Route Highlight

Hartland

They call the far northwest corner of Devon the ‘Hartland Heritage Coast’ – it’s a beachless peninsula that’s a largely unspoilt Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It offers intrepid walks and breathless views rather than sandcastles and sunbathing.

Hartland Quay is the highlight, where Atlantic waves smash into gnarled rocks. Storms have reduced the ancient quay to rubble. Cliff paths lead north to Hartland Point lighthouse or south to Spekes Mill waterfall, or you can simply shelter in the remote hotel bar. Look out too for the eccentric stately home Hartland Abbey that stands amid a peacock-filled park. Nearby, the village of Hartland offers a bohemian end-of-the-world atmosphere.

During your trip

Other Route Highlights

Rock

The old estuary village of Rock is enjoying a similar up-market transformation to Padstow on the opposite shore. Rock always had beaches, views and walks – and now there are gourmet restaurants and designer shops too.

Port Isaac

The biggest of a trio of tiny adjoining coves, Port Isaac was thrust into the spotlight when serving as the location for TV’s Doc Martin series. Along with Port Quin and Port Gaverne, expect rocky inlets with tiny beaches sheltering a handful of fishing boats

Tintagel

Don’t let the touristy high street full of homemade fudge and Arthurian replica swords deter you – it leads to one of the great sights of Cornwall. You’ll cross the new spectacular footbridge to reach the romantic ruins of Tintagel’s medieval island fortress.

Boscastle

A craggy inlet twists inland to a harbour where wonky cottages climb uphill from a cleft in the cliffs. Boscastle’s quirky appeal includes individual artists’ galleries, a spooky witchcraft tradition and a noisy blowhole spouting water through a gap in the cliffs. Superstitious villagers still call it ‘The Devil’s Bellows’.

Beaches of the far north coast

This rugged stretch of coast has more shipwreck locations and smuggling sites than sandy beaches. That’s all the better for out-of-season roadtrip explorers

Clovelly

See beyond the expensive car park, commercialised visitor centre and the awkwardly steep cobbled main street and Clovelly is one of THE essential Devon sights. Thanks to its private aristocratic owners, nothing architectural has changed here for almost 300 years.

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