Circular walk to Tintagel Castle from Trebarwith Strand

Trebarwith Strand to Tintagel Castle

A walk on the tracks trodden by the donkeys laden with slate from the coastal quarries of Trebarwith to Tintagel Haven where the slate was loaded onto ships and Tintagel Castle's island, inhabited during the mediaeval period, the Celtic times of King Arthur, and before this by the Romans.

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The walk passes the rugged coast of Port Isaac Bay from Trebarwith Strand to St Materiana's church on Glebe Cliff and then to Tintagel Castle. The route turns into Tintagel from Barras Nose, passing the impressive Victorian Castle Hotel, the mediaeval Old Post Office and King Arthur's Great Halls before returning via Treknow - one of the oldest slate quarrying villages in North Cornwall.


  • Route includes paths close to unfenced cliff edges.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 111
  • Distance: 5.4 miles/8.6 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots/shoes or trainers in dry weather

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 111 OS Explorer 111 (laminated version)

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


  • Panoramic coastal views from Penhallic Point
  • Wildflowers along the coast in spring and summer
  • Ancient church of St Materiana
  • Tintagel Castle and Arthurian legend
  • Tintagel Haven and Merlin's Cave
  • Views over Tintagel and the church from Trewarmett Downs
  • Golden sand, surf and rock pools on Trebarwith Strand

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Cornishman
  • The King Arthurs Arms
  • The Port William Inn
  • Wootons Inn
  • Ye Olde Malthouse


  1. Make your way to the bottom exit from the main car park beside the road. Exit the car park onto the road and follow this downhill towards the beach to reach a public footpath on the right, just before Trebarwith Surf Shop.

    The beach at Trebarwith was recorded as "Trebarrow" on maps in the 1600s and even during the 20th Century, it was called this by some locals. By Victorian times it was recorded on OS maps as Trebarwith Strand. Several small beaches span the bay and at low tide these all join to form a mile long ribbon of golden sand.

    Trebarwith Strand is in the centre and is the lifeguard-patrolled area. It's sandy on the left and, to the right side, there are more rocks including some good rock pools. The large pool beside the rocks on the right side of the beach is known as "Horse Pool" from when horses were used to transport slate and sand, and this provided somewhere for them to cool off from their heavy work.

    Lill Cove is the beach to the right of Trebarwith Strand, separated by rocks except at low tide. There is a gully between rocks that makes it possible to get through to Trebarwith when access is cut off by the sea (though this route isn't available at high tide). There is also a footpath up from Lill Cove joining the coast path which is accessible at all times of the tide. Vean Hole, further to the right, is a continuation of Lill Cove once the tide is a little way out, but is technically a separate beach.

  2. Take the public footpath on the right of Trebarwith Surf Shop. Follow the path up to the cliff top to reach a waymark at a junction of paths.

    If the tide is out, there are some rockpools on the right-hand side of Trebarwith Strand towards Lill Cove.

    Rockpool fishing is quite a popular childhood pass-time as a number of species can be lured out from hiding places by a limpet tied on a piece of cotton (leave a trailing end as if anything swallows the limpet, very gently pulling both ends of the cotton will cause it to release the cotton-tied limpet from its gullet). If you are intending to put the creatures into a bucket: ensure it is large, filled with fresh seawater and kept in the shade; ideally place in a couple of rocks for the creatures to hide under; do not leave them in there more than a couple of hours or they will exhaust their oxygen supply; ensure you release them into one of the rockpools from which you caught them, preferably a large one (carefully removing any rocks from your bucket first to avoid squashing them). Species you're likely to encounter are:

    • Blennies which are fish about 5-10cm long, often found hiding under rock ledges. They can change their colour from sandy to black within a couple of minutes in order to match their surroundings. They have strong, sharp teeth for crunching barnacles and will bite if provoked.
    • Shore crabs and sometimes edible crabs which can also sometimes be found hiding under rocks (carefully replace any rocks you lift up). Shore crabs have a fairly narrow shell which is almost as deep as it is wide. They vary in colour from green through brown to red (the redder individuals are apparently stronger and more aggressive). Edible crabs have a much wider shell which resembles a Cornish Pasty and are always a red-brown colour. Both have powerful claws so fingers should be kept well clear.
    • Shrimps and prawns - do you know the difference? Prawns are semi-transparent whereas shrimps are sandy coloured and generally bury themselves in sand.
  3. When you reach the waymark, follow the middle path (indicated by the yellow arrow and acorn) up the steps. Continue to where the paths rejoin and a few paces further to reach another waymark.

    In 1886, an iron-hulled sailing ship, named the "Sarah Anderson", got into difficulties off Tintagel Head in a violent gale then blew up and sank off Trebarwith Strand. According to one source, the ship was carrying a cargo of 966 tons of manganese ore and 15 tons of dye. According to another source, it was hinted that she might also be carrying copper, silver and gold. Due to the huge waves, the Port Isaac lifeboat was unable to launch and the ship was out of range of the marine rescue rockets brought to the shore at Trebarwith Strand. All the 14 crew and 4 passengers (2 women, including the captain's wife, and 2 children) perished. Divers report that the hull is now almost entirely gone. One section (presumably the stern) stands about 3m high and is separated from the main wreckage; the remainder consists of the ore cargo with the odd piece of steel protruding.

  4. At the waymark, follow the path left, up the steps, until you reach another waymark at a junction of paths.

    The beach at the bottom of the cliff to your left is Lill Cove.

    A small water-powered copper mine existed on the cliff slopes above Lill Cove and was worked until the early-mid 19th Century. A hollow in the cliff was dammed to form a reservoir which was fed by a leat; the reservoir in turn was used to drive a waterwheel to pump out the groundwater draining into the mineshaft. Little remains now as some massive landslips on this part of the cliff have obliterated the majority of the mine workings.

  5. At the waymark, bear left in the direction indicated to Tintagel and follow the coast path up to the rock outcrop. From the top continue along the cliff until you reach another waymark (to Treknow) at the start of the coastal quarries.

    Coastal slate quarries are confined to a small area of about five miles either side of Tintagel and relatively little is known about their history. In order to work the vertical cliff face, strong points were built from stone above the working areas. From these, ropes were dropped down the quarry face. Men were lowered down the faces on these ropes to split blocks of slate from the face. The slate was hauled up the cliff face on these cables which were wound using "horse whims" - capstans powered by horses or donkeys walking around a circular platform. The stone was split and shaped on "dressing floors" on the cliff top, originally covered with sheds. The remains can be seen as level terraces and are marked by screes of waste rock on the cliff below. Splitting was (and still is) done with a bettle (hammer) and chisel, hence the name of the pub in Delabole.

  6. At the waymark, continue straight ahead on the coast path passing the rock pillars at West quarry and follow along the wall behind Lanterdan quarry until you reach a waymark for Tintagel, just before a track departing to the right.

    There are 9 slate quarries along the coast path between Tintagel Church and Trebarwith Strand. Slate quarrying began here in the early 14th Century and ended just before The Second World War. The slate was exported from Tintagel Haven and later from boats moored along Penhallic Point.

    Cutting the stone and loading it onto boats was harsh work and could be lethal. A local man - Alan Menhenick - recalled in the 1920s: "we worked with the tides, around the clock. I've been at the quarry at four in the morning. When the tide was in, we blasted; when the tide was out, we went down and collected the slate". In 1889, three men vanished into the sea when the face that they were boring sheared off the cliff.

  7. Continue straight ahead at the waymark, past more of Lanterdan quarry and along the edge of a wall to a stile.

    The Lanterdan and West quarries above Vean Hole and Hole Beach at Trebarwith Strand were once some of the biggest in North Cornwall. In Lanterdan quarry there is a tall, distinctive, pinnacle of rock. This was left behind as the slate in the pinnacle was not of a sufficiently good quality; shorter pinnacles were left in West Quarry for the same reason. These chunks of inferior-quality slate were known locally as "scullocks".

    The quarry workings never reached the shoreline as there is a fault along the base of the quarry, known as the Trambley Cove Formation. This is made of volcanic lava which was no good to the quarrymen. Lanterdan Quarry is now owned by the National Trust and is a site of geological interest for two reasons. The first is that it contains brachiopod (shellfish) fossils. Second, a rare mineral called monazite is present which contains rare-earth (lanthanide) metals.

  8. Cross the stile and follow the paths to a waymark beside a stone stile. Continue on the coast path around the cliff edge to another waymark with two yellow arrows where the path forks.

    The vertical cliffs of Hole Beach at Trebarwith Strand were the site of Caroline Quarry. The hole in the cliff, from which the beach gets its name, was excavated to quarry out a chunk of good quality slate. Caroline together with the neighbouring Lanterdan and Bagalow quarries, were some of the last still operating at the start of the 20th century but production had ceased by the Second World War.

  9. Keep left at the waymark, along the coast path behind Hole beach, until you reach a stile in a stone wall.

    The crumbling stone walls and the outlines of buildings are the remnants of Bagalow quarry.

    Bagalow Quarry is located above Bagalow Beach and stretches around to Hole Beach. It dates back to at least the 1800s and was still working at the start of the 20th Century. The quarry face runs from sea level all the way to the top of the cliff. At the top of the cliff are remnants of a powder magazine (some low banks are all that remain) and a horse whim used to haul the slate up from the quarry face.

  10. Cross the stile and go through the gate into a field then follow the fence on the left to a kissing gate in the far left corner before the gateway.

    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.

  11. Go through the gate and cross the stile then follow the path along the wall above the cliffs of Dria quarry on your left, until you reach a kissing gate.

    Dria quarry, between Bagalow Quarry and Penhallic point near Trebarwith Strand, was developed from a natural cove (Dria Cove). The quarry was worked in Victorian times and shown as still working in the 1880s but closed by the early 1900s. No processing areas have been found above the quarry, so it is assumed that this was shared with Bagalow Quarry. The 1880s OS map shows a small platform associated with Dria Quarry but it's possible some of the lifting was also shared with Bagalow quarry. Dria Cove is no longer accessible due to landslips on the cliffs between the two quarries.

    The origin of the name could be a version of tre (meaning farmstead - there are other examples of "Drea" used this way), perhaps referencing a settlement that was once on the cliffs near the cove. There is a low linear bank near the bench on Penhallic Point which is thought to be the remains of a mediaeval field boundary.

  12. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path around to the left towards the bench on the point.

    Penhallic Point is the long headland along the northern edge of the bay at Trebarwith Strand. In the late 1800s, a wharf (which has now been taken by the sea) was constructed at Penhallic Point where the cliff edge was trimmed to form a 100ft vertical face. Ships could lie against this face as there is a natural deep-water berth alongside the point. The slate was lowered by crane down into their holds.

    A path from the top of the point zig-zags down to a grassy platform where there is a lifebuoy. It's possible to get down onto the rocks from here, but only in the summer when the rocks are dry.

  13. From the bench on Penhallic Point, keep right and follow the path along the coast via Higher Penhallic Point to a kissing gate.

    There are quite large clumps of chives at Penhallic Point, near Trebarwith Strand, where the barrier of slate gives rise to clifftop springs (which is why it's used for roofing!). In summer when the chives flower, they attract large numbers of bumblebees and butterflies.

    Wild chives are rare in the UK, but can be found next to the paths and rocky ledges along the cliffs on The Lizard and near Tintagel, particularly where a spring seeps water out across the cliff.

    From a distance, the flowers of wild chives can be mistaken for thrift, but up close they are taller (6-8 inches vs 1-2). Their peak flowering period is also later (July, whereas thrift is May) although there are often some late "straggler" thrift flowers out at the same time. Often chive flowers are more mauve than the pale pink flowers of thrift but there is some colour variation in both towards a more similar vibrant pink. The leaves of wild chives are much thicker (like supermarket chives) and straggly whereas wiry thrift leaves form a tight clump (giving rise to the name "Ladies' cushions"). Perhaps the easiest way to tell them apart is the smell of onions from chives.

    Betony is a grassland herb, common on the coast, with pretty purple anthers that stick out from the plant. The name is derived from the ancient Celtic words bew (meaning head) and ton (meaning good) as it was used as a cure for headaches. From Roman times onward, it was believed to be a cure for a number of things (the Romans listed 47!) including drunkenness; even as late as the 1800s, Richard E. Banks stated that you should "Eat betony or the powder thereof and you cannot be drunken that day" and John Gerard (1597) said that "It maketh a man to pisse well". Betony was also used to ward away evil spirits (hence it is planted in a number of churchyards) and also to make a dark yellow dye for wool.

    The sea fish known traditionally in the UK as bass, but internationally as the "European seabass" (to distinguish from river species particularly in North America), is a member of the perch family. Given they are normally found in the sea, bass are surprisingly tolerant of freshwater and sometimes venture quite a long way upriver. Bass is very nice to eat but is a slow-growing species and therefore threatened by overfishing. Since 2010, two-thirds of the population has been wiped out in what has been described as "an unfolding environmental disaster" and although there are emergency EU measures in place to restrict both commercial and recreational catches, there is evidence that commercial catches are still well above sustainable levels.

  14. Go through the kissing gate and take the path waymarked for Tintagel to the left. Follow this past more quarry workings to reach another waymark at a fork in the path.

    On the point opposite Tintagel Youth Hostel is the remains of Gull Point Quarry. The quarry face on the rear of the cove was known as Lambshouse Quarry (Lambshouse is the name of the cove). Both were worked in the 19th Century, and jointly for much of their later life. The round platform near the top is the remains of a "horse whim", where a blindfolded donkey used to circle, operating the winding gear.

  15. At the waymark, take the left path and follow this until it forks just before a waymark

    Long Grass Quarry on Dunderhole Point was the last working quarry along the Tintagel coast, closing in 1937. The old office, engine and blacksmith's shop of the quarry have been converted into Tintagel youth hostel. You can see the slate waste from the dressing floors on the cliff face below it.

  16. Keep right towards the waymark and go up the steps to reach the track to the Youth Hostel.
  17. Turn left onto the track towards the Youth Hostel then bear right to a waymark. Take the small coastal path beside the waymark and follow this to another waymark and remains of a concrete structure. Continue until the path eventually emerges onto a larger gravel path at a waymark.

    The Dunderhole is a 100ft deep split in the cliff face at Dunderhole Point at the end of Tintagel's Glebe Cliff. The name is a corruption of "Thunder hole"; when a big swell is running, the reason becomes apparent. When waves surge into the cavern at the bottom, they compress the air, which then exits through the Dunderhole with a sound that you do not so much hear, as feel resonate through your entire body.

  18. At the waymark, turn left and follow the gravel path until you reach a waymark inscribed Glebe Cliff with a yellow and white arrow.

    The cliffs around the church are known as Glebe Cliffs.

    A glebe was an area of land used to support the parish priest (in addition to a residence in the form of a parsonage or rectory). Occasionally the glebe included an entire farm. It was typically donated by the lord of the manor or cobbled together from several donated pieces of land.

  19. At the waymark, keep right (white arrow) along the gravel path and follow it towards the church until you reach a junction with another path beside a picnic bench.

    Gillow quarry lies part-way down cliffs near Tintagel church, just below a rocky ridge along which the coast path runs before it joins the path from the church to Tintagel Castle. A pair of capstans, known as horse whims, were used to haul slate up from the quarry. A track ran up the cliff beneath the ridge, eventually emerging onto the path to Tintagel Castle. Slate would have been transported by donkey to Tintagel Haven and loaded onto the boats there.

  20. At the church car park, facing St Materiana's church, turn left and follow the path marked "Coast Path and Access to Castle View" until you reach a waymark signposted to Tintagel Castle.

    Tintagel Parish church, dedicated to St Materiana, is located on Glebe Cliff at the end of Vicarage Lane. The first church on the site was thought to be in the 6th century, founded as a daughter church of Minster in Boscastle which is even older. The current church was built in the late 11th or early 12th century with the tower added in the late Mediaeval era. The Norman font bowl by the south wall is believed to have been brought from St Julitta's chapel at Tintagel Castle. The church also contains a Roman stone from the 4th century bearing the name of the Emperor Licinius which may be evidence that there was once a Roman camp nearby.

  21. At the waymark, continue ahead (signposted to Tintagel Castle) until the path forks at the bottom of a flight of steps.

    Tintagel Castle (also known as "King Arthur's Castle") is perched on an island which was joined by a land bridge in the Middle Ages. The ruins of Tintagel Castle that you see today were built in the 13th century by Richard Earl of Cornwall. From coins and pottery fragments found at the site, it is thought that before this, the site might have originally been a Roman settlement, and later, in the early Middle Ages, a Celtic settlement. There is speculation amongst historians that the site was a summer residence for one of the Celtic kings, perhaps leading to the legends of Arthur.

  22. Keep left at the fork, over the stile, and follow the path along the wall to reach the black signpost at the entrance to Tintagel Castle.

    A very large amount of 5th and 6th century Eastern Mediterranean pottery was found at Tintagel Castle in the 1930s, more than the total found in all other Dark Age sites in Britain. This included massive Tunisian oil jars, Carthaginian dishes, Aegean amphorae and Byzantine jars. Some examples are on display in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

  23. From the entrance to Tintagel Castle you have two choices: You can pay to enter the castle and leave past the steps to the beach and along the fence until you reach the bridge over the stream. Alternatively, you can turn right at the signpost, then left down the steps to descend to the car park; then turn left past the English Heritage shop and keep right to reach the bridge over the stream.

    The small cove at the bottom of the valley is known locally as Castle Beach, although its formal title is Tintagel Haven.

    Below the the island upon which Tintagel Castle is perched, there is a small sheltered pebble beach, known locally as Castle Beach although on maps you'll see it marked as Tintagel Haven. Slate from the coastal quarries was brought here by donkey, and loaded onto beached ships which also brought in cargoes such as Welsh coal. Beside the waterfall is the remains of a derrick which was used to winch the cargo to and from the beach. In order to manoeuvre them around the dangerous rocks, ships were "hobbled" (towed by rowing boats then manoeuvred by gangs of men pulling on ropes).

    On the left side of the beach is Merlin's Cave, and to the back of the beach is a waterfall where the stream running through the Vale of Avalon meets the sea.

  24. From the fence by the bridge over the stream, cross the bridge and turn right and go up the steps. At the top, bear right to the public footpath signpost in front of the building.

    English Heritage began in 1983 as a government department responsible for the national system of heritage protection and managing a range of historic properties. In 1999 it was merged with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and the National Monuments Record. In 2015 a charity was formed called English Heritage Trust which was split off from the government to manage the National Heritage Collection (which is still owned by the state). The "English Heritage" name is now associated with this charity. The remaining government body is known as Historic England and is responsible for the statutory and protection functions that were part of the old organisation.

  25. From the footpath signpost, follow the path left, up and over the cliff, until you reach a waymark just after a footbridge.

    The rocky headland is known as Barras Nose.

    Barras Nose is a rocky headland located just east of Tintagel Castle and its island, to the north of the village of Tintagel. This was the first piece of coastal land ever bought by the National Trust in 1897. In Victorian times, the Castle Hotel was originally planned to be built on Barras Nose which gave rise to a local campaign to purchase the headland and save it. It's a popular spot with locals for fishing as there is a rock platform and several surrounding reefs. From the top of the headland there are excellent views to the right, across to Willapark, and to the left, of the castle.

    A rocky scarp runs nearly all the way across the neck of Barras Nose, forming a natural defence similar to those that were created by hard labour at the cliff castles on surrounding headlands. It's therefore quite possible that Barras was adopted as a "prefabricated" hillfort and flint tools have been discovered which show there was human activity here from at least 4,000 years ago. The name itself may also hint at its history: in the 1890s, it was known as "Barrows Cliff".

  26. From the waymark, you have two options. The direct route is to the right, up the steps, to reach another waymark at a junction of paths. Alternatively you can turn left to explore the headland then make your way back along the top until you reach the junction of paths.

    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.

    The area of the Atlantic between North Cornwall and Ireland is also known as the Celtic Sea - a name first suggested in the 1920s. The newfangled name has caught on more in academic and surveying circles. The public generally use "Atlantic" where "the bit of it near here" is automatically implied.

  27. At the waymark, turn right in the direction signposted to Tintagel and follow the path to a kissing gate.

    During winter months, kestrels mostly hunt from perches rather than by hovering as this burns too much energy at a time when food resources are scarce. The reason the birds don't do this all year round is that hovering is a much more productive way to catch prey so when temperatures are warmer and food is more abundant they switch strategies.

  28. Go through the gate and cross the stream. Then follow the path up the hill on the other side to another gate.

    Skylarks are the most common member of the lark family in Britain and are often known simply as "larks".

    In late spring and summer, listen out for the characteristic song of skylarks hovering high above the ground. The rapid song takes place in quite a narrow frequency range but can contain more than 450 syllables used in highly variable patterns. This is the reason it sounds a bit like the "modem" devices used to transfer digital data as an audio signal.

  29. Go through the gate and follow the path uphill until you eventually emerge onto the road next to Camelot Castle Hotel.

    Camelot Castle Hotel in Tintagel was formerly named King Arthur's Castle Hotel and is referred to by locals as simply Castle Hotel. The building was designed by Silvanus Trevail, Cornwall's most famous architect, and opened in 1899. Originally it was planned to be built on Barras Nose but after a local campaign with the National Trust to save Barras, it was built on the site formerly known as Firebeacon. The dramatic Victorian building was used for Dr Seward's Asylum in the 1979 film Dracula, starring Laurence Olivier (and the baby thrown out of the window in the film was in fact Dave - our software developer). It also featured in the ITV Comedy Drama, Doc Martin, as the location for Doc Martin's meeting with the Health Board.

  30. Turn left and follow the road until you reach the entrance to Gavercoombe Park.

    The Cornish palm is neither originally from Cornwall nor a palm! It is from New Zealand where it is known as the cabbage tree, being neither related to or tasting anything like cabbage. The top of the stem from which the leaves shoot was harvested by the Maori, resulting in something resembling an artichoke. It is bitter so it was traditionally eaten with fatty meats such as eel to make it palatable. The largest specimen of the plant is thought to be around 500 years old and has a circumference of nine metres at the base! It was introduced to Britain after being collected on Captain Cook's first voyage to the Pacific on the Endeavour.

  31. Join the public footpath and follow it along the wall on the right, to rejoin the road. Follow the road into Tintagel past the car park until you reach Pengenna Bakery.

    "Pasty" was another word used for "pie" throughout England from the Middle Ages onward, and did not necessarily imply the characteristic shape and crimping we associate with the Cornish Pasty. A pasty recipe from 1746 contains no veg, just meat (venison), port wine and spices. The first "Cornish pasty" recipe is from 1861 which contained just beef and no veg.

    Even during Victorian times, main meat available to poor people would have been pork. The Cornish dialect word for a pork flatbread eaten in the mines during the 18th and 19th Centuries is hogen (pronounced "hugg-un") which evolved into "oggy" - the dialect word for pasty. The really poor had a "tiddy oggy" (with no meat at all).

    The "traditional" Cornish Pasty recipe contains beef, onion, potato and swede (referred to as "turnip" in the local dialect from its more formal name of "Swedish turnip") seasoned with salt and pepper. It's thought that this probably dates from the late 18th Century (when the Poldark novels were set) when potatoes and turnips were a staple diet for the poor but the first documented "traditional" recipe is not until 1929. Over 120 million Cornish pasties are now consumed each year.

  32. Follow the road around the bend to the left, past the turning to Vicarage Hill to reach Tintagel Old Post Office opposite the King Arthur's Arms.

    Tintagel Old Post Office is a 600-year-old Cornish Longhouse set in cottage gardens, retaining its mediaeval slate-paved hall and fireplace. It was built in the 14th Century when Tintagel Castle belonged to the Black Prince. In the 19th century, the house was used as the district Post Office when the introduction of the penny post meant the trek to the Post Office in Camelford became too much of a burden. For over 100 years, it has been owned by the National Trust.

  33. From the Old Post Office, walk further up the Fore Street until you reach the roundabout.

    Just before the roundabout and King Arthur's Hall, look on your left for Aelnet's Cross, which is behind the railings in front of some flats.

    Aelnet's Cross is located on Fore Street in Tintagel next to King Arthur's Great Halls, behind the railings of what used to be the Wharncliffe Arms Hotel (now converted into flats). It is just over 4 feet tall and has a sort of wheel-head cross on both sides along with Latin inscriptions. The cross itself is of the 5th-century, though the carvings and inscriptions could be later (possibly 10th or 11th century). Originally it stood at nearby Trevillet where it was in use as a gatepost.

  34. Continue straight ahead at the roundabout and follow Bossiney Road past the Methodist Church to the Tintagel Visitor Centre.

    King Arthur's Great Halls in Tintagel were built in the 1930s by a custard millionaire whose company is thought to have invented "hundreds and thousands". The Halls of Chivalry are built from 53 different types of stone and are big enough to hold 1000 people. 72 stained glass windows by Veronica Whall (a pupil of William Morris) tell the story of King Arthur and show the Coats of Arms and weapons of the knights. Over two million people have visited the Halls since they opened in June 1933.

  35. Continue on Bossiney Road to the social hall, at the end of the row of houses on the right, just before a junction.
  36. Turn right past the social hall up Fosters Lane and follow this until it emerges on the main road into Tintagel.

    The modern-day village of Tintagel was known as Trevena ("place of the women") until the Post Office established Tintagel as the name in the mid 19th century (until then Tintagel had always been the name of the headland and of the parish). In Norman times, a small castle was built at Bossiney; Bossiney and Trevena were established as a borough in 1253 by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall who built Tintagel Castle.

  37. Turn left at the junction and follow the pavement up the hill to a stile with a footpath sign on your left next to the gate, just past the school playground.
  38. Cross the stile and follow the track to a gate. Go through the larger gate (untying if necessary and note the smaller gate ends in a sheep trap) into the field and follow along the fence of the school field on the left, heading for a stile directly ahead when you leave the fence.

    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.


    • 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).


    • 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.
  39. Cross the ditch via the stepping stones and cross the stile into the next field. Bear right across the field to a stile on the protruding corner in the hedge ahead, to the left of the telegraph pole in the field. The stile is marked by a vertical wooden pole rising from the fence.

    The term "thistle" is not biologically precise and covers quite a broad range of different plant species from the daisy family. The common thistle (also known as bull thistle or spear thistle) is appropriately the commonest in the UK. The flowers open as a green spiny ball with a purple tuft (often depicted within Scottish emblems). The creeping thistle is also common in agricultural fields and has lighter pink flowers.

    The soils above the slate bedrock are quite acidic so beach sand containing fragments of seashell was used as a source of lime.

    The efficiency of the chemical processes that plants use to metabolise nitrogen compounds varies with pH (acidity). In soils that are too acidic, many plants have trouble absorbing nitrogen (apart from specially-adapted ones known as "ericaceous"). The ongoing decomposition of plant matter into humus within the soil creates acidic compounds. Some soils contain rocks such as chalk and limestone which will react with the acid and neutralise it. In Cornwall, the beach sand includes a high proportion of seashell fragments which contain the same chemical compound as limestone.

  40. Cross the stile and follow the right hedge towards a metal gate in the far hedge; as you approach you'll see a stile on the right of the gate.

    The bramble is a member of the rose family and there are over 320 species of bramble in the UK. This is a big part of why not all blackberries ripen at the same time, and vary in size and flavour.

  41. Cross the stile and turn right. Follow the right hedge to a gateway.

    If there are sheep in the field and you have a dog, make sure it's securely on its lead (sheep are prone to panic and injuring themselves even if a dog is just being inquisitive). If the sheep start bleating, this means they are scared and they are liable to panic.

    If there are pregnant sheep in the field, be particularly sensitive as a scare can cause a miscarriage. If there are sheep in the field with lambs, avoid approaching them closely, making loud noises or walking between a lamb and its mother, as you may provoke the mother to defend her young.

    Sheep may look cute but if provoked they can cause serious injury (hence the verb "to ram"). Generally, the best plan is to walk quietly along the hedges and they will move away or ignore you.

  42. Go through the gateway and follow the right hedge towards the barn to reach a flight of stone steps below a signpost.
  43. Climb the stone steps onto the hedge. Descend the steps on the other side and take a few paces to reach the yard. Bear right to reach the stile next to the gate which leads onto a lane.
  44. Cross the lane to a stile opposite. Cross the stile into the field and head directly across the field to another stile.

    The fields here are often planted with cereal crops.

    In the 40 years since 1960, the global production of cereal crops tripled, with wheat accounting for more than all the other crops combined. One of the factors driving the increase is processed foods where the stretchy and adhesive properties of gluten are made use of.

  45. Cross the stile and head for another stile in the middle of the far hedge (NB it emerges on the road).

    Barley is a fundamental part of the rural culture - the word "barn" literally means "barley house". During mediaeval times, only the ruling classes had bread made from wheat; the peasants' bread was made from barley and rye.

  46. Carefully cross the road and the stile opposite into a field. Cross the field, aiming for the tall white building on the skyline, to a slate stile in the far hedge, somewhat hidden behind a tall hawthorn tree (it's just to the right of the fence pole in front of the hedge).

    The "herringbone" style of walling built with tightly packed alternating diagonal slate courses, is unique to Cornwall's heritage.

    Traditionally, hedges (stone boundary walls) were built with whatever was cleared out of the fields, whilst buildings were constructed from stone that was quarried and cut. On a long wall, the herringbone sections are often between "towers" of flat-laid slate (built from the larger and squarer stones) which helped to prevent the wall slumping sideways.

  47. Cross the stile and go through the gate and turn right, following the right hedge to the two farmyard gates on the right of the wooden barn.

    The word "crow" is sometimes used to refer to the whole crow family (including jackdaws, rooks and ravens) and sometimes specifically to the common (carrion) crow. Carrion crows can be distinguished from their cousins by being totally black (jackdaws have grey heads, rooks have pale beaks) and having a slender and fairly straight beak (i.e. not the broad beak with a hooked top that a raven has). Biologists use the word "corvids" for "crow family" to avoid ambiguity, or to show off.

  48. Go through the left of the two gates (the one set back, opening directly into the yard) and head across the yard towards another gate. Immediately past the barn on the left is a waymarked stile - make your way to this.
  49. Cross the double stile to the left of the gate and then follow the fence on the right to a stile.

    Sheep were one of the first animals to be domesticated by humans thought to be roughly around 12,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The first sheep weren't woolly and were used for meat, milk and their (woolless) hides which were sometimes tanned to make leather. Woolly sheep were bred about 4,000 years later in Iran.

  50. Cross the stile and continue along the fence on the right to another stile in the corner of the field.

    As well as being environmentally-friendly, wool fibre has a number of technical properties that synthetic fibres lack including fire-resistance and the ability to absorb and release moisture. Some novel high-tech uses are now being found for it including biodegradable ground cover matting to control soil erosion. As concerns grow over the effects of plastics in the environment and micro plastics turning up in all kinds of unwanted places (such as 80% of the human blood samples tested in a study), this may also lead to a renaissance in natural fibres including wool. It may therefore not be too long before demand increases and fields are once again full of neatly-shorn sheep.

  51. Cross the stile onto a path and follow this to the lane.

    Celandines grow either side of the path.

    Another name for celandine is pilewort as the tubers of the plant are said to resemble piles. Based on the "doctrine of signatures" (i.e. a plant that looks a bit like something must be a cure for it), the resemblance suggested to mediaeval herbalists that celandines could be used to cure haemorrhoids. This was done by applying an ointment containing crushed celandine leaves to the relevant area. Since celandine contains a poisonous compound, some attempts to ingest celandine in an effort to cure piles have not gone too well.

    The natural diet of tits includes seeds and nuts so garden feeders and bird tables are often frequented by members of the tit family. During warmer months they also eat insects, particularly caterpillars. Each blue tit chick is fed around 100 caterpillars per day, much to the delight of gardeners.

  52. Where the path emerges on the lane in Treknow, turn left and follow the road to a junction.

    Treknow (which in Cornish means "the valley place") is perhaps one of the oldest "industrial" settlements in the area dating back to Mediaeval times, based mainly on slate quarrying with some early metal mining. The physical structure of Treknow - its bowl-like formation, in parts literally carved out of the rock - could be the result of early slate excavations. It was in direct response to the needs of industrial workers, in the expanding quarrying industry of the early 19th century, that the rows of cottages were constructed. The use of slate for roofs, chimneys, walls and paving, which contributes so greatly to their character, is further testimony to the dominant role of the local industry.

  53. Turn right at the junction and then, almost immediately, turn left onto a lane beside "Old Wit". Follow this a short distance to another junction.
  54. Keep right at the junction and follow the lane until you reach a wooden pedestrian gate on the left beside a metal gate.
  55. Go through a wooden gate and bear right to an opening in the middle of the bottom hedge.
  56. Go down the steps and follow the path downhill, passing through a gate, to reach a stone stile at the bottom of the valley.

    Despite their native habitat being woodland, wood pigeons are able to thrive wherever there is food. They have fared better than most birds with intensively-farmed crops and are particularly fond of oil seed rape. They are able hoover up food quickly (up to 100 peck per minute) and stuff large amounts into their crop (e.g. around 150 acorns!). They then digest this overnight.

  57. Cross the stile and follow the track from the meadow into the car park to complete the walk.

    Fossil records indicate that bracken dates back at least 55 million years. By 24 million years ago it had a worldwide distribution and it is now thought to be the most common plant in the world.

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