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Giant's Hedge



This Dark Ages earthwork ran at least from Looe to Lerryn, south of Lostwithiel, probably marking and defending the border of a Cornish Kingdom, often supposed to be that ruled by King Mark of the Tristram and lseult (Tristan and Isolda) story.

Dr Keith Ray, the County Archaeologist for Oxfordshire, who is making a special study of the Giant's Hedge, is convinced that it originally continued on the west side of the River Fowey and was defended there by Castle Dore.

Remains of other such forts are dotted elsewhere along the Hedge, such as Hall Rings and the one above Yearle's Wood, close to the site of St Nonna's Chapel . In some places it is still twelve feet high, and where it is best preserved (for example, in Willake Wood) it is stone-faced and flanked by a ditch.

"Even 180 years ago," writes Andrew foot in his history of St Veep, "it was sixteen feet high and ten feet broad so that fencibles in Quiller Couch's book, 'The Mayor of Troy Town', could march along its entire length.

What a tremendous labour it must have been to build, 1200 years or more ago, with nothing more than basic tools. " At the Looe end it is not well preserved, but is still recognisable in places, a bank following the contours fairly near the eastern or southern edge of the wood, although it would originally have been built out in the open, probably topped by a hedge (wall) or fence.

From Bob Acton's
Around Looe, Polperro & Liskeard by Landfall Publications

IBSN 1 873443 22 6
Posted by phil
10th March 2004ce
Edited 11th March 2004ce

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