Glen:

Getting there:

1. Once you’ve parked your car, walk back onto the B3263 and turn left, crossing over the road and heading past the postbox, following the signs to St Nectan’s Glen.

2. You’ll pass a pretty little church, which is free to enter if you’d like to take a peek inside to see the beautiful historic beams, stained glass and ancient stone work.

St Nectan's Glen church

3. Follow the signs down the narrow country lane. Look out for pretty flowers in the hedgerows and impressive houses to admire on the way.

The wooded walk:

4. You’ll shortly head into the woodlands, where a little stream accompanies you along the winding path. Keep an eye out for the penny log on the way…

St Nectan's Glen woodland walk

5. Cross over the wooden bridge and take the steep steps up to the waterfall entrance and tea-room.

St Nectan's Glen steep steps

Take care here – the ground is uneven and some of those steps are huge! If you look down to the your right as you climb, you’ll get a glimpse of the pool beneath the falls.

The Falls:

6. Once you reach the top, the pretty little tea-room and toilets are a welcome sight!

St Nectan's Glen tea room

When you pay, you’ll be offered the use of a pair of wellies so you can enter the pool and get up close to the waterfall.  We declined and opted to brave it in our own shoes…. more on this later!

7. There are two options when descending down to the waterfall – you can either take the direct route or the scenic route. We took the direct route (we’d already done enough walking and still had a lot ahead of us!) which took us through a heavy gate, passed a little bee drinking station (sugared water), and down more rugged steps.

St Nectan's Glen bee drinking station

There are rails all the way, and seats carved out of wood if you want to take a moment to soak up the atmosphere beneath the trees.

The scenic route takes you past an additional waterfall, previously not accessible to the public.

8. As you reach the bottom of the steps you’ll see an open pool , more penny logs, and colourful decorations adorning the trees and cliffs.

St Nectan's Glen pool

9. Head round to the left where you’ll see the stunning 60 foot waterfall cascading onto the rocks and into the pool. The water is icy cold so if, like us, you chose not to borrow a pair of wellies, prepare yourself! Your feet are in for a shock…

St Nectan's Glen waterfall

Now it’s photo time….

10. Don’t miss the second waterfall leading from the shallow pool into the stream below.

Time for tea:

No essential guide to St Nectan’s Glen would be complete without mention of the delicious food!

11. Once you’ve had your fill of the healing waters, the surrounding rocks and walkways, take the same route back up to the tea room.

12. You’ve earned a sit down, a cuppa and a bite to eat.

St Nectan's Glen refreshments

In the cafe area there is also a small meditation room.

13. The gift shop sells locally crafted jewellery, crystals, merchandise from The Falls and other trinkets.

St Nectan's Glen gift shop

Other places nearby

14. When you’ve recharged your batteries, made the trek back up the hill and returned to your car, you’re only a few minutes from the beautiful village of Boscastle.

sunny Boscastle in Cornwall

Famously flooded in August 2004, the village is now returned to its former glory, boasting a range of shops, a witchcraft museum, harbour and eateries.

15. Finally, if you’re really die-hard, and still have energy to burn, Tintagel is only ten minutes away, with its historic castle, dramatic coastal scenery, and Arthurian legend.

Or you may want to pop over to Port Isaac, where TV drama Doc Martin is filmed.

Other things you need to know about visiting St Nectan’s Glen:

  • With the uneven ground and steep steps, the route isn’t suitable for those with walking difficulties
  • Dogs are welcome, both at the falls and the tea room
  • Parking is free but can fill up so get there early in peak season

So that’s our handy guide to to St Nectan’s Glen in North Cornwall – whether you just visit the Falls or also take in the surrounding villages, you’ll create some amazing memories that will stay with you long after you get home.

The most stressful part of the day will be deciding what to order in the tea room and whether to take the scenic or the direct route to the Falls…


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