Best Cornwall Waterfalls

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If you’re visiting Cornwall for a vacation, chances are you’ll want to check out the world-famous waterfalls of the region.

This small British county has several waterfalls located in different regions and environments, ranging from cliffside falls to those hidden within dense woodlands. Some areas even have multiple waterfalls that offer a breathtaking sight.

But choosing which locations to visit can be tricky, so we’ve put together this guide listing the 10 most spectacular waterfalls in Cornwall to help you out.

10 Best Cornwall Waterfalls

1. Golitha Falls, Bodmin Moor

Located in Draynes Wood in Bodmin Moor, Golitha Falls is known to be the most famous among Cornish waterfalls. The Golitha falls comprise a part of the River Fowey and consist of multiple small waterfalls and spectacular cascades, with the water dropping to a depth of 90 metres. This makes this spot popular among nature photographers trying to capture the milky waters and River Fowey in all their natural glory.

The water flow is also quite fast, and visiting Golitha Falls after heavy rainfall on the expansive moorland provides the best experience. But you can even visit in mid-spring when the flora of the Golitha Falls and Bodmin Moor region, such as bluebells, lichens, and wood anemones, are in full bloom. In fact, this region has 120 different species of moss and 50 species of lichen.

Another thing worth knowing is that Golitha Falls is a National Nature Reserve (NNR), an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is among those waterfalls in Cornwall that are home to several types of ecosystems, and, salmon and otters can often be seen in the waters. 

Reaching Golitha Falls is easy since it is a short walk from Drayne’s Bridge, which lies close to the village of St. Cleer, while the closest major town is Liskeard. 

2. St. Nectan’s Kieve, Near Tintagel

Another of the most stunning waterfalls in Cornwall, St. Nectan’s Kieve, is located near Tintagel, an exceptionally spiritual site in all of England. This spot is supposed to be where the 6th Century Celtic Saint Nectan built his hermitage and was very sacred to early Celtic Christian saints. 

It is the third waterfall in St. Nectan’s Glen, an AONB, and one of the hidden gems of North Cornwall that very few people know about. St. Nectan’s Glen is part of the River Trevillet and features prominently in Cornish folklore. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, has been a place of pilgrimage since the 5th Century CE, and is particularly important to locals.   

As for the waterfall, it has a 20 ft deep kieve or deep rock basin at the bottom. The deep rock basin overflows after the water plummets into this plunge pool from 60 ft high through a spectacular hole eroded in the cliff .

The water reaching the pool over the centuries has created an arch in the rocks through which it flows. Additionally, there is a pay-and-display car park at the site, from where you can take a mile-long walk through the woodlands to reach this captivating waterfall. A shop, gallery, and cafe are also present here, further adding to the experience.

3. Tregardock Beach, Newquay

If you’re visiting Newquay in North Cornwall, you can check out Tregardock Beach, which has one of the best-hidden waterfalls in the area. Tregardock Beach lies between Tintagel and Port Isaac on the public footpath of the South West Coast Path.   

To reach the fall, you will need to walk to the beach, which itself can be an enjoyable experience since this is among the most stunning beaches in Cornwall. But descending to the site can be tricky, so proceed with caution. Fortunately, you will find few people here, which means it will be much less crowded than the more well-known waterfalls in Cornwall. 

You will also need to plan your trip so as to reach the beach at low tide since it is completely underwater when the tide is high. The waterfall is located at the northern edge of this particular beach, with the water falling gently over a cliffside before a shallow cave.

There are no parking spaces here since most people visiting Tregardock Beach tend to hike between Port Isaac and Tintagel, so there are just a few cars. But it can be a great location for the entire family to visit since it is pet-friendly and perfect for surfing.

4. Rocky Valley, Near Boscastle

The Rocky Valley waterfall is also a part of the Trevillet River and lies on the South West Coast Path, along with several canyons and gorges. Resting between Tintagel and Boscastle, this North Cornwall’s fall gets its name from the numerous falls and steep-sided gorges in the area. These were developed over time by the river flowing along a break in the rock.

To reach the fall at Rocky Valley, you can use the public footpath along the river that reaches St. Nectan’s Glen. Or, you can take a walk along the South West Coast Path while enjoying the coastal scenery. 

The Rocky Valley waterfall features a circular hole through which the water flows into a plunge pool at the bottom, next to the Atlantic Ocean. It is another spot very popular among photographers trying to capture the magical essence of Rocky Valley because it is very rich in biodiversity and has about 161 moss species. 

Rocky Valley is about two miles from Tintagel Castle, so it will take around 45 minutes to reach.

5. Culm Coast

Culm Coast runs from Hartland to Bude and is an extremely challenging stretch of the South West Coast Path. But those willing and capable of making the trip are rewarded by two particularly stunning waterfalls. Besides these exquisite waterfalls, this stretch has some very gorgeous valleys and incredible rock formations.  

The first waterfall on this site lies below St. Catherine’s Tor, beginning as a brook and ultimately falling to a depth of 100 feet. This magnificent waterfall lies close to Hartland Quay and can be seen from the Hartland Quay to Bude path. There are several viewpoints and dramatic cliffs in the area as well.

As you follow the river, you will reach the second waterfall, which is much larger and is located at Speke’s Mill Mouth. This beautiful waterfall comprises a thin water strip that emerges from a cliff opening and plunges 50 metres down to enter the sea after falling to the pebbly beach below. Technically, this fall lies in Devon but is generally accepted as a part of Cornwall.

6. Lansallos Waterfall, Lantic Bay

The Lansallos waterfall lies near Lantic Beach on the South Cornwall coast and is often known as Reed Water. This area is associated with several famous legends, and Lansallos Beach, a south-facing beach close to Polperro, is the site of the waterfall. Despite its small size, Lansallos waterfall is still regarded as among the best Cornwall waterfalls. 

You will need to reach the western part of the beach to get a glimpse of the fall, but the trip is quite pleasant. This is due to the dramatic cliffs surrounding the area, and the fall rests at a spot that once had a mill.

Due to the challenging location of Lansallos waterfall, there are few visitors here, so you can enjoy the natural sights and sounds without getting disturbed. The downside to this is that parking facilities are unavailable, but there is a parking lot at Lantivet Bay, which lies about 1.6 miles away from the site.  

Another area worth visiting that lies close by is Fowey, where you can visit the port and go paddleboarding on the River Fowey. 

7. Eden Project Waterfall, St. Austell

The Eden Project is on the list of places to visit for most people travelling to Cornwall, and with good reason. This site lies in Bodelva and comprises two large-sized biomes mimicking the climates of the tropical rainforests and the Mediterranean region. These biomes contain several plant species and fauna naturally found in such regions.  

It is within the tropical rainforest biome that the Eden Project Waterfall is located, and this is the only waterfall on this list that has been created artificially. A wobbly rope bridge provides access to it, and you may also come across exotic species like roul-roul or crested wood partridge that roam in the area.

Apart from the marvellous indoor waterfall, this site provides an excellent opportunity to learn about different climates and their flora and fauna. The Eden Project is close to the village of Par, and its location makes visiting other attractions, like the Port of Charlestown and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, easy. 

8. Pentargon Waterfall, Boscastle

To the north of Boscastle and along the coast lies Pentargon Cove, where the Pentargon waterfall is located. While it is not a very frequently visited place, this is the highest waterfall in the region, with a height of 36 metres. 

What makes the Pentagon Waterfall so spectacular is that it is a hanging valley, meaning the river cascades off a cliff dramatically. This happens when the water is unable to carve a path through the rocks to reach the shore. Water from the fall plummets to 120 metres into a small plunge pool from the Beeny Cliffs, located near the village of Boscastle.

If you’re planning a visit, make sure to do so after heavy rain for the most enjoyable experience. To reach the Pentargon Waterfall, start from Boscastle Harbour and go up to Penally Point. Once there, turn north and move along the rugged coastline to the natural viewpoint, which is the best place to watch the Pentargon waterfall from. 

9. Waterfalls Luxulyan Valley, Near St. Blazey

The Luxulyan Valley Waterfall lies between St. Blazey and St. Austell on the Par River. This area also has a beautiful woodland walk and a rich mining heritage. In fact, visitors can see the leats miners used for transporting water, a waterwheel, and the remains of ramrods that used to be driven by horses. 

However, the most impressive structure here is the Treffry Viaduct, which rises to 100 feet and has 10 arches. The Luxulyan Valley has developed around this disused waterwheel system over time, and the water plunges down from the wheel pit. There are also many walking trails through the ancient woodland of the area, ranging from 3 to 6 miles.

If you are interested in woodland and industrial archaeology, Luxulyan Valley should be your first destination among the various natural beauty spots to visit.    

10. Kennall Vale

Kennall Vale, best known for its ancient woodland, is at nearly the same distance from Truro, Penryn, and Redruth. It is a charming valley full of wildflowers and moss-covered boulders, perfect for a beautiful woodland walk. The waterfall here has several cascading streams and rapids, making it an incredibly impressive spot to visit in Cornwall.

There is also another reason why this stunning spot is so unique among river valleys, which many people may not be aware of. Kennall Vale was once a gunpowder factory, which was powered by the Kennall River. Some factory remains are still visible, though much of it has become part of the stunning woodland. 

Conclusion 

The wide variety of waterfalls in Cornwall is an important reason why Cornwall is such a popular tourist spot for people all around the world. Some of these waterfalls are part of legally protected regions, such as within a National Nature Reserve or AONB, and significantly add to their landscape value. 

Moreover, the areas surrounding these waterfalls are worth visiting, with some falls located in the glorious countryside and others in woodlands or beaches. But if you’re planning a trip to these waterfalls in Cornwall, there are a few things to remember. 

First, a few of these locations are a bit tricky to navigate, so wear proper clothing and footwear. Also, make sure to time the visit right, as factors like low and high tide or the season can affect accessibility. This will ensure you have a great experience on your journey to discover waterfalls in Cornwall and other natural treasures. 

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