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Trail Guide: Morvah, Tregaminion and Chypraze

A short but exciting trail in the parish of Morvah, featuring folklore, hedged lanes, coastal habitats and views, prehistoric sties, and traditional farming within ancient field systems.

Distance:

2 miles / 3.2km

Time:

Allow at least 1hr 30mins

Starting grid reference:

SW 402 354 – In front of Morvah Church

Public Transport:

Buses to Morvah

Nearest Facilities:

Morvah Schoolhouse - Tea Rooms & Gallery

Accessibility & Terrain info:

A relatively short distance, but includes rough coastal paths, stile crossings, one steep descent (with a slightly less steep return climb). Cattle likely to be found on this route.

Safety info & disclaimer:

See here

Downloadable PDF:

 

 CLICK HERE FOR TRAIL PHOTO GALLERY

Route Instructions:

1.

Take the footpath over the stone stile to the right of the wooden gate next to Morvah Church and follow it down the old green lane towards the coast. You will go through a kissing gate.

 

 

Morvah Church has been associated with both St Bridget, and St Morwetha. Morvah means ‘sea-grave’ and the saint, about whom nothing is known, is thought to have been invented from the place-name. The building as it is today was completed in 1828, but a chapel has been on the site since at least the 15th Century. There are some ‘saddle querns’ (flat stones used for grinding grain, from the Bronze Age) near the church porch, thought to have been found locally. 

The annual Morvah Pasty Day is a revival of the historical Morvah Fair, held for centuries each year in early August to mark the start of the harvest. There are tales of Cornish wrestling championships being held at the fair, as well as re-enactments of legends of ‘Jack the Tinkard’ defeating giants in the hills (a character also associated with Chûn Castle and Castle an Dinas hill forts). This blog is all about Cornish Giants - read it to find the story of Holiburn, the Kindly Giant, who spent his life protecting the people of Morvah and Zennor.  

In the winter months, the green lane can be running with water. As you pass through the lane, notice the coastal plain farming still using the traditional Cornish hedges as boundaries. These are the fields of Merthyr Farm and Tregaminion Manor Farm.

 

2.

Here the lane turns a bend and widens out slightly, continuing towards the sea.

 

 

Where the lane opens out, just to the right in a patch of rough ground is a large granite slab – an object of local folklore, thought to have come from a destroyed Neolithic chambered tomb known as the Giant’s Grave, the site of which was just back up the lane a little way.

 

3.

Climb over the rather rough and ready gap in the corner of the field (take care not to dislodge any of the stones) and carry on the path down towards the sea.

 

   

4.

Here, meet the coastal path at a 'T' junction, turn left and cross over the stream, go over the stile and up the track. In a triangular enclosure to your left is the site of the Tregaminion Chapel and Holy Well, accessed via a stone stile off the coast path. This may or may not be visible depending on the season and the growth of the vegetation. Follow the path up the slope and continue along with the Cornish hedge to your left and the sea to your right.

 

 

Inside this small enclosure lie the remains of Tregaminion Medieval chapel and holy well. All that can really be seen today is the stone lined baptismal font with the spring still filling it. The chapel remains are almost completely destroyed but the scant remains are well buried and appear to lie between the coast path and the area just inside of the enclosure wall by the step stile. Remains of an extensive buried cobbled floor surface have also been found. Heavily damaged when a pump house was erected in the 20th Century, the surviving remains of the drainage channel for the spring water can still be seen running under the Cornish Hedge at the bottom of the enclosure and into the stream.

As you walk along, if you look backwards you will see Gurnards Head sticking out into the sea, Carn Galva, and Zennor Carn beyond that; the stone boundaries on the left are a mix of Cornish hedges and consumption walls.

 

5.

Pass through an unusual kissing gate which incorporates a traditional Penwith gate and stone supports (a modern construction in traditional style), as you walk above the cliffs of Tregaminion and Chypraze.

 

 

On this stretch of coastal ground between the cliffs and the farms, are the remains of prehistoric field systems and occupation.

 

6.

About 25 metres off the path to your right you will see the semi-circle of stones called Chypraze Barrow. As you go over the top here you will see Pendeen Watch (lighthouse) and the outskirts of Lower Boscaswell on the skyline. It is very steep going down the coast path here to Portheras Cove, take care.

 

 

Chypraze barrow is a Bronze Age barrow. It is a particularly special site, termed a ‘Petal barrow’, in that the layout of stones resemble the petals of a flower, thought to be the only one found in West Penwith.

 

7.

At the bottom of the path, go through the gate and turn left up the path and up the valley (from this point, it is a short detour down to the beach at Portheras Cove). At the top of the valley, follow the public footpath through Chypraze farmyard, taking care for people, animals and machinery and follow the road on up the valley.

 

 

Chypraze is managed as a rare breed farm, butchery and wedding venue. The surrounding field systems date back to at least the Iron Age.

 

8.

Opposite the first house you come to on your right, marked Wheal Rose on the map, take the footpath on your left over the stone stile and walk diagonally across the field towards the gate. Cross over the stone stile beside the gate. Across the next field towards the gate - roughly in line with the grain silos at the farm in the distance - and cross the stile. Same again across the next field where you will meet the road. Turn left here and walk back to the start of the trail.

 

 

Note the middle of the three fields you cross, the field boundary that is still marked on the map but no longer present on the ground.