The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Kenidjack Castle

Cliff Fort


Kenidjack Castle is one of several Iron Age cliff castles making use of the natural granite fastnesses of West Penwith. For some reason we have never been here before, despite walking this stretch of the coast path a decade ago. A small stile gives access to the headland itself, and then the rocky "spine" looms ahead. Approaching from the northeast, the most impressive part of the fort's defences is readily visible.

The neck of the headland was protected by a triple row of ramparts, dropping steeply from the spine before terminating abruptly at the edge of a near vertical cliff, above crashing seas. On the northern side, this triple rampart is very well preserved. The outer and middle ramparts are covered in vegetation, but protruding stones indicate that the construction uses granite blocks rather than earthen embankments. This is writ even clearer in the exposed inner rampart, the stones of which have been scattered into a fan shape. I pick my way down to get a closer look, discovering quickly that the footing is somewhat treacherous, as the grasses and succulent plants hide the position of potentially ankle-twisting stone blocks beneath.

At the bottom end of the ramparts, the drop off the cliff-edge is somewhat vertigo-inducing and I don't get too close. Heading further seawards, the remains of hut circles have been found, but I don't see anything of these in the area I cover. Instead I head back up onto the central rocky spine, where an easy scramble gives access to the sloping tip of the headland, facing westwards down to the sea below. This is a brilliant place, wild and desolate. Most of the visitors are of the avian variety. There is a real feeling of being at the edge of everything, especially as this really was the edge of everything for the Iron Age people who inhabited the headland.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
4th July 2011ce

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