Boscastle in the north of Cornwall is particularly well known for the 2004 flash flood. This flood in August 2004, caused by 2.4in rainfall in 8h almost completely destroyed this idyllic coastal town.
Houses have been rebuilt with great attention to detail. Therefore, the photographer does not notice that most of the houses do not look back on centuries of history. Some have been restored with incredible dedication by volunteers like the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is unique in its kind. It houses over 3000 objects and 7000 books dealing with witchcraft, magic and cult.
If you have strolled enough through this lovely town, it is time to explore the beautiful and often magical/mystical nature around Boscastle. Which of the 5 photo locations, which I am sure you as a photographer will all definitely love, will be your “best” photo location? That is of course up to you, but I would be happy if you write it in the comments.
I discovered mine, as I almost always do, on a hike on the South West Coast Path and I’ll tell you about it below.
Photo location No. 1 - Pentargon waterfall directly at Boscastle
Not far north of Boscastle on the South West Coast Path is the Pentargon Waterfall. Although it doesn’t look very powerful, it has an attraction that you feel especially when it’s windy or even stormy. Then the waterfall is blown away by the wind and doesn’t even reach the bay 30m below the cliff. A spectacle that you should not miss.
Photographing under stormy conditions directly at the cliff is not so easy and I left the camera protected in my backpack under these conditions. I did not trust my travel tripod to withstand the gusts and the spray would have quickly left marks on the lens.
Therefore, as an exception there is only the mobile phone photo for the first impression how it looks like in a storm. You know, you have to visit nice photo locations more often to find the conditions for the perfect photo.
Photo location No. 2 - Rocky Valley
Rocky Valley is crossed by the South West Coast Path perhaps halfway between Boscastle and Tintagel. Here the Trevillet River has removed layers of slate so that the structures offer many beautiful photo opportunities.
The valley, covered with old trees and many different mosses, flows into a small bay. It is so narrow and so stony – no sand to be seen far and wide – that the sea has a hard time entering the bay at high tide. Therefore it flows into the bay with enormous power. For the photographer a great spectacle, which you will surely want to film to really capture the power of the incoming sea.
Nobody knows how they came here or what they mean. The whole thing creates a mystical atmosphere that you can feel at every step. If you continue along the valley, until the road, follow it a little bit uphill.
If you then follow the signs to St. Nectan’s Glen, you will quickly end up in a wooded valley of the same stream. Here the river offers endless photo opportunities and you can spend a lot of time finding and photographing your favourite spot.
At the end of this 1.5 km long wood path you will find number 3 of the best photo locations near Boscastle.
Photo location No. 3 - St. Nectan's Glen / St. Nectan's Kieve
A well kept secret in beautiful nature is St. Nectan’s Glen with its main attraction, the waterfall St Nectans Kieve. Here the river Trevillet has carved its way through Late Devonian slate, created a magnificent 60 foot waterfall coming out through a hole.
Not only this waterfall makes the beauty and mysticism of the place. I am sure you enjoyed the wood path and its wild natural beauty along the river on your way. You could already feel the power of the water there. It is also said that elves live here and watch you.
For your 6 pounds entrance fee to the waterfall you get a pair of wellington boots. You really need them to go into the shallow pool to get to the waterfall. Mosses, ferns and grasses adorn the fall, fringing every rock around it. According to St. Nectan’s Glen website is here one of the wildest, most unspoilt, and most beautiful places in the UK.
Photographing St. Nectan's Kieve
The spray can be very strong here, so you should take care of your camera and don’t want to shoot too close to the water for too long.
I do this simply by looking for the perspective without the camera. Only when I have found it, I set up the camera in a relatively short time, take the photo and get the camera out of the spray area again.
Modern cameras can handle getting one or the other drop of water on the lens or the housing. An umbrella held over the camera can also maybe keep the drops away long enough for the photo. Definitely advisable to clean the lens before you take another shot.
For me, my tripod is definitely worth its weight in gold for a long time exposure at a waterfall like this. It also gives me the opportunity to look for new perspectives close to the surface of the flowing water and to show the water in its movement in the way that suits me best.
The stones in the clear water in front of the waterfall give a very special atmosphere in interaction with the waterfall. You may try to absorb this mood and then take your very own personal picture of this sacred mystical place.
But for the photographer there are even more photo motifs around the waterfall. The wood with trees full of character and the other two smaller waterfalls, with their own mysticism and magic, are worth a picture.
Photo location No. 4 - Crackington Haven
A nice day hike (7 miles/12 km) from Boscastle on the South West Coast Path northwards and you reach Crackington Haven. Here you will find a small picturesque bay, which you as a photographer don’t want to miss.
At low tide the stream meanders through the pebble bed with rapids. The cliffs around it seam to protect it and add their characteristic yellow colour. I don’t need to tell you anymore that you should be here at sunset and low tide.
But also at other times of the day, you can find nice photo motifs here. Just follow the stream upwards or take pictures from the cliffs into the bay. Maybe you can photograph interesting waves too.
Crackington Haven naturally tempts you to take long exposures. There is a wonderful contrast between the soft water and the pebbles around it. During the day, of course, this is only possible with a grey filter.
Photo location No. 5 - Coast around the harbour of Boscastle
Right on the doorstep of Boscastle is the sea and an impressive cliff. From here you have a fantastic view of the harbour and the coast guard tower. Great motifs for sunrise and sunset.
But it is also worth exploring the cliffs during the day. Doesn’t the headland look like a lying dragon in the picture here? My polarising filter was used to intensify the blue of the sky and the sea .
If you are not afraid of the effort to hike up to the cliffs, you can see the coastline far north and south of Boscastle harbour. You can use the slate that occasionally penetrates through the vegetation to guide the viewers eye well from the foreground into the distance in your photos. Look at the picture below and in the title picture where the slate stones are at the bottom are.
Have you ever been to Boscastle? If you have, which photo location did you like best? Just write it in the comments below. If you want to stay up to date with my tips on photo locations and photo technology, please sign up here for my newsletter.