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Gydlavar dhe Lergh: Lannust dhe Dregasyel ha Carn Ujek

Trail Guide: St Just to Tregeseal & Carn Kenidjack

This is an “out and back” walk starting from the centre of St Just with a circular section around Truthwall and Carnyorth Commons,  featuring a wealth of historic sites, particularly the Tregeseal Stone Circle, barrows and holed stones.

 

Distance: 

4 miles / 6.4 km

Time:

Allow at least three hours

Starting grid reference:

SW 371 314 - Market Square, St Just

Public Transport:

St Just and Botallack are both served by the West Penwith Community Bus Service (PZS007) and First Kernow Buses (routes A17 and A3).

Car Parking:

Free Public Car Park in St Just

Nearest Public Toilets:

St Just, by the public car park

Accessibility & Terrain info:

This walk is dog friendly but note that cattle are grazed on the Common; please keep dogs under control if around cattle. This route includes rough moorland paths, a few stiles, and some sections on public roads.

Safety info & disclaimer:

See here

Downloadable PDF:

See here

 

CLICK HERE FOR TRAIL PHOTO GALLERY 

Route Instructions: 

1.

Starting from Market Square, in St Just town centre, walk eastwards towards The St Just Church, along Church Street. Follow through keeping the church to your left, into “Venton East Square”.

 

 

The 15th Century Parish Church of St Just is famous for its wall paintings depicting St George and the dragon and Christ of the Trades. It also has a 10th century cross shaft built into the north wall, and a 6th century inscribed stone. In the churchyard are two medieval wayside crosses. 'Venton' is a Cornish word meaning a spring or fountain.

 

2.

From here, walk straight across the square, ignoring the footpath sign on the right, down the path between the houses towards the fields.

 

  If you walk down the lane in the Spring, you can smell the garlicky aroma of Three-cornered Leek. Look ahead to see on the horizon the edge of Carnyorth Common, our destination.

3.

When you reach the road, turn left and walk 100m along the road, and look for a granite stile in the hedge on your right. Note that this footpath is not currently signposted. Go over the stile and follow the public footpath along the back of the houses. You come out into the Tregeseal valley, cross a bridge over the stream and out onto the road.

 

 

As you walk along the section of footpath, look over the hedge to your right into what looks to be semi-improved grassland in the fields of Bosvargus Farm. Improved, semi-improved and unimproved grassland is all to be seen on this walk, each representing different management practices.

Just before crossing the bridge, a short way off to your right you can see the ruin of Bosvargus Mill, 18th Century or earlier in origin and possibly the oldest standing building in Tregeseal, a hint at the history of water-based industry in the valley. There are other remnants of industrial archaeology along the streamside, including mill workings, launders and shoats.

 

4.

Once out onto the road, turn right and follow the road as it heads up the valley, ignoring any side roads.

 

 

The bridge in the centre of the valley (the side-road on the right leading up to Bosvargus Farm) is an ancient crossing point; the bridge structure itself is thought to be of some antiquity.

 

5.

Here, you come to a fork, and the road becomes two gravel tracks. Take the left-hand track (signposted for Lower Hailglower), following the line of the public footpath. After a short way, as the drive bends sharply round to the left, look for the footpath off to the right, and a granite step-stile into the field beyond. The footpath crosses diagonally up the field towards Hailglower Farm and through the gate into the track.

 

 

As you approach the farm, you may catch views across the valley south to the remains of Lower Bostraze China Clay Works, as well as the different land uses, from heavily cultivated fields, to rough grazing, to the rough ground up on the horizon.

6.

In front of Hailglower Farm, turn left, (noticing the massive stone banked wall on your right) and head past the farm and into the narrow lane beyond.

 

 

Hailglower (originally Helyglowarth) means ‘willow-garden’, formed from helyk, ‘willows’ and lowarth, ‘garden’.

  

7.

Here the lane opens out onto the Common. Go through the gate to the right and follow up the track.

 

 

You are greeted by a view of the rocky outcrop of Carn Kenidjack. A large pond is down the small path to your left (before going through the gate) – it is likely the remnant of quarrying activities and has become a fantastic habitat for birds and insects, particularly dragonflies during early summer.

On the common itself, you are in the middle of a large area of Lowland Heath, nationally a rapidly disappearing habitat. Carnyorth Common is grazed by Redpoll Cattle under a Higher-Level Stewardship scheme, helping to conserve and enhance the habitat by creating structural variation in the heathland. Western gorse, along with a combination of heathers (Ling, Bell Heather, and Cross-leaved Heath) are the key plant species, along with purple moor grass, brambles and bracken. Birds to look out for are Meadow pipits, Stonechats, Skylarks, and Dartford Warblers. As well as adders and lizards – keep your eyes and ears open!

 

8.

A short distance up the track, Tregeseal Stone Circle will appear on your right, accessed by a small spur off the main track, marked by a CASPN tablet. Go and have a look! When done, return to the track you were on, and continue uphill.

 

 

Tregeseal Stone Circle is thought to be early Bronze Age or Late Neolithic, contains nineteen stones, and one of two circles originally part of the site.

9.

At this point, a secondary path forks off to the right of the main track (look for the road less ‘gravelled’). Take this path to the right.

The path passes between a pair of round "barrows" - one to the right, followed by another to the left. There are a number of others nearby, but these are the best preserved.

 

 

A network of firebreaks is maintained throughout the common. Many of the main paths across the common are managed in this fashion, as well as additional firebreaks. Downhill from the common, to your right, is Bostraze Bog, an important wetland habitat and Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserve. The area contains the remnants of significant streamworks and mining activity, as well as the remains of the ‘Bog Inn,’ reputed to have been an un-licenced beer shop and smugglers’ haunt.

The Tregeseal Barrows are a set of Bronze Age round barrows, one still kerbed and may have held a cist. They are thought to have been part of a funerary complex.

 

10.

Here you come to the Tregeseal Holed Stones, on your left. Have a good look at the fantastic lichens on the stones. From this point, you have a good view back down the valley to St Just.

 

 

The enigmatic Tregeseal Holed Stones are thought to be contemporary with the other monuments in the area, but their function and purpose is not clear. Some have been re-erected within living memory and may not be in their original positions. Within recorded times, one of the stones in particular has been used for “handfasting” ceremonies.

 

11.

The path bears downhill slightly towards the easterly corner of the common. Look for a second path climbing off sharply to the left that heads directly up the hill. Follow this path uphill towards Carn Kenidjack.

 

 

Look out for the small ruined farmstead and post-Medieval crow, and surrounding field systems, on the corner of the moor here below the path.

12.

Re-join the main path, now heading north west up to the summit of the hill. At the top, small paths branch off left to give access to Carn Kenidjack itself – well worth stopping off for panoramic views in both directions. 

 

 

Also known as "The Hooting Cairn" in local legend, referring to the sound of the wind blowing through the unusually shaped outcrops. You can see from here, looking north and east, (moving left to right along the horizon): Watch Croft, Carn Galver, Little Galver, Woon Gumpus, Chun Quoit and Castle, Nine Maidens Common, Greenburrow Engine House (Ding Dong mine), Castle an Dinas (hill fort, folly and quarry) - then closer, further round - Boswens Menhir and the Air Traffic Control Station.

 

13.

Rejoin the main track.  (Note a number of different routes intersect here). You are now walking on the line of the Tinners Way for a short while. The path passes round the bottom of Carn Bean, the hill with the radio transmitter

 

 

Look out for a boundary stone with letters carved into it, at the junction of paths on the hilltop here. One one side is the letter C (for Carnyorth) and T on the other (for Trewellard) - once marking the boundary between the two manors. As you walk along here, look down across the moor to your left for a great view of Tregeseal Stone Circle. The name "Carn Bean" means "Little Tor," presumably by comparison with Carn Kenidjack. Hidden amongst the bracken below the mast are two more Bronze Age barrows.

 

 14.

Here there is a track heading off the common, heading towards the property marked ‘Higher Botallack’ on the map. Ignore this, looking for an old wooden waymarker on the left; take the path down to the left beside the waymarker, following along the edge of the common, to the top of another lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 15.

This is the top of Devil's Lane, an ancient green hollow-way, and considered to be part of The Tinners' Way. You can use this route to walk down towards Botallack and Truthwall. To finish the circuit, turn left and across the field to an opening on the opposite side.

 

 

“Devil’s Lane” – an English name (rather than Cornish), probably associated with local legends of the devil hunting lost souls across the moor. It is a wonderful ancient hedged lane, full of life.

 16.

Follow through the gate and onto the track that goes around the pond back towards where you came onto the common. Retrace your steps back to St Just.