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Gydlavar dhe Lergh: Selevan ha Tredhin

Trail Guide: St Levan and Treen

 

Featuring a prehistoric cliff castle, an early medieval religious centre, medieval farmed landscape, global communications history, military remains, and modern tourism, all in the parish of St Levan.

Distance:

3.76 miles / 6km

Time:

Approximately three hours

Starting grid reference:

SW 393 231, by the Logan Rock Inn, Treen

Public Transport:

The First Kernow ‘Lands End Coaster’ bus stops by Treen

Car Parking:

Car park at Treen (follow road through the village)

Alternative parking and start points in Porthcurno and by St Levan Church

Nearest Facilities:

Logan Rock Inn, Minack Theatre, Telegraph Museum

Accessibility & Terrain:

Rough coast path sections, granite stiles between fields. Steep climbs in & out of Porthcurno valley

Safety info & disclaimer:

See here

Downloadable PDF:

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR TRAIL PHOTO GALLERY

Route Instructions:

1.

Starting from the Logan Rock Inn, follow the road uphill into the village. Where the road bends to the left (towards the car park) and two tracks branch off to the right, look for the public footpath signs leading right past some cottages and out into the fields to the west.

If starting from the car park in Treen walk back along the road past the chapel & phone box to the bend with the tracks branching off it). 

 

 

Treen: Tre, “farm, settlement” + din, “fort”. Referring here to the nearby Iron Age cliff castle Treryn Dinas.

The settlement of Treen was first recorded in 1321, spelt 'Trethyn'. Early medieval origin, still occupied today. 

2.

Follow the footpath west across the fields towards Trendrennen Farm.

 

 

Trendrennen: Tre, “farm, settlement” + an dreynen, “(at/of) the thorn bush”

3.

Bear left in front of Trendrennen Farm, to find a signpost with many arrows (where a bridleway heads south into a lane) ; go across the field to the stile in the opposite corner, on the footpath that heads down into Porthcurno.

 

   

4.

Over the stile the path is more obvious, head for the radio mast.    

5.

Divert from the path to view the finger post above Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, before going down the hill to the road. 

 

 

Finger post showing distance to places where the cables went; above emergency exit from war-time Telegraph Station.

6.

On meeting the road in the Porthcurno valley, cross straight over and follow the track for Rospletha Farm. This track is a public bridleway.  

NOTE this section was closed due to subsidence beneath the path (Summer 2022). If still the case, follow the road as if heading to the Minack, then turn off to the right on the second hairpin bend uphill; this is the vehicle access track for Rospletha and the other end of the same bridleway.

 

7.

At Rospletha, look for the old wrought iron kissing gate (next to a field gate) marking the path that strikes out across the field towards St Levan, passing the stone cross.

 

 

Rospletha (name) ‘roughland’ + ‘wolf’

Rospletha Cross – a massive wheel-headed stone cross, with a Maltese cross on both faces, in an uncut granite socket stone – see Heritage Gateway.

8.

The path comes right through St Levan Churchyard. When you reach the road, take the footpath on the opposite side (coast path towards Porthgwarra), but after crossing the small stream, take the left fork (the path heading down the valley, not up onto the headland)

 

 

There is a wonderful coffin-rest stile on the way into the churchyard off the fields. Built into the stile are two medieval crosses, one on each side. The one on the right is a cross-slab, set into the wall so harder to find, sometimes obscured by ivy.

The third, the churchyard cross, stands by the south porch of the church and has a prominent crucifixion figure on it. Beside this cross is St Levan's Stone, a large natural boulder split in two. Attached to the stone is a prophecy, attributed to Merlin: "When, with panniers astride, A pack-horse one can ride Through St Levan stone, The world will be done."

The Parish Church reflects some fifteen hundred years of Parish history. Particularly interesting are amazing carved bench-ends. 

 

9.

Here join the South West Coast Path, right next to St Levan’s Well. The remains of St Levan’s Chapel are below. Follow the coast path left (back towards Porthcurno, with the sea on your right).   

St Levan’s Well, a holy well, right beside the footpath above the cliffs.

The remains of the medieval Porth Chapel are just below, down a steeply descending path, marked ‘Viewpoint’. Read about the 'rescue excavation' carried out here by PLP and Cornwall Archaeology Unit in this blog

Note the coast path has been realigned here, moved further inland than marked on the Ordnance Survey; look for the obvious bridge.

 

10.

Spur to Pedn-mên-an-mere, worth taking, fantastic views.  

‘Pedn-mên-an-mere’ translates to ‘great slope headland’.

Here is the site of a signal station and radio telegraphy mast. They are marked on 2nd edition OS as a Marconi Signal Station, but were built in 1901-2 by the Eastern Telegraph Company (Heritage Gateway).

Views from the headland across to the Minack Theatre, and to the Carracks out to sea.

 

11.

From the Minack Theatre, the coast path down to the beach is steep and difficult (though quite spectacular, even just to look from the top). The alternative is to follow the road downhill out of the Minack down to Porthcurno, continuing on the road to meet the path from the car park to the beach. 

 

 

The Minack Theatre is an open air theatre built on the cliffs. It is open during the day to view, and has a café with superb views over the bay. 

Minack: ‘meynek’ = “stony”

12.

Take the bridleway up the other side of the valley following the National Trust oak leaf sign. This path is not too steep. The footpath from the Cable Hut, closer to the cliffs, is steep and difficult, but both meet at the top.

 

 

Cable Hut - door usually open to see where the old world-wide cables came ashore. (Heritage Gateway). There are numerous WW2 ‘pill-boxes’ around the cove to protect the essential cable links across the British Empire.

13.

Continue along the Coast Path towards the headland ahead, Treryn Dinas. At a fork in the path, you can take either way – the bridleway slightly inland (easier access) or footpath running close to the cliffs (better views!).

 

   

14.

The hedged lane back up to Treen – use this to return to the start if you don’t have time to take in Treryn Dinas. 

 

Pednvounder, the name of the beach below the cliffs here – translates to ‘the end of the lane/droveway’ – referring to the green lane running out to the coast from Treen, presumably used to drive cattle out to graze on the clifftops. 

 

15.

Treryn Dinas. The path out to the headland is steep – but there are amazing views partway along before it gets too precarious.

 

The Iron age promontory fort of Treryn Dinas is one of the most impressive cliff castles in West Cornwall. It survives as three wide-spaced sets of ramparts to the landward (northern) side, the other sides being defended by steep natural cliffs.

Walking out onto the headland, you encounter the outermost rampart first, a massive bank and ditch, curves across the neck of the promontory, to defend the interior.

The middle rampart consists of two low rubble banks curving along the crest of the promontory between granite outcrops.

The final rampart is down on the narrow neck of the headland; a granite-faced wall with a well-defined gateway leading inside to the platforms of two medieval ‘watch houses’ (as marked on 2nd edition OS).

Bronze Age pottery and a cremation have been found on the rocky tip of the promontory, as well as flints, Iron Age pottery, Roman coins and a Roman brooch. The sites of two hut platforms have been identified amongst granite outcrops. Of possibly later date are two watch houses nestling behind the inner rampart.

Also situated towards the tip of the headland, is the Logan Rock, finely balanced on one of the granite pinnacles. In 1824 a group of sailors from the Royal Navy sought to disprove an assertion that the rock couldn't be moved. They succeeded, the rock fell into a crevice, and following public outcry they were ordered to put it back! Anchor holes used to replace the rock are still visible in the crags. 

16.

Return to Treen on footpath across the fields (look for kissing gate off the coast path). For a  longer walk, continue on Coast Path to Penberth.  

 

Penberth Cove has a rare man-powered capstan for hauling boats up the slipway, or cauance, from the sea. Once home to a pilchard fishing industry and is one of the last remaining traditional fishing coves in Cornwall, with a handful of local fishermen still fishing for mackerel, lobster and crab. The path on the west of the stream passes through old quillets [small fields] that were used to grow early flowers and vegetables destined for London markets by overnight trains from Penzance.