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Towednack Double Armed Cross — Fieldnotes

25 June 2014

Surprised to find this on TMA. The cross is carved into a long granite slab and looks medieval to me - perhaps a grave slab. There's much of interest to look at inside the church, but all rather outside TMA's scope.

One nice bit of folklore though, to explain the shortness of the tower - each time the masons got it higher than the present level, the Devil would knock it down again. Eventually they gave up, making it unique in being the only medieval church in West Penwith without pinnacles on the tower.

From here we headed up over Amalveor Downs to visit an old friend, Zennor Quoit.

Towednack Double Armed Cross — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Towednack Double Armed Cross</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Treryn Dinas (Cliff Fort) — Fieldnotes

24 June 2014

The walk along the coast path from Carn les Boel is lovely one, rugged cliff tops dropping away to the blue-green below. At Gwennap Head basking sharks can sometimes be seen, but we don't have that privilege today.

It's an up-and-down section of path, dropping down to the tiny sandy beach at Porthgwarra (tea-shop), back up to exposed cliffs before a further drop to St Levan's Well above Porth Chapel. The well is worth a stop off, in its unusual position half way up the cliffs. From here it's a brief foray into tourist central near the famous Minack Theatre and the thronged beach at Porthcurno. From the cliffs above the Minack there is a great view of the day's final objective, the impossibly craggy headland of Treryn Dinas (pronounced "Treen").

We last came here about eight years ago, I only have a few crappy pictures and am keen to return - since then we've only seen the headland from a couple of boat trips, which reinforced just how startlingly rocky the site is. Along with its companion on the north coast, Gurnard's Head, this is the most impressive of the West Penwith cliff forts.

The defences are quite something. The outermost consist of a single, huge earthwork bank, several metres high in places. South of this is a flat area, quite overgrown now, before the central defences appear quite some way further south. These are formed of three lines of banks and ditches, much smaller in size than the outer rampart, but still providing a series of obstacles for any unwanted guests to negotiate. Beyond these, the ground slopes downwards towards a band of craggy granite outcrops. A sort-of path runs through the centre of these, taking the visitor along a ever-narrowing channel between the rocks. There is an easier route round to the west, but it would be interesting to know which was the original way in - perhaps one was the tradesman's entrance.

Once you've semi-scrambled over these, you are confronted with the narrowest point of the headland, where a ditch fronts another well-defined stone rampart, the innermost of the defences. Stone facing still lines the entrance through the centre of the bank. A circular round house (perhaps a guard house) originally existed at each end of this, but one has largely eroded away now.

Beyond this final earthwork, the tip of the headland is a wonder of jagged towers of granite. One of these is topped by the famed "Logan Rock", a rocking stone once toppled by sailors of the Royal Navy and re-erected at their expense following a public outcry. Quite right too.

I have a good scramble about in the rocks, although I don't manage to find a way up to the Logan Rock itself - I'm sure a longer visit would provide the answer to how to get up there, but it's quite exposed in places and the wind whips around the rocks, even on this sunny June day.

It's an amazing place here. Once beyond the innermost rampart, there's little that would suggest a nice place to live though. My speculative guess is that any occupation here took place further inland, within either the safety of the enormous outer earthwork or the central rows. Which leaves the question of why build a strongly defended rampart across the rocky tip of the headland. Perhaps someone important had their home here, or perhaps the headland was kept free of riff-raff for the inevitable "ritual purposes". My usually sceptical self can certainly imagine that here, as the wind gusts around the stone towers and the focal point of the Logan Rock itself, perched above it all.

Treryn Dinas (Cliff Fort) — Images

<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Treryn Dinas</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

St. Levan's Well (Sacred Well) — Images

<b>St. Levan's Well</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>St. Levan's Well</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Carn Les Boel (Cliff Fort) — Fieldnotes

24 June 2014.

We carry on round the coast path from Pordenack Point and its trashed barrows. The sea is that beautiful turquoise blue that you get in far west Cornwall when the weather is at its best, and it's sure at its best today.

The little cove at the base of Lower Bosistow Cliff is quite lovely, revealing a narrow arch cutting deep into - and through - the rock below the headland. From there it's a reasonably steep climb up onto the headland itself, where a sign warns of the dangers of coastal erosion and advises that we stick to the path. Which we do, at least until we reach the fort that occupies the rocky tip of the promontory.

For some reason when we first walked along this stretch of the path we didn't visit Carn les Boel fort. I'm not sure why, perhaps just laziness or a desire to Get Along. No pressures today though, so we can have a leisurely explore and some lunch, away from the Land's End crowds.

Although the rampart isn't as big and impressive as some of the others on this Cornish coast, it's still immediately apparent. It slopes steeply from the central neck of the promontory, ending at sheer cliffs. It's not clear if it always ended so sharply or whether erosion has taken its toll. The ditch is mostly silted up, but from the rampart there is a great view across Nanjizal to the next headland, confusingly named Carn Boel.

The entrance to the fort interior is flanked by large granite blocks, one of which has fallen. The other one is an impressive size, weighing a good few tons. Slightly down the slope is the precariously balanced boulder shown in Hamish's picture.

The interior is quite rocky, dropping to rugged cliffs at its tip. Not the most hospitable place you could decide to set up home, but then there's no evidence that anyone ever did. No hut circles or anything structural can be seen.

We sit and enjoy the view and the sunshine for a while, before deciding to head onwards. We're aiming for Treen and particularly Treryn Dinas today, so we've a little way to go. Before we leave, I take a minor detour to look for the Higher Bosistow round barrow. It occupies the highest part of the headland and has terrific views of the coast. Unfortunately the barrow itself is almost missing in action, barely more than a slight rise in the ground with a scooped centre. Great spot though. Inevitably.

Carn Les Boel (Cliff Fort) — Images

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Roskestal West Cliff (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

The map of Penwithian round barrows in Cheryl Straffon's revised "The Earth Mysteries Guide to Ancient Sites in West Penwith" (2010) shows a coastal barrow at Roskestal.

There's nothing listed on Pastscape or the Cornwall and Scilly HER, although there have been various finds of stone tools on the cliffs here, as well as a prehistoric field system.

Pordenack Point (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

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Pordenack Point (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

24 June 2014.

Midsummer has come and gone, but the perfect weather shows no sign of abating. After a longish coast walk and a lengthy delay on a broken down bus on the Lizard yesterday, we decide that the best thing to do is to laugh in the face of the Gods of Fate. So we take another bus, this time to Land's End, for another coast walk.

Land's End is generally a bit grim, as well as being endlessly thronged with tourists. But it has an interesting retired lifeboat to have a look at, as well as some truly breathtaking clifftop scenery, looking across towards the Longships and their lighthouse. Similar to the top of Snowdon, if you can apply your perception filter properly, the surroundings are still well worth the visit.

We make our excuses and leave the theme park environs as soon as we can, but the path is pretty busy round here on such a lovely day.We haven't walked along this stretch of coast path for a long time, a dozen years maybe. And I'd forgotten just how lovely the granite cliffs at this extremity of the British mainland are.

I'm keen to revisit this section as I have only a very hazy recollection of the barrows my map assures me are here, and I'm also pretty sure we didn't even visit Carn les Boel cliff fort when we were last here. Tut.

The crowds thin a bit as we reach Pordenack Point, a striking granite edifice of sheer cliffs and precarious looking boulders. Although we do have to contend with one inane couple who appear to have come here simply to phone their family to tell them what a lovely quiet spot this is. Loudly. Sigh.

The barrows are a bit of a confusing site, badly eroded by being right on the coast path. The map says "tumuli" so I can be confident that there's more than one anyway! Approaching from the northeast, the first promising mound has a central depression and some hefty stones around the edges. This is pretty much definitely a barrow or cairn, albeit a bit of a wreck.

Immediately next to this mound is a large boulder, and right next to that is another mound. This one also looks pretty barrow-ish, although apart from the mound itself, sandwiched between two boulders, there's little in the way of anything structural to assist identification.

[Pastscape suggests three mounds/barrows here, but we only found these two.]

The cliffs drop away dizzyingly to the southwest, to something the map calls Lion's Den, while the coast path carries on southeast towards Trevilley Cliff. Before it drops to Zawn Trevilley we come across what would have been the finest of the barrows up here. Except that the coast path runs right through it and has gutted the site. This seems like such an idiotic and avoidable thing, but there we are.

What we are left with is still worth coming to though, a largely intact kerb of large slabs (it reminds me of the kerbed cairn south of Nine Maidens of Boskednan rather). There is also at least one sizable stone that appears to have formed part of a central cist or chamber, now eroded away. The setting is fabulous too, far-reaching views and dramatic rugged scenery, windswept and punctuated by gull cries. Yep, pretty good place to be laid to rest.

From here we head on round Nanjizel Bay on our way to visit the strangely neglected Carn les Boel.

Pordenack Point (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Three or possibly four barrows on the rocky headland of Pordenack Point. The most easterly appears to have the remains of a retaining kerb or circle. Descriptions from Pastscape:

SW 34622417 (Russell No 8)
A mutilated or gutted turf-covered mound approximately 6.5m in diameter and about 0.7m high. Its centre is hollow and a few squarish boulders and stones are evident (almost at ground level) forming a crude structure which is approximately 2.0m by 1.2m internally and about 0.3m high. Spoil from the centre has been piled up on the sides thus heightening parts of the mound. The structure is almost certainly not the remins of a lookout hut as suggested by Geary because, again, all vistas, except to the north-west, are blocked by outcropping rock. It has the appearance of a crudely excavated mound with perhaps, as suggested by Russell, the remains of a cist in the centre. If this is the case it is odd that Henderson did not note the fact and also the existence of the adjacent mound in 1917 (c.f. SW 32 SW 5).
SW 34632417 (Russell No 9)
An amorphous earth and stone mound built on natural outcropping rock with three large contiguous retaining slabs on the east side. It is approximately 6.7m by 6.3m and up to 1.0m high. The largest of the three slabs is 1.1m high and has two drill holes in its outer face. It is probably a barrow but it may also be associated with the adjacent buried OS triangulation point.
SW 34632418 (Russell No 7)
An extensively mutilated turf-covered mound approximately 6.0m in diameter and up to 0.6m high; two large boulders protrude through the turf. There is no evident trace of a kerb and if it is a barrow it is in a very poor
condition.
SW 3468 2417
The mutilated barrow occupies a prominent cliff-top position on a heather-covered headland.

The remains of the incomplete kerb circle which measures approximately 11.0m in overall diameter comprises a total of nine exposed slabs and boulders. The largest standing slab is 0.9m high and 1.8m wide; the surviving part of the disturbed turf-covered mound averages 0.9m high.

The grave and possible small cist are as described although only the tips of the slabs protrude through the turf.

The south-west side of the mound has been completely eroded away by the coastal footpath which has cut through the kerb. The end stone of grave is now almost completely exposed and further damage will occur if the mound is not consolidated and the parth re-routed.

Published 1:2500 survey amended.

It is suggested that this barrow be scheduled.
Sadly the suggestion that the path be re-routed and barrow scheduled has not been taken up.

Chynhalls Point (Cliff Fort) — Images

<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Chynhalls Point</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Lankidden (Cliff Fort) — Images

<b>Lankidden</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lankidden</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lankidden</b>Posted by thesweetcheat
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