Sancreed to Carn Euny circular walk

Sancreed to Carn Euny

A countryside walk to the Celtic church and Holy Well at Sancreed and the Iron Age village of Carn Euny where a well-preserved underground chamber known as a fogou has puzzled archaelogists for centuries

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The walk descends from the downs of Sancreed Beacon with excellent views across Penwith and circles via the woods at the head of Drift Reservoir into Sancreed to reach the church. The route then passes the Sancreed Holy Well and crosses fields and joins a byway to reach St Euny's holy well. The final stretch passes though the Carn Euny ancient village and alongside the Caer Bran hillfort to return over Sancreed Beacon.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 102
  • Distance: 5 miles/8 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: Walking boots

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 102 OS Explorer 102 (laminated version)

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


  • Carn Euny ancient village and fogou
  • Sancreed Celtic churchyard
  • Sancreed and Carn Euny holy wells
  • Views across Penwith and Mount's Bay


  1. Go through the gate at the top of the parking area and turn right to follow parallel to the wall to reach the lower gate. Bear left from this onto the path leading downhill and follow this until it ends in a junction with another path.

    On a clear day you can see the engine house of Ding Dong Mine ahead and the highest points in West Penwith: rocky Carn Galver to its left and slightly higher Watch Croft to the left of Carn Galver. As you descend the hill there is also a view of St Michael's Mount to the right.

  2. Turn right and follow the path to a gate.

    The mineshafts beside the footpath are the remains of a mine known as Wheal Argus which operated between 1873 and 1875, producing about 20 tonnes of black tin and included an engine house. Although there is little documentation, there are suggestions of earlier mining activity on the site.

  3. Go through two gates and turn right onto the lane. Follow it until you reach a junction on the left in front of a Methodist chapel.

    The chapel dates from Victorian times and was part of the Wesleyan Methodist movement.

    During the 18th Century in Oxford, the Wesley brothers began practising their rigorous holy lifestyle which was mockingly referred to as Methodism by their peers due to their methodical practices. John Wesley began open-air preaching to recruit followers to his movement and formed small classes for each community where followers would receive ongoing religious guidance. Wesley always advocated the practise of Methodism as an extension of the Anglican faith and encouraged his followers to attend the parish church regularly. Nevertheless, senior figures within the Church of England feared the effects (or perhaps popularity) of Methodist practices, suggesting that an overdose of the Holy Spirit might be unhealthy for weak minds.

  4. Turn left then keep left to follow the lane past the 30 mph sign. Follow this down to the bottom of the valley, passing a couple of footpath signs on your way, to reach the cottage at the bottom of the valley.

    During late winter or early 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. Once you're familiar with their narrow, ridged leaves, you'll be able to spot these emerging from late October onwards.

    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". They are also known as "snowbell" due to their white bluebell-like flowers.

    The original tarmac was made from coal tar and ironworks slag. In the 1920s, coal tar was replaced by the tar from petroleum oil - bitumen. This oil-based tarmac is known as asphalt in the UK. However in the USA, "asphalt" means bitumen (i.e. just the tar with no "mac"). If that wasn't confusing enough, tarmac is known as "bitumen" in Australia!

  5. Continue along the lane until, just as you emerge from beneath the trees, you reach a path marked with a blue waymark on the right opposite Sellan House on the left.

    Sycamores like moist soil and the young trees need a lot of water (equivalent to an inch of rain per week) to get established. For this reason, sycamores are very often found along streams or in low-lying meadows that collect water. Once their roots grow deep enough, the mature trees can withstand drought by tapping into underground moisture.

  6. Turn right onto the waymarked track and keep left along the wall to descend to the stream. Follow the path beneath the trees until it ends at a gate by a farm.

    The path beside the woods can get a bit overgrown with weeds during the summer so it's a good plan to pick up a stick to clear any nettles further along the path if you're walking at this time of year. The woodland provides an ideal habitat for woodpeckers. We could hear them tapping on the trees here when we were testing the route.

    Green woodpeckers are the largest and most colourful of the woodpeckers native to Britain and have a distinctive laughing "yaffle" call. The two species of spotted woodpecker are smaller and usually noticed from the drumming sound they make on trees although they can sometimes be heard making a short "cheep" sound.

    All of the woodpeckers bore holes in trees in which they nest, but only the spotted woodpeckers drill into trees in search of food, spending most of their time perched on a tree.

    Conversely, green woodpeckers spend most of their time on the ground, hunting for ants. The ants nests are excavated using their strong beak, and then ants are caught on the barbed end of their long tongue. In fact, their tongue is so long that it needs to be curled around their skull to fit inside their head.

  7. Go through the gate and continue ahead on the currently permissive track uphill and between the farm buildings to reach a gate into the field above (where the footpath becomes recorded).

    The settlement of Treganhoe was first recorded in 1288 spelt Tregenhou. Other than tre implying an early mediaeval farmstead, the origin of the name is not known.

  8. Go through the gate and cross the field to the stile beneath the telegraph pole just to the right of the gate opposite.

    In fields with crops where the footpath doesn't run along the edge, if there is a well-trodden path then follow this to avoid trampling any more of the crops. If there appears to be no path through the crops then you do have a right to walk through the crop but stick as close as possible to the line of the path to avoid damaging any more of the crop than strictly necessary. Alternatively, you can follow around the edges of the field to avoid trudging though the crop.

  9. Cross the stile (or go through the gateway if open) and bear right slightly across the field to a stile roughly four-fifths of the way along the hedge ahead.

    Black and white Fresian-Holstein cattle were not common until the second half of the 20th Century, following a post-war programme to replenish cattle stocks. This included importing a couple of hundred cattle from areas of northern Germany and Holland which are on a similar latitude to northern England. Due to their high dairy yields, these breeds exploded in popularity in the 1970s and now make up over 90% of the dairy cattle in Britain.

  10. Cross the stile and bear right slightly to a stile roughly two-thirds of the way along the right hedge.

    In spring, whilst foxgloves seeds are germinating, the established foxglove plants from the previous year start producing their characteristic flower spike. Once these have been fertilised and the seeds have been produced then the plant dies. One foxglove plant can produce over 2 million seeds.

    Since methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (reflecting more heat than carbon dioxide) and there are around billion cows in the world, this has led to concern about the contribution that methane belched out by livestock is making to global warning. However, since methane is quite a short-lived greenhouse gas (about 12 years) and since the number of cattle hasn't changed that quickly over time, atmospheric methane levels are fairly stable. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, lasts hundreds of years in the atmosphere so this is much more able to build up over time. One other factor is that pastureland is able to absorb triple the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide as grain fields so grass-fed cattle are preferable to grain-fed.

  11. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to a stile in the corner of the field.

    Dragonflies are named after the way they hunt, as both the larvae and adults are carnivorous predators. Mosquitoes form a large part of their diet both for adults and particularly for the larvae (nymphs). One dragonfly can eat tens of mosquitoes in a day and an average of over 100 per day has been recorded for the nymphs of some species. It is thought that this is an important factor in keeping the mosquito population under control.

    There are over 30,000 miles (more than the distance around the earth) of hedges in Cornwall, many of which are based on distinctive local styles of stone walling. Consequently, often what a Cornish person calls a "hedge", most people from outside the county do not recognise as a hedge, resulting in some foreign translation needed for walk directions.

    Around 50% of the hedgerows in the UK have been lost since the Second World War. Although intentional removal has dramatically reduced, lack of maintenance and damage from mechanical cutting techniques such as flailing are still causing deterioration of the remaining hedgerows.

    Some Cornish hedges are thought to be more than 4,000 years old, making them some of the oldest human-built structures in the world that have been in continuous use for their original purpose. They act as vital miniature nature reserves and wildlife corridors that link together other green spaces. This supports hundreds of species of plants and tens of thousands of insect species, many of which are vital pollinators for arable crops.

  12. Cross the stile and follow around the right hedge to the corner, then stay in the field and continue following the right hedge reach the stile in the corner in front of the playing field.

    In 1991, sloes were found in the stomach contents of a 5,300 human mummy in the Alps, indicating that they were part of the Neolithic diet. Alone they are extremely bitter but with enough sugar, they can be made into a range of preserves.

    Given the right conditions, a blackthorn tree can live 100 years and grow to about 20ft in height. In harsher environments such as by the coast the bushes may be as little as 2ft tall.

  13. Cross the stile and cross the playing field to the gate opposite.

    The name celandine is thought to be derived from the Greek word for swallow, based on the arrival of swallows being a sign of spring. Another common names for celandine is spring messenger, based on the early flowering. This was presumably also the basis of the Victorian use as a symbol of "joys to come".

    During Victorian times and earlier, small amounts of land in Cornwall were measured by the goad - a unit of nine feet in length, derived from the name of the staff used to drive oxen.

    An area of two goads square (18ft x 18ft) was known as a "yard of ground" or "land-yard". This is confusingly not the same as a "square yard" (3ft x 3ft). In fact one land-yard was 36 square yards!.

    Larger areas of land were measured by the Cornish Acre defined as 160 land-yards (or 5,760 square yards). A unit of land consisting of 4 Cornish Acres was known as a "Knight's fee".

  14. Go through the gate then follow the path to the right leading into the churchyard. Continue on the path past the church to emerge on a road beside Sancreed House.

    The churchyard at Sancreed is an almost perfectly circular enclosure situated at the head of a valley. This is characteristic of an early Celtic religious settlement and a 6th century inscribed stone indicates that it had been established by this point.

    The first church recorded in the churchyard was in 1150 as Eglossant when it was given Tewkesbury Abbey. The current church was initially constructed in the 13th Century, the tower was added in the 14th Century and was reworked in the 15th Century. Like most Cornish churches it was restored in the 19th Century.

    There are five mediaeval crosses in the churchyard, salvaged from various locations nearby. The shaft of a 10th Century cross was found built into the church wall and its head was on top of the hedge. Another was rescued from a local farm where it was about to be used as part of a stone wall.

  15. Cross the road to the footpath opposite, signposted to the Holy Well. Follow the path, keeping the wall on your right where paths split off to the left. Continue on the path until you reach a waymark for the Holy Well.

    The ruins of Sancreed holy well and chapel were rediscovered in 1879 and the well was restored. At least one of the stones within the holy well structure was originally part of the mediaeval chapel which is thought to date from around the 15th-16th Century. A mediaeval stone arch that was originally the top of a window or door is leaning against the chapel wall.

  16. The walk continues over the stile into the field, but first you may to see the Holy Well (a couple of minutes walk) then return here. After crossing the stile, bear right slightly across the field towards the cottage to reach a stile on the far side.

    The pieces of ribbon tied to a tree beside the well may initially appear to be New Age pollution but are in fact a Celtic tradition dating back to pre-Christian times. For example, Christ's Well at Mentieth was described in 1618 as "all tapestried about with old rags".

    It was thought that an ailment could be cured by dipping a piece of fabric in the well and hanging it on a sacred tree beside the well. As the fabric rotted away, the illness was supposed to disappear. The wells were known as cloughtie wells based on clout - the archaic word for item of clothing - as in the saying "never cast a clout till May is out". Documented examples of cloughtie wells include the holy wells at Sancreed and Madron. This can also be seen at other holy wells such as St Clether, but how much of this is modern emulation and whether a suitable sacred tree species grew beside these wells in Celtic times is not known.

    Unfortunately most modern ribbons are made of polyester which does not rot and remains in the environment a long time where it can be hazardous to wildlife. If you are planning to tie a ribbon, make sure it's a natural fibre or rayon (aka Viscose) which is plant cellulose and can be broken down by micro-organisms.

  17. Cross the stile and follow along the right hedge to reach another stile.

    The settlement of Newham was first recorded in 1331 as Nyweham. It probably dates from after the Norman Conquest as the name is mediaeval English rather than Cornish and simply means "new home".

  18. Cross the stile and follow along the fence on your right to reach a stile in the far hedge.

    Ribwort plantain is a common weed on cultivated land with long leaves and unmistakable black seed heads on the end of tall stalks often with a halo of white flowers. Generations of children have worked out that by knotting the stem, the seed head can be launched as a projectile at unsuspecting adults.

    A tea made from the leaves is a popular herbal remedy but care should be taken where the plant is harvested as it is not only highly tolerant of high metal levels in the soil but also accumulates these. It will even tolerate and accumulate arsenic which is normally toxic to plants. It therefore has the potential to be used for cleansing soils contaminated with mine waste.

  19. Cross the stile and turn left onto the path. Follow it downhill until it emerges into a field.

    The -wort in plant names derives from the Old English word wyrt, which simply meant plant. Wurzel - the German word for root - also has the same ancestry. In mediaeval times, -wort was often used for the names of plants reputed to be medicinal, prefixed by the ailment that the plant was supposed to cure (e.g. woundwort).

  20. Follow the wall along the right side of the field to reach a gate and stile in the bottom corner.

    In fields used for grazing, docks are not necessarily a problem. Their deep roots help to hold the soil together and they provide a good source of minerals (such as selenium and zinc) for livestock. Their bitterness is due to tannins, which are also helpful to livestock for preventing bloat and parasites.

  21. Cross the stile (or go through the gate if open) and continue a few paces to emerge on a track. Continue ahead to locate the small (and fairly well-hidden) path opposite running along the wall to the right of the cottage. Follow the path to reach a stile into a field.

    Yellow Archangel is a native plant and member of the dead nettle family (and it's also known as the Golden Dead Nettle). The flowers are pale yellow, hence the first part of the name. The second part of the name (including the angelic association) is because it looks quite like a nettle but doesn't sting.

    A garden variety of yellow archangel known as "aluminium plant" (due to silvery metallic areas on its leaves) has escaped into the wild where it is spreading rapidly. It has been deemed so invasive that it is illegal to plant in the wild.

  22. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge uphill to reach a stile in the top hedge.

    The tall trees on the right provide some good perches for crows to survey the landscape.

    Research has shown that crows have a much higher density of neurons in their forebrains than primates do (the density if neurons in this region is thought to correlate with intelligence).

    The brain of a crow accounts for 2.7 percent of the bird's overall weight whereas an adult human's brain represents 1.9 percent of their body weight. This is even more impressive when considered in context: birds need to be as light as possible in order to fly.

    Ravens are considered the most intelligent crow species, outperforming chimpanzees in some tests. Consequently an academic is quoted as saying that crows are "smarter than many undergraduates, but probably not as smart as ravens."

  23. Cross the stile and continue uphill to a stile to the left of the barn.

    The ruined farm is known as Boswarthen. The settlement was first recorded in 1284, spelt Bosewarthen. The Cornish word for dwelling - bos - implies that it dates from early mediaeval times (Dark Ages).

  24. Cross the stile and continue ahead to a stone stile topped with an iron bar.

    Rabbits have a number of wild predators including foxes, polecats and stoats. Buzzards and weasels will also take young ones. Domestic cats are also capable of tackling a full-grown rabbit. Rabbits have evolved to be able to detect predators early and then run very fast. The location of their eyes on the sides of the their head gives them almost 360 degree vision and they can also can turn their ears 180 degrees to pinpoint the location of a sound.

  25. Cross the stile and continue ahead to another stone stile just to the right of the gate.

    Buzzards are not quiet birds! Their long, loud "pieeuuu" call can be often be the first thing to give away their presence and is one of the easiest bird calls to remember. It is thought that the original Latin word for buzzard was probably an onomatopoeia (i.e. an imitation of the bird's call) within the constraints of what was deemed an acceptable Latin word (suggesting "pieeuuu" would probably have resulted in being fed to the lions!).

  26. Cross the stile and bear left slightly across the field to a stile in the middle of the top hedge.

    The name "daisy" is thought to be a corruption of "day's eye" (or "eye of the day", as Chaucer called it). The name comes about because the flower head closes at night and opens each morning. In mediaeval times, it was known as "Mary's Rose".

    Cows are thought to have been domesticated in the Middle East around 8,500 BC. By about 6,400 BC they were being traded into Neolithic Europe. This is just about the point where the land bridge between Britain and Continental Europe (known as Doggerland) flooded with rising sea levels, so the first few cattle may have just managed to walk across.

  27. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to a stile next to the gate.

    The cattle breeds known as Devon were also the traditional breeds used in Cornwall until recent years. The South Devon breed, affectionately known as "Orange Elephant" or "Gentle Giant", is the largest of the British native breeds: the largest recorded bull weighed 2 tonnes. They are thought to have descended from the large red cattle of Normandy, which were imported during the Norman invasion of England. The other breed, known as "Devon Ruby" or "Red Ruby" (due to their less orange colouration), is one of the oldest breeds in existence, with origins thought to be from pre-Roman Celtic Britain.

  28. Cross the stile and bear left to the wayside cross on the opposite side of the track. Climb the stile into the field and bear left slightly across the field aiming slightly to the left of the large hill on the skyline to reach a gate on the far side.

    There are over four hundred complete stone crosses in Cornwall and at least another two hundred fragments.

    In the mediaeval period, stone crosses were sometimes placed by the road or path to mark the route to the parish church. Farms and hamlets were usually linked to the church by the most direct and level route. Crosses were also placed along routes of pilgrimage. Both of these have evolved to become some of today's Public Rights of Way.

  29. Go through the gate and cross the narrow field to the stile opposite.

    The church tower that you can see quite clearly to the left is St Buryan, roughly 2 miles away.

  30. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to reach a path leading ahead from a gate at the bottom corner of the field.

    The church tower in the distance more-or-less directly ahead is Sennen, just under 4 miles away.

  31. Go through the gate or cross the stile to join the path and follow it to merge onto a concrete track. Follow the track to a gate just before the track joins with an exit from a field on the right.

    The earliest recorded use of concrete was around 6500 BC in Syria and Jordan which was put to a number of uses including creating level floors. The Romans made concrete blocks from volcanic ash, lime and seawater.

    In 1793, John Smeaton discovered a way of producing hydraulic lime for cement by firing limestone that contained clay. He used his cement for constructing the Eddystone lighthouse.

    In 1824, Portland cement was invented by burning powdered chalk and clay together which were both readily available. During the 19th Century, this began to be used in industrial buildings.

  32. Go through the gate (or cross the rough stile to the left if shut) and follow the track until it ends beside a gateway with concrete posts leading towards the buildings.

    The settlement of Brane was first recorded in 1323 as Bosvran. The bos is the Cornish word for dwelling, and the rest of the name refers to the Caer Bran hillfort.

  33. Go through the gateway to the left (or around the concrete post on the left side) and follow the stony track past the buildings to join a lane. Continue until you reach a junction at a post box just after Brane End Farm.

    In farms around Cornwall, harvest was celebrated with traditions such as "crying the neck".

    Neck - a miniature sheaf of wheat with four plaited arms, intertwined with everlastings and the more durable of flowers. The stalks of wheat brought down by the last sweep of the scythe are brought home in thankful triumph, and woven as described. In the evening, the sheaf or zang is taken into the mowhay, where are assembled all the harvest party.

    A stout-lunged reaper proclaims: "I hav'en! I hav'en! I hav'en!"
    Another loud voice questions: "What hav'ee? What hav'ee? What hav'ee?"
    "A neck! A neck! A neck!" is the reply;
    and the crowd take up, in their lustiest tones, a chorus of "Wurrah".

    General merriment follows and the draughts of ale and cider are often deep. The neck may be seen hanging to the beam of many of our farm-houses between harvest and Christmas eve, on which night it is given to the master bullock in the chall. "Hollaing the neck" is still heard in East Cornwall, and is one of the cheerfullest of rural sounds.

    Since the 20th century, the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies has been reviving this tradition; the ale part sounds good.

  34. Turn right at the junction and follow the lane until you reach a small parking area with a pair of signs with blue and green routes for Carn Euny.

    The lane to Carn Euny is one of the better-surfaced public byways in Cornwall.

    Public byways are rights of way down which motor vehicles may be driven depending on how brave you are and how expensive your car is to fix. You are also permitted to use a horse-drawn carriage, should you own one. Byways tend to be surfaced in an ad-hoc manner either with gravel or occasionally with a smattering of tarmac, but still leaving plenty of room for a good crop of grass to grow down the centre. They are conventionally marked using red waymarks or a "Public Byway" sign. There are 130 miles of byways in Cornwall.

  35. Continue ahead on the blue route and follow the track to a junction beside a building.

    Like other members of the pea family, gorse produces its seeds in pods. The seeds are ejected with a popping sound when pods split open in hot weather. This can catapult the seeds up to five metres. The plants are able to live 30 years and survive sub-zero temperatures, the seeds can withstand fire and remain viable in the soil for 30 years.

  36. Keep left and follow the track to reach a junction with two paths to the left with a wooden post with red and blue waymarks.
  37. Turn left onto the gravel path indicated by the blue arrow and follow the path to a junction.
  38. Turn left at the junction to follow the path between the holy wells and return to the waymark post.

    There are two wells situated either side of the path and these are both associated with St Euny. The more elaborate one has steps leading down to it and the other is surrounded by four large granite slabs. The site is only recorded from the 18th Century so the true age of the wells is unknown. There is also mention of a chapel being located near the wells (hence Chapel Euny).

    Many people understandably confuse the two wells beside the path leading to the Carn Euny ancient village (with metal grilles) for these. No records have so far been found for the wells with metal grilles being holy wells but the one by the large boulder is thought to be quite old.

    Also quite confusing is that "Chapel Euny" is now used as a broad place name for the settlement, hence the wooden sign for "Chapel Euny" by the junction pointing towards the cottage and Carn Euny (which is actually in the opposite direction to where the chapel is thought to have been).

  39. Turn right to return to backtrack a short distance to the junction beside the building.

    Before Christianity, the Pagan Celtic people of Cornwall worshipped wonders of the natural world. Where clean, drinkable water welled up from the ground in a spring, this was seen as pretty awesome. The sites were seen as portals to another world, and is why fairies are often associated with springs. Where the springwater dissolved minerals, for specific conditions (e.g. deficiency in a mineral) or where the minerals present had antibacterial/fungal properties, the water appeared to have healing powers.

  40. Turn left at the junction, signposted Chapel Euny, and follow the track to a cottage.

    "Holy wells" were created because the Christian church was unhappy with the people continuing their old Pagan ways and worshipping sacred springs. In the 10th Century, the church issued a cannon (law) to outlaw such practices. This didn't work, so they issued another one in the 11th Century, and again in the 12th Century. Even despite the church going to the lengths of building a chapel over the top of some springs to obliterate them, the people still hung onto their sacred springs. The church finally settled on a compromise and rebranded the springs as (Christian) Holy Wells, so the old practices could continue behind a Christian façade.

  41. Walk past the cottage to the small path leading ahead and follow this to a gate into the Carn Euny ancient village.

    The remains of an ancient village at Carn Euny was discovered in the early 19th Century by prospectors searching for tin deposits. Carn Euny was occupied from the Iron Age until late Roman times although excavations on this site have shown that there was activity at Carn Euny as early as the Neolithic period. There is evidence that the first timber huts there were built about 200 BC, but by the 1st century BC, these had been replaced by stone huts. What remains today are the foundations of stone houses from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD.

    More information about Carn Euny from the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

  42. After exploring Carn Euny, make your way to the gate at the bottom.

    Within the ancient village is a large and well-preserved fogou.

    A fogou is a drystone underground passage found in a few Iron Age settlements in West Cornwall. Their purpose is not known. One theory is that they were used for food storage whilst another is that they had a ceremonial use.

    The word derives from the Cornish word for cave (mogow which became vogou). This also gave rise to a dialect word for cave - "vug" - which has been assimilated into mining terminology to mean a natural cavity in rock.

  43. Go through the gate and follow the left hedge to an opening into a grassy area with a trough in the middle.

    Carn Euny is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

    The Cornwall Heritage Trust (CHT) is a charity founded in 1985 to preserve and strengthen Cornish heritage. The CHT own some historic structures such as the Treffry Viaduct and also manage a number of state-owned English Heritage sites in Cornwall such as Carn Euny.

    The CHT management of some of the smaller English Heritage sites follows controversy in 1999 when the Revived Cornish Stannary Parliament pressure group removed several English Heritage signs. CHT now manage these in partnership with local communities, Natural England, Historic England and English Heritage.

    As part of the English Heritage partnership, members of the Cornwall Heritage Trust can visit the larger English Heritage sites in Cornwall (Tintagel Castle, Restormel Castle, Launceston Castle, Pendennis Castle, Chysauster etc) free-of-charge. CHT annual membership is therefore quite an economical option for anyone intending to visit multiple English Heritage sites solely in Cornwall. The family membership is particularly good value-for-money.

    More information about the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

  44. Once through the gap, turn left and head uphill to the gateway in the top-right corner.

    Researchers have found a recessive gene which appears to turn normal 3-leaf clovers into the 4-leaf version. Normally this is masked by the 3-leaf gene but environmental conditions can promote the 4-leaf form. Some domestic varieties have also been selectively bred to increase the proportion of 4-leaf plants. Genetically-engineered four leaf clovers are now a possibility with some farms in the USA reportedly already using genetic modification to churn-out thousands of plastic-sealed "lucky" charms per day.

  45. Go through the gateway ahead leading uphill into the small field and continue to the furthest gate at the top.

    Pineapple weed is related to chamomile and is consequently also known as false chamomile. It's able to colonise poor soils on waste ground including cracks between paving. The flowers resembling little yellow balls are also quite distinctive but even more so is the pineapple scent when is trodden on or squeezed. The leaves can be eaten in salads and the leaves and flowers can also be dried to make tea.

    Up to late Victorian times, the fields either side of this area were also quite small but the hedges have since been removed from those to create larger fields. The bushes along the remaining hedges include hawthorn.

    In sheltered places, hawthorn trees can reach 20-40ft in height and live up to 400 years. In harsher environments such as the coast and moors they can be as little as 5-6ft tall.

  46. Go through the gate and follow along the left hedge, heading uphill. At the end of the hedge, bear left slightly towards the barn to reach a gap between a pair of large granite boulders in the hedge (or follow around the edge of the field if there is a crop).

    Caer Bran is located at the top of the hill on the right.

    Caer Bran is thought to have originally been built in the Bronze Age with a single rampart-like ring cairn forming a hilltop enclosure which contained at least three smaller ring cairns. It is thought that later, in the Iron Age, a new rampart was built on the outside of the original one.

    More about Caer Bran

  47. Climb over the boulders and follow the path to the track. Join the track ahead, passing the barn. Continue on the track until it eventually ends on a road.

    The path to the right leads to the Caer Bran hillfort.

  48. Turn right onto the road and follow it until you reach a small path on the left almost immediately before a kissing gate on the right.

    Although the fronds of bracken die back each year, the black underground roots are perennial and spread extensively, sending up fronds at intervals. The root system of one bracken plant can stretch up to a quarter of a mile across making bracken one of the largest plants in the world.

  49. Bear left onto the small path and follow it to a gate. Go through the gate and turn right. Follow the path over the top of the hill and keep right as you descend to reach a gate leading out to the car park.

    Two Bronze Age barrows stood on the summit of Sancreed Beacon although little now remains. One originally consisted of a burial chamber with a large capstone (now lying off to one side) balanced on a ring of boulders. Fragments of an urn containing ashes were found in 1925. There are remains of hut circles on the side of the hill which are also thought to date from the Bronze Age. The name of the hill is due to its later use as a fire beacon.

    More information about Sancreed Beacon from the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

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