I'm not hoping for much from Tregiffian Vean chambered tomb, having only seen the black and white photo in Craig Weatherhill's essential "Belerion", in which only the capstone appears above the ploughed surface of the field. In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised, as there is a visible mound and although the capstone is displaced it still rests on upright orthostats. The general shape of the tomb is apparent at any rate. On the downside, the chamber has been blocked with rubble and the top of the tomb has been used to dump what look to be assorted clearance stones. Perhaps not up there with the likes of Brane in terms of condition, but nevertheless a survivor and worthy of the time spent in a visit.
The maize in Ocifants photo has now grown to about 3 ft high compleatly obscuring the cairn. It will be a couple of months before it can be accessed i would think.
Two years later I try again to reach the cairn. A thick mist has covered West Penwith and it is only my memory of my last trip that leads me to the cairn. Luckily the field is only planted with grass so it is an easy walk through the dew soaked grass to the cairn.
As can be seen from my photos it was a big dissapointment..I wonder what firm evidence there is that this was once a cairn?
Marked on the Explorer map 102 as ‘Chambered Cairn’. In a field, not far from a public footpath that runs between Higher Tregiffian Farm and Tregiffian Hotel. Higher Tregiffian Farm is just off the B3306, close to its junction with the main A30.
This is what Craig Weatherhill says in his book ‘Belerion: Ancient Sites of Land’s End’ (Cornwall Books, 1981).... “This barrow has suffered dreadfully and it is only a shadow of the fine and unusual monument excavated by W.C.Borlase in 1878. It was then a kerbed mound 6.4m in diameter, containing a rather odd-shaped chamber. This was 2.4m long, 0.9m wide and just 0.5m high, but its inner end opened out to a width of 1.2m and a height of 1.0m. Like the tomb at Tregeseal the entrance was blocked by a single slab. The roof of the chamber consisted of three slabs and the tomb contained ashes and an urn. Today this barrow is in a sorry state. All that remains of the chamber is a short passage covered by a granite slab 1.4m long and 1.2m wide, supported by two stones on each side (those on the west side have fallen, one projecting from beneath the capstone). A slab on the edge just to the north east of the capstone may be in its original position. The chamber is open at the north end, the southern end being blocked by the ploughed remains of the mound which is now about 4.6m across and just 0.6m high”.
Has anyone been to this more recently? What does it look like today? The picture in Belerion makes it look a sorry state and that was over 20 years ago!