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


Giant's Hedge


<b>Giant's Hedge</b>Posted by Crazylegs14Image © Tim Knight @secretlandscape
This site is of disputed antiquity. If you have any information that could help clarify this site's authenticity, please post below or leave a post in the forum.
Nearest Town:Fowey (6km SSW)
OS Ref (GB):   SX153569 / Sheet: 201
Latitude:50° 22' 56.3" N
Longitude:   4° 35' 53.77" W

Added by phil

Show map   (inline Google Map)

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
<b>Giant's Hedge</b>Posted by Crazylegs14 <b>Giant's Hedge</b>Posted by Mr Hamhead <b>Giant's Hedge</b>Posted by Mr Hamhead <b>Giant's Hedge</b>Posted by Mr Hamhead


Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
I have been intrigued by the Giants Hedge for many years...Living in Looe at it's supposed eastern end I could never understand why it was called is just like any other hedge...more like a bank as it runs through Kilminorth Woods beside the West Looe river.
It is only when you see it towards its western end at Lerryn that you realise it is no ordinary field boundary.
But when does it date from?...the general consensus is that it is post it really should not be on here, but...
There are several Iron Age and older settlements inside the hedge (between it and the sea), but then again there are a good dozen or so barrows just to the north of it....but none as grand inside.
Walking along the top of a short section of it this morning i noticed how good the view was across the Cornish countryside. It does in many places run along the side of a steep escarpment..and if topped off with a wooden fence would have been quite impenetrable.
Whatever it's history, I'm sure no giants were involved in its building.......just some very hard working Cornishmen of old.

...and I would love to know where the bit is that's 8 yards across !
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
28th April 2006ce


Add folklore Add folklore
An Old Cornish rhyme says..

One day the Devil having nothing to do,
Built a great hedge from Lerryn to Looe
Posted by phil
15th December 2001ce


Add miscellaneous Add miscellaneous
Ther are many breaks in the monument but if you plan to try and trace the remains, it starts at SX141572 and ends roughly at SX247536 Posted by phil
10th March 2004ce

This Dark Ages earthwork ran at least from Looe to Lerryn, south of Lostwithiel, probably marking and defending the border of a Cornish Kingdom, often supposed to be that ruled by King Mark of the Tristram and lseult (Tristan and Isolda) story.

Dr Keith Ray, the County Archaeologist for Oxfordshire, who is making a special study of the Giant's Hedge, is convinced that it originally continued on the west side of the River Fowey and was defended there by Castle Dore.

Remains of other such forts are dotted elsewhere along the Hedge, such as Hall Rings and the one above Yearle's Wood, close to the site of St Nonna's Chapel . In some places it is still twelve feet high, and where it is best preserved (for example, in Willake Wood) it is stone-faced and flanked by a ditch.

"Even 180 years ago," writes Andrew foot in his history of St Veep, "it was sixteen feet high and ten feet broad so that fencibles in Quiller Couch's book, 'The Mayor of Troy Town', could march along its entire length.

What a tremendous labour it must have been to build, 1200 years or more ago, with nothing more than basic tools. " At the Looe end it is not well preserved, but is still recognisable in places, a bank following the contours fairly near the eastern or southern edge of the wood, although it would originally have been built out in the open, probably topped by a hedge (wall) or fence.

From Bob Acton's
Around Looe, Polperro & Liskeard by Landfall Publications

IBSN 1 873443 22 6
Posted by phil
10th March 2004ce
Edited 11th March 2004ce

This must rank as one of the largest ancient earth banks in the British Isles. It is thought to represent the boundary of a petty Kingdom.

The best preserved bits of the earthwork are found at Willake wood (SX153569)

The longest surviving stretch is 5 1/2 miles long at SX141572 - SX217566

Parts of the bank are stone faced.

It measures upto 15 feet high and 8 yards wide in some places.
Posted by phil
15th December 2001ce
Edited 24th March 2013ce