Nancledra to Rogers' Tower

A circular walk through the Bakers Pit nature reserve to an Iron Age hillfort where the remains of prehistoric roundhouses were seen as a convenient source of stone for a folly built in the era when the Poldark novels are set.

Get the app to guide you around the walk

Phone showing walk for purchase
Download the (free) app then use it to purchase this walk.
Phone showing Google navigation to start of walk
The app will direct you via satnav the start of the walk.
Hand holding a phone showing the iWalk Cornwall app
The app leads you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
Person looking a directions on phone
Each time there is a new direction to follow, the app will beep to remind you, and will warn you if you go off-route.
Phone showing walk map page in the iWalk Cornwall app
A map shows the route, where you are and which way you are facing.
Phone showing walk directions page in the iWalk Cornwall app
Detailed, triple-tested directions are also included.
Phone showing facts section in iWalk Cornwall app
Each walk includes lots of information about the history and nature along the route.
Person look at phone with cliff scenery in background
Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need a phone or wifi signal for the walk.
Phone showing walk stats in the iWalk Cornwall app
The app counts down distance to the next direction and estimates time remaining based on your personal walking speed.
Person repairing footpath sign
We keep the directions continually updated for changes to the paths/landmarks - the price of £1.99 for a walk includes ongoing free updates.
Loading...
The route begins beside the Red River at Nancledra and follows a tributary stream to its source at the Baker’s Pit nature reserve. The route then crosses the downs to the Castle-an-Dinas Iron Age hillfort and Rogers' Tower. The return route is across the fields with views to the hills above St Ives.

Can get quite boggy after prolonged wet weather.

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 102 (scan QR code on right to order from Amazon)
  • Distance: 3.1 miles/5 km
  • Grade: Easy-moderate
  • Start from: Nancledra
  • Parking: Along lane from Nancledra to Georgia TR208NB. Follow the B3311 into Nancledra and turn beside the bridge signposted Georgia, Embla, Amalveor. Follow the lane past the Furze Croft housing estate and park on the grassy verge on the right just after the large white cottage on the left.
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots; wellies after prolonged wet weather

OS maps for this walk

Click or tap on map for more info (blue=laminated)

Highlights

  • Panoramic views from Castle-an-dinas
  • Rogers' Tower
  • Baker's Pit nature reserve

Directions

  1. Follow the lane away from Nancledra until you reach another junction for Georgia, Embla and Amalveor

    Nancledra was recorded in 1302 as Nanscludri and is thought to be based on the Cornish word for "valley" and a name of the person who lived there (i.e. Clodry's valley).

  2. Turn left and follow the road until you reach a track on the left with a sign for The Moors.

    The river is one of several in Cornwall known as the Red River and meets the sea at Marazion.

    Metal sulphide ores within mines react with air and water to form sulphuric acid and dissolved metals. When this acidic solution (known as Acidic Mine Drainage) meets other water, it is diluted and the reduced acidity causes dissolved iron to precipitate out as orange or yellow hydroxides, colouring the water and sticking to anything in the watercourse. In the case of copper mines, copper stays dissolved in the water and at higher levels this can be toxic to wildlife, particularly fish.

    Where there is a large amount of water coming from a mine which is not rendered harmless by natural dilution, reed beds have been found to be very effective in treating the acidic water. Plants and bacteria in the reed bed convert the dissolved metals into insoluble compounds that are trapped within the reed bed. There are even suggestions that the metals may be commercially recoverable after they have been concentrated in the reed bed over a period of time.

  3. Bear left onto the track and follow this until you reach a crossing of tracks.

    There are two types of ivy leaf. Those on creeping stems are the classic ivy leaf shape with 3-5 triangular lobes. However, more mature ivy plants grow aerial shoots with a completely different (teardrop) leaf shape. These are the shoots that bear the flowers and fruits and are typically located in a sunny spot such as on an upright ivy bush or top of a rock face. The reason for the different shapes is that the larger, multi-lobed leaves are able to catch more light in shady areas whereas the smaller, stouter leaves are more resistant to drying out.

  4. Go through the wooden gate and follow along the left hedge to a stone stile in the corner marked with a post with a white top.

    The number of cows in Cornwall has been estimated at around 75,000 so there's a good chance of encountering some in grassy fields. If you are crossing fields in which there are cows:

    • Avoid splitting the herd as cows are more relaxed if they feel protected by the rest of the herd. Generally the best plan is to walk along the hedges.
    • Do not show any threatening behaviour towards calves (approaching them closely to take photos, making loud noises or walking between a calf and its mother) as you may provoke the mother to defend her young.
    • If cows approach you, they often do so out of curiosity and in the hope of food - it may seem an aggressive invasion of your space but that's mainly because cows don't have manners. Do not run away as this will encourage them to chase you. Stand your ground and stretch out your arms to increase your size. Usually if you calmly approach them, they will back off. It's also best to avoid making sudden movements that might cause them to panic.
    • Where possible, avoid taking dogs into fields with cows, particularly with calves. If cows charge, release the dog from its lead as the dog will outrun the cows and the cows will generally chase the dog rather than you.
  5. Cross the stile and head towards the cottage to a gateway between the cottage and post with a white top.
  6. Pass through the gateway into the field then head towards the bush in the middle of the field, passing to the left of the reeds. After the reeds, bear right to a gap in the hedge. Once through the gap, turn left to keep the hedge on your left and reach a stone stile in the corner of the field.

    Beard-like lichens (known as Old Man's Beard) are very sensitive to sulphur dioxide in the air. Where the air quality is poor, at best they only manage to grow a few millimetres and may not survive at all. Long beards are therefore an indicator of clean air.

  7. Cross the stile and footbridge and follow the path along the stream until it emerges onto the gravel driveway for Tredorwin.

    The stream is a tributary of the Red River, fed by the springs draining from the marshes. The main stream has its source in the Baker's Pit nature reserve. The walk passes through the reserve later on.

    Snowdrops are a member of the onion family, and one of the earliest plants to flower. They use energy stored in their bulbs to generate leaves and flowers during winter, whilst other plants without an energy reserve cannot compete. The downside to flowering so early is that pollinating insects are more scarce, so rather than relying exclusively on seeds, they also spread through bulb division. Although it is often thought of as a native British wild flower, the snowdrop was probably introduced in Tudor times, around the early sixteenth century.

    The bulbs are poisonous but contain a chemical compound which is used in the treatment of early Alzheimer's, vascular dementia and brain damage. The plant produces another substance in its leaves which inhibits the feeding of insect pests. This is being researched to see if this substance can be introduced into other plants.

  8. Turn left onto the driveway and follow it a short distance towards the chimney to where a narrow path departs to the right beside a wooden post, just before the track bends.

    The chimney is part of the remains of the Baker's Pit China Clay works.

    The first record of the workings is from 1758 and the area was worked until 1942. The site was given by Imerys to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust in 2000.

    Once clay was extracted from a pit, kaolin needed to be separated from the other components of granite in the clay slurry. In earlier times, the slurry was flowed through three stepped tanks: in the first tank sand was deposited, in the second a mixture of fine sand and mica, in the third tank mica alone was deposited.

    The introduction of mica drags made the process of separating the clay from the unwanted sand and mica far more efficient. Rectangular stone tanks with a very shallow gradient were divided into a series of long narrow channels. The slow flow rate down the shallow gradient caused the heavier sand and mica to be deposited in the bottom of the channels.

  9. Turn right onto the small path and follow this until it emerges onto a stony track.

    The ruins surrounding the chimney are the remains of a pan kiln for drying china clay.

    Up until about 1850 china clay was dried in open-sided sheds known as air drys. This was a slow process: in winter, it could take as long as eight months.

    From 1845, pan kilns were developed and became standard in the 1860s and 70s. Flues led beneath a floor of porous tiles on which the cream-like clay slurry was dried. The moisture was drawn down into the hot fumes and vented from a chimney.

  10. Continue ahead across the gravel area and go through the gate into the Nature Reserve. Keep following the track to pass the engine house and continue until you reach another metal gate across the track.

    The engine house was used for pumping clay from the pit and the building alongside was a boiler house. Unusually the beam engine was inside of the engine house but in later years the building was greatly modified to house an electric winder. Within the undergrowth on the opposite side of the lane are the set of mica drags and settling pits.

  11. Go through the gate and keep left at the fork to keep following the rough track between the two hedges. Continue for some distance until you eventually reach a pedestrian gate. Go through the gate and continue a short distance to reach a gravel path.

    The settlement of Chysauster is less than a mile to the right (but there is no right of way to it from here).

    Chysauster is one of the best-preserved ancient villages in Britain and is now owned by English Heritage. The settlement of Chysauster dates from the Iron Age but the current remains are from the period when Britain was under Roman rule but Cornwall continued in a Celtic way of life. The village was surrounded by a network of small fields. It is thought that the Castle-an-Dinas hillfort may have been associated with the village and served as an administrative centre a bit like a Town Hall.

    If you'd like to visit it afterwards, the easiest way is to drive via Badger's Cross from Nancledra. Note that English Heritage charge an entrance fee for non-members.

  12. Turn right onto the path and follow it for roughly 200 metres until you reach a waymark beside some steps over the wall on your left.
  13. Once you reach the waymark on the left, climb the stile over the wall and continue ahead to reach a gap in the embankment (rampart) ahead.

    The Castle-an-Dinas hillfort consists of four ramparts, with the outermost accompanied for much of its length by a ditch. The position is not easily defensible but it does have a very good view.

    In the 18th Century it was recorded that the centre still contained the stone foundations of Iron Age roundhouses but the stone has since been robbed and probably now forms part of Roger's Tower.

  14. Go through the gap and continue ahead past the trig point to reach Roger's Tower.

    As you approach the tower, there are nice views ahead over Mount's Bay.

  15. Follow the path downhill from Roger's Tower towards the quarry to reach the fence.

    Rogers' Tower is a folly built in the late 1700s as a destination for family outings by the Rogers family who owned nearby Treassowe Manor. It quickly fell into disuse: by 1817 was already in a state of decay and it was a ruin by the end of the 19th Century. Some repair work was done in 1960 and further restoration was carried out in 2002-3.

  16. Turn left and follow the path along the fence until you pass between a stunted tree on the left and a "Keep Out" sign on the right.

    The Castle-an-Dinas quarry extracts stone from a body of granite known as the Lands End formation which forms the large hills and rugged coast in the north and west of Penwith. Within the quarry, granite is broken into gravel for use in concrete, tarmac etc.

  17. Bear left towards the cottage to reach a gate into the field ahead.

    The word granite comes from the Latin granum (a grain), in reference to its coarse-grained structure. Granite forms from a big blob of magma (known as a pluton) which intrudes into the existing rocks. The huge mass of molten rock stores an enormous amount of heat so the magma cools very slowly below the surface of the Earth, allowing plenty of time for large crystals to form.

  18. Go through the gate and cross the field towards the cottage to reach the start of the track just to the right of the gate.

    Granite mostly contains slightly acidic chemical compounds, and consequently there is nothing to neutralise acids arising from plant decay and carbon dioxide dissolved in rainwater, resulting in acidic moorland soils.

  19. Join the track and follow it in the direction of the cottage then continue past the gates on the left to reach a gate leading into the field ahead.
  20. Go through the gate and bear left to the gate onto the track leading away from the cottage.
  21. Go through the gate and turn right onto the track. Follow the track until it ends in a T-junction.

    The view ahead is of the hills that lie behind the flat area of coastal land that St Ives and Zennor occupy. The hill directly ahead is Trink Hill whilst the largest one on the left is Trendrine Hill. Rosewall Hill lies between the two.

  22. Turn left at the junction and follow the track past the cottage and through a gate. Continue a short distance to a wooden gate on the right.
  23. Go through the gates and bear right slightly across the field to the gate opposite.
  24. Go through the 2 gates and cross the field to the gate and stile ahead.

    The reason moles create tunnels is that these act as worm traps. When a worm drops in, the mole dashes to it and gives it a nip. Mole saliva contains a toxin that paralyzes earthworms and the immobilised live worms are stored in an underground larder for later consumption. Researchers have discovered some very well-stocked larders with over a thousand earthworms in them! To prepare their meal, moles pull the worms between their paws to force the earth out of the worm's gut.

    Moles have a special form of haemoglobin that allow them to tolerate high levels of carbon dioxide in the low-oxygen environment within the tunnels. In wetland areas where there is no gradient available to retreat uphill, moles construct a large mound protruding around half a metre above the ground to act as an emergency flood shelter.

  25. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to a gap next to the gate.
  26. Go through the gap and walk along the length of the field to the gate.

    Rabbits were originally from the Iberian peninsula and were brought to Britain by the Normans and kept in captivity as a source of meat and fur. Rabbits are able to survive on virtually any vegetable matter and with relatively few predators, those that escaped multiplied into a sizeable wild population. Rabbits provide food for foxes, stoats, weasels and birds of prey.

  27. Go through the pedestrian gate on the left of the gate and follow the track downhill to where it ends in a T-junction with another track.
  28. Take the small path ahead on the opposite side of the track and follow this until it emerges onto a lane.

    During the spring, if you encounter a patch of plants with white bell-shaped flowers, smelling strongly of onions, and with long, narrow leaves then they are likely to be three-cornered leeks.

    The plants get their name due to their triangular flower stems. As the name also suggests, they are members of the onion family and have a small bulb. In fact, in New Zealand they are known as "onion weed".

  29. Turn right onto the lane to reach the lay-by and complete the circular route.

    Butterbur grows in damp areas, often along roadside verges near streams. It is recognisable by its bright green leaves which are shaped similar to a horse's foot (and is therefore sometimes confused with coltsfoot). The large leaves were used to wrap butter which gave rise to the common name.

    Butterbur flowers very early, from March to May with the first flowers in Cornwall appearing in February, so it is an important source of nectar early in the year for butterflies and bees.

Help us with this walk

You can help us to keep this walk as accurate as it possibly can be for others by spotting and feeding back any changes affecting the directions. We'd be very grateful if could you look out for the following:

  • Any stiles, gates or waymark posts referenced in the directions which are no longer there
  • Any stiles referenced in the directions that have been replaced with gates, or vice-versa

Take a photo and email contact@iwalkcornwall.co.uk, or message either IWalkCornwall on facebook or @iwalkc on twitter. If you have any tips for other walkers please let us know, or if you want to tell us that you enjoyed the walk, we'd love to hear that too.

Please recycle your ink cartridges to help prevent plastic fragments being ingested by seabirds. Google "stinkyink" and click on "free recycling" for a freepost label.
If you found this page useful, please could you
our page on Facebook?