Admire the Old Buildings
As you wander aimlessly around Boscastle you will begin to notice the quaint old buildings which have been converted into pubs, restaurants and coffee shops. Look out for the wonky rooftops and crooked cottages, they have real character. The limekiln and storage buildings give a brief reminder of Boscastle's industrial past & the Old Forge has now been transformed into a swanky art gallery.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
We took the footpath near the Witchcraft museum. This led uphill to a row of white cottages (some holiday lets). From here you can get a great panoramic view of the Harbour. The Harbour was a busy commercial port during most of the Nineteenth century until the railways reached Cornwall in 1893. Coal, ironwork and limestone from South Wales, fertilisers, timber, corn, wine and spirits from Bristol were the main imports with return cargoes of slate, china clay and manganese from a mine in the Valency valley. The limekiln and old store can be seen today next door to the visitor centre.
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
National Trust Visitor Centre
The National Trust Visitor Centre was all but destroyed during the floods of 2004, members of staff had to be airlifted by helicopter from the roof to escape the torrents. Nowadays the Visitor Centre is the hub of the Village. It has an extensive gift shop, tea rooms and the usual visitor information such as maps of the area and non expensive walking trail leaflets. There is also an exhibition dedicated to the floods with video footage showing how fast the waters encroached the village and the fantastic efforts of the emergency services.
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
The Museum of Witchcraft
This great little museum contains the World's largest collections of Witchcraft related artefacts. Here you will find everything you want to know (and some things you don't)! about Witches. A lot of the Witch related items have been donated by those practising Witchcraft from far and wide. The Witch torturing equipment looked a bit harrowing as did the large collection of Voodoo dolls which were on display. It's well worth a visit & is well worth the entrance fee as you can spend quite some time reading about the fascinating displays.
- Museum Visits
If you go to the Witchcraft Museum, you can buy a gust of wind tied up in three knots of rope. You can discover a remedy for toothache or a method to rid yourself of warts. The Witchcraft Museum isn’t some kitchy Ripley’s Believe or Not, presenting the quirks and spectacle of a world stranger than you thought; though you will find a thorough presentation of an alternative reality. Nor is it a stately museum of history presenting the superstitions of an age gone by with an air of ‘well, we all know better these days’. Even so, it is scholarly and thorough.. This is a museum established by a practising witch, staffed by believers and scholars, laying out the practices and beliefs of a religious system. The story it tells is that witchcraft is very much alive today and if you look at your society, you’ll find it.
The range of artefacts is stunning and takes time to absorb. The museum is on the side of ‘white magic’ though acknowledges that although some witches do 'do' evil, their deeds will eventually rebound upon them. So it doesn’t really feel like a place of nastiness. In fact, considerable effort is made to distance itself from popular images of devil worship and sacrifice. Even so, the recordings of witches chants, the displays human remains and the images of spirits may leave you feeling a little spooked. By the end of my time there I was glad to exit out into the sunshine, clutching the fridge magic and silver sickle picked up in the gift shop. I didn’t ask for any wind though.
- Museum Visits
Look out for John The Boscastle Busker
This is no ordinary Busker but a man with a Promise and a Mission.
He sings Cornish and other folk songs in the Pubs and on summer Sunday afternoons - which was when we heard him - he sings near the Harbour, close to the Pixie cafe.
His Promise is to the memory of a dead friend and his Mission is to raise funds for a local Hospice. The web site says he has raised over £13,000 for the Hospice, but I think the figure on his board on the last Sunday in September 2008 was a good bit more than that.
No one knows when the services of a hospice may be needed by someone close and I was very impressed by the commitment and dedication shown by John Maughan, the Boscastle Busker.
It was also very nice to hear some long forgotten folk songs!
For more information see-:
You must visit the Visitor Centre
Boscastle built a Visitor Centre in 1994. 10 years later more that 100,000 people had visited and it was refurbished and extended.
Then, in August 2004 came the flood. 15 people - staff and visitors were rescued from the roof by helicopter and the building was all but destroyed.
Now a new Visitor Centre on the harbour is there to welcome visitors and, as well as offering all the usual tourist information, brochures, booking of accommodation and so on, it also house an impressive exhibition of the histoey of the village and a photograpice display of the flood.
Delightfully friendly staff too - don't miss it!
Take a walk along the Coastal Path
Not a hard walk, but care needed on some great, ridged slabs of granite lying with a difficult camber. We did see people making their way up and along wearing flip-flops with some difficulty. So - walking boots best - or good walking shoes/trainers.
Whatever effort it takes is well rewarded by the beautiful coastal scenery and views up the narrow harbour to the village.
Learn about the Boscastle Flood
The village of Boscastle was nearly destroyed on the 16th August 2004 when after a period of heavy rain the three rivers overflowed along with water coming down from the hills, flooded the village. Many people lost their homes and businesses and saw their cars being swept out to sea. Fortunately there were no fatalities and only one casualty.
When we visited in September 2006 the village was still being restored and it brings it home to you how insignificant humans are compared to mother nature.
Discover the Harbour
Boscastle has a small fishing harbour and you walk along the cliffs and get amazing views. Please be aware that if you want to go and explore that you wear appropriate footware - flip flops just don't work - and believe me we saw numerous people trying to climb cliffs in flip flops!! At least it provided us with a good laugh!!!
- Hiking and Walking
The tourist information office is situated in the car park and is open March - Oct daily from 10-5, between November - Feb the times are 10.30 - 4pm.
Here is Boscastle scenes were also filmed for the movie Oscar and Lucinda featuring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.
There is a 'Witchcraft Museum' in Boscastle which is said to be over 40 years old and also has the largest collection of witchcraft displays in the world. It was damaged very much as were a lot of the collection during the floods but now is open again.
Thomas Hardy on a visit to a church called St Juliots close by Boscastle met his future nridge Emma Gifford, on 7th March 1870. He had apparently come to the church at the invitation of an architect to oversee restoration work.
This village isnt actually on the coastal as such but nestled in a valley between the hills on either side. 2 rivers meet here and flow into an estuary which then flows out to sea. It was here that the rivers became so swollen that it flooded the banks and the High Street.
Thre ironic thing about these floods is that a village not really that far away in North Devon called Lymouth had floods itself 52 years to the day earlier but with more devasting results in that 35people lost their lives.