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

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West Penwith Crisis

In 2008, in spite of much local dissent and against the wishes of local elected bodies, Natural England (NE) commenced its agro-environmental "fence-all and graze all" scheme in the archaeologically rich Land's End peninsula of Cornwall (West Penwith) and, as predicted from the outset, it has been an archaeological disaster.

The scheduled Tregeseal stone circle has been damaged 13 times since then by the activities of an absurdly large breed of Longhorn cattle that was selected to graze a moor which requires little management. A fragile field system associated with Chun Quoit is currently under threat; breaches of Scheduled Monument Consent have gone unpunished with NE's sister quango, English Heritage (EH), turning a blind eye to each.

Now, the world-famous Men-an-Tol has been reduced to a dung-spattered morass, the public footpath serving rendered almost impassable by further cattle activity instigated by NE. A letter of deep concern sent to EH on Oct. 8 has yet to receive a response (Nov. 17). The uncaring intransigence of one quango, and the complete indifference of the other, are placing our most precious sites and monuments at serious risk.

The pressure group Save Penwith Moors (SPM), led by well-known local archaeologists Ian McNeil Cooke and Craig Weatherhill, and environmental expert Steve Yandall, has consistently sought more benign methods of landscape management since 2008, but we require wider support. Please consider joining our Facebook page ("Save Penwith Moors") or study our website at

Meur ras (Many thanks)
Craig Weatherhill
Craig Weatherhill is a Cornish historian, archaeologist and author, listing among his publications: "Belerion-Ancient Sites of Land's End" and "Cornovia - Ancient Sites of Cornwall and Scilly 4000BC-1000AD". He also published a trilogy of novels based upon the myriad legends of the Land's End peninsula and Scilly, and featuring many of their ancient sites: "The Lyonesse Stone", "Seat of Storms", and "The Tinners' Way". A keen horseman, he has also featured on several ITV documentaries featuring Cornwall, both as antiquarian and as a equestrian actor. Like Julian Cope, he is also the proud owner and player of a mellotron!

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