8 fantastic photo opportunities in North Cornwall

In a county as picturesque as Cornwall, it’s not easy to pick out the best photo opportunities… but we like a challenge!  Of course, many of our chosen spots make for a great walk to blow off those cobwebs or shed those Christmas calories, but this list is really for the photographers amongst you.  So charge your batteries, find that memory card, and explore our 8 fantastic photo opportunities in North Cornwall:


St. Nectan’s Glen, near Tintagel 

Just about the only location on this list with an entrance fee, St. Nectan’s Glen between Tintagel and Boscastle is nevertheless worth a look for avid photographers.  There is a pleasant walk through a valley along a gentle river, before the entrance shop.  From there, you climb a steep set of steps down into the ‘kieve’, where a waterfall plunges down the rockface and surges through an iconic hole in the rock.  For photo buffs, it’s definitely one for long exposures when you can turn the bubbling stream into a misty haze.

Copyright Trevor Rickard

Rocky Valley, near Tintagel

Just around the corner from St. Nectan’s Glen is the stunning Rocky Valley.  This is one of our favourite walks at the best of times, but if you’re into photography it’s an absolute must.  Parking in a layby on the road, you take a footpath that takes you to a derelict mill – great for some atmospheric shots – but there are also old labyrinthine carvings into the rocks.  Following the river, the path winds through a beautiful valley  and then finally to a stunning rocky cove.  There is no access to the water here, but instead you can watch the sea pound against the unusual rock formations.


A bit of a controversial one, as many people feel that Tintagel has become too commercialised for its own good.  However, it’s hard to pretend that there aren’t some exceptionally picturesque spots.  If you’re on a budget, then The Old Post Office on the high street (a National Trust property) is affordable – or just take shots of its characterful architecture from the outside.  There is also a King Arthur statue, recently (controversially) installed onto the clifftops at Tintagel Head.  If you have a bit more time and money, then you can pay for entrance to Tintagel Castle, an English heritage attraction.  Here you can take shots of the ruined walls that teeter over the dramatic coastline.

Boscastle Harbour

The natural harbour at Boscastle makes it easy to see why people settled here in the distant past, and the grassy clifftops are worth a walk too.  Better yet, if you go towards low-tide, you will find several Cornish fishing boats waiting on the sand – cue iconic shots of lobster pots, buoys, and little white boats.

Bude Pepper Pot

The area of Bude west of the river Neet is very attractive.  Not only do you have Bude canal, and an excellent view of Summerleaze beach, but you can also walk along the breakwater and climb its little observation point.  For us though, the highlight is walking up the gently sloping Efford Downs to what the locals call the Pepper Pot – a small octagonal tower.  From here, you have a good view of Bude, and to Cleve Camp GCHQ on the distant cliffs beyond.

Copyright David Smith

Launceston Castle

Although there’s little more than a tower remaining, Launceston Castle is an iconic image of Cornwall and an incredible example of a motte and baille castle – reason enough for it to once have been the capital of the county.  Perched on the top of a very steep and impressive mound, the ruins can be photographed from countless angles around the town, but our favourites are from the grounds themselves, and (somewhat bizarrely) from the long stay car park on Race Hill, where you can grab a shot of it looming over the rest of the town.

Trebarwith Strand

Trebarwith is one of our favourite beaches – rarely overcrowded (apart from during peak season), and with a great cafe and a well-positioned pub.  It’s also a treat for photographers – you have the foreboding island of Gull Rock in the bay, the rocky outcrops on the beach to the north, but also the spectacular cliffs – some of the highest in Cornwall.  There are no gentle, grassy bumbling slopes down to the water – just precipitous sheer drops down hundreds of feet.  Trebarwith is also a great place for getting shots of rockpool sea life, and the rocks are absolutely covered with mussels.

Roughtor & Brown Willy

A little bit of a drive down the A39, but visiting the highest points in Cornwall is a must.  You can park for free at the Forestry Commission car park, from which you can see your climb ahead.  Although it isn’t wheelchair or pram friendly, the walk itself isn’t too strenuous – perhaps 45 minutes.  From the peak, on a good day you can see both the north and south coasts of Cornwall.  We recommend this walk between Autumn and early Spring – not only can you time it for sunset for a truly spectacular set of photos , but if you’re lucky you’ll be treated to vast murmurations of swooping starlings that often roost in the forest by the car park.  Fantastic!