Nine Maidens, Gurnards Head and Bosigran Castle

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Nine Maidens, Gurnards Head and Bosigran Castle from Men-an-Tol

This is a walk that will take you far from the madding crowd, especially when crossing Treen Common. The first half of the walk treats you to some fine panoramic views of Mounts Bay and the Lizard beyond. After this the scene switches to the rugged North Cornish coast.

The ancient holed stone known as Men-an-Tol is the first point of interest, regarded by some to have healing powers if crawled through. Shortly after this is the inscribed stone of Men Scryfa. The inscription is thought to be the name of a local leader of the 5th or 6th Century AD. The stone itself may be a standing stone with a much longer pedigree. Then you walk past the boundary stone, the cross on which is the meeting place of the parishes of Morvah, St Ives, Gulval and Madron. It is then a gentle climb up to the Nine Maidens, a stone circle much depleted from its original nineteen stones.

Following this, the walk passes through some of the oldest mining country in Cornwall, that of Ding Dong Mine. It is even said that the young Jesus visited this area with his uncle, Joseph, a well-travelled trader in tin, amongst other things.

The trail next leads down to the Iron Age settlement of Bodrifty, with its hut circle still clearly visible, before venturing onto Treen Common and up to Mulfra Quoit. This is a Neolithic chamber tomb, high above Mounts Bay. The massive capstone has slipped and now leans at an angle of forty-five degrees. From here it is a straight walk through the gorse of Treen Common and on to the Gurnards Head Inn (after about half a mile of road-walking). This is a good watering-hole, but check opening times in advance. It is then a short walk across fields to the coast and Gurnards Head Cliff Castle. This is a typical headland fort of the area, where the faint remains of the ancient ramparts that effectively sealed the headland can be made out, if you know what you are looking for.

You now follow the coastal footpath, through the picturesque Porthmeor Cove and onto Bosigran Castle, which is another ancient fort. Here you leave the coast and walk inland, passing the engine houses of Carn Galva Mine, before climbing past the cairn itself, one of the highest parts of West Cornwall. A short diversion onto the summit is well worth the superb view that greets you. It is lastly downhill all the way along bridleways, back to the start point.

Some navigation skills are necessary in low cloud as some of the walk is along moorland.

England - South West England - Cornwall - Coast

Features

Ancient Monument, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Moor, National Trust, Pub, Sea
10/06/2014 - Richard Hardy

Rewalked and new photographs taken as part of the process of adopting the walk. A very varied and interesting walk through a lovely part of the world

22/12/2007 - Uta Wagemakers

A truly spectacular walk, very typical of West Cornwall in scenery, history and fresh air!

19/04/2004 - Adam Miller

If you are looking for one single walk which will take you to fantasic views, through some of the most dramatic scenery in the South of England and take in plenty of tin mining history and Cornish heritage then this walk has it all (Coupled with some truly breathtaking coastline). A very enjoyable walk; we set off at 10 AM and with a brief stop at the Gurnards Head Hotel we were back at the carpark by 3PM.

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