Location Guide: St Nectan’s Glen

June 21st, 2019

St Nectan’s Glen is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest located in Trethevy, near Tintagel, in Cornwall. A location of great interest, the area is considered to be “one of the UK’s most spiritual sites”, with people coming from far and wide to view the St Nectan’s Kieve waterfall. In our latest location guide, we explore all the St Nectan’s Glen has to offer.

About St Nectan’s Glen

St Nectan’s Glen is a hidden gem, leading you through ancient woodland, where ivy-covered trees provide a tranquil canopy. Follow the river Trevillet and relax as you hear the distant rush of the waterfall. You can easily lose yourself in the beauty of this location, so take your time to absorb the incredible sights and sounds. Look out for the local wildlife, including the delightful birds known as Dippers, who are known to nest in the rocks near the waterfalls.

The main waterfall, St Nectan’s Kieve, is a magnificent sight. Here the river Trevillet has worn through the slate to create a 60-foot waterfall that flows impressively through a rock arch. Two additional waterfalls lead on from the main waterfall, with the third only recently having been made accessible.

Upon seeing the magical beauty of the area, it will come as no surprise that St Nectan’s Glen has long been associated with Cornish mysticism, with fairies and piskies rumoured to be found in this stunning location alongside the birds! Described as one of the most spiritual sites in the UK, St Nectan’s Glen, the waterfalls have become a place of spiritual pilgrimage. Visitors who recognise the site as a sacred place may leave ribbons, crystals, stone piles and prayers near the waterfall as an offering.  

History of St Nectan’s Glen

The area gets its name from the belief that Saint Nectan, a 6th-Century holy man, lived in a hermitage above the waterfall. As the legend goes, he would ring a silver bell when stormy weather came to warn ships of the perilous rocks at the mouth of the nearby Rocky Valley.  

Information About Visiting St Nectan’s Glen

St Nectan’s Glen is open seven days a week, year-round, although hours depend on season. Between 1st April and 31st October, opening hours are 9.30am to 5pm. Visiting St Nectan’s Glen and the woodland walk is free, but there is a charge of £5.95 for adults and £4.70 for children to visit the waterfalls. There is a free car park situated just off the road in Trethevy. Follow the signs to the waterfalls by foot. From the carpark to the waterfall entrance is around a half an hour walk.  

When visiting St Nectan’s Glen, you’ll also discover the wonderful St Nectan’s Café and gallery, where you’ll be able to treat yourself to a delicious Cornish cream tea after the walk! A truly tranquil spot to rest and recover, the café overlooks the river and is surrounded by a gorgeous garden. Situated within the walls of the old chapel you will find the gallery and shop, where a range of fine art and mementoes can be discovered.

Due to the terrain throughout the woodland and around the waterfalls, the walk is not suitable for people with walking difficulties, and those with pushchairs may struggle. Dogs are allowed on the woodland walk, to the waterfall, and the tea room café, making this the perfect spot for a family day out in Cornwall with the dog!

You can discover more of the hidden gems in Cornwall in our location guide series. Check out our previous blogs on Crantock Beach and Nanjizal Beach and Song of the Sea Cave! If you would like to explore all that Cornwall has to offer, both natural wonders and exciting local events, why not take a break and enjoy a luxury family holiday in Cornwall?!  

Image Credit: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)