Crackington Haven and The Strangles

Image courtesy of trewena.com

In Brief

Distance: 3.5 miles
Expected duration: 3 hours
Starting point: Crackington Car Park, Mill Ball Hill, between Tintagel and Bude
Finishing point: Crackington Car Park (this is a circular walk)
Difficulty: 5/5. This is a challenging walk with steep sections, plenty of stiles to negotiate and uneven terrain all over the shop. It can get really muddy in places too
Wildlife to discover: Keep an eye out for seals on the rocks as you head out of the bay. Dolphins can often be seen in these parts too so look out to sea regularly. Good luck!
Best Insta-worthy spot: Snap the crazy zigzagged ‘Crackington Formation’ strata on the rocks along your way. These were formed more than 300 million years ago
Random fact: Among the rocks at Tremoutha Haven are the remains of the German E-Boat S-89. It survived several sea battles in the Second World War before meeting its end in 1946 after breaking a tow. A reminder of this area’s connections with the global conflict

Aside from sounding like the loudest Cornish punk band this side of the Plymouth Sound, Crackington Haven and The Strangles is a must-walk if you’re the outdoors type who loves seeing drama unfold before your very eyes. It’s one of our favourites in the Duchy simply because of its stunning natural and geological beauty.

The walk begins at Crackington Car Park, which is in Crackington Haven between Tintagel and Bude on Cornwall’s north coast. The word ‘haven’ is apt as this picturesque village appears as both isolated and surrounded by stunning nature all around. The hike takes you down to the cliffs next to Crackington Haven Beach and, well, these are no ordinary cliffs. There’s a unique geological feature here. Zigzagging layered folds make up the so-called ‘Crackington Formation’ that was formed by the pressure of the earth on the rocks over millions of years. They make for an incredible sight so, yeah, cameras out, please.

From the beach, take the coast path to the left and head westwards over the layered rocks at Bray’s Point and Tremoutha Haven towards Cambeak. Dropping steeply on the oceanside, the elevated pillow at Cambeak has a sloping grass top and offers spectacular elevated views along the coast. On clear days, Trevose Head and Stepper Point near Padstow can be seen to the south. To the north, the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel appears.

Map created with © OpenStreetMap contributors, available under the Open Database License

Continuing along the coast, the path straddles the beaches at Little Strand and The Strangles, the latter being accessed at its south side via a steep path. This southern end of the beach once saw mining activity and you can still spot remnants of all that quarrying today. If you’re so minded at The Strangles, a wee paddle in the water here is recommended on a hot day as it’s both clean and fairly secluded.

Just past The Strangles, the path heads inland and then bears left after its encounter with Trevigue Farm. Go across a number of open fields before you meet the Ludon Valley and its idyllic stream. Here, the track turns back to Crackington Haven and guides you through lush wooded valleys with enough clearings along the way for you to take some refreshments in and contemplate quite how beautiful the world can be when you’re out stretching those legs in Cornwall’s heavenly garden. 

Why we love this walk: This walk is all about extremes. From the towering cliffs that loom over Crackington Haven Beach and the zigzagging layers of rock that sit along its shoreline to the birds-eye views from the headland at Cambeak and the inner might you need to push up some of the path sections, this walk has it all. It’s dramatic, it’s idyllic and it’s a must for all hikers who want to experience the best of what Cornwall’s walks have to offer.