A walk in the past

West Penwith. The furthest west you can go on British mainland and where you will find Land’s End. An area which was once rich in mineral wealth and is therefore riddled with mine shafts and abandoned engine houses. It is also an area rich in megalithic and archaeological sites. Fields of standing stones, stone circles, rocks with holes in the middle and a quoit or two.

Bojewyan

Staying near the former mining village of Pendeen which lies between the sea and moorland gave me a chance to explore this wild and rugged region. The sun shone brightly every day, although the accompanying wind from the north reduced the temperature to a mere 14°C and made walks on the exposed coastline ‘interesting‘ difficult to stand up in.

Higher Bojewyan

A rather more pleasant walk was inland to find Chûn Quoit and Chûn Castle (though the castle is reduced to a heap of stones as most of it was used to pave the streets of Penzance) as much of the route was along a sheltered lane with high Cornish walls at either side.

Finding the start of the public bridleway was the first hurdle as it isn’t marked from the road, but consulting the Ordnance Survey map we had with us it appeared to start at the back of a group of houses/farm in Higher Bojewyan just around the corner from our cottage.

Hesitant, in case we were straying onto someone’s private land, we found the lane stretching towards the moors. The views towards the coast were incredible and naturally it took us a while because of all the stopping to photograph the masses of wild flowers, the views, the butterflies.

Views towards Pendeen and Bojewyan (right)
View south – engine houses with Pendeen church in the distance

Seeing a smudge on the top of the hill that resembled a mushroom we wondered whether that was the Quoit, but could see no way of getting to it. A man walking his dogs stopped to chat and we asked him if he knew the track to the Quoit. He didn’t even know about this quoit, only said that we were a long way from the Lanyon Quoit (near Madron), so we thanked him and carried on.

See the smudge in the background?

Consulting the map once again I figured that if we found the car-park off the North Road we would pick up the track which leads from it up to the quoit and the castle, and in the distance we could indeed see what appeared to be a couple of parked cars by the road-side. And a man strolling from it in our direction. I was a bit hesitant at this point, because the structure looked to be miles away, but we decided to carry on to where the path crossed the one we were on.

Permissive path – let’s hope it is the right one

At the junction there was a stile leading into a field and to where the man was still striding ahead. It hadn’t taken us long to catch up with him so we decided to follow and after another stile and another field the track led us upwards to the quoit.

Chûn Quoit

The structure comprises of several upright stones with a massive horizontal capstone forming a small chamber. They are thought to be chambered tombs or portal dolmens, and date to the 3rd or 4th millennia BC. They are also found in Wales, Ireland and Brittany. This one is particularly special as it is the only one in Cornwall that still has the capstone in situ (others have been re-settled).

We didn’t carry on up to the ruined castle, but returned the way we had come. Leaving the castle for another day’s exploration.

If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.

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Heyjude

I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

70 thoughts on “A walk in the past”

      1. I feel a piece of Jude writing coming on please! I’ve just read Meg’s journey to her family and decided I must stop being so image fixed. I started my blog as a writer!

        1. I often feel that I want to rant on my blog, but that’s not what it is about! But I don’t do as much foreign travel as I used to so already it is changing. I shall pop over to Meg’s now 🙂

  1. SO glad you found it! Don’t they make impressive subjects for a photo? This reminds me a little of an Algarve walk which we were following from a book and we were never 100% sure we’d found the right start point. But happily the car was still there when we eventually got back 🙂
    Our ex-mining heritage isn’t so different, Jude. 🙂 Many thanks for the link and your company.

    1. When we saw that little smudge on the top of the hill it looked MILES away! But once we found the right path it wasn’t too far at all. But far enough for me not to bother about continuing up to the ruins of the castle. I have got to save something for when I move there haven’t I 😉

  2. loved every step of the way – have not been to this part of the world for many years so seeing the scenery again via your lens was wonderful. Fascinating quoit – almost as hard to find as the grail

    1. Ha, you can say that again! It may be signposted from another direction, but not from where I started from! I don’t think this landscape has changed for many years!

  3. Hi Jude!!! At last..phew. And I have to say, this post is utterly fascinating as I’ve never seen a quoit, at least I don’t think I have, and loved reading about the history behind it. I’ve been to Land’s End once and would love to return and take this walk. You should put all your walks from this area in a travel book, I will be the first one to buy it 🙂 Also very clever your montage of the buckled hub cap and butterfly…very artsy, love it 😀 xx

    1. Even though I have been visiting Cornwall for a few years now I have not previously explored this most western/northern edge and I am so glad that I picked the cottage in Bojewyan. It is an incredible landscape and we had perfect weather which helps, as you know! Mmm… a book of walks. That is food for thought. Thank you 🙂

      1. You’re welcome 🙂 Put me in the front of the queue! And thanks for the heads-up about Bojewyan. You had the best weather yet…fantastic 😎 😀 xx

  4. Well now I have learnt another meaning for “quoits” like “master of something yet” I had a completely different meaning in mind. I chuckled at his comment. and dolmens??? well I will have to visit Mr Google… But I loved this walk with you Jude and the light for photography is amazing so clear and sharp.

    1. Ah, thank you, your comment is very much appreciated 🙂 And yes, I love to travel vicariously too, especially to places that I know I shall never get to now.

    1. Oh, wow, Sylvia – what a lovely post! I have been to the Hurlers, but didn’t find that quoit, also missed the Cheesewringer too so I must explore more of Bodmin moor. And I see you have a photo of Wheal Coates tin mine very much like mine, but with a low tide – looks good.

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