St Nectan’s Glen

In the heart of Cornwall, hidden within a lush woodland and surrounded by an area of outstanding natural beauty, lies St Nectan’s Glen.

This enchanting place, rich in mythology and bursting with natural splendour, offers a unique escape to nature lovers, spiritual seekers, and those looking to discover the magic of Cornwall’s less-trodden paths.

Here’s your guide to exploring this mystical glen, where legend, beauty, and tranquility intertwine.

Discovering St Nectan’s Glen

St Nectan’s Glen is a serene woodland valley in North Cornwall, where the River Trevillet has carved its way through the slate to create a spectacular 60-foot waterfall, known as St Nectan’s Kieve.

According to local legend, this spot was once frequented by saints and druids, and many believe it to be one of the UK’s most spiritual sites.

The glen, with its towering waterfall cascading into a beautiful basin below, surrounded by a canopy of trees, is a breathtaking sight that feels like stepping into another world.

The Waterfall and Hermitage

The main attraction of St Nectan’s Glen is the waterfall, which has created a natural hole through the rock before falling into a pool below.

Over centuries, visitors have left votive offerings, such as clouties (small pieces of cloth) tied to the branches of the trees, adding to the site’s mystical atmosphere.

Near the waterfall, you’ll also find the remains of St Nectan’s Hermitage, where the 6th-century saint himself is said to have lived.

Walking Trails

To reach the waterfall, visitors embark on a tranquil walk through ancient woodland, following the path of the river.

The walk is an integral part of the experience, offering moments of peaceful reflection amidst the natural beauty of the woods.

There are various routes, with some suitable for casual walkers and others that will appeal to those looking for a more challenging hike.

Planning Your Visit

Getting There

St Nectan’s Glen is located near Tintagel, a village famous for its Arthurian legends. The nearest towns are Boscastle to the north and Camelford to the south.

Access to the glen is via a country road leading to a car park, from which a footpath takes you directly into the woodland.

Facilities and Visitor Information

The entrance to St Nectan’s Glen has a small visitor centre where you can learn about the history and legends associated with the glen.

Here, you’ll also find facilities such as toilets and a café offering refreshments and light meals—perfect for replenishing your energy after exploring the glen.

Conservation Efforts

St Nectan’s Glen is maintained through conservation efforts that aim to preserve its natural beauty and spiritual significance.

Visitors are encouraged to respect the environment by sticking to the paths, taking litter home, and being mindful of the plant and animal life.

Tips for Your Visit

Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes: The paths can be uneven and muddy, especially after rain, so sturdy footwear is essential.

Check Opening Times and Entry Fees: The glen and waterfall are privately owned, so there’s an entry fee, which goes towards conservation. Opening times can vary seasonally, so it’s wise to check the official website before you go.

Photography: Don’t forget your camera! St Nectan’s Glen offers stunning photographic opportunities, from the majestic waterfall to the delicate flora and fauna of the woodland.

Respect the Site’s Sanctity: Many people visit St Nectan’s Glen for spiritual reasons. Regardless of your beliefs, please respect the tranquillity and significance of the site.

Nearby Attractions

Tintagel Castle: Explore the legendary birthplace of King Arthur and enjoy stunning coastal views.

Boscastle: A picturesque fishing village with a charming harbour, great for a leisurely stroll and cream tea.

Rocky Valley: Just a short drive from the glen, discover ancient carvings believed to date back to the Bronze Age within a beautiful valley.


St Nectan’s Glen is a place of unparalleled beauty and serenity, offering a unique glimpse into Cornwall’s natural and mystical heritage.

Whether you’re drawn to its spiritual significance, its natural beauty, or simply the opportunity to explore one of Cornwall’s hidden treasures, a visit to St Nectan’s Glen promises to be an unforgettable part of your Cornish holiday.