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Gydlavar dhe Lergh: An Woon Gompes ha Kastel Chi an Woon

Trail Guide: Woon Gumpus and Chûn Castle

This is a circular route in the heart of the Penwith Moors, and the best route for visiting the ancient sites of Chûn Quoit and Chûn Castle, as well as providing additional links to Bosullow Trehyllys, Boswens Menhir, and Carn Kenidjack.



2.3 miles / 3.7 km (core loop)
Time: Allow 2 hours 30 minutes
Starting grid reference: SW 393 333, Woon Gumpus Car Park

Public Transport:

The nearest bus stop is in Pendeen - served by First Kernow Buses, the Tin Coaster and the Lands End Coaster. It's then a one mile walk up the "north road" to the start of the walk.

Car Parking:

The car park easily accommodates ten cars

Nearest Facilities  Pendeen
Accessibility & Terrain:

A gentle ascent, then steeper downhill. A couple of granite stiles. Note that cattle are sometimes grazed on Higher Downs and the fields beneath; please keep dogs under control if you see cattle.

Safety info & disclaimer: See here
Downloadable PDF: See here


Trail guide map - Woon Gumpus and Chun Castle

Route Instructions:


From the car park, walk through the small gateway, follow the path out onto the common then along the main track. 



The hill you are walking towards is Chûn Downs; on the skyline you can clearly see the Quoit. On the hill to your right (south east), you can pick out the silhouette of Boswens Menhir. 



The track meanders across the flat expanse of "The Gump". It can get quite wet in the winter - come with wellies and pick the driest line! 




Woon Gumpus: from Cornish, an woon, "the downland" + compes,"flat, level" (mutation of C to G). (Craig Weatherhill).

A word of caution - the Public Right of Way lines (dashed green on Ordnance Survey) don't all relate to currently used paths on the common! 



Keep on the track heading straight towards the fields ahead. If you see cattle in the fields, you have the option to take the path to the right going past the pond and around the fields, eventually picking up another path climbing the hill. Otherwise, head straight towards the field.



The secluded pond here is a haven for passing bird life.



Cross the granite stile next to the field gate, walk across the field and over the stile on the far side.



The fields in between Woon Gumpus and Higher Downs are not part of the open access designation covering the downs - this is a permissive footpath section. 



Continue on the path that heads straight up the hill, ignoring the tracks heading to the left or right. You are now on Higher Downs.



Higher Downs are managed under a Higher Level Stewardship scheme, and may be periodically grazed with temporary fencing. 

To the north of the path here, and marked on the map is a patch of water, labelled "Lidden". This is the name for an artificial pond created for watering livestock in the summer - this one is possibly prehistoric in origin. 



If particularly wet, a seasonal pond can form in a small depression in the hillside at this point - divert around the outside if needed, otherwise continue straight up the hill towards the Quoit.




To the west of the quoit are the remnant layers of ancient fields - prehistoric field systems with more recent medieval strips around them. 


Reach Chûn Quoit. A public bridleway comes uphill from the opposite direction (Carne Farm), then continues from the Quoit along to the Castle; follow this path to the summit.




Chûn Quoit is one of the best surviving examples of these Neolithic structures in Penwith.

Click here to go to CASPN's page for more information. 



Stop off and take some time to explore Chûn Castle. From this point, you can take the optional spur down towards Bosullow Trehyllys, or the main trail continues on a path around the south western side of the hillfort and down the hill towards Trehyllys Farm.




Chûn Castle is an impressive Iron-Age hillfort. Surrounded by two extensive stone walls, the interior of the site contains the remains of several roundhouses. The hillfort has previously been excavated, showing a period of occupation from approximately the 3rd Century BCE to the 1st Century CE. 

Click here to view our page on Chûn Castle and Bosullow Trehyllys, including our Chûn Castle Interactive Portal.



From Chûn Castle, you can find a path around the northern ramparts, that leads off down the hill in a west-north-westerly direction, and off the moor into a beautiful hedged lane, known as Backs Lane. Follow the lane to the end, and glimpse across into the amazing courtyard house settlement of Bosullow Trehyllys. Return back along the lane, but rather than climbing back up the hill, take the track that heads south around the base of the hill, down to Trehyllys Farm and Point 9. 




Bosullow Trehyllys is a Romano-British courtyard house settlement. The lane adjoining it is thought to be contemporary with the site. 

Note there is no open public access into Bosullow Trehyllys settlement. However, visits of the site can be arranged directly with the landowner Miss Jackie Boynes. She is very happy for people to phone up for permission, and encourages those that do so to spend as long as possible on the site to make the most of their visit. You are best able to reach her around 9pm each evening, on 01736 788795.

If you're just passing by and can't pre-arrange a visit, you are still able to see a very good portion of the site from the lane. 



At Trehyllys farm (note the monkey puzzle tree), reach the end of the path, turn right and walk up the track. 



The existing track heading back to the Gump was built by the farmer at Trehyllys over a number of years "on the line of an older path" - only the lower part is recorded as a Right of Way, but the full track has been used by the public for many years. 



The track rises gradually then flattens out as it reaches the Gump - and continues along its southern edges.






You reach a convergence of routes, known as Pella Corner. A path heads back uphill off to the right of the built track - this is thought to be a fork of two possible lines for the Tinners' Way; a higher route over the hills and a lower, more sheltered route. Continue straight on the main track.



Pella Corner - taken from the name of the adjacent field, "an pella" means "the farthest," being the farthest field from it's parent farm, Bojewyan. (CW)

Just beyond Pella Corner you'll pass a lovely willow copse on the edge of the moor, a haven for bird and insect life. 



You reach a cross-roads of tracks just before the main road. From here, you can explore the track up to Boswens Menhir, create an extended loop towards Carn Kenidjack, or a short loop by returning across the Gump to the car park. Each option is described below:




Walk up the old road towards the air traffic control tower (the flying saucer). Two thirds of the way up, go through a kissing gate in the fence on your left. Follow a short path across the moor to the prominent standing stone on the hillside - this is Boswens Menhir. When you're done, retrace your steps back down the hill to (12).




A 2.6m Bronze Age menhir, named after the estate on which it stands. Bos = "dwelling" + gywns = "wind", in mutated form. (CW)

Horses are normally grazed on this patch of moorland.  

From the hillside: great views across to Chûn Downs (north), Carnyorth Common and St Just (west) and Ding Dong (east).



To extend the walk slightly further, cross over the main road and follow the wide hedged lane ahead - towards Higher Boslow Farm. You reach another cross-roads of tracks; if you're keen, you can follow the lane all the way up the hill to Carn Kenidjack, or turn right and take the farm track back out to the road. Turn right onto the road, then a short distance on the roadside to the car park.




The hedged lane is again part of the Tinners' Way - this section is known as Water Lane (or sometimes Muddy Lane!)

Be sure to check out some interesting bits of archaeology on this loop:

The Boslow Stone: just south of the intersection of tracks - an early medieval inscribed stone bearing a cross on one side and inscription on the other. Near to the Boslow Stone (just back east along Water Lane) is an old boundary stone, with a "P" on one side (possibly for "Portheras" - see below).

Portheras Common Barrow - a well preserved, kerbed bronze age barrow. Look for the CASPN tablet on the left side of the track and follow the short path to find it.  



Alternatively, for a shorter walk, turn right at point 12 and take the path heading back across common, passing a Penwith Gate near the road, to close the loop and return to the car park. 



Penwith Gates - a distinctive local design of gate, traditionally wrought iron (such as this one) but now more commonly galvanised steel, hung on granite gateposts; the archaeological term for an upright stone is an orthostat.

This long straight path appears to be an old road across the common - there are clues that it may have been surfaced a long time ago.