This Cornish Coast to Coast, connecting Boscastle in the north with Looe in the south, is a walk for those wishing to use their navigation skills. Both of these two harbours were once renowned for the smuggling activities that took place around these shores. Today, they are delightful resorts. Boscastle has been painstakingly restored to its former glory following the 2004 flooding. Looe is a wonderful town with narrow streets and cobble alleys. It boasts the second biggest fish market in Cornwall, so a superb place to stay if you are a sea food lover. The route passes over secluded river valleys and remote moorland of Bodmin Moor. Along the way, it links up with Rough Tor and Brown Willy, the two highest tors on Bodmin, and, Jamaica Inn, the inspiration for the famous novel by Daphne du Maurier about smugglers and wreckers. The description below is from North to South, but the route can be walked in either direction.
Boscastle, the starting point of this cross Cornwall trek is a picturesque harbour village, which has successfully rebuilt itself after the flooding in 2004. There are shops, a small museum to browse around or you can enjoy a cake from the bakery or a cup of tea in one of its tea rooms. The Route starts at the harbour wall and upwards proceeds through the village, soon leaving the road to follow the wooded valley of the River Valency. The route follows the north bank of the river to arrive at the buildings at New Mills. The route continues on in the same direction before turning down hill to cross the river and climb up through Halamilling to the hamlet of Lesnewth. The route continues across fields to descend to a footbridge crossing the stream and then through woods, past a disused quarry, to reach a lane at Hallwell Plantation. Crossing fields again, the route emerges on the road at Hallwill Barton and now starts a stretch of unavoidable 2.5 miles of road walking. The route crosses first the A39 and then the A395 and passes the Dairy Crest creamery at Davidstow. From here it is on to the old airfield. It is hard to imagine that this remote location was once the venue for a formula one motor race, or that it was here that Lotus gained their first ever formula one victory in 1954! Problems with the weather, the remote location and safety concerns meant that its life as a motor racing venue was short lived.
Having crossed the disused airfield, the route for heads out acros the moor to Lanlavery Rock. It is now that your navigation skills come into play, particularly if the visibility is poor. From Lanlavery Rock the route crosses the edge of Roughtor Marsh and then the climbing begins. First is the summit of Showery Tor at 385m and then onto Little Rough Tor (390m) and finally Rough Tor (400m). This is the last oppotunity to head to civilisation for some miles, with Camelford some 2 milles off route to the North West. From the summit of Rough Tor, it is compasses out again to take get the bearing of Brown Willy, the next landmark approximately one mile distant. This is Cornwall's highest point at 420m and offers excellent view over the moor. From the summit the route crosses the moor to contour around the side of Tolborough Tor and then decsends to meet the A30 and the Jamaica Inn at Bolventor.
The Jamaica Inn has stood for over 400 years and is immortalised in Daphne du Maurier's novel of the same name. From the Inn, the route heads south along the road to reach the remote Dozmary pool, which is linked with many legends. It is suspected of being the body of water into which Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur after King Arthur was mortally wounded. The pool is also said to be a haunt of the Lady of the Lake, guardian of Excalibur. It is also said to be bottomless and to have a tunnel connecting it to the sea! The route skirts around the pool and then out once more onto to the moors to climb to the summit of Brown Gelly at 342m. The summit is marked by five prominent tumuli and a trig point. From the summit the route descends around the china clay works and crosses Draynes Common and joins a track that eventually reaches a small road. The route now leaves the moor behind as it follows country lanes to Lower Trenant, where it drops through woodland to follow the course of the River Fowey to Treverbyn Bridge. Here a detour of about 1.75 miles will bring you to the lovely village of St Neot, which offers overnight accommodation, food and drink for the Smugglers Way traveller.
Having returned to Treverbyn Bridge, the route follows the road uphill to Burnt House and then Bokenna Cross. The route now follows the road to cross the A38 and enters Dobwalls. On leaving the village, the route heads towards Duloe before turning right at a junction with a Celtic Cross to eventually descend to Scawn Mill. From here the route follows the line of the West Looe River to emerge at the hamlet of Herodsfoot. Herodsfoot is known as a "Fortunate" village, one of a handful of such villages in the country in which everyone who went to the World Wars came back. The War Memorial in the centre of the village commemorates this by referring to "those who served". The Route now passes through Carglonnan Woods to emerge on the road at Churchbridge, where it climbs up before entering Tremadart Wood. On exiting the wood, the route continues to follow the line of the West Looe River to Sowden's Bridge, where it follows the road to the hamlet of Watergate. Here it once more enters woodland, this time Kilminorth Woods, and it is not long before the houses of East Looe come into view. The route emerges from the car park next to Looe Bridge and it is now a walk along the Fish Quay to finish at the red marker on the Banjo Pier.
The nearest railway stations to the route are listed below.
Bodmin Parkway is at the closest station to the start of the walk in Boscastle. It is at least 4 hours by train from London Paddington, depending on the time of day of travel.
Looe has a railway station and it is at least 4.5 hours by train from London Paddington.
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stops are listed below.
From Boscstle: Bude (12.5 miles), Wadebridge (14 miles), Bodmin (15 miles)
From Looe: Liskeard (7 miles), Dobwalls (8 miles), Lostwihiel (12 miles)
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
Both Boscastle and Looe are easily accessible by car being close to the A39 and A30 respectively.
Car parking is at a premium in Boscastle. We may be able to arrange car parking at your first nights accommodation for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge. There is also the possibility of free on-street parking in pasrts of the village.
It is possible to reurn to your car by a combination of bus and train. The journey requires a number of changes and can take between 3.5 and 4.5 hours depending on connections. We will be happy to advise on the public transport options and also to get quotes and book a return journey by taxi for you if you prefer.
£309.00 per person based on two people sharing a double/twin room.
£379.00 per person based on two people sharing a double/twin room.
£401.00 per person based on two people sharing a double/twin room.
The route is not waymarked - so good navigational skills are essential. The route is not as popular as the Cornwall coastal paths and as a result some parts may become overgrown in places, particularly after a period of wet weather. We recommend carrying walking poles to help in clearing overgrown vegetation when necessary!
March to October.
We specialise in providing walking holidays in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and Somerset. We are enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits and have experienced climbing, canoeing, skiing, caving and potholing and windsurfing as well as walking throughout the UK, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
We use our experience to provide self-guided, pack-free walking holidays, tailored to the requirements and abilities of our clients.