Penkenna Point, Crackington Haven ©National Trust Images Sue Brackenbury
Beach with Cafe
Crackington Haven is a lovely shingle cove in a tiny coastal village, with golden sands and rock pools when the tide is out. It was originally a small port for coal, slate and limestone, but never expanded, so it has remained a secluded retreat.
The beach is dominated by majestic cliffs of folded strata (called The Crackington Formation), with scenic walks, making it one of the few points of shelter between Bude and Boscastle. It is perfect for a family day out, for walks, paddling, sandcastles and picnics.
For surfers, it tends to be smaller than Widemouth so is excellent on ‘big wave’ days. For everyone else, it is a gently shelving beach in an enclosed bay. The village end is largely pebbles, giving way to shingle and sand at low tide., and is lifeguarded during the summer.
The views are spectacular (and the clifftop drive to Bude is hair-raising, not for the faint-hearted) so most people use the A39. A mile south is High Cliff, Cornwall’s highest cliff standing at 735 ft or 235m high.
For the literary, Thomas Hardy and his first wife Emma used to walk here. St Juliot’s Church, 2 miles inland also has Hardy connections, so is worth seeing. Much of the walking here is strenuous on rough terrain but more moderate is Crackington Cracker circular walk which also has an option to visit nearby Strangles beach.
There are also good facilities ‘off-beach’ with car parking, toilets, cafes and an inn, however there is a seasonal dog ban in place at Crackington Haven.