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St. Nectan's Glen

OS Grid ref:- SX 073 889

St. Nectan's Glen is a highly attractive spot and can be accessed from a car park just off the road from Boscastle to Tintagel.

St. Nectan was a hermit who gave his name to the glen and waterfall, although according to some sources the name is a Christianised form of the Cornish water god - Nechtan. The Keive itself was seen as a potent Pagan symbol of Gaia and has been a place of reverence since before Christ.

A path leads through the glen where a gurgling stream winds its way the woodland. The dramatic waterfall plunges 40 feet. St. Nectan was said to have lived here and reputedly lies buried under the stones of the basin. The waterfall can be reached via the Hermitage Tea Garden, where a path leads down to the foot of the fall. Many messages and small offerings crowd the minute ledges of the steep sides of the glen.

The footpath to Rocky Valley, a continuation of St. Nectan's Glen to the sea leads through a trout farm and down a wooded valley. It passes Trevillet Mill now in ruins, once a Corn Mill, it was later used for making blankets, yarn and worsted cloth for hose. Some 200 yards downstream, labyrinth rock carvings which date from around 1,600 B.C. can be found on the cliff face at the rear of the mill ruin. (OS grid ref- SX 073893) the authenticity of the carvings is disputed.

Charles Dickens and William Thackeray visited Saint Nectan's Glen in 1842 along with Daniel Maclise who made his preliminary sketches for Nymph at the Waterfall here. Stunning views of the sea, cliffs and the island of Lundy can be seen on clear days.

Further upstream from Saint Nectan's Glen are the remains of a longhouse, Tregenver, possibly as old as the fourteenth century. The house was inhabited by farm labourers until the late nineteenth century. It is probable that Tregenver (or Genver) can be identified with the manor of Tregrebri as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1089.

The Cornish Landscape

Prehistoric Sites in Cornwall