St Ives to Zennor circular walk

St Ives to Zennor

A fairly long and demanding but rewarding circular walk along the coffin path and rugged coast between St Ives and Zennor. The walk is organised so that the coastal section is in the optimal direction for panoramic views across St Ives bay.

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The walk begins through the Upalong mining area of St Ives and then follows the coffin path to Zennor church. After passing through Zennor (where there are pub and café options), the route reaches the coast at Zennor Head. The walk then follows the coast path towards St Ives across the geological boundary from 400 million-year-old rocks to granite weathered over 275 million years into towering cliffs. As the route approaches St Ives, there are panoramic views across St Ives Bay to Godrevy lighthouse. The route then re-enters St Ives via Porthmeor Beach, the Island and two more beaches to reach the harbour before returning to the car park through the town.

Considerations

  • The coastal section includes some scrambles over boulders of varying sizes. Springs drain into a couple of sections of the coast path so the path and rocks are wet here.
  • The route includes stone stiles in a range of shapes and sizes. Some of these consist of stone footholds over walls.
  • Route includes paths close to unfenced cliff edges.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 102
  • Distance: 12.1 miles/19.4 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate-strenuous
  • Recommended footwear: Waterproof 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)

Highlights

  • Rugged coastline between Zennor and St Ives
  • Panoramic coastal views from Zennor Head
  • Marine wildlife including seals, seabirds including gannets and coastal birds including choughs
  • Heather flowers in July and August
  • Sandy beaches of Porthgwidden, Porthmeor and around Carrick Du
  • St Ives historic harbour and buildings
  • Tate Art Gallery and a myriad of small galleries

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Hain Line
  • The Lifeboat Inn
  • The Sloop Inn
  • The Tinner's Arms

Adjoining walks

Directions

  1. Make your way to the roundabout at the entrance to the car park and turn left. Follow the road, signposted All Traffic, until it ends at a double roundabout.

    During Victorian times, St Ives consisted of two quarters known as Upalong and Downalong, between which there was a fierce rivalry. Upalong, on the higher ground, was an area of farming and mining. Downalong, situated beside the harbour, was the realm of fishermen and sailors.

  2. Cross the main road at the roundabouts and follow Carnellis Road, opposite, signposted to the Garrack Hotel. Keep following the road to the junction with Alexandra Road, then keep right around the corner to reach a small lane on the left with a sign for The Garrack Hotel.

    The residents of St Ives were collectively known by the pejorative of "Hake" or "Hakeies" which is said to be based on the irreligious practice of fishing for hake on Sundays when most other fishermen stayed ashore to go to church.

  3. Turn left and follow the small lane. When you reach the entrance to the hotel car park, keep left past Treventon. Continue following the increasingly narrow lane, past the sign for Venton Vision Farm, until you reach a stone stile on the left just after "Bryanies" and before the lane bends sharply.

    The area to the right is known as Ayr and is on the site of an old mine - Wheal Ayr.

    In 2002, eight houses on Wheal Ayr terrace had to be demolished when they began to subside into a mineshaft. A year later, part of Porthmeor Hill also subsided into a horizontal tunnel connected to the workings.

  4. Cross the stile on the left and follow the path to a stile and gate into a field.

    The path across the fields is known as the Zennor Churchway or Coffin Path and runs all the way from St Ives to Pendeen across the flat "bench" cut into the granite by waves when sea levels were higher during the Pliocene era.

    The path was marked by a number of round-headed wayside crosses which date back to early mediaeval times, although not many survive intact. Some are now only evident as cross-bases - a roughly trimmed boulder containing a square hole to take the cross shaft.

  5. Climb the stile and descend into the field. Follow the right hedge to a small gate and stile.

    The hedges in fields such as this one provide a habitat for stoats which are most likely to be seen early in the morning before any dogs have been walked.

    Stoats and weasels are related to badgers and to otters, which they more closely resemble. The stoat is roughly twice the size of a weasel but can be distinguished without the need to measure it by its black-tipped tail. The weasel preys mostly on voles, but the stoat will take on prey much larger than itself including birds and even full-grown rabbits. During the winter, the coat of the stoat (and also some populations of weasel) changes colour from brown to white to camouflage it in the snow.

    The soft, silky winter fur of the stoat is known as ermine and garments made from this were a luxury associated with royalty and high status. Given that stoats mark their territory using pungent anal scent glands, it’s likely a fair amount of washing of the furs occurred before being draped over royalty.

  6. Cross the stile and follow the path to emerge into a field at a waymark.
  7. At the waymark, bear right to follow along the right hedge a short distance past a gateway to reach an opening in the corner of the field with a stile in the hedge to the right.

    The stones of sloes (and plums, cherries and peaches) contain the compound amygdalin which is metabolised into hydrogen cyanide. Therefore breaking the stones is best avoided when using them in cooking, gin etc.

    The name "blackthorn" is just a general reference to the dark colour of the bark, rather than anything specific to do with the thorns which are not any darker than the rest of the wood. It's primarily a comparison with hawthorn where the bark is lighter (in fact hawthorn is also known as "white thorn" despite not having white thorns). Just to confuse things further, the flowers of blackthorn are whiter than hawthorn!

  8. Go through the opening and follow the right hedge to reach a stile.
  9. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge a short distance to another stile. Cross this and follow the path between the bushes to reach a stile leading onto a track.
  10. Cross the stile and the track towards the left of the two gateways opposite. Squeeze through the small gate to the right of the farm gate and follow the right hedge to a gap in the hedge with wooden posts in the corner of the field.

    Hellesveor was originally the larger (veor being the Cornish word for "large") of two tenements that Helles was divided into during the Middle Ages, the other being Hellesvean (as you probably guessed, vean means "small"). The name Helles itself is likely to be from the Cornish words hen lys (sometimes written together as hellys) meaning "old court". The name Helston is from the same origin (with some subsequent Saxon re-branding).

  11. Go through the gap between the posts and climb the concrete steps into the next field. Cross the field to a gap in the hedge opposite.

    The Ramblers Association and National Farmers Union suggest some "dos and don'ts" for walkers which we've collated with some info from the local Countryside Access Team.

    Do

    • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves
    • Be prepared for farm animals to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
    • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
    • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
    • Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep.
    • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
    • If you and your dog feel threatened, work your way to the field boundary and quietly make your way to safety.
    • Report any dangerous incidents to the Cornwall Council Countryside Access Team - phone 0300 1234 202 for emergencies or for non-emergencies use the iWalk Cornwall app to report a footpath issue (via the menu next to the direction on the directions screen).

    Don't

    • If you are threatened by cattle, don't hang onto your dog: let it go to allow the dog to run to safety.
    • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way around the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible.
    • Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
  12. Go through the gap and follow the left hedge to reach a stile in the corner of the field, behind some wooden posts.

    All members of the carrot family have the potential to cause a blistering rash if touched. This caused by chemicals in the plant's sap which are made more reactive by sunlight. Cow parsnip seems to be worse for this than the other common ones such as cow parsley but nowhere near as bad as giant hogweed.

    Giant hogweed is regarded by some as the most dangerous plant in the UK (although hemlock is also a good contender). If you encounter giant hogweed, avoid touching it and children and dogs should be kept away from it as the sap contains a chemical which is extremely phototoxic. When activated by sunlight, this binds to the DNA in skin cells and kills them. Skin reaction starts as an itchy rash and can develop into third degree burns and scarring. It also makes the affected areas susceptible to severe sunburn for several years.

    The plant gets its name as it can grow more than 10 feet tall, topped with white umbrella-shaped flowers. Due to the similar style of flowers, is also known as giant cow parsley although the giant hogweed leaves are much more solid with a toothed edge, more similar to cow parsnip (normal hogweed). It is typically found near water or on waste ground.

    The plant was introduced to Britain by Victorian botanists in the 19th century as an ornamental plant and has escaped from gardens into the wild. It has been spreading across the UK (as one plant produces 50,000 seeds) but is still very rare in Cornwall. A project to eradicate it along the Tamar River system is helping to stop further spread into Cornwall.

    If you find giant hogweed in Cornwall (and are sure it's not normal hogweed), take a photo and report it to invasives@cormacltd.co.uk

    The word "stile" is based on an Old English word stigel for ladder. This in turn came from an old Germanic word stig meaning "to climb" and the word "stair" also came from this.

    Conversely, the word "style" (now used for fashion etc. but originally for literary style or a writing tool i.e. stylus) is from French origins (naturally!). This came from an Old French word stile, derived from the Latin stilus. It's thought the "i" might have been changed to a "y" for snob value to be more like the (unrelated) Greek word stylos (for pillar).

  13. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge to a gap in the hedge opposite.

    The patchwork of small fields may date from the Celtic period.

    In Celtic times, fields were small and surrounded by banks or stone walls. The fields were used both for growing crops such as oats, wheat or rye, and for keeping livestock. The field shape was round or square, rather than rectangular, so that the stones didn't have to be carried further than necessary. The small size was because they needed to be weeded by hand, in many ways similar to a modern-day allotment.

  14. Go through the gap and follow the left hedge all the way across the field to a stile in the corner.
  15. Cross the stile and another stile on the opposite side of the small field. Then cross the larger field towards the buildings to reach a stile.

    Despite how tough mature dock plants are, at the seedling stage docks are very poor competitors with other plants such as grass. On grazing land, farmers can use docks as a warning sign that there have been bare patches of earth. This could have been caused by livestock damage or uneven spreading of manure which has killed patches of grass by blocking sunlight.

    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".

  16. Cross the stile and head across the field towards the buildings to reach a stile in the hedge opposite.
  17. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to reach a track leading into a courtyard.

    The settlement of Trowan was first recorded in 1327 but is thought to be on the site of a much earlier farmstead, possibly even prehistoric. The name is Cornish, but there are different theories about the word following the "Tre". One is that is from oghan, meaning oxen. Another is that is from an extinct word that existed as waun in old Welsh, meaning meadow.

    It is thought that around 150 people would have lived in the hamlet during its heyday. By the end of the 20th Century, the village was abandoned and many of the buildings were used as barns. All but one of the buildings were sold together for £1 million and a restoration project began to rebuild each of the buildings in the village. In 2016, the final building, Morveren House was sold after being repossessed and was purchased and restored to complete the whole of the settlement in what overall was a 15 year project. The village well is still used for the water supply, minus the bucket.

  18. Continue ahead, following the waymarks to the circular stone wall around a well in the centre of the courtyard, then bear left to follow the small path between the buildings and reach a stile.

    A local archivist uncovered a tale of a miner from Trowan who awoke on a dark winter's morning to find "a frightful apparition - two staring, large, glassy eyes, an enormous mouth, with ghastly teeth, and a pair of hideous ears! He started back, crying that the Devil was upon them. But when a candle was brought, he found that the creature was a dead donkey which some waggish youths had brought under cover of darkness and propped up before the miner's door."

  19. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to the gate in the corner.

    According to folklore, you should not pick blackberries after Michaelmas Day (11th October) as this is when the devil claims them. The basis for this is thought to be the potentially toxic moulds which can develop on the blackberries in the cooler, wetter weather.

    As well as producing seeds both sexually and asexually, brambles can also clone themselves to create daughter plants either via underground stems (rhizomes) or by the over-ground stems rooting where they meet the ground.

  20. Cross the stile beside the gate and follow the right hedge to a gap in the hedge opposite, in front of the buildings.

    A survey of over 5 million clover leaves found that the frequency of four-leaf clovers is about one in 5,000 (twice as common as originally thought).

    The world record for collecting four leaf clovers in one hour was set at 166 (in 1998). One very determined collector managed to amass 170,000 four-leafed clovers in a lifetime.

  21. Cross the stile and turn left. Follow the path along the left hedge to the corner and continue following along the left hedge to the farmyard gate.

    The word "farm" has the same origins as (e.g. law) "firm". Both words are related to the mediaeval Latin word firma meaning "fixed payment". Its original use in English was to do with contracts and leasing (which is why "to farm out" means "to subcontract"). In fact the word "farm" had no association with food production until the 19th Century. In the 16th Century it began to be applied to leasing of land and the association with farmland developed from this.

  22. Go through the gate and follow the path along the wall to reach a stile.

    The settlement of Trevalgan was first recorded in 1320 as Trevaelgon and is thought to date from early mediaeval times. The place name is thought to be based on a personal name e.g. "Aelgon's farm".

  23. Cross the stile and follow the path between the electric fence and wall, past the gate and around the corner to the left. Where the fence departs from the wall, bear right to the stone stile next to the gate between the garage and small cottage.

    Electric fences are typically powered from a low voltage source such as a car battery which charges a capacitor to release a periodic pulse of high voltage electricity. This is often audible as a quiet "crack" which is a good indicator that a fence is powered. As with the high-voltage shock caused by static electricity, the current is not high enough to cause serious injury but touching an electric fence is nevertheless unpleasant. If you are answering the call of nature in the vicinity of an electric fence, be mindful of the conductivity of electrolyte solutions!

  24. Cross the stone stile and bear left to the wooden posts with a Zennor Public Footpath sign. Step between the posts then cross the field to a stone stile located between the two wooden posts in the far hedge.

    The small hill ahead is Trevalgan Hill. There's a small parking area beside it on the coast road from St Ives to Zennor with a short path leading to the top. If passing, it's worth a ten minute stop-off as the views from the top are excellent.

  25. Climb the stone stile and cross the field to the gap in the hedge opposite.

    Most rocks contain trace amounts of uranium but in granite, the amount is often a little higher (still only around 10 parts per million). As the granite cooled and cracked, warm water circulating though cracks in the granite dissolved some of the minerals causing these to be concentrated in veins - this applies to uranium as well as tin and copper.

  26. Go through the gap and follow along the hedge on the left to reach a stone stile in the corner of the field.

    Uranium is unstable (aka "radioactive"). Occasionally one of the uranium atoms will fall apart and a particle (which we call radiation) gets flung out from its atomic nucleus. Having lost a bit of its atomic nucleus, what's left behind is often a different chemical element. This element is often also unstable and so has a tendency to fall apart in a similar way. The process repeats until a stable (non-radioactive) element is eventually reached. Uranium's decay chain includes radium (which was sought-after) and this subsequently decays into radon. The non-radioactive element at the end of the chain is lead.

  27. Cross the stile, shortly followed by another smaller one then follow the grassy path to reach a small lane.

    Many houses in the granite areas in Cornwall have radon detectors.

    Like all the elements before it in uranium's decay chain, radon is radioactive too. However unlike the previous elements (which are solids), radon is a gas so it can move about and collect in low-lying areas (as it's a heavy gas). The fact it can be breathed-in is what makes radon more dangerous than the rocks that produce it. Most particles of radiation don't travel very far until they get stopped by crashing into something (like an air molecule) but if they get inside the body they can crash into DNA instead and mangle it.

  28. Turn right onto the lane and follow it until you reach a stone stile on the left roughly 50 metres before the lane passes some tall trees.

    Tarmac's name has Scottish origins. In around 1820, engineer John McAdam pioneered a road building technique using stone chippings. Roads made from such chippings were then known as "macadam" surfaces (rather than McAdam) which is the origin of the "mac".

  29. Cross the stile and follow the path to where it meets another path from a gate on the right. Continue ahead to pass the building on your right and reach a stone stile.

    Bramble seeds are spread very widely by being attached to a tasty blackberry. Mammals, birds, insects and even some fish will eat blackberries. Bramble seeds can survive up to 100 years in the soil, which helps them to colonise recently-cleared land.

  30. Cross the stile and bear right very slightly across the field to a stone stile in the hedge opposite, roughly a third of the way along from the right-hand corner.

    A beef cow produces around 30kg of dung per day. As dairy cows need to eat more to produce milk, they also produce roughly double the amount of dung which adds up to around 20 tonnes per year.

    Cow dung is high in nitrogen compounds which makes it a useful fertiliser but depending how this is spread on the fields (e.g. sprayed as a liquid), harmful ammonia can be released into the air and run into watercourses. Large tanks of slurry can also decay anaerobically releasing methane so storage mechanisms are being re-examined in light of climate change.

  31. Cross the stile and follow the path across the field to a stone stile in front of some cottages.

    A wayside cross in Zennor churchyard was originally located somewhere beside the footpath at Trevega. What's thought to be another cross base has been used to build one of the field walls.

  32. Cross the stile and follow the path over another stone stile and a few paces along a gravel driveway to reach a lane.
  33. Turn left onto the lane and then bear right onto the concrete track to Trewessa Farm to reach a Public Footpath sign. Turn right to follow the grassy path between the stone walls to a stone stile.

    There are mentions of records of the settlement of Trevega from 1507 as Trevysa and from 1428 as Trevyssa. The name is from the Cornish for "lowest farm" and is thought to date from early mediaeval times. It's still known by some locals as Trevesa but has been recorded as Trevega on OS maps since the 1880s despite the farm being named Trewessa.

  34. Cross the stile and bear left to the short section of stone wall at the bottom of the field. As you approach, head for the gap between two boulders with a blue rope across.

    If you are crossing a field in which there are horses:

    • Do not approach horses if they have foals, make loud noises nor walk between a foal and its mother as you may provoke the mother to defend her young. Generally the best plan is to walk along the hedges.
    • Horses will often approach you as they are used to human contact. If horses approach you, do not run away as this will encourage them to chase you. If you are uncomfortable with their proximity, calmly walk away.
    • Do not feed the horses with sweets or otherwise. Some food which is harmless to humans can be deadly to horses.
    • If you have a dog, keep it under close control in a visible but safe place, and as still and quiet as possible.
  35. Go through the gap and follow the path over a stream to a stone stile. Cross this into a small field and follow the winding path to a stone stile in the far hedge.

    The stream collects water from the marshes between Rosewall and Trendrine hills and meets the sea at (the appropriately-named) River Cove. It was used to power a corn mill near Treveal (Trevail Mill).

  36. Cross the stile and walk parallel to the left hedge to another stone stile.

    In marshes, micro-organisms thrive in the wet mud and use up the supply of oxygen. To survive being partially buried in mud with low oxygen levels, many marsh plants have therefore evolved snorkels: air channels in the stem which allow oxygen to reach the base of the plant. This is why the leaves of reeds feel spongy.

  37. Cross the stile and bear right slightly to cross the middle of the field towards the gate in the hedge opposite with a granite gate post. Bear right just before this to a path through the gorse to a stone stile.

    The hill on left with rock outcrops is Trendrine Hill.

    There are remains of Bronze Age burial sites on the top of Trendrine Hill, built against the natural rock outcrop. Prehistoric stone boundaries linking the rock outcrops are also thought to be either Bronze Age or Iron Age. On the moors, not far from these, are the remains of foundations from farm complexes which originally included circular huts, courtyards and possibly cow sheds.

  38. Cross the stile and follow the path alongside the fence to a low stone stile

    Bracken is both poisonous and carcinogenic to many grazing animals which will avoid it if at all possible. Eating bracken is not recommended as it is thought that the carcinogenic properties may also apply to humans based on the circumstantial evidence that Japan, where young bracken fronds are a delicacy, has the highest levels of stomach cancer in the world.

  39. Cross the stile and bear left across the field to the corner of the field in front of the buildings to reach a stone stile.

    The ruins of a building near the coast is the remains of an engine house.

    At least seven old tin mines including the 18th Century Wheal Fat and Wheal Brea and the older Wheal Parkis were combined into the Brea Consols in Victorian times and worked intermittently until the early 20th Century. The lodes were rich in high-quality tin but very small, typically only three inches in width, which eventually made mining uneconomical. The ruins of some of the engine houses can still be seen on Trevega Cliff and a little further inland.

  40. Cross the stone stile and bear left slightly until you are past the building on the left then bear right to a coffin stile next to a wooden gate.

    Although not immediately obvious from the appearance, the building on the right was converted from a (Weslyan) Methodist Chapel built during the 19th Century.

    By the time John Wesley died, the majority of Methodists were not attending Anglican church regularly, and following his death a Methodist church was formed, separate from the Anglican church. In the first half of the 19th Century, the Methodist movement fragmented into several different factions, often each with its own chapel in the same town. The Bible Christian movement was one of these, founded in North Cornwall in 1815 by William O'Bryan from Luxulyan. His followers are also known as the Bryonites, although after falling out with most of his ministers, O'Bryan emigrated to America. In 1907, the Bible Christian movement amalgamated with other Methodist groups to form the United Methodist Church.

  41. Cross the stile and follow the left hedge of the field to a waymarked stone stile.

    The farm buildings on the left include a Victorian complex consisting of a range of buildings surrounding a rectangular yard. A platform outside this was the foundation for a horse engine which powered machinery in the barns - most likely a threshing machine.

    Horse engines were the forefathers of the modern-day farm tractor. The horsepower itself either involved a treadmill or a capstan turned by a horse, both of which provided a rotating axle that could be used to drive gears. As with modern-day tractors, a modular approach was often used with the horse-driven power unit being coupled to different pieces of farm machinery to perform different tasks such as threshing or pumping.

  42. Cross the stile and continue along the wall on the left to reach a low stone stile.

    Field mushrooms are very closely related to the familiar supermarket button mushrooms and are the most commonly-eaten wild mushroom in Britain. They usually appear in grazed fields between July and November but can be out as early as May. As there are a few species of white mushroom that all look quite similar, care needs to be taken to avoid eating poisonous species.

    In particular, the common but poisonous "yellow stainer" looks very similar to a field mushroom, but if the flesh is cut or bruised, a yellow liquid starts to seep out. This normally takes a few minutes to be apparent so it might not be until you get them home that you notice yellow patches where the caps have rubbed against something. A small minority of people have been reported as suffering no obvious ill effects from (presumably accidentally) eating yellow stainers but for the vast majority of people they cause stomach upsets which can be severe including cramps, voting and diarrhoea.

    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.

  43. Cross the stone stile and then turn left onto the lane and follow it uphill to a fork with a sign for Treveal.
  44. Keep right at the fork and turn right onto the track. Follow this past a cottage and continue to the farm to reach a waymark on the right.

    Wicca farm dates back 3,500 years to the Bronze Age, although the name "Wicca" stands out as not being an obvious Cornish name. It is unlikely to be from the Saxon word hwicce (meaning settlement) since the area was almost exclusively Celtic-speaking, so the chances are that this was a reference to witchcraft which was documented as existing in many of the neighbouring villages. Witches were said to congregate on the Burn Downs (the hill above Zennor) for their midsummer gathering and a rock known as Witches Rock once stood there until it was broken up and carted off in the 19th century. A local legend is that any woman who touched the Giant's Stone (a rock in a now overgrown area at the end of the short track leading from Zennor Church) nine times at night would turn into a witch.

  45. Go straight ahead towards the farmhouse then pass through the gap marked with a blue and yellow arrow. Cross two stiles in short succession then follow the right hedge of the larger field to reach a stile in the far hedge.

    Scientists have found that adding a cupful of red seaweed per day to a cow's diet reduces the amount of methane that the cow burps out by about 80%. Due to the relatively short lifespan of methane in the atmosphere and the strong greenhouse effect from methane, this has the potential to make a quite quick but significant reduction to the rate of global warming, whilst the more tricky accumulative problem of carbon dioxide is being worked on.

  46. Cross the stile and head to the stile ahead marked with white posts. Cross the stile between the posts and head across the field to a waymarked opening to the right of the field gate.

    Most of the stiles between the fields around Zennor resemble granite cattle grids and date from the 18th and 19th Centuries: granite was in ample supply here whereas building wood was not, due to the feeble stunted trees on the moors here. Some of the stiles have impressively deep holes between the cross pieces so tread carefully. Some have cross pieces that are elevated to deter more adventurous livestock.

  47. Go through the gap and head across the middle of the field towards the buildings until you can see a waymarked path into the bushes, then head for this.

    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.

  48. Cross the stile and follow the path through the bushes and over another stile until you reach a final stile leading into a field, beside an old building.

    The ruined building was a Bible Christian chapel, one of a number built along the line of the path stretching from St Ives to Pendeen. The founder of the Methodist movement - John Wesley - preached at some of these.

  49. Cross the stile and continue across the field to the waymarked opening opposite. Follow the path through the bushes until you reach a crossing of paths in a clearing.

    The succulent leaves of navelwort can be eaten and used in a salad. Older leaves become more bitter so the younger leaves are recommended. The crunchy stems can be added at the last minute to a stir-fry as an alternative to beansprouts. Care should be taken not to pull roots out of wall when breaking off leaves.

  50. Take the path ahead, leading through the bushes, to emerge onto a lane by a farm.

    Lichens are a partnership of two different organisms: a fungus providing the "accommodation" and an alga or cyanobacterium providing the "food" through photosynthesis. The fungal partner provides a cosy, sheltered environment for the alga and tends it with mineral nutrients. However, the alga partner is more than simply an imprisoned food-slave: it is such a closely-evolved alliance that the fungus is dependant on the alga for its structure. If the fungal partner is isolated and grown on an agar plate, it forms a shapeless, infertile blob.

  51. Cross the stile on the opposite side of the lane and follow the right hedge of the field past the buildings, over a stile and past the gateway to reach a stile in the corner of the far hedge.

    The settlement of Tregerthen was first recorded in 1361 as Tregeuran and later in 1519 as Tregyrthyn. It may possibly be based on the Cornish word for rowan trees. The current buildings date from Victorian times but several fragments of mediaeval stonework have been found dotted around the settlement.

  52. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to a stile to the right of the gateway.
  53. Cross the stile and cross the field to another stile to the right of the gateway.

    Many of the West Cornwall stiles are effectively cattle grids composed of pale granite bars against the dark ground.

    Whilst it's fairly obvious why cows are reluctant to cross a cattle grid, you might be surprised to learn that cows will also not cross a "virtual" cattle grid composed of dark and light lines painted on a completely solid surface. This even works with wild cattle who have never encountered a "real" cattle grid before and so is unlikely to be learned behaviour. It is thought that the reason is due to the limitations of cows' vision, specifically their limited depth perception means that they cannot discriminate between bars over a pit and a series of light and dark lines.

  54. Cross the double stile and head straight across the field to a stile opposite.

    The mermaid of Zennor is a Cornish folk tale, recorded in the 1870s. The story is of a beautiful and richly-dressed woman who occasionally attended services at St. Senara's Church and enchanted parishioners with her beauty and her voice, though they were intrigued that she never seemed to age over the many years she was seen. The mysterious woman became interested in a young man named Mathey Trewella - the best singer in the parish, and one day he followed her home and the two disappeared. Neither was seen again until a boat was anchored near Pendour Cove and a mermaid appeared, asking the crew to lift the anchor as its fluke was resting on her door and she could not reach her children. The crew recognised the mermaid as the mysterious woman who had sung at the church.

    The story is thought to have been inspired by the carved bench end in the church, rather than the other way around (some versions of the legend say that the church carving was created to celebrate the mermaid).

    More about the Mermaid chair.

  55. Cross the stile and then cross the field towards a gate opposite to reach an opening between granite boulders just before the gate.

    Stories of mythical half-woman half-fish creatures date back over 3000 years to Ancient Assyria and Greece and have been part of English culture for over 1000 years. The word "mermaid" comes from the old English word mere, meaning sea. Before the mid-19th Century, dugongs and manatees were routinely referred to as mermaids by mariners although in Cornwall, the most likely creature to be attributed to being a mermaid is a seal. The U.S. National Ocean Service felt it necessary to state in 2012 that no evidence of mermaids has ever been found.

  56. Go through the opening between the granite boulders then don't go through the gate but bear right slightly to pass the gate on your left, then follow the waymarked path along the wall on the left to reach a stile onto a lane.

    Not to be confused with the Mermaid of Zennor, the Moomaid of Zennor Ice Cream is made at the farm on your right.

    Ice Cream is made at Tremedda Farm using milk from their dairy herd (whom they term the "Moomaids of Zennor") combined with Rodda's clotted cream, which itself is made from local milk including that from Tremedda. The Tremedda cows have names that range from the traditional (Daisy and Primrose) to the less traditional ("Sid Vicious").

  57. Cross the lane and the stile directly opposite. Follow the right hedge of the field to a stile in the right-hand corner.

    The big hill on the left is Zennor Hill. At the top is a rock known as Logan Stone.

    A number of large rocking stones exist around Cornwall and are invariably given the name Logan Rock or Logan Stone. These are formed by weathering, where a horizontal crack is eroded away leaving a rounded boulder balanced on a block of granite. The word "logan" (pronounced "logg-un") is thought to be derived from the Cornish dialect word "log", meaning "to rock like a drunken man".

  58. Cross the stile then follow the right hedge to reach another stile in the far hedge.

    Female starlings seem to prefer mates with more complex songs - the thinking is that this correlates with greater longevity and experience. Consequently male starlings spice up their songs with imitations of about 20 other bird species, other natural sounds such as a frog "ribbit" and even man-made sounds such as a car horn or squealing toddler having a tantrum.

  59. Cross the stile and follow the narrow path along the edge of the field to reach another stile.

    Common gorse flowers have a coconut-like scent but rather than fresh coconut, it is reminiscent of desiccated coconut or the popular brand of surf wax, Mr Zoggs. However, not everyone experiences the smell in the same way: for some people it's very strong and for others it quite weak. One complicating factor is that Western Gorse flowers don't have any scent, so you need to be sniffing a tall gorse plant to test yourself.

    Flower scents are volatile organic compounds which drift though the air and has evolved as an advertisement to pollinating insects that nectar is available. Squeezing the flowers releases these compounds onto the surface where they can evaporate and therefore intensifies the smell. Similarly the warming effect of sunlight helps the compounds to evaporate faster and so the smell is more intense on sunny days.

    Before the Industrial Revolution, gorse was valued as a fuel for bread ovens and kilns as it burns rapidly, very hot and with little ash. It was in such demand that there were quite strict rules about how much gorse could be cut on common land.

    In more recent times, due to reliance on fossil fuels, this is now out of balance and gorse has increased in rural areas which have been abandoned agriculturally.

  60. Cross the stile and bear left slightly across the field towards the right-hand peak of the tor in the distance to reach a waymarked stone stile.

    The rocky hill ahead is Carn Galver.

    The name Carn Galver (sometimes written Carn Galva) is from the Cornish words karn (rock pile or tor) and gwelva (view-point), referring to the rocky crags at the top of the moor that overlook the coast.

  61. Cross the waymarked stile and follow the right hedge to another stone stile. Cross this and walk across the field to the stile on the right of the gate.

    Every part of the dandelion plant is edible and is high in Vitamin A and higher still in Vitamin K. The leaves can be eaten in salads, though their bitterness is not to everyone's taste. However, the bitterness can be reduced by blanching: drop the leaves into boiling salted water and remove after a minute and quench in ice-cold water to prevent the leaves from cooking.

    There are folk tales of a giant called Holiburn who was said to live amongst the rocks of Carn Galva. He was depicted as a very amiable and somewhat sociable gentleman and even married a farmers daughter resulting in somewhat tall offspring. He was also said to have had a human friend from Choone who used to visit to play quoits but the giant one day patted his friend farewell slightly too firmly and accidentally killed him.

  62. Cross the stile and cross the field, in the direction waymarked, to the right of the protruding hedge. Follow along the hedge, keeping it on your left, to reach a stile between the two gates in the far hedge.

    Across Cornwall there is a rich vocabulary for terms of endearment. my 'ansome (usually directed at men by women) and my luvver are the most well-known. my beauty is also fairly well-known. my robin is used in West Cornwall, possibly more by the older generation, as is my burd (sometimes written my bird, but reported to be from the same origin as "buddy") or my pard. my cock or my cocker are also in use. You can encounter my luvvly in West Cornwall, possibly more amongst the younger generation, although there is some fairly heated debate over whether this is regarded as "proper" dialect. There are reports that my 'ansome is in also use Newfoundland.

  63. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge to another stile, to the right of the gate. Cross this and continue along the right hedge to a final stile beside a building.

    The name Zennor comes from St Senara, to whom the church is dedicated. There were no roads to Zennor until the 1800s so goods were brought here on sledges pulled by animals.

  64. Cross the stile and head down the track marked "Coast Path". Follow this until it ends, with a small path leading ahead.

    The church building dates from Norman times, though the churchyard itself may date back further. The west tower is thought to be from the 13th century and the north aisle was added in a 15th Century rebuild. Only two of the 15th Century carved bench ends remain and these have been used to make the "mermaid chair", one end of which depicts the Mermaid of Zennor. It is thought that the octagonal font is mediaeval, and may date from the 13th century.

  65. Follow the path ahead to a stone stile.

    The twin promontories of Zennor Head are along the coast path to your right and the long, thin headland behind the headland on the left is Gurnard's Head, due to its profile being similar to that of the fish.

  66. Cross the stile to reach a sign for Zennor Head where the path meets the coast path. Keep right to join the coast path and follow it around the headland and behind Porthzennor Cove until it eventually ends via a few steps at a T-junction with another path at a granite waymark.

    As you follow the path from Porthzennor Cove to the junction, notice how the stones on the path change from hard fine-grained rocks to coarse-grained granite and the path starts to get gritty from weathered granite. The huge blob of granite that makes up most of West Penwith starts here, but didn't quite make it as far as Zennor Head. However, the heat from the molten magma, that eventually cooled to form the granite, altered the surrounding rocks.

  67. When you reach the junction, turn left and follow the coast path around the bay to the headland and to the back of the next bay until you reach a stile, located between two waymarks.

    In this area, magma was forced under high pressure between the surrounding rocks which created granite sheets, visible as light-coloured bands in the darker rocks. You can see these in the rocks on the point that you cross over before you reach Wicca Pool, where the main mass of granite meets the sea. At low tide, rows of granite blocks can be seen in the channels between the grey rocks which would have originally been a single tendril of granite that later cracked.

  68. Cross the stile and stream and follow the path until you eventually reach a stone stile.

    The dandelion-like flowers along the coast are most likely to be catsear, also known as false dandelion. Catsear is very salt tolerant, not only growing along the coast but actually in sand dunes. The easiest way to recognise it is by the hairy leaves, hence the name. If you can cope with the texture, the leaves are edible and are much less bitter than dandelion leaves.

    Another way to tell them apart is when they are flowering. Although dandelion flowers over quite a long period, the most profuse flowering is in April and May whereas catsear's intense flowering period is in late June and through July. Catsear has neater flowers than dandelion with squarer edges to the petals (but still toothed). The stems supporting the flowers are also solid, in contrast with the hollow stem of the dandelion.

    Along the coast, from June onwards but particularly in the late summer and autumn, parasol mushrooms are common. They are one of the easier mushrooms to recognise due to their huge size (and umbrella shape when fully open). The brown flecks on their otherwise white flesh are caused by the rapidly expanding young mushroom bursting through a brown outer coating as it grows (a bit like sugar puffs breakfast cereal!).

    Parasol mushrooms have firm white flesh and delicate flavour which is not strongly "mushroomy". This makes them an excellent carrier for other flavours within a sauce, adding texture and body to a dish.

    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.

  69. Cross the stile and follow the coast path until you reach another stone stile.

    Heather plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungi which grows inside and between some of the plant root cells. Up to 80% of the root structure can be made up of fungi. The fungi are able to extract nutrients from poor, acidic soils that plants struggle with. In return, the plant is able to generate other nutrients (e.g. sugars by photosynthesis) that are useful to the fungi. A similar partnership between plants and fungi occurs in lichens.

    In July 1916 a huge area of fog caused problems for shipping all along the North Cornish coast. The Neto - a 3000 ton steamship on its way to Cherbourg carrying hay and fodder for the British cavalry horses - ran aground on Gurnard's Head and was wrecked. As salvage work began, another large cargo ship - the Enrico Parodi - laden with coal, appeared from the fog and ran aground just 300 metres away on the Carracks Reef. The salvage crews immediately switched their attention to saving the Enrico Parodi as only the bow was grounded and there seemed a good chance of floating her off at high tide. However as they attempted to tow her off using a salvage ship, a minor leak in the bow split open and the ship began to sink rapidly. The ship was quickly abandoned and sank in the deep water off The Carracks.

  70. Cross the stile and follow the coast path until you reach a pedestrian gate.

    The rocky islands off the point are known as The Carracks.

    The Carracks are named after the Cornish word for "rock". The largest island in the group is sometimes known as "Seal Island" due to the grey seals that live there, and boat trips from St Ives can be seen visiting the island to see the seals. The group of smaller islands closer to St Ives are now known as The Little Carracks, but in the early 20th Century they were still known as Carrack-an-Heythen which is from the Cornish meaning "rock of the birds".

    The rocks on the point surround a rocky lagoon that is isolated from the sea at low tide. The kelp beds surrounding the rocks provide shelter for small pollack which can be seen quite easily from the rocks when the sea is calm.

    The Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust gather information about the numbers of seals in each location to study migration behaviour. Each seal has a unique pattern of spots which is like a fingerprint, allowing individuals to be identified so photos are also very useful.

    If you see one or more seals, take a photo if possible but never approach the seals to take a photo - use a zoom from a clifftop. Send the location, date, number of seals and photos if you have them to sightings@cornwallsealgroup.co.uk.

  71. Go through the gate and follow the path until you reach a granite waymark with three yellow arrows.

    Gannets are the largest sea birds in the North Atlantic with a wingspan of up to 2 metres and are easily recognisable by their long white wings with black tips. Gannets can dive from up to 30 metres, achieving speeds of up to 100kph as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most seabirds. To achieve this they have air sacs in their face and chest, which act as cushioning when they hit the water. Also they have no external nostrils, instead they are situated inside the mouth.

  72. Keep left to continue on the coast path and reach another junction of paths.
  73. Turn left and follow the path downhill through a gate and down some steps to a footbridge. Cross the footbridge and walk a few paces to reach another junction of paths. Keep right and follow the path uphill to reach a trig point.

    The name "chough" is from the bird's call although this is not that accurate as "chough" is more like the sound a jackdaw makes (a very short "chu"). Locally, choughs were known as "chaws" which is a better representation of their (much longer) sound.

    The old Cornish name for the bird is Palores, meaning digger, which is thought to be a description of it rooting for invertebrates.

    The scientific name (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) means "fire crow" which is likely to be an allusion to its red bill and legs. This possibly also relates to the birds' mischievous reputation during the Tudor and Elizabethan periods for stealing lighted candles or embers and dropping these onto roofs, which were generally thatched in Cornwall at this time.

  74. Continue on the coast path to reach a junction of paths with a waymark post on the right.

    The process of placing trig points on top of prominent hills and mountains began in 1935 to assist in the retriangulation of Great Britain - a project to improve the accuracy of maps which took three decades.

    A plate (known as a "flush bracket" and marked with an ID code) on the side of each trig point marked a known measured height above sea level. The brass plate on the top with three arms and central depression (known as a "spider") was used to mount a theodolite which was used to measure the angles between neighbouring trig points very accurately. These angles allowed the construction of a system of triangles which covered the entire country and provided a measurement system accurate to around 20 metres.

  75. Bear left and follow the path along the coast to reach a metal kissing gate.

    Known as the "Merry Harvesters", the stone circle beside the Coast Path is reported as being fairly recently constructed to resemble one of the ancient stone circles, although many of the ancient circles were themselves reconstructed in Victorian times: The Merry Maidens near Lamorna Cove even gained an extra Maiden during its Victorian reconstruction.

  76. Go through the gate and turn right to follow the well-worn path. Stay on the main path (ignoring paths leading onto the headland on the left) to reach a wooden gate across the path.

    The northwest-facing coastline of Penwith was particularly treacherous for shipping. The high cliffs along the coast prevented ships from being able to see the lighthouses at Trevose Head or the Longships. From Cape Cornwall, the wall of granite runs towards the rocks of the Wra, or Three Stone Oar, off Pendeen, some of which are just below the surface. The cliffs continue all the way to St Ives, and part-way along is the protruding Gurnard's Head which was another major hazard for shipping.

  77. Go through the gate and follow the path along the coast until you pass beside a towering rock outcrop, cross a wall and shortly after reach a fork in the path.

    If you encounter what looks like a small snake on the coast path with a golden-coloured stripe along the length of its back, it's a slow worm.

    During the summer months, slow worms can sometimes be seen basking in the sunshine, particularly on pieces of stone which act as a sunbed. Being reptiles, they don't generate their own body heat so they need to get it from an external source. Despite their resemblance to snakes, slow worms are lizards that have evolved to lose their legs. They are a good example of convergent evolution, where quite unrelated groups of animals have evolved to fill a similar niche. Slow worms are surprisingly long lived, and may exceed 30 years of age in the wild and over 50 years in captivity.

    Sea foam (also known as "spume") is formed due to organic compounds known as surfactants present in seawater. Under turbulent conditions, the surfactants form persistent bubbles which float to the surface, stick to each other through surface tension and are driven onshore by the wind. The surfactant compounds themselves arise from processes such as the offshore breakdown of algal blooms.

    On beaches, sea foam can conceal deep pools and gullies with an apparently flat, uniform surface. Tread carefully, especially on beaches you don't know well, to avoid walking off the edge of a precipice or vanishing into icy cold water.

  78. Bear left down the outer path and follow this around the headland until you reach a fork in the path where a tiny stream crosses the path.

    The foundations of an engine house are all that remains of the mine buildings which were once on Hor Point. The mine worked a copper lode which is exposed on both sides of the headland.

  79. At the fork, bear left towards the rock outcrop and follow the path until you reach a grassy area just after the rocky causeway ends.

    At Hor Point, a radar station was built during the Second World War to monitor shipping and low-flying aircraft. The stations required the antennae to be swung back and forth to detect reflected signals. These were originally powered by members of the Women's Auxiliary Airforce mounted on wheel-less bicycles which chains attached to a gear system, but were later replaced by electric motors. After the war, in 1945, the radar station was disposed of using explosives, reducing it to rubble which rolled down the hill. Chunks of the debris are still on the coast path and in the undergrowth above it.

  80. In the grassy area, bear left to follow the main path over one low wall and continue to reach a second low wall.

    St Ives has a reputation amongst artists for its light. As well as the more obvious reflections from the sea, the north-facing aspect also has a bearing on this.

    To see a rainbow it must be sunny behind you and raining in front of you. As sunlight passes through raindrops, some is reflected back to you. Since in Cornwall the equator is to the south then the place to see rainbows over the sea is on the north coast (especially in the mornings).

  81. Keep right after the wall to pass the rock outcrop. Once you cross the brow of the hill, bear left towards the rock platform and then make for the red lifesaving buoy beside the sea. Follow the path along the edge of the coast towards St Ives from the buoy to reach a waymarked kissing gate.

    The beach ahead is Porthmeor, which has a typically functional Cornish place name, meaning "big cove".

  82. Go through the gate and follow the path until you reach a fork in the path beside the Porthmeor Bowling Club.

    In January 1938, the SS Alba was on its way from Italy to Wales and sheltering from a gale but mistook the lights of Porthmeor for those of St Ives and ran aground. The St Ives lifeboat was launched and rescued 23 crew from the ship but then capsized and was washed onto the rocks. The lifeboat crew were all rescued but five of the Alba crew drowned. The boilers from the Alba can be seen on Porthmeor beach at low tide. Bomb disposal experts were acquainted with them in 2012 after they were mistaken for an unexploded sea mine by holidaymakers unfamiliar with Cornwall's metallic shoreline fixtures.

  83. Keep left at the Bowling Club to follow the small path ahead. Continue until this emerges onto the pavement of the road.

    The Holy Well of St Ia (Venton Ia in Cornish) is a spring located opposite Porthmeor Beach, below the churchyard. The spring has been incorporated into the stone walls that surround the cemetery and now consists of two recesses each containing a trough of water. The resulting frenzy of stonework has been described as not one of the prettiest holy wells in Cornwall, despite the effort that must have gone into it. A plaque states "The holy well of St Ia, until 1843, the main water supply to Downalong" (the name for this area of the town).

  84. Join the lane and follow it downhill, past The Tate, to reach a junction with a cobbled street.

    During Victorian times, open air painting became popular and the scenery and mild climate of St Ives generated a reputation as the ideal place for marine painting (of the decorative rather than boat-keeping kind). Once the railway was completed in 1877, St Ives became more accessible. Around this time, the pilchard industry was in decline which resulted in many unoccupied net lofts, cellars and workshops. These became converted into artists studios, with the first recorded in 1885 which had been converted from a sail loft. In 1920, Bernard Leach arrived and went on to make St Ives internationally famous through his pottery. St Ives has continued to attract artists and is now considered to be one of the most important art centres in Britain. In 1993, the St Ives branch of the Tate Gallery opened (named after the sugar magnate Henry Tate of Tate and Lyle). Since 1978, there has been a St Ives September Festival which runs for 15 days during which many artists open their studios to the public.

  85. Keep left at the junction in the direction signposted for St Ives Museum and then stay on the lane. Follow it around a bend to the right and along a short cobbled section to reach Quay Street near the pier.

    Smeaton's Pier was constructed towards the end of the 18th Century and was originally about half the current length, ending with the lighthouse. In the 1860s this was extended by adding a wooden pier (which was even longer than the current one) but this had collapsed within 20 years. The remains of the wooden supports can still be seen at the lowest point of the tide. Finally the stone pier was extended at the end of the 19th Century and the three arches were added so that sand could flush out from the harbour to prevent it silting up.

  86. Turn right onto Quay Road and follow this along the harbour to reach the Lifeboat Station.

    The Sloop Inn, which lies on the wharf, is dated to "circa 1312", which makes it one of the oldest inns in Cornwall. The building is likely to have been rebuilt a number of times over the centuries and the current structure is thought to date from the 17th-18th century. It is described by Lonely Planet as "a classic old fishermen's boozer, complete with low ceilings, tankards behind the bar and a comprehensive selection of Cornish ales."

  87. Continue ahead from the Lifeboat station on the path along the sea front to reach a lane beside Porthminster Gallery.

    St Ives has had a lifeboat since 1840, though the original was a rowing boat launched from the harbour. In 1867, the RNLI relocated it to Porthgwidden beach and built a boathouse for it. This was not well thought out as launching through the surf proved near impossible and so it was quickly replaced by a building in Fore Street. In 1911, a new boathouse was built on the quay which was better suited to launching the lifeboat which had become motorised by this point. This was finally replaced with the station you see today which was built in 1993 to accommodate a larger modern boat.

  88. Turn right onto the lane and follow this to a crossroads. Cross the road opposite signposted to Visitor Information (Guildhall). Follow the lane past the Guildhall to a junction.
  89. Bear left across the road at the junction to the small lane to the left of the building opposite with lanes either side. Follow this until you reach a concrete ramp on the left, leading to the police station.
  90. Bear left up the path alongside the ramp and climb the flights of steps to emerge on a residential road.
  91. When you reach the top of the steps, turn right onto the road and follow it until you reach a car park on the left with a path signposted to Trenwith car park.

    The extra distance covered by going up and down does indeed add to the distance shown on a map. However, despite your legs telling you otherwise, this is actually not that huge. On an exceptionally arduous walk solely on the coast with lots of deep valleys, the distance travelled "up and down" is likely to be at most about 10% compared to the distance on the flat. For a more normal coastal circular walk the extra "up and down" is typically not much more than 5% of the distance on a flat map.

  92. Bear left up the path to the Trenwith car park and follow it until you reach a signpost for Leach Pottery.
  93. Turn left up the small path beside the signpost to reach the pedestrian crossing to the car park.

    The large car park in St Ives was once the site of Wheal Trenwith which was mainly a copper mine, although a small amount of tin ore was also extracted. Amongst the copper ore was a black crusty ore that miners thought was copper oxide, but smelting it proved unsuccessful so it was discarded on the waste tips. It was identified as pitchblende (a Uranium ore, containing other radioactive decay products of Uranium-238) but it was seen of no value. An account from 1843 states:

    Pitch-blende occurs in great abundance among the copper ores of Wheal Trenwith, and was long carefully collected, and thought to be black copper ore. The low prices obtained for the ores with which it was mixed, and the inferiority of the metal they yielded, equally disappointed the miner and the copper-smelter; until a specimen of the copper was examined by Mr. Michell of Calenick, and found mixed with uranium in a metallic state. The ores were then inspected, and pitch-blende being discovered among them, its nature and prejudice to the copper ores were explained to the workmen, by whom it has been, of course, since rejected. Was there ever an instance in which an acquaintance with Mineralogy and Chemistry would have been more useful ?

    By 1907, the economic value of radium was well understood and waste tips were being worked for this valuable ore; small pockets were also extracted from the shallower areas of the mine. Between 1911-1917 there were 694 tonnes of uranium ore recovered, mainly from the waste tips. There are reports that pieces of the pitchblende ore can still be found around the edges of the car park today. It is radioactive so handling pieces of the black rock is not advised.

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