Spectacular Waterfalls in Cornwall

Published September 29th, 2020 Spectacular Waterfalls in Cornwall Published in: Nature

Waterfalls are a reflection of nature’s natural beauty, these natural formations formed thousands of years ago, are majestic and hold a fascination for many of us.

It is somewhat therapeutic to watch and listen to powerful waters, plummeting vertically down from high above to the deep depths below.

They are certainly another aspect to Cornwall’s natural beauty and can be found dotted about the countryside. There are some particularly scenic waterfalls to be found here. Some are especially spectacular, and others are more low-key but sill impressive, and they are generally surrounded by breath-taking scenery and tranquil surroundings. They allow you to come close to nature and relax in the natural surroundings.

They provide a nice photo opportunity and a picturesque selfie spot.

They are well worth seeking out if you are in the area, you won’t forget them in a hurry especially if you visit after a heavy rainfall. They could be the highlight of your trip.

Culm Coast

Located between Bude and Hartland, and home to some of the best coastline in Cornwall, it is part of the South West Coast Path. The scenery is incredible with unusual rock formations, a rugged coastline, river valleys, shipwrecks far below and waterfalls. It is quite an arduous walk and steep in places but well worth the effort.

There are two waterfalls; the smaller emerges from a small brook and drops about 100ft to a stone rock bed and continues to the more dramatic waterfall at Speke’s Mill Mouth, where the waters come cascading down from a narrow cliff opening, falling around 60ft, to the pebbly beach below and out to sea. You can climb down to see the waterfall from the beach.

The surrounding scenery is breath-taking and there is a magical feel about the area, it is a lovely place to spend some time and enjoy your surroundings.

Golitha Falls, near Liskeard

Located on a nature Reserve amongst this ancient oak forest and not far from Liskeard you will come across the impressive and beautiful Golitha Falls, the area is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Surrounded by stunning ancient oak and beech woodland, the fast flowing waters cascade down the craggy gorge, where they are at their most dramatic. After a heavy rain, they are at their most spectacular. The water cascades over boulders and several falls to create a small plunge pool with golden sand.

There is lots to see in the area with beautiful flora and fauna, local wildlife; children will love to tip-toe across stepping stones or cross the bridges located here, drop sticks off the bridge and have a game of Pooh sticks. If you are lucky to might, see otters playing in the water.

There are plenty of places to stop and take in the beautiful surroundings, in this fairy tale glen, take along a picnic and find a shady spot to sit and relax. Afterwards, you can enjoy a lovely walk through the woods.

Lansallos, West Polruan

If you walk from the church in Lansallos Village for about 20 minutes, you will come across a hidden cove and an idyllic beach. There are a number of activity points along the stream to entertain children.

This pretty waterfall found here once powered an old mill. And is known as Reed Water, the falls tumble into the sand and rocks of this pretty cove. Stop and spend some time swimming, playing in the sand and having a picnic.

Luxulyan Valley

This area is different to others in Cornwall, it has a rich industrial mining history and there are a high concentration of remnants relating to its industrial past scattered about such as tramways and the impressive Teffry viaduct amongst the magical woodland. The Luxulyan Valley is a part of a World Heritage Site and the Par River runs through it.

Located at the top of the valley is the waterfall, it is part of the disused waterwheel system. The fast-flowing waters cascade down and over mossy rocks.

There are numerous trails and stunning scenery; you can explore the forests with twisted oak trees and countryside whilst here taking in the incredible flora and fauna, and range of wildlife. Take along a picnic and find a pretty spot to enjoy the scenery and tranquillity.

Pentargon Waterfall, Boscastle

Head along the rugged coastline of Beeny Cliffs and you will come across the spectacular Pentargon waterfall, which plunges a sheer 120ft drop through a hanging valley to the shoreline far below. See if you will be inspired like Thomas Hardy who wrote the poem “Under the Waterfall” after visiting.

You can get really close to the waterfalls on the north bank of the stream but, it is best to see it from several hundred yards away, from here you get an unobstructed view of the torrent. Take care on a windy day as the fall can be blown into an uprising spray, and you will get wet.

The falls are surrounded by gorgeous scenery. From Fire Beacon point you can often see the seals bobbing in the waters or sunning themselves on the rock, in an area known as Seal’s Hole. Savour the lovely views of the harbour and the tranquillity of the area.

St Nectan’s Glen, near Tintagel

Located inland in the centre of a lush hidden valley are this magical trio of waterfalls at St Nectan’s Glen, an amazing rocky gorge-like valley, that has remained unchanged for centuries, it is a truly gorgeous setting.

When you enter the woodland walk you, are above the waterfalls on a wooden boardwalk, and you get some great views from this position but, it is best experienced from the shallow pool below, if you don’t have wellies, you can use the complimentary wellies available from the office. The descent is not too difficult there are a number of steps that are a little steep but on the whole manageable for most people.

The most impressive is the slender 60-foot waterfall St Nectan’s Kieve, that falls into a high basin, then plummets through a rock arch, and drops into a plunge pool (the kieve), a truly impressive sight, particularly after a rainfall when you can experience the full spectacle. The lower pool is deep enough for a splash on a hot day.

If you continue past the main waterfall, you will come across a secondary waterfall, and this is the widest of the three and features a number of drops, continue over a walkway to the third hidden fall, it is around 80ft and connects to the main stream after the other two waterfalls.

These falls enjoy a scenic location alongside the river surrounded by trees, animals and birds, creating a truly tranquil atmosphere. There is also a café and shop if you need refreshments or shelter from a rain shower.

It is not just a place of beauty, according to local legends this sacred site was used as part of the ritual to cleanse and baptise King Arthur’s squires and turn them into knights before they set out on their quest to recover the Holy Grail.

There is no charge for the woodland walks but there is an entrance fee to the Kieve and hermitage. The money is used to maintain this incredibly beautiful area.


Tregardock Beach, near Port Isaac

This is off the beaten track and is one of Cornwall’s wildest beaches and involves a tricky descent involving a bit of a climb down the rocks but once here you are rewarded with incredible natural beauty of huge cliffs, sea caves and sandy expanses. At the secluded northern end of the beach you, will find this delightful waterfall flowing over the mouth of a shallow cave.

It is about a 15-minute walk off the beaten track to reach this natural gem. Be aware of the tide as it can be only reached at low tide.

The cliffs behind are impressive, a number of caves and lots of rockpools are revealed at low tide, offering lots to discover hidden under stones and seaweed.

Please respect the potential dangers of waterfalls. In addition to the current being strong, if you fall in, the surrounding ground is often slippery and wet from the spray/mist from the falling waters.