Cornwall in focus

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Tintagel - Cliffs, Castle and King Arthur

For a suitable Ordnance Survey map of the area please buy OS Explorer 111 - Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel; or see my Tintagel Map for more details.

The Island Courtyard, Tintagel castle

Tintagel village was known as Trevena until about 1850. The parish as a whole was known as Tintagel. It was decided by the Victorians to rename the village as Tintagel to promote tourism and the link to King Arthur and Camelot and to make the most of the improved transport links. There has been some sort of human habitation here since Iron Age times as there are the remains of an Iron Age cliff castle at nearby Willapark. It is also thought that the 6th Century Kings of Cornwall had some sort of fortified camp here. The present remains of the Castle on the 'Island' are thought to date from Norman times (about 1080AD) although it is likely such a prominent headland would have been used throughout history. The nearby church to St Materiana also dates from Norman times but again there may have been an earlier structure on the site. One of the best preserved and most photographed buildings in Tintagel is the Old Post Office in Fore Street. It dates from the 15th Century and was an Estate Office for the local landowners until the mid 19th century when it became the Post Office. At the turn of the 20th Century it was bought by the forerunner of the National Trust under whose protection it remains. It was restored in the early 1970's. Nearby Bossiney is now little more than a hamlet and few people realise that the borough formerly had Sir Francis Drake as its MP!

Tintagel Castle from Glebe Cliff

Tintagel now survives on its suggested links with King Arthur and is a very popular tourist area in the summer months. Nearby Boscastle is also well worth a visit while in the area. Incidentally, all those people who suggested that Tintagel has no links to King Arthur were dumbfounded by the recent discovery of the 'Arthnou Stone' - an inscribed slate dating from about the 6th Century. There are excellent cliff walks west to the slate quarries around Lanterdan and Bagalow and east over Barras Nose to Gullastem, Willapark and on to Trevalga and Boscastle. Nearby are the very picturesque Rocky Valley and the magical St Nectan's Glen - well worth a visit.

Tintagel Castle and 'mainland' from the headland

The Old Post Office, Tintagel


English Heritage Tintagel Castle Tel. (01840) 770328

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