If you enjoy walking, and are interested in Penwith’s heritage, you can find here on our website a number of trail guides leading you through this unique living, working landscape.
Over the past year we have put together guides for routes covering different areas within Penwith, with eight different routes in all. These are just the first trails published, with many more to come! The routes were devised by members of the Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network (CASPN) as part of the development phase of the PLP. As well as being fascinating walks, these trails also share information from other areas of the PLP’s work including digital interpretation, folklore, Cornish language, archaeological recording and more; providing a geographical context for our work.
Our aim with the trail guides is to enrich people’s experiences of Penwith, and to foster a care and understanding of all aspects of our landscape through encouraging responsible access and adherence to the Countryside code. As part of this, we are keen to promote public transport and cycling as a means of getting to the start locations of these trails. Similarly, the trails have been planned to encourage people to walk to popular sites from further afield as part of a wider trail, to help reduce parking pressure at well-known sites such as Lanyon Quoit and Mên-an-Tol.
Work on this has been able to continue recently despite the lockdown. Although all our group activities were suspended for some time, shortly before lockdown we trained volunteers in footpath survey. Once good guidance was disseminated, and risk assessments were in place, several of our volunteers went out individually to survey routes. Their findings enabled the writing of our guides, and helped identify possible practical activity we could support.
Creating these trails supports the primary purpose of our access work, which is to improve access to heritage in Penwith, both physically and intellectually. In physical terms, that means contributing to efforts maintaining West Penwith’s network of access paths, particularly on routes that provide access to archaeological sites, and working with volunteers to do so (including working with other organisations such as the West Cornwall Footpath Preservation Society, the Ramblers, British Horse Society, Parish Councils, Cornwall Council and Cormac). The intellectual side is providing access to this heritage, whether raising awareness through in person visits, or allowing digital access where this is not possible.
Physically caring for places and providing access to them goes hand in hand. Overgrown paths don’t get used, and grow in even more; whereas a well-used path requires less effort to maintain. If people are inspired to explore, they help maintain access and keep our heritage and trails visible. If people also become enthused about our Public Rights of Way, we hope they will be inspired to take an active part in the upkeep of the path networks going forward.
Walking local trails is an ideal way of getting some exercise, while learning more about your local area. Our trail guides show how much rich depth of human and natural history there is to appreciate here in Penwith.
The trail guides can be found here.