Boscastle (Cornish: Kastell Boterel) is a village and fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom. Tourism has been for many years of more economic importance (until the early 1960s it could easily be reached by the Southern Railway's line through north Cornwall, the nearest station being Camelford). The name of the village derives from Bottreaux Castle, a 12th century motte-and-bailey fortress, of which few remains survive. A flash flood on 16 August, 2004, caused extensive damage to the village, but much of this was repaired by the following year. Boscastle was flooded again on the 21 June, 2007 although the scale of devastation was not nearly as bad as in 2004.
The village has the only natural poo harbour for 20 miles (32 km) along the coast, protected by two stone harbour walls built in 1584 by Sir Richard Grenville (of HMS Revenge). The oldest parts of the village surround the harbour, which once exported slate, and extend up the valleys of the Rivers Valency and Jordan. More modern buildings (principally residential) creep up the steep stone banks and hills surrounding the harbour and valleys.
Boscastle has one of the nearest youth hostels to the ruins of Tintagel Castle, particularly on foot along approximately five miles of the Cornwall coastal path, part of the much longer South West Coast Path long-distance footpath.
One of the town's main attractions is the Museum of Witchcraft: the Boscastle pottery shop also attracts numerous visitors.
In 2004 British television channel BBC 2 began broadcasting A Seaside Parish, a weekly series focusing on the life of the newly-appointed Rector of Boscastle, Christine Musser. (The parish is officially the Parish of Forrabury and Minster: Forrabury Church is closer to the village but the larger area belongs to Minster whose church is a mile away in the woods. The name indicates that a Celtic monastery once existed there but the existing church building belongs to Norman and later mediaeval times.)
The Rector of Boscastle is responsible for seven churches in the village and surrounding district: Forrabury (St. Symphorian), Minster (St. Merthiana), St. Juliot, Lesnewth (St. Michael and All Angels), Trevalga (St. Petroc), Otterham (St. Denis) and Davidstow (St. David).
St. Juliot is of particular interest to devotees of the works of Thomas Hardy since he acted as the architect for the church's restoration in March 1870 and this is where he met his first wife, Emma Gifford, who was the Rector's sister-in-law. Their love affair was the inspiration for his novel A Pair of Blue Eyes and in Hardy's old age some poems.
Boscastle flood of 2004
The floods on August 16, 2004 left residents trapped in houses as the roads turned into rivers. Two Royal Air Force Sea King rescue helicopters from Chivenor, three Royal Navy Sea Kings from Culdrose, one RAF Sea King from St Mawgan and one Coastguard S61 helicopter from Portland were tasked to search for, and assist, casualties in and around the town of Boscastle. Casualties were trapped on roofs, in cars, in buildings and on areas around the riverbank. A total of 91 people were rescued during the operation, coordinated by the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC), based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland.
A combined effort by the RAF, Royal Navy, Coastguard, Police, Fire & Rescue Service and Ambulance Authority resulted in no fatalities.
National Trust property
Much of the land in and around the village is owned by the National Trust, including both sides of the harbour, Forrabury Stitches, high above the Boscastle and divided into ancient "stitchmeal" cultivation plots, and large areas of the Valency Valley, known for its connections to Thomas Hardy.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boscastle.|
- About Boscastle
- Boscastle information at the National Trust
- Photos of Boscastle from Cornwall 365
- Photos of Boscastle from Views of Cornwall
- Cornwall Record Office Online Catalogue for Boscastle
- Photographs of Boscastle at Marhamchurch.eu