Treligga Common Bronze Age Barrows
Interest in the sites on Treligga Common started for my son, Philip, and I in the spring of 2004. We were at that point walking along the coastpath towards Trebarwith Strand and he had asked me about the two sites we have come across near Start Point. Whilst I was able to tell him they were probably remains of Bronze Age Barrows I could not tell him any more.
When we returned home I looked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer map number 111 and saw they were marked along with a further one some half mile or so further south and towards the centre of the common. Later, I looked on the ADS Archaeology Data service) online catalogue and the 1888 Ordnance Survey map (fig 2) which combined started the rot! I realised if I was to try to make any
sense of it I would have to do more research and make another site visit which I did so in the spring of 2005 when the overgrowth was low.
The positions of the barrows given by various parties and what I saw on the ground can be compared
on the map (fig 1)
POSITIONS OF BAROWS BY SOURCE
Ordnance survey 1888 SX04431 85719
Ordnance Survey Online 2005
Northerly Group SX044 857
Southerly Group SX045 855
Croft Andrew SX04 85
P Christie SX0431 8515
For clarity I have used 'groups' to describe the possible barrows we saw. The appearance of the groups is as follows.
Group a have a clearly defined inner loose slate wall with a rubble area in the centre. There are two of these
Group b are misshapen mounds of various shapes and sizes overgrown with bramble. There are three of these.
Group c are flat with a slate ring and slate in the centre. Four of these were noted.
Group d are pits with turf walls, some appear to have loose slate inner walls. There may be more of
these but the area is very overgrown.
Lastly Area an on the map is flat and heavily strewn with slate.
As to how many there really is:
The Antiquaries Journal states 'Nine sites were dug, but five yielded no evidence of use in ancient
P. Christie 'The barrow group was marked on the OS maps, and site 7, where the wartime excavation began, is marked on the OS 6" map (1907 edition) as a Trig station, but without altitude figures. This was the most southerly and most prominent of the group and even after excavation it remained visible until continuous ploughing finally caused it's disappearance by 1973' 'Whilst there he (Croft Andrew) also managed to examine seven other potential sites on the land between it (site 7) and Start Point. Of these, three contained archaeological materiel (sites 1, 2 & 5) three were natural rock knolls and the last "had been decapitated by a scraper and told us nothing"' 'Two further sites (8 & 9) on Treligga Common are marked on CKCA's area map, but details of them do not survive'.
NMR - NATINV - 431979 no title
Barrow group on Treligga Common comprising 6 barrows now either destroyed or badly mutilated.
(yes, that is seven)
So, by my reckoning:
The Antiquaries Journal -CK Croft Andrew
5 definite but a total of 9 SITES
P Christie Site 7 plus 7 other sites, 3 definite, 3 without and 1 unknown. Plus 2 further sites (8 & 9) making 10 SITES.
ADS online National Trust I site,English Heritage 4 sites,Second English Heritage state 6 sites but gives 7 locations 7 SITES
On The Ground Visible Possibilities 10 Sites plus known lost site of barrow 7 making 11 SITES.
As to their currant condition. P. Christie ' even after excavation (site 7) it remained visible until continuous ploughing finally caused it's disappearance by 1973'. I have difficulty with this as the area concerned, whilst certainly flattened, is very stony and I can see no reason why a farmer mostly concerned with pastoral farming would plough an area that would be useless for crops. P. Christie 'In January 1941 the mound was partially destroyed when a 12 foot trench was dug through it by a mechanised scraper'. The site does not actually sit on or block any of the WW2 installations nor is it in the way of the airstrip. It has to be said that someone was up to no good! P. Christie 'As a result of this unexplained action, and the resulting outcry, CK Croft Andrew was sent in by the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate to retrieve what information he could from the mutilated barrow. Whilst there, he also managed to examine seven other potential barrow sites' 'Two further sites (7 & 8) 'are marked' 'but no details'.
Historically that's it! As a result of the 'unexplained actions' the continuous ploughing' and, it has to be said, the 'excavations' of CK Croft Andrew we have a situation where all of the barrows/sites are either lost or mutilated. There are potentially eleven sites, four where materiel was found, three others, which are anybody's guess, and three where we were told non was found. We have three strongly identifiable groups, which have the same appearance and type.
Treligga Common is easily reached by the reasonably fit on foot. The area falls from over 200 metres at nearby Delabole to the 90 metres at Trelligga Common. The site of the common is on a piece of land separated by the sea on the West North West, the valley leading to Backways Cove on the North North East and the valley towards Treligga on the third and Easterly side. The last side is fairly flat until the area of Tregonick where the ground drops into the valley leading to Tregardock village.
The area holds much of interest, disused WW2 installations, airfield history, Bronze Age barrows and interesting flora and fauna.The easiest way to travel there is via the coastpath from Tregardock. Travelling from Trebarwith
strand from the opposite direction entails some very stiff climbs up Dennis and Start Points via Backways Cove. Though there are numerous farm and quarry remains to be seen en route at Backways. Parking at Tregardock village is usually OK as long as your visit coincides with low tide as Tregardock beach is popular with surfers and there is no dedicated parking available.
2005 May Stephen Redpath - Bergman
Society of Antiquaries of London. The Antiquaries Journal
The Royal Institute of Cornwall (Courtney Library) Wartime excavations by C K Croft Andrew 1939 -
1944 - Patricia M Christie 1985
Ordnance Survey Explorer 111, Online 2005, 1888
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