St. Nectan's Glen, Cornwall

St. Nectan's Glen has been on my radar and on my Bucket List for nearly twenty years now and I was really looking forward to finally seeing this enchanted site during my recent stay in Cornwall.

From the small car park, located on the main road that connects Boscastle with Tintagel, there is a decent one-mile woodland walk that follows the Trivillet River up to the awe-inspiring St. Nectan's Kieve, the 60 foot waterfall that has been lauded by many pilgrim's as one of Britain's finest spiritual sites.

The first thing of a magical nature that visitor's notice on the walk up to St Nectan's Glen are the fallen trees that are encrusted with embedded coins. Numerous flat stones are left around the tree to encourage the practice. These are coin wishing trees and have a long tradition in British folklore.

Coin Wishing Tree, St. Nectan's Glen

Embedded Coins in a St. Nectan's Glen Wishing Tree
The practice is an ancient one and involved hammering a coin into a tree as an offering to seek the help of the spirit that is believed to inhabit the tree. This may be just to gain general favour with the tree spirit or, more traditionally, to ask the spirit to remove whatever illness that is troubling them. On a darker note, it is also said that anyone removing a coin from a Wishing Tree, also gets to take away the specific malady the coin was paid to the tree to remedy.

Another Coin WIshing Tree at St. Nectan's Glen

As well as Coin Wishing Trees, there are innumerable Dressed Wishing Trees around St. Nectan's Glens. Festooned with ribbons and other decorations, these gifts to the tree spirits are a mix of votive offerings, symbolic prayers and wishes those who decorate the tree hope the resident spirits will grant them.

Dressed Wishing Tree, St. Nectan's Glen

Votive offerings, wishes and symbolic prayers
decorate many trees in St. Nectan's Glen

There is a small entrance fee to visit St. Nectan's Kieve and after paying this some well-managed steps lead steeply and in a winding fashion down to the waterfall itself.

Looking down at St. Nectan's Waterfall
Stood before the magnificent waterfall, the site did not disappoint. Wellington boots are offered to the visitor before the descent to the Kieve, and I do wish that I had taken the keeper's of the waterfall up on their kind offer so that I could have explored the watery site in more detail. Still, I found a relatively dry patch of rock to stand on and soaked up the atmosphere for a good and long while before falling the steps back up to the entrance/exit to the waterfall.

Votive offerings at St. Nectan's Glen Waterfall

St. Nectan's Glen Waterfall

The hole in the rock through which St, Nectan's waterfall flows

After viewing the famous waterfall, there were still much to see on the climb back up to the exit, including this beautiful sculpture... well as further magical votive offerings.

All in all, St. Nectan's Glen is a very highly recommended site to visit. If you are thinking of travelling there yourself, you can find more information from the glen's official website here.