I have just received the minutes from Penwith Access and Rights of Way Forum (Feb 2006)
In them it states that the access gate on the permissive path to Boscawenoon (sic) stone circle has been repaired and rehung and that the definitive path has been trimmed back hard of brambles and gorse by local volunteers and a new way marker installed at the start of the path.
Oh my! How beautiful is this place? My favourite so far. Strolling along the paths through the gorse, obviously now a lot easier to access; blackberrying all the way, hands & lips stained purple.
Glimpsing the circle in between gaps in the hedges & from the top of Creeg Toll. Stones all over the place. Boscowan un flits in & out of view teasing us. Looking on it from above, on the Toll made me think of the scene from Stephen Kings / Stanley Kubricks The Shining ( of all things!) when Jack's watching his family moving about in the maze from the model in the Overlook Hotel (there were a couple of people walking round the circle.)
However, nothing sinister to me about this place. I did the Julian thing & led on my back in the shadow of the angled stone & gazed round the circle seeing the stones from the ground up under the dome of a glorious blue sky. I dozed there, feeling protected & held.
We had this unreal place to ourselves. We were bathed in sunshine, warm & calm, peaceful & still. Forgot the rush to the other Lands End monuments & soaked it up. Heavenly.
A friend and I visited this area number of years ago. It was a cold muddy January day in 2005. We did take a few photos but they're not digital. We had visited several other sites that day including the Merry Maidens, the well at Madron and Men-an-Tol, but this really was the highlight.
We had driven down from Glastonbury the night before. I was still healing from a broken ankle the previous summer so the walking was a bit treacherous, with all the holes in the surrounding fields hidden by small clumps of growth. After a bit of effort, we were able to find this stone circle and also walking by what appeared to be a miniature version of it! Nice to hear it is more accessible now, but the mystery of it and its hidden quality was part of its appeal. It reminded me of an ancient sundial, with its large center stone resting at an angle.
In 2002 I wrote a poem about this place, before having visited it, that won the Morris Cup in the Gorseth Kernow. I was asked to read it on the radio via BBC Cornwall--the announcer said I had captured the place very well, considering…I do hope to go back again…
The first time I came here was before the kids were born, so that's at least fifteen years ago, it's all a bit different now. The new path that comes straight off the busy A30 makes it all much easier to find and to get to. But it may have lost a touch of seclusion, a hint of exclusivity, but the stones are the same as ever, which is part of the reason why we like them.
The trip down here was awful, half of the roads were closed, diversions abound, roadworks everywhere. Crap ! so we missed the sunrise by a good two hours. I could see the circle, just, from Creeg Tol, but I missed taking a picture of the rocks and didn't know of the little circle there, or I would have had a look, new or old.
Dewy grass soaked our feet and ankles, and we didn't have the place to ourselves for long, a large older lady turned up, with two barking dogs, but kudos to her for keeping them under control if not quiet and for sitting out of the way until we had taken our fill of Cornwall's best stone circle. But I'd have rather not felt rushed, I presume she's local so it's her circle more than mine. In the last couple of minutes of our visit the sun came out, the dew sparkled and the quartz stone shone (it didn't take long for Eric to point out that it was the only one).
What are the two smaller stones that clutter the circles edge near the gate, TSC mentions a cist, but wouldn't any covering cairn have almost totally obscure the two nearest circle stones, don't see it myself.
Time to go, a smidgen of disappointment pestered me, was it the late arrival, the large lady with dogs or something less tangible, dunno, but it wont keep me away for another fifteen years, I promise.
Site visit 3rd September 2012
Travelling westwards on the A30 toward Land’s End and just prior to the turning right to Sancreed, you will see a rectangular double-brown sign at the entrance to a driveway on the left with Boscawenoon and Chyandwens Farmhouse written on them. https://picasaweb.google.com/100525707086862773355/Sign?authkey=Gv1sRgCMeCmdr3uuGXOg#5786107750162643298
It is a public footpath but a driveway as well up to the aforementioned properties. I drove up very nearly to the farm until reaching a very nice long pull-in on the right adjacent to a tall pointed standing stone built into the hedge/wall. https://picasaweb.google.com/100525707086862773355/PointyStandingStone?authkey=Gv1sRgCO_L6YO00rLDkQE#5786072636533751618
We (the dogs and I) then walked down the driveway passing some farm buildings on the left and followed the driveway around to the right and past a house and a building described as a ‘goat shed’ on a sign. We continued on and came to a divide in the driveway with a vertical sign between the two declaring Boscawen-un was straight ahead! https://picasaweb.google.com/100525707086862773355/Sign02?authkey=Gv1sRgCLLD6ZmL68AS#5786075139480626370
Take the path to the right which is like a high-hedged alleyway. Midway along you will come to a stile on the left showing the right of way but don’t go over it keep straight on up the alleyway until reaching the Boscawen-un stone circle gate and sign on the left. https://picasaweb.google.com/100525707086862773355/Sign2?authkey=Gv1sRgCPauu9LBseqOmwE#5786077122101774018
MAGICAL was the word that popped into my head on seeing the circle as it truly is. This is a ‘good place’ as indicated by my dog Chief who ‘reads’ sites really well and immediately ran from stone to stone investigating in a happy manner. It’s not always like this with him.
Not a soul other than us present and quiet as could be and the site as tidy as I have ever seen one. The message may be getting through at last! The circle itself in a lovely sheltered setting sat there in complete serenity. The stones are pretty much regular in size/height with just either one missing or the space an entrance possibly and of course the well-known leaning off-centre stone such a feature. It looks ‘worked’ to me with a central spine forming two upper faces. If I know little of a site prior to a visit, I tend to not swot up on it so that I go with no preconceived ideas in my head, so that I can form my own opinion first before it becomes polluted with the usual bog standard interpretations. The spine on the leaning stone certainly gives one the impression that it was meant to be ‘pointing’ but that is pure speculation on my part. Whatever, it is a truly wonderful site to visit.
As I left the site through the gated entrance a couple of young ladies with multi-coloured hair:-) were approaching from further up the ‘alleyway’ loaded up with camping gear, so presumable the public footpath also extends back to a road somewhere further along the way.
Past the farm buildings (where I was once bitten on the bum by a goose, while G/F made her laughing escape), the tracks heads west and becomes more enclosed – not the overgrown state of a few years ago though. Anticipation builds, as it always does when approaching a circle. I wonder whether there will be anyone else there? It's three days to the solstice, when no doubt the circle will be alive with ritual of one sort or another, but I am in luck today and as I reach the wooden gate into the secluded enclosure, I see that it is empty. Fantastic! I've never been here on my own before, and never in such terrific weather. My memories of summer Boscawen are usually of either rain or hordes of weekend pagans, so this is a real treat. Julian's daughter is dead right; the quartz stone is such a draw. You may be interested to know that the central pillar provides just enough shade to escape from the midday sun if you squeeze right up under it. Time passes.
Visited 22/4/10 - I have copied details of the walk we took in case it is of help to anyone without a car planning a visit - see below my fieldnote.
Having managed to get lost a couple of days previously while walking back to the Merry Maidens across fields from Lamorna we followed the directions of the walk reproduced below to the letter - and it worked.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with a fresh breeze – perfect walking weather. Many of the stiles have 'snagging' blackthorn hedges growing around them so a pair of jeans is recommended walking attire.
Boscawen-Un was everything I had imagined; 'magical' is an over-used word when describing ancient sites but this one really is. My previous experience of a stone circle was Avebury so finding this perfect small circle of nineteen stones with it leaning 'sun-dial' centre stone and one white quartz stone was beyond superlatives. There were two women sitting in the centre when we arrived so we just sat down outside the circle and waited quietly. After about 15 minutes they left wishing us an enjoyable visit. It was pretty much perfect - a stone circle encircled by yellow gorse and creamy blackthorn blossom; a pale half-moon in the clear blue sky. I didn't really want to leave and definitely took the spirit of the place with me when I did.
Walk taken from the Signpost 'Discover St Buryan and Lamorna' leaflet.
The route follows public rights of way but may be heavily overgrown in summer. Shorts are not advised at such times (Note: a 'hedge' in Cornwall refers to a granite wall).
1. From the St Buryan Inn walk along the Penzance road, passing the Anglican church on your left. Continue along the main road (no pavement on the LH side) and, just before the St Buryan Garage, go left at a public footpath sign and follow the path between the house, crossing two stone stiles to reach an open field. Trend right across the middle of the field towards a telegraph pole, then cross a stile into another field. Keep ahead past a gap in the field hedge and continue keeping the hedge on your left. Soon, cross left over another stile, and continue with the hedge on your right.
2. At the field corner, bear left, then after a few yards go right over a stile and keep ahead down the right hand side of the next field. Where the hedge bends sharply right, then quickly left, with the hedge on your right. At the bottom corner of the field, go left along its bottom edge for 150 yards (137m) then go right over a stile into another field. Continue with the field hedge on your right and descend towards a wooded valley.
3. Descend stone steps and follow a rough path to cross a fine little 'clapper' bridge. Continue out the trees and bear up left* then right to emerge onto a broad track. Go right, and through a gate into a field. Cross the middle of the field towards a small, isolated, granite barn next to a farmhouse. At the bottom of the field cross a stone stile beside a field gate, then bear left through another gate into a field. Pass the small barn, then keep ahead with the field hedge on your right. At the bottom of the field, step over some boulders onto a footpath between high hedgerows.
4. Turn left and follow the path for about 400 yards (366m). Where the path bears right go left through a wooden gate to reach Boscawen-Un stone circle. Reverse the directions to return to St Buryan.
* This has now changed slightly and you should bear up right where there is a new stile. We went left as directed to find a single strand of barbed wire across the path – it didn't cause a problem and we noticed the stile a few metres along.
Take the turning off the A30 signposted Boskawen Farm. This is a very uneven, stoney track and if you drive a 'posh' car I would advise you find somewhere to park off the main road! As I don't drive a posh car I drove up the lane and parked where the lane widens just before you reach the farm. A farmer saw me (and two others) park here and seemed happy enough, smiling and waving as he passed.
All you have to do is follow the path and it will take you straight to the stone circle. Be warned - the path becomes increasingly muddy as you get closer to the circle. Carrying a (lazy!) two year old the walk took me 20 minutes. This is an excellent site and certainly didn't dissapoint - very atmospheric and seems remote (even though it isn't). I noticed a few 'offerings' left under the leaning central stone. Make the effort to visit this place - well worth it.
The day was very humid after violent thunder storms, but that did not diminish the joy of a visit to this wonderful Circle. I had not been here for maybe 8 years and was surprised at the ease of getting here. The foot path from Boscawenoon Farm has been kept clear and is easy to navigate. Shorts, no problem. What a place, Sunday in the middle of summer and I was the only person here, except for my driver of course. There were some offerings under the Gnomen, I left them there as they did not detract from the experience.
After a disastrous time trying to find the circle last summer I was heartened to hear that a pathway had been cleared. But I have to admit to feeling a little sad at the quite obvious wooden sign put up in the layby on the A30. When we did finally find it last year it was totally isolated and so tranquil. I didn't want that spoilt by hoardes of coach tours or the like. I needn't have worried, as the circle wove its magic once more.
It really is so much easier to get to now, though. Parking in the layby you simply walk down the clear path until at the bottom it branches both ways to go around the circle itself, the entrance to the clearing being just on the left. The walk only takes a couple of minutes and is not taxing in the slightest. (Even for me!)
The weather was putting on its best show for us, and the circle was dressed in bluebells inside and outside. Even my two non-stoney friends were impressed!
Think of all the superlatives one could lavish upon a place and you have accurately summed up Boskawen-Un.
The proportions of the size of the stones and their intervals and the size they enclose are all just about perfect. Nestled in gorse, they're not that far from the road but it feels like a different world. We leaned up against a west facing stone and watched the sun set, the shadows lengthen and literally thousands of starlings wheel and whirr around us as they went off to roost.
The stones seem to whirl and spin around their madly leaning axis stone.
Moth had been here before, of course, and was ridiculously keen to show it to me. I now see why.
If you can see only one site in Land's End, make it this.
Perhaps it's me, but...
I have read so much about this circle on the TMA that I just had to visit it. I walked in along the farmtrack (wasn't too sure about driving in) and took the footpath towards the circle. Early March, only a few days since West Cornwall had a unusual amount of Snow, the path was fairly muddy.
Because of its reputation on the site I was expecting a hidden magical place.....imagine my dissapointment when I opened the gate and there in front of me was a farm with modern barns etc. I admit, the circle is lovely, although on this grey day it is not at its best. I walked around it, hugged the quartz stone (the farm out of site) and tried to get some of that feeling that many of you quote.
Nothing....I took some photo's and trudged back to the car and drove to Carn Uny, where I had the fougou all to myself........
I posted the picture of the little circle to complement the one Goffik posted in 2002.It's an oddity in the middle of the path on the way back to the road.When I saw his picture I remembered I had taken one some time ago,and forgotten about.
I adore this place - I want to have its babies. The bracken was chest high, and I wasn't sure how much I'd see of the circle today, but I needn't have worried as the centre stone was easily viewed from the approach. When I was last here at this time last year, the stones were almost completely covered by the bracken, but some care has been taken this year to keep them clear. The sun shone, and the stones were all quite warm, apart from the large quartz stone, which was icy cold to the touch. Its magic worked on me once again, and I found it very difficult to leave. I daren't look back as I finally left, in case I felt impelled to return.
Access: Difficult even in good conditions -it's a tricky (though not long) walk from the road whichever direction you approach from. I'd suggest able bodied access only.
Has to be the best circle in Lands end, if you only visit one, make it this one! The quartz (female, surely) stone bears close inspection as it is shot through with nooks and crannies containg miniature crystal grottoes. A great place.
Visited on June 25th 2003, late afternoon in some fine Cornish rain. This really is my absolute favourite place in Cornwall, it was my third visit but the first for four years and it was as wonderful as before. As other contributors have said, there's a special palpable atmosphere here. It's a hard place to leave - I love it !!
Another site which I've been wanting to visit for quite some time, and I'm not in the least bit disappointed by it. We had the place to ourselves, and once we were sat down within the circle, surrounded by the thick gorse, felt completely away from civilisation. Perfect!
The smaller circle by the rocky outcrop is used for 'occult' purposes ie witchcraft. Eight quartz stones with a cist at the north point, under one of the stones is a bag with drugs in, looking at it closely it looks like speed, its been there a while,its gotten wet and probably of no use, I intend to remove it on my next visit at the end of this week. Maybe somebody thought leaving it there would give it extra power!???, odd people indeed. The rocky outcrop and the circle sit on the path of a wonderful energy line which runs from 'boscawen un up to bartiney castle. There was at one point some jewellery left in the cist, and more recently lots of colored stones left on top of the cist, these have been removed along with all the crap that is left at 'Boscawen'. Also close by is a triangular shaped rock which could be what is known as a 'propped stone'. I've yet to confirm with locals.
We found this on our OS map marked as "Stone Circle", and had no idea what it was for about a year after! Thought it was too beautiful to be un-named! We drove up and down the A30 (we were new to map-reading at the time and didn't have a clue where we were!) and decided to pull up in a layby to have a little explore... Over a style, through a field, and down a small path, past enormous rocks that seem to be like islands in the undergrowth! We found the circle easily (although it wasn't until we were upon it that we knew we were in the right place!) It is a truly wonderful circle. Very peaceful. Perfect. When we were there (September 2001) it was a bright sunny day, and it wasn't very overgrown at all... On the way, back, we had a little clamber over the rocky outcrops, and discovered a smaller circle that could easily have been cobbled together quite recently - or does someone know differently? I will go back, I think, and explore further, now I understand maps and footpaths, and that..!
It was utterly freezing this weekend but at this lovely circle you feel enclosed and sheltered by the wall and gorse bushes around it. I was really pleased that it's not advertised on the road. It's so close to the tourist Mecca of Land's End, but so unspoilt. I was truly amazed and pleased by the fact that I saw not one little bit of litter at the whole site, from the layby with the triangular stone, right down the green lane to the circle. Ah. It does restore some of your faith in people.
I really enjoyed the anticipation of walking along the overgrown path, not knowing what to expect from the site. My other half is getting so sympathetic to the cause and even seems to enjoy these muddy expeditions now. Once we'd sat down on a prone stone at the edge of the circle we were able to enjoy the peace despite the cold. Although it's nice to just drink in the atmosphere sometimes it's quite nice to visit sites with people full of questions because it really makes you think twice about your motivation for visiting, and your ideas about what really happened here. The stones are twinkly with quartz, and covered with all colours and forms of lichen - amazing. I thought it was excellent.
I'm not convinced it really is a public road but presumably the locals have got used to people driving up the farm track towards Boscawenoon Farm, because half way up to the Farm there is a lay-by on the right and small sign saying 'No cars beyond this point'. The wall to this lay-by also contains the standing stone marked on the map at SW418277 - called Boscawen-Un Menhir on this site.
After the farm, you walk towards Changwens and then a small sign (at SW415274) points the way up to the circle. The track up to the circle is not a road track like the OS map makes it seem like. In fact, in December it was pretty narrow and overgrown and not very pretty.
After a while (at a double set of farm gates, either side of the track) the track widens out and after another 200metres or so you scoot through the wild hedge and the circle is in front of you in all its glory. The quartz stone is opposite the entrance.
As I walked back up the track I became suspicious at the enormous stones that formed the wall with the field to my left (the North). This is the first field back towards the Farm. As I got back to double gates mentioned above I decided to explore (officially trespass, but I was just looking along the side of the field, with no livestock or crops in). About halfway back down the field, parallel with the track (i.e. towards the circle again) there is a huge suspicious lozenge shaped stone making up part of the field wall - it's 270 x 170cm (on it's side - I've labelled the photo on the page as 'Boscawen Un suspicious stone 1'). 100 metres on, right down in the corner of the field (i.e. a stones throw from the circle, but separated by the hedge and the lane) there is another large suspicious lozenge shaped stone looking well out of place in the wall/hedge -it's 195 x 165cm (upright - I've labelled the photo on the page as 'Boscawen Un suspicious stone 2').
It is almost impossible to give these stones separate grid references as they both lie at about SW413274.
I visited this wonderful circle on a sunny afternoon 28/8/02.I first tried the approach via the stile but got lost so drove up to the farm.The farmer was very helpful & gave me directions.The walk serves to build up your antiscipation and you are not disappointed when the stones suddenly appear through the bushes.The only disappointment was how overgrown the site is so you do not get an overall view of the circle.The sun was shining brilliantly on the quartz stone and the shadow from the centre stone stretched half way towards 1 o'clock when facing east.So remote so undisturbed,a magical place.
well after visiting boscawen un regularly now for several weeks(i live local , so its easy), i thought a visit at night seemed a good idea!, actually it was the night before the summer solstice sunrise!, well being a little apprehensive about possibly disturbing a working group of witches i headed for the circle, taking the easier route via the lay-by off the A30.What i can i say??, ive had some tremendous experiences at the circle in the daytime, but this ill never forget!!, walking down towards the circle in the dark(10pm ish), the whole of the circle was covered in a white dome!, obviously the energies were flowing!, i was suprised to see no-body there at all.... as i entered the circle, it was obvious there was huge enegies present, over the previous few days i'd noticed it building, even to the point of recieving electric shocks off the centre stone!.walking round i did my usual energy sensing using my hands, picking out the energy lines easilier than usual, it was a cloudy nite, very dark but the circle glowed!!, to be honest id say it was alive!, ever stuck a 9 volt batterie on your tongue as a child??, well that was the feeling i was experiecing throughout my body, the centre stone truly was vibrant!, to touch the stone was not needed , simply placing your hand near to the stone resulted in a strong "tingle".standing there in front of it it seemed to grow and tower over myself, showing its true might ...the quartz stone always exudes strong energy in my opinion!, to sit against it usually results in an almost guaranteed altered state of conciousness for myself!, tonight was no exeption!, the whole circle being of absolute silence, i sat there for a while unerved by the fact i was in the middle of nowhere basically!!, i was then joined by another person, made me jump to be honest!, just appeared out of the dark!, seems he 's a regular to the many sites in the area and we shared discussion on various theories of the circle, i really would know how this circle is worked by the group(s) that use it, which i know it is used, so if you visit please be very respectful to everything!, thankyou!.. Anyway i carried on with my own little workings as did the other gentleman, whilst sat between the two stones at the entrance on the other side sensing the energy flow through the stones with my hands it suddenly appeared!, a white circle of light flowing as a ring through the stones themselves(obviously the one i was sensing at the time!, this really was when the whole circle came to life, with such vibrancy and strength, i really couldnt move at that moment in time, it was a nice energy though, eventually the gent left and i stayed till the early hours...meditating with the stones produces very interesting results i find, moreso if u actually meditate on the idea of actually bieng one of them sitting between them!!.well dawn broke, the sunrise was poor due to the very cloudy sky, but the overall feeling in the circle was one of absolute peace, the energy levels had resided considerably but i witnessed swirling cones of energy visibly around the centre stone and on the top of the stone by the far entrance!, this is truly beautiful to watch as it rises and twists about the stones!.i sat nearby to the centre stone for a while longer, this site truly fascinates me, more than any of the others, i think mainly due to the fact that its the most powerful!, i visit the others regular, but i never experience anything like i do here whilst there.well the rain came, and looking at my watch it was 6am!, a night i wont forget in a hurry!. people may dismiss such experiences, putting it down to drugs , alcohol etc.......but i partake in neither!, what i experience really does happen, im sure many will agree!, the energies at boscawen are strong and can get alot stronger!, its nice to sit and wallow in them at times, but theres a limit....sit and enjoy, secrets will be revealed to those who seek them, if you visit the site, please please be respectfull to everything about you!, boscawen is lucky in the respect that it can be a real bugger to find and it ensures it wont go the same way as the merry maidens!!, trampled into the ground almost!!. unlike the merry maidens, it is possible to spend time here without seeing anybody for hours!!, this is the way id like to see it kept!, im sure i have many in agreement too!.well visit i say!, the long route is nice too!, just remember to turn right at the farm ok....good shoes advisable!, if its raining your jeans will get a good soaking too!, and the brambles on either path will tear you to shreds if you wear shorts!!, ive the scars to prove ok!!.
Yes, this amazing circle exudes peace. The walk here was all moaning winds and undergrowth but the second I stepped into the circle- quiet. Only the tops of the outer stones visible but the central pillar clear and still all quite easy to run around before I discovered the calming sensation of leaning on the centre stone- mellow. Well worth the rain.
I too opted for the A30 layby route - just before a "no stopping" sign. An easy walk through a bit of gorse brought me to this stunning site - occupied at the time of my visit by a chap running thru some pagan rituals (and hearing voices, so he said). I was silenced by the power of this site - as soon as I entered the circle there was the most profound feeling of calm and tranquillity washing through me. I only get "feelings" of these sorts occasionally at sites, and those experienced here were as strong as I've ever encountered. Absolutely awestruck! Could have stayed for hours sitting in the centre despite the wet grass, but family left sitting in the car might have objected!
For me this was the single most inspiring site I've visited in Cornwall. Would be wonderful to be there in moonlight, I feel.
Having opted for the A30/obscure style route, the bracken was overgrown, it was about 600yds (fork left for the stones). Family not impressed, though I don't know why, at least it wasn't up another bloody hill ! I suppose sodden feet and lacerated ankles might have had something to with it.
A most impressive site that would benefit from restoration of its surroundings. One can feel and visualise the important landscape features but these are obscured by walls/gorse etc. last time I visited in 1998. The central stone is magnificent in its phallic positioning. I have often mused that this could be a possible symbolic male aspect of the earth spirit fertilising the female circle/egg, therby distributing the fertile energy through the ritual landscape, but you can play this game with almost any site. Certainly many line of site alignments have been claimed for the circle by the likes of Sir Norman Lockyer, (The Dawn of Astronomy : a Study of the Temple Worship and Mythology of the Ancient Egyptians, Cambridge, 1964.) who is sometimes described as the father of archeo-astronomy as well as John Michell (Old Stones of Lands End, Pentacle, 1974). There are around 95 existing or former menhirs in the West Penwith area and it has been reliably demonstrated that many are inter-visible falling into a sighting system that may have had ritual use. (Peters, F., Cornish Archaeology, 29, 1990) but the jury is still out on Boscawen-Un ñleysî. There are two routes into the circle, and the use of an OS map is recommended. The most popular is from the obscure small lay-by on the A30 westbound from Penzance near the prominent (though small) rock outcrop of Creeg Tol (approximately situated at OS 277410). This is the route described by most writers as it is the most convenient. However, the most interesting and atmospheric approach has to be from the east, and this may have been the original ritually aligned entrance path. Travelling east from Penzance, turn left shortly after passing the Blind Fiddler menhir towards Boscawenoon village. Turn right in the village towards Changwens and stop in the field where the footpath/track forks to the left through a cattle-grid towards a farmhouse. (approximately OS 274415) This was signposted to the circle in 1998. The right-hand fork is the footpath to the circle and well worth the extra walk. We visited on a beautiful sunny early August morning. The route is very atmospheric, slightly overgrown and bursting with nature. We spotted many unusual plants and insects on our way. A Buzzard flew overhead as we approached the circle adding to the mythic potency of our mental and physical journey. Along this track you have to climb or step over a number of large stones that announced the imminence of the Circle before emerging through a portal of Hawthorn into the magic of Boscawen-un. Opposite you is the white quartz stone (that a later visit one full moon revealed its lunar resonances by glowing like a will oÍ the wisp in the moonlight) bisected by the central stone. Take some time hereƒ.This area is rich with ancient sites and the circle can be included on a day itinerary that includes the Blind Fiddler, Carn Euny settlement and foogou and the most magic site in Cornwall, Sancreed Holy Well.
Boscawen-ûn; Cornish name derived from bod, "dwelling or farmstead" and scawen, "elder tree". The suffix –un comes from goon, "downland or unenclosed pasture".
Folklore has it that Boscawen-ûn is a circle created by maidens dancing on the Sabbath being turned to stone. Whilst this story is attractive, perhaps more credible is the possibility of Boscawen-ûn being one of the three Gorsedds, or Druid Meeting Places, of Britain. The Welsh Triads which date back to around the 6th Century AD record "Boskawen of Dumnonia" as being one of the "Gorsedds of Poetry of the Island of Britain". Certainly the circle is still an important spiritual meeting place for local Pagan groups and ritual offerings are still placed here.
' Between this town (penzance)and St Burien, a town midway between it and Land's End, stands a circle of great stones, not unlike those at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, with one bigger than the rest in the middle. They stand about 12 feet asunder, but have no inscription; neithr does tradition offer to leave any of their history upon record, as to whether it was a trophy or a monument of buriel, or an alter for worship, or what else; so that all that can be learned from them is that here they are. The parish where they stand is called Boscawone, from whence the ancient and honorable family of Boscawen derive their name.
Maybe you'd half expect the following experience, as it is told, to happen to someone like Colin Wilson - after all, he has written extensively and sympathetically about things that go bump in the night.
He was visiting Boscawen-un in 1975 with some friends, and left them in the circle while he nipped off, hoping to visit a nearby hillock and the 'Giant's Footprint'. I can only assume this would be at Creeg Tol. He was trying to be quick because his friends needed to catch a train, so finding that it was taking him longer than he thought to battle through all the bracken, he decided to turn back before he actually reached the landmark. He clearly saw the direction he had come from, though the circle was not in view, so he plodded downhill.
Then, to his own surprise, he found himself lost. He veered left to the path at the bottom of the hill, and climbing over a wall found himself in a strange field altogether. It took him 'half an hour' to find his way back to the circle, via winding up at the main road - which was in completely the wrong direction. I mean if you look at a map the path goes directly from Creeg Tol to the Circle, so it does seem a bit peculiar.
Wilson put his experience down to the crossing point of ley lines - well afterall, this is a node on the major 'Michael and Mary' cross-England leys, y'know.
Maybe that was it - or maybe he was 'pixie-led' - a common enough experience in the presence of the little people. Either you'll find yourself utterly lost in a place you know well, or perhaps you'll find yourself unable to find your way out of a quite ordinary space like a field, and spend your afternoon wandering round and round.
I'm going for the pixie explanation myself. Though it is possible he just got confused. On my own visit I liked the way the circle only appears right at the last minute when you burst through the gap in the hedge - perhaps it is easy to miss unless you're heading in just the right direction. But that's just boring.
(Story described in Patrick Harpur's 'Astray with the Fairies' in Fortean Times 142 - PH having read Colin Wilson's 'Mysteries')
"Between this town (Penzance) and St. Burien, a town midway between it and the Land's End, stands a circle of great stones, not unlike those at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, with one bigger than the rest in the middle. They stand about twelve feet asunder, but have no inscription; neither does tradition offer to leave any part of their history upon record, as whether it was a trophy or a monument of burial, or an altar for worship, or what else; so that all that can be learned of them is that here they are. The parish where they stand is called Boscawone, from whence the ancient and honourable family of Boscawen derive their names."
Supplement to the London Review for Saturday, September 28th, 1861.
Once upon a time the circle had a hedge running through it - "a real good bushy hedge". If you have a curious whim to see what it looked like, there are a pair of drawings here.
Only a few years after, the hedge had been removed by a more sympathetic landowner (the aptly named Miss Carne from Penzance) who had also popped a fence round the stones and secured them from 'accidental or wilful mutilation'.