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.
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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’.