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St Nectans Glen, Cornwall

St Nectans Glen, Cornwall – England’s beautiful hidden gem

St Nectans Glen is a nature reserve in Tintagel, Cornwall which I had the pleasure of visiting in February 2018. This area of magnificent beauty left its impression upon me and now I hold special memories of my time there, which I’ll never forget. I’ve never experienced a place with so much positive energy that you feel it coursing through your veins, where whatever bothered you this morning, suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. The outstanding force of nature which is a 60ft natural waterfall will have you in awe. If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall, or are lucky enough to live there, I urge you to take a day to explore the magic of St Nectans Glen.

What to see and do at St Nectans Glen, Cornwall

Ancient woodland

St Nectans Glen, Cornwall

St Nectans Glen, Cornwall


Walk through ancient woodland, along the River Trevillet, listening to the beauty of birdsong and the rush of the sparkling water, making its way to the sea. Stop for a moment to observe the flat pebble structures, piled on top of each other, which past visitors have created, also known as ‘fairy stacks. Notice how peaceful your surroundings are and how the air is so fresh and clean.

Café and shop

St Nectans Glen, Cornwall Cafe and Shop

After your stroll through the woods, you may have worked up an appetite, so you’ll be pleased to find a lovely rustic café and shop. The café has plenty of healthy options and I was pleased to find a good range of vegan and gluten-free choices. It was lovely and peaceful that day, with only one other customer in, so my friend and I chose the best seat in the house, a big comfy sofa, next to an open fire with a window view of woodland all around us. We sat there for around an hour, drinking our coffee and chatting. It was so relaxing, it felt like my second home.

The waterfall

Waterfall in St Nectans Glen, Cornwall

The 60ft waterfall cascading down over old slate is the star of the show here. The price to see the waterfall is £5.95 per adult, (which at first, I thought was a bit much, I clearly didn’t realize what a treat I was in for!) I would happily pay triple that now I’ve seen the sheer beauty of it. After loaning a pair of wellies, if you haven’t brought your own, you’ll follow the wooden bridge descending towards the waterfall. Take your time, there’s much to see on the way. As well as the stunning view of the river and woodland, there’s little prayers hanging from tree’s, ribbons, crystals and other significant spiritual pieces which previous visitors have placed around. Being a sacred place where people come to pray, meditate or just get away from the hustle and bustle of life, I could feel the energy zing through me and I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt.

Once you reach the bottom, you’ll find out why you needed wellies. Walk around in the plunge pool where the water lands, bathe in it if it’s warm enough! Go close to the waterfall and feel the water spraying your face. Being February when I visited, the water felt like ice, I dipped my hand in to find some rocks to take home to my children and it went numb in a matter of seconds I would love to visit again in the summer (and take a bathing suit!) There are also two other smaller waterfalls at St Nectans Glen.

History and myth

St Nectans Glen, Cornwall Cave drawings

People say that Saint Nectan came here to do his hermitage is the 6th century. His cell was situated above the waterfall, where he sat and rang a silver bell in stormy weather to warn ships of the rocks at the mouth of the river. The remains of a building still sit above the waterfall and some say this was St Nectans cells. Others believe that King Arthur and his knights came here, some have apparently seen ghostly sightings.

How to get there

You’ll find St Nectans Glen at Trethevy, Tintagel, Cornwall PL34 0BE Telephone: 01840 779538

Written by Kelly McManus who owns her own travel site Travelling Mama.


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