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Gydlavar dhe Lergh: Eglossenar, Spyrys ha Trendreyn

Trail Guide: Zennor, Sperris and Trendrine

A walk from Zennor Village up the Foage Valley and onto the large hilltop plateau joining the hills of Zennor Carn, Sperris and Trendrine. Amazing views over the north coast and a rich tapestry of habitat and history. 

Distance:

4.25 miles / 6.85km

Time:

Approximately four hours

Starting grid reference:

SW 454 384, the center of Zennor village, outside the Tinners Arms pub.

Public Transport:

Bus services for Zennor; routes from Penzance, St Just and St Ives.

Car Parking:

Village car park, fee £1

Nearest Facilities:

The Tinners Arms, Moomaid Parlour

Accessibility & Terrain:

Quite a steep climb onto the hilltop plateau. Fairly level on top but some uneven (and frequently wet) path surfaces. Similarly steep descent back down. A number of granite stiles. 

Safety info & disclaimer:

See here

Downloadable PDF:

See here

CLICK HERE FOR TRAIL PHOTO GALLERY

Route Instructions:

1.

Starting from outside the Tinners Arms, head south-east along the road out of the village. At the main road, turn left and uphill until you reach the start of the public footpath leading up the valley on your right; look for the green footpath sign.

 

 

2.

Follow the public footpath that ascends gently into the valley, across Churchtown Common.

 

 

Churchtown Common contains remnant prehistoric field systems, and a well, known locally as St Senara's Well. The opposite side of the valley here has been extensively prospected for tin, with underground mining established by the 18th Century at Rosevale Mine.

 

3.

The path passes the medieval farmstead of Rosemorran.  Soon after, you cross a stile, and then through a gate, waymarked. 

 

 

Rosemorran was first recorded in 1302. Ros, 'hillspur, roughland' + moren, either 'berry' or 'maiden'; but in this instance a personal name, Moren – named after the manor of Rosemorran in Madron, to which this site belonged (Craig Weatherhill).

 

4.

You reach a crossing of paths between Rosemorran and Foage – turn left through an old gateway and bear right to ascend uphill. Path narrows towards the top.

 

Stop regularly on the steep climb to admire the views across the Foage valley. The name Foage is derived from the Cornish word 'Bos', which simply means 'dwelling'.

 

5.

Reaching the top of the hill, you are greeted by the natural granite outcrops of Zennor Carn. Fantastic panoramic views. Walk around the Carn towards the sea.

 

 

Zennor Carn provides an excellent vantage point over a large area of rough upland, with its network of paths and boundaries. 

6.

Leave the area via the small gate at the northern (seaward) end, then follow the path that bears right. This side of the hill is Tremedda Common.

 

The hilltop around Zennor Carn has been used for grazing from prehistory until relatively recently, hence the flourishing moorland habitat that can be seen today. Patches of Common Gorse bushes within heathland are the favoured habitat of the Dartford Warbler, a scarce species. Whilst most warblers migrate south in autumn, this species is resident, finding just enough spiders and insects to overwinter. The West Penwith downs and moors are one of its UK strongholds, but this skulking bird is easily missed – look out for a small dark bird with a long tail, moving unobtrusively from bush to bush.

Downhill to the north is Tremedda Common, on which naturally developing scrubby woodland can be seen, taking advantage of the shelter provided by the hills. Tremedda Common was previously named Goon Losk, or 'burning mountain'; Goon = ‘downs', Losk = ‘burning’.

 

7.

The path passes the entrance to “Carne Cottage” - carry on, then just beyond is a fork – take the right hand path – you are now walking along the large drove road running across the hilltops.

 

A drove road is a long wide passage defined by two Cornish hedges, which in this case would have taken livestock from Zennor Hill (and the farms below it) onto the large area of open downland around Sperris for summer grazing. 

(Alternate route avoiding Zennor Quoit: the left fork is the track downhill towards the Eagles Nest; part way down the hill take the path which branches right, uphill, towards Sperris)

 

8.

You reach Zennor Quoit – on a short path off to the right from the drove road. Access is easy and the area around the quoit is well cleared

 

Zennor Quoit is thought to have been set within a mound of earth; the visible stones represent the inner portion of a Neolithic chambered tomb.

Quoit, or Coyt, is the Cornish word for 'dolmen, stone table'. A quoit is also referred to as a cromlech.  

 

9.

Further along the drove road you reach a point where several tracks meet. It is often flooded here but you can walk around the edge of the large puddles.  Take the narrow path that cuts back to the left (northwards).

 

This whole area can get very wet in winter, being very flat.

Here, another drove road joins onto this downland from Lady Downs to the south, and a third comes up from the Towednack Valley downhill to the east. The significant extent of the drove roads here demonstrates just how well this land was used for grazing and animal movement.

 

10.

You reach a ruined building – this is the Wheal Sperris counting house. Take the path that branches off to the right (east) just in front of the counting house and follow it up and over the shoulder of the hill.

 

 

Wheal Sperris mine, and the associated counting house, is recorded as an 'unproductive trial for tin', worked from 1836 to 1850. 

Take particular care not to stray from the established paths around here – there are a number of open, unmarked mine shafts.

 

11.

Just over the shoulder of the hill, a path branches off to the right – it leads a short way to Sperris Quoit.  Return to the junction and continue east (right).

 

 

Sperris Quoit is another chambered tomb like nearby Zennor Quoit - but one that is now quite diminished and surprisingly hard to find. Both quoits have been radiocarbon dated, showing that Sperris Quoit was built first; Sperris dated from 3633-3557 BCE, while Zennor was dated 300-500 years later at 3342-3024 BCE. Sperris is much smaller than Zennor, so speculation has been that it might have been a prototype build.

Sperys, spyrys = ‘spirit, ghost’

 

12.

Shortly after crossing through a boundary hedge, look out for some cleared areas either side of the path - the remains of five Bronze Age roundhouses lie to the left of the path, followed by two on the right - this is Sperris Settlement. 

 

 

A group of seven roundhouses dating to the late Bronze Age form a distinctive line along the hill slope in a roughly east west alignment.  What remains of each structure are the low-lying double-faced stone walls, which would have most likely held thatched roofs. Surrounding the settlement are associated prehistoric field boundaries. 

 

13.

You reach the very flat (and often wet) saddle between the hills of Sperris and Trendrine.  A path forks sharply back to the right, along the parish boundary line – you can loop back now, or continue onwards to walk towards Trendrine.

 

 

The area named Sperris Croft contains a mixture of ancient and more recent boundary hedges, Medieval peat cutting and stock control infrastructure. The stock-proofed nature of the more recent Cornish hedge on the croft, and the fact it was designed to be used in conjunction with fences, reflects the continued enclosure of the moorland into recent times.

 

14.

You reach a boundary gate that crosses over into Trendrine land. Just to the left here is a prominent granite outcrop that provides great views. At present the final stretch of the path to Trendrine is rather overgrown – but the views from the trig point (247m above sea level) are well worth it. 

 

Trendrine Hill is crowned by two sizeable Bronze Age cairns. The northern one has a trig point on top. To the south the smaller one has a kerb of very large stones and is incorporated into the natural rock. There are traces of an inner retaining kerb.

Trendrine: Tre = ‘farm settlement’ + an dreyn = ‘of the thorn-bushes’

Downhill to the south here are Beagletodn Downs.

Begeltodn: Begel = ‘hillock, mound’ + Tonn/todn = ‘turf, pasture, lea-land’

 

 

15.

To return, retrace your steps to point 13, then take the left-hand path that follows the parish boundary. It crosses the open moor then meets a boundary hedge; bear left keeping the boundary on your right. 

 

  Hidden somewhere in the undergrowth beside the path that follows the parish boundary is at least one boundary stone, possibly others.

16.

The path ends by a field gate into Amalveor downs – at this point turn right (west) and return to the junction at the mouth of the drove roads (point 9). Head left along the trackway heading south – which funnels into another wide hedged drove road, heading along the upper edge of Amalveor Downs.  

 

 

Amalveor: ‘Great Amal’  Amal = river name  +  meur = ‘great, large’

This drove road continues along the high ground south towards Lady Downs - across which the Tinners Way passes.

17.

Follow the path through the drove road, noting the surrounding landscape; at the end of the rough ground, just before the improved pasture, look for a small overgrown path to your right, take this and go over the stile and follow this path down into the Foage valley. Follow the line of the footpath and at the farm go through a way-marked gate and cross the farmyard.

 

 

The field systems at Foage are a particularly fine example of prehistoric fields in continual use to the present day.

18.

At this point you have two choices. You can take the public footpath that crosses the fields north down the valley, which rejoins the path you came out on. Alternatively you can follow the vehicle track out of Foage and down the valley until it meets the main road.