Cornwall has everything I love about walking; steep hills, rugged coastlines and everything in between. It’s steeped in history and home to some of my favourite coastal wanders, with crashing seas and dramatic skies.
One of my favourite walks is a circular route, that starts and ends at the English Heritage Tintagel Castle Visitor Centre. Tintagel is famous for being the home of Arthurian legend. In Geoffrey’s Historia, Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, puts his wife Igraine in Tintagel whilst at war. Merlin supposedly disguised Uther Pendragon as Gorlois so that Uther could enter Tintagel and impregnate Igraine while pretending to be Gorlois. Uther and Igraine’s child was King Arthur.
You walk down to the castle and beach, turn right and join the South West Coast Path around the headland, across to the next headland (Barras Nose) where you can leave the path and explore. When you head back to the path, walk over the top of Smith’s Cliff and then back inland towards Bossiney.
The route is well signposted to ‘Tintagel Village’ and you turn left at The Cornishman Inn (where you can stop for a drink if you’re so inclined) before walking down the hill, past St Material Church, rejoining the SW Coast Path and following the signs, which will take you back to Tintagel Castle.
Winter is my favourite seasons to head outdoors in, but the weather is always very changeable, especially by the coast. You can head out in a long sleeve tee and suddenly by the afternoon, the wind has picked up and it’s very chilly or starting to rain.
I always recommend packing layers and a good waterproof, taking water and some food with you. Don’t forget your map either, or use the OS Maps app if you have it!
If it’s rained, be aware that the cliff paths can get slippery, so shoes with good grip are a must.
Cornwall has so many beautiful coastal walks, and I couldn’t list all my favourites if I tried, but it’s well worth looking online as many are well written up. Some are listed on the SW Coast Path website, along with difficulty levels/terrain/transport options for the non circular routes!
Be aware that Tintagel Castle is now closed until Spring 2019, as a new footbridge is being constructed.