A short distance west of the Pelynt barrows.
The road running immediately to the north is narrow with few passing places. However, there is just about room to pull over next to the wooden field gate which gives access to the field where the barrow is. My O/S map showed two barrows, divided by a public footpath. There is no sign post for a footpath so I assume access is via the field gate?
I could only spot one barrow, which is easy to identify as a large low grass covered ‘bump’ in the field.
Not worth going out of your way for although more to see than the Pelynt barrows!
‘Three bowl barrows situated close to the summit of a ridge between two tributaries of an unnamed river leading to Polperro. The barrows survive as two circular mounds and one oval mound. The northern mound measures 40m and up to 1.7m high. The southern mound is 38m in diameter and 1.5m high. The eastern mound is oval and measures 40m long by 30m wide and up to 1m high – it is cut on the east side by a farm lane’.
As recommended I parked at the Spar car park (few other places to park) and whilst the children sat and enjoyed their ice creams I headed off down the rough lane towards the barrows. Please note that the track which runs to the east of the barrows is not suitable for driving.
The field where the barrows are marked on the map had been recently ploughed and to be honest I couldn’t make any barrows out. Perhaps this was due to the strong sunlight or perhaps they have now been completely ploughed out?
The walk along the track was pleasant but not one to recommend.
The Barrow Field, as it is known locally, can be viewed by walking south from the Spar shop in Pelynt village. A nice lane heads from the car park down to Wilton Mill where the path vears to the left around the property. Follow the track beside a pond to the road, turn left up the hill. The barrow field in on your left and can soon be viewed through a gate way. I have not been able to make out anything of any signifigance in here, the field being ploughed on regular occasions (what poor eyesite I had...on my most recent trip I walked into the field and identified perhaps 7 barrows, although they have all been "landscaped" by the plough over the years)
Continue up the lane turning left after the next field to take a green lane back to the village.
For more information on the discoveries in this field seek out Geofrey Grigson's book "Freedom of the Parish".
"A hundred and forty years ago, or thereabouts, labourers found a kist, or stone burial-box, an urn and some ashes when they were repairing the road which borders the field. Then in the eighteen thirties someone made a cut through one of the barrows and found a bronze axe (which has disappeared). In 1834 the farmer's plough hit a large stone as it crossed a barrow. Under it his men found fragments of human bone and bits of charcoal and near-by a bronze dagger with rivets of a common type. The barrows were a nuisance -'The farmer proceeded to cart away for manure the largest barrow, nearest to the south hedge, but after uncovering it to the depth of nearly three feet, he found that he had laid bare a huge bed of stones, and desisted from his work.' Dr. Couch heard of this on his rounds and decided eventually to investigate for himself. He dug, or had others to dig for him, through the stones to ground level, and discovered ashes, a battle-axe and a scrap of bronze, which was another fragment-the hilt end-of a dagger. Hilt and battle-axe went to the museum at Truro, where you can still see them. No one thought much of the scrap of bronze, though of all objects found in Pelynt it proved to be the one most exciting for the speculative mind, as we shall see."
From "Freedom of the Parish" by Geoffrey Grigson published 1954. There is a whole chapter on antiquities in the parish including the Giants Hedge, various barrows and Bake and Hall rings. Now available again through Westcountry Books.
It's a shame that Mr HH finds there's nothing to see here - the map makes it look as though barrows are positively jostling for space in this field. Perhaps a search for the stone mentioned in the following letter will be more fruitful? You never know.
..It appears that in the course of ploughing a field belonging to a small estate called " Cold Wells," which lies about 500 yards east of the " Burrows" field [where the other barrows are] the share struck against a hard substance about a foot or two below the surface.
Steps were immediately taken to remove the obstruction, by clearing away the earth, when it was found to consist of a stone at least 2 feet long, and nearly as wide, with a thickness of 10 or 12 inches. It rested on four other stones, each about an inch and a half thick, the whole forming a small kist about a foot square.
In this chamber was an urn of brown clay, standing with its mouth upwards. It was perfect when first disclosed, but fell to pieces immediately on being touched, though the finder, having been present at the barrow openingsin the locality in 1845, was cognizant of its interest and value, and endeavoured to use the utmost care in attempting the removal of such a fragile object. The fragments, however, were not preserved, nor were further excavations made, but the cavity was immediately filled up, and the coverstone placed in an adjoining hedge.
It may be added that the kist was perfectly dry, and had it been left undisturbed, the urn might have remained perfect for another thousand years or more.
From Pelynt, take either minor road east down a steep hill to Watergate. Turn left on the road to Duloe. Before crossing the bridge over the West Looe River, bear left up a steep hill road signed "Hobb Park, at the top of the hill park at the cattle grid. The well is signed in the first field on the left. Go through the gate and turn left. After three minute walk you can see the well
Taken from Celtic Saints, Passionate Wanderers, Elizabeth Rees.
Mentioned by Craig Weatherhill, in “Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly” (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000 as a “nuclear cemetery of ten Bronze Age bowl barrows; the sites of more, destroyed by ploughing, have been detected from the air. The largest is 24m across, and their heights range from 0.3m to 1.5m. Some of the barrows were opened in 1830 and 1845 and yielded several important finds. These included urn cremations, one of which was accompanied by a locally made greenstone axe and an ogival bronze dagger. Another barrow contained a dagger of eastern Mediterranean, possibly Mycenaean, design, which was dated to 1400-1200bc (1710-1495BC). Traces of funeral pyres were also found beneath the barrows.”