Crackington Haven: Cracking Views and Coastal Climbs

It’s time to venture north, but not too far! Here’s a new walking or running route, passing through Crackington Haven and onto the south west coast path.

Running along the north Cornish coast, at Crackington Haven, has been on my radar for a long time. It hasn’t happened yet because it’s a fair drive from where I live in Cornwall. After dropping my son off to his dad in Devon, I decided to it was time to bite the bullet and make a detour to north Cornwall.

I plan all my routes in advance – I like them to be a loop where possible. Google told me this route would be about 4 miles. Perfect for where I am in my running journey and plantar fasciitis recovery. However, as you’ll see, Google was considerably off the mark, with this route being almost 6 miles. It was also incredibly tough!

If you’re new to running and are looking for more information, you may find my post on how to start running useful (it includes a starter plan).

You’ll also see from the photos that even though it was peak summertime, the weather had different ideas. It was grey, mizzly and looked like winter at times.

I considered parking at Crackington Haven but opted to park in a large layby near Newton Farm (postcode PL35 0HN). This part of Cornwall is quite unknown to me. For this run I came equipped with my OS map, and my OS map app fully loaded up and ready to go. It was excellent at keeping track of where I was too.

a wooden sign for Pengold farm in North Cornwall

Heading Towards Crackington Haven via Woodland

As with all my multi terrain running routes, I like to start on the road. I feel I’ve the best to come, knowing the south west coast path awaits. Also it means I’d be running down the coast from Crackington Haven, in a south westerly direction. Mentally, it just seems easier and the better option.

The road from Newton Farm is pretty quiet and it’s a narrow back road. I had to hug the hedge when tractors and cars passed! I planned to come off the road, and head towards woodland near a farm called, Pengold, but the cows at the stile put me off. Instead, I headed to Trevigue, just a little further up the road.

A big brown cow behind a gate in a field
a 3 way wooden sign towards Sheepdip

The public footpath is just after the houses at Trevigue and leads through 2 fields, entering into woodland. I was a bit concerned about getting lost in the woods, or struggling to find the designated path. From the field, the woodland looks dark and imposing, but I needn’t have worried. The path is well carved out, with consistent signs pointing to Crackington Haven.

Running in the woodland was probably the easiest part of this run. The terrain was quite flat. I liked that I had water alongside me the whole way too.

a white house in the distance at the end of the road with cliffs in the background
the roofs and top floors of houses and bushes at Crackington Haven

Reaching Crackington Haven

Before Crackington Haven, there’s a cluster of houses at the edge of the footpath at Ludon. At the end of this road, it’s down the hill to the popular beach at Crackington.

As soon as a got there, the heavens opened and it rained relentlessly. Surprisingly, not many people moved from the beach, optimistically waiting for the downpour to end.

Lichen covered cliffs beside dark sand and calm sea
a grass path leading to white houses under the cliffs

I was quite surprised how small Crackington Haven is. Looking at the map, it’s clearly not huge. There’s obviously houses and a beach but I think it’s quite a quiet place, making it an ideal holiday destination. There’s a small number of places to eat, such as The Cabin Cafe but to me, it looked like the sort of place people go to to get away from the busyness of everyday life.

I don’t think the tide was out enough while I was there, but if you time your visit right, you may find the remains of a German E-boat!

a curved coastline with sand and calm sea near Crackington Haven

On To The Strangles

Thankfully the rain didn’t persist and before I knew it, the clouds were parting and small patches of blue were peaking through. Things were looking up.

Quite literally too because I had a phenomenal climb ahead of me!

Coastal purple heather with the flat sea below and a curved coastline

Running out of Crackington Haven and passing Bray’s Point, I came to a huge incline. Now, if Carlsberg made inclines, it would probably be like this one. First of all, seasonal purple heather was plentiful, dotted along the path. It was incredibly pretty with this extra shot of colour. Secondly, the path had been redirected. Rather than the old path which went right up, it’s now a zig-zag, twisting its way to the top.

I gradually made headway, knowing this hill is definitely too much for me and my current level of fitness. I think the key is to keep moving – every run adds up to something more.

The headland at cliff at Little Strand in north Cornwall
The coastline from Brays Point near Crackington Haven

Once at the top, I’ve got to say, it was worth every step. I took in the panoramic views of the coast, still beautiful on a grey, misty summer’s day. Looking down the cliff face, there’s Little Strand, with it’s synonymous cliff arch. What a find.

The Strangles isn’t far away from here, my legs are telling me they’ve had enough! I was grateful for the windswept views of a new part of Cornwall. It helps keep my mind from thinking about I tired I am, or how much I really want a cup of tea!

a strip of sand overlooked by yellow gorse with moody grey sky and flat sea

Finding The Road

The Strangles is a beach between Crackington Haven and Boscastle. I didn’t go onto the beach (although I nearly did, by accident) as I just wanted to get back to my car! I headed up some steps and eventually found the footpath leading to the road. There were more cows here too, all huddled near the entrance. I decided to be brave and walk past them, praying I wouldn’t be chased.

My luck was in, and I soon found myself on the road. I decided to walk back to my car. With more miles than anticipated, my legs no longer felt like my own. I was so relieved to finally sit down but it felt good to tick another part of Cornwall off the running list.

If you’re in need of some further inspiration, why not check out my 16 ideas for microadventures?

Author: plbedford

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