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Saint Nectan's Glen

Cornwall is steeped in myth and legend - last summer, we took a trip to Tintagel and visited the magnificent St Nectan's Glen.

It’s claimed that in around 500 AD, St Nectan built his sanctuary above the waterfall here. This breathtaking waterfall is at the head of an idyllic hidden wooded valley, only accessible by foot.

It plunges first 30 feet into a basin scoured out of the bedrock by the crashing water, flows along a narrow cleft, then plunges through a man-sized hole to fall another 10 feet into a shallow pool. According to legend, Saint Nectan rang a silver bell in times of stormy weather to warn shipping of the perils of the rocks at the mouth of the Rocky Valley.

St Nectan's Glen waterfall Cornwall

St Nectan's Glen is a an area of outstanding natural beauty. We parked in the free car park situated just off the road in Trethevy and followed the signs on foot.

It's a fairly long walk through the woodland and up lots of steps, about one mile, we'd advise wearing wellies as it can be pretty muddy, plus then you can walk into the steam. Some of the rocks are painted bright red, we think this is to represent blood of the knights.

It's not a walk suitable for baby pushchairs, if you're going to bring a baby, it's probably best to use a sling.

The area has been appointed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to rare specimens of plants.

Ghostly monks have been witnessed chanting along the pilgrim path, as well as two spectral grey women, said to be St Nectan’s sisters who are buried beneath a large flat slab in the river, near the bottom of the waterfall. St Nectan himself is said to be buried in an oak chest somewhere below the river.

Saint Nectan’s Kieve is to some a sacred place, visitors tie ribbons to the trees and leave little trinkets on the rocks, there are also coins slotted into logs. Some visitors add small piles of flat stones obtained from the stream, known by some as fairy stacks.

St Nectan's Glen waterfall Cornwall

St Nectan's Glen waterfall Cornwall

It is free to walk through St Nectan's Glen but there is a charge to visit the waterfall or do the woodland trail. This can be paid for in the shop next to the cafe at the top of the steps. We paid around £13 for a family ticket (children under 6 are free) to see the waterfall, the charge goes towards conserving the woodland and the waterfall.

St Nectan's Glen waterfall Cornwall

St Nectan's Glen waterfall Cornwall

On the way back to the car we were lucky enough to see a calf being born in the farmers field.

If you are visiting Tintagel or Boscastle this trip is a must.

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