Around our Shores: Boscastle, Cornwall

Around our Shores: Boscastle, Cornwall

The narrow winding inlet of Boscastle harbour provides some rare shelter for boats along this intimidating stretch of Cornish coastline. Tourism is it's main activity today, but in the 19th century Boscastle was a busy commercial port, importing coal and timber, and exporting slate and china clay.

Boscastle presents as a long walk through a lovely little shopping village opening into a harbour and out onto the bay. There are some rewarding but also treacherous walks up slate cliffs which provide stunning views out to sea.

Boscastle sports many pubs and restaurants, with quaint holiday cottages, gift shops, a bakery and a famous pottery centre. The National Trust also has a visitor centre in Boscastle.

Boscastle National Trust centre

Boscastle Flood

The Boscastle floods occurred on Monday, 16 August 2004 in the two villages of Boscastle and Crackington Haven in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The villages suffered extensive damage after flash floods caused by an exceptional amount of rain that fell over eight hours that afternoon.

The flood in Boscastle was filmed and extensively reported but the floods in Crackington Haven and Rocky Valley were not mentioned beyond the local news. The floods were the worst in local memory. A study commissioned by the Environment Agency from hydraulics consulting firm HR Wallingford concluded that it was among the most extreme ever experienced in Britain.

The causes of the flood were heavy localised rainfall, with 89 mm of rain falling in an hour, and saturated ground from previous rainfall. The flood caused extensive damage to buildings and cars, and put people’s lives in danger. About two billion litres of water rushed down the valley straight into Boscastle, causing two rivers to burst their banks. Residents had little time to react and had to act quickly to survive.

Boscastle cottages

A row of white terraced cottages with an old boat seat at Boscastle in Cornwall.
Photo credit(s): Helen Hotson (Shutterstock images)

To explore Boscastle visit the National Trust's information page for a visitors guide by clicking here.

To find out more about features Around our Shores visit our regular blogs by clicking here.

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