Zennor Churchway and Tinners Way 
A 31 mile round trail 
St. Senara's church in Zennor
Cape Cornwall
Chûn Quoit
This was my Spring 2011 project.  It was inspired by Ian Cooke's excellent Tinners Way booklet, based on research by Craig Weatherhill and the late Hugh Miners, and by an article by Craig Weatherhill that I found in The Ley Hunter.  The Zennor Churchway runs in lowland country from St. Ives to Pendeen.  The Tinners Way crosses the moors from Cape Cornwall to St. Ives.   Using these, I walked from St. Ives to Cape Cornwall and back, adding my own extension to the Churchway to get me to Cape Cornwall.  The full distance is 31 miles, a challenge to those younger and fitter than me to complete in one or two days.  This page has full details and route directions.

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The Zennor Churchway and the Tinners Way
 
INFORMATION Route Directions Glossary
CHURCHWAY INTRODUCTION St. Ives to Zennor Zennor to Pendeen Pendeen to Cape Cornwall
TINNERS WAY INTRODUCTION Cape Cornwall to Bosullow Bosullow to Towednack Towednack to St. Ives


CORNWALL REVIEWS INDEX and SITE CONTENTS
Introductory Guide
What's New?
Oliver's Cornwall Walking Pages
Homes
Gardens
Museums & Galleries
Countryside
Holy Sites & Churches
Antiquities
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© Copyright Oliver Howes 2016
Page updated 10 January 2016


The Zennor Churchway - an Introduction
I had known of the Zennor Churchway, by that name and also as the Coffin Path, for some while before I started this project.  I had even walked parts of it in the course of round walks.  When I decided on my round trail from St. Ives to Cape Cornwall and back, I searched on the web and found an article in The Ley Hunter by Craig Weatherhill, Cornishman, historian, novelist, antiquarian, horseman, Cornish language expert and nationalist.  Craig identified innumerable crosses, cross bases, field and place names, and prehistoric settlements that all lie on a clear right of way between St. Ives and Pendeen.  Although you might expect the route to run between churches, it actually avoids them so, despite the crosses, it is not really a Churchway.  You might then expect it to be a Coffin Path but the many stiles have no coffin rests.  Craig's conclusion is that it is a route for the spirits of the dead, or follows natural lines of force, or relates to witchery.  Certainly there is an otherworldly feel to parts of the route.  Although Craig's lowland route runs only to Pendeen, I have added an extension continuing to Cape Cornwall to start a moorland return on the Tinners Way.  Before walking the Zennor Churchway, as one or three stages, I recommend studying Craig's article.
St. Ives,  St. Nicholas Chapel high on The Island 
Craig's article, but without the map
Craig's full online Ley Hunter article with map seems to have disappeared from the web.  Worth continuing to check.
For the purpose of my round trail, I have taken some liberties.  For my own purposes, my route out of St. Ives actually utilises the last section of the Tinners Way.  The last part of my route back into St. Ives bears more resemblance to the opening section of the Churchway.
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Route Directions
I hope my Route Directions, contained in separate easily printable PDF files will be clear.  I have divided them first into short sections with a distance for each section.  Each section is then divided into short paragraphs with the cumulative distance at the end of each.  Some text is in italics, this is usually just a comment or description, often of views.  Occasionally I offer detours or alternative routes:  these, too, are in italics.  While it is very tempting to include all the GPS data that I record when researching walks, I have restricted myself to using grid references to identify the location of particular points of interest, particularly antiquities which can so often be obscured by rampant furze and bracken.  I have also included the occasional spot height where it may be of significance.  I try to include all footpath signs and waymarks and to note where these should be but are missing or damaged.  All gates and stiles are included, both usually indicating the nature of the gate or stile.  You will find information on stiles under Terminology below and a separate Feature on Cornish Stiles.  Abbreviations are explained in the box following Terminology which itself deals with things special to Cornwall.
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Terminology and Abbreviations
Terminology
Those who are strangers to walking in Cornwall may be surprised by how the terminology for features in the walker's landscape can diiffer from normal English usage.  Here I list some of the features that may be described differently in Cornwall. Hedge:  In Cornwall this is a battered earth bank, revetted with stone, and with vegetation, or even shrubs and trees growing on it.  A young Cornish Hedge may look much like a drystone wall.  There are some English type hedges;  when I remember, I describe these as hedgerows. Cairn:  Used in Cornwall to describe a Neolithic or Bronze Age burial mound, usually of rocks but often now grass covered.  Maps may describe them as barrow or tumulus. Cist:  Small coffin shaped prehistoric burial chamber of stone, often found in cairns but sometimes alone.   Clapper Bridge:  Rough stone piers, large flat stones laid across.  Best known example is at Postbridge on Dartmoor but there are probably more in Cornwall than anywhere else.  Most impressive Cornish examples are Bradford Bridge and Delford Bridge on Bodmin Moor.   Furze:  The customary Cornish term for gorse.  In places this can be more than head height and quite impenetrable. Quoit:  Also known as a Portal Dolmen.  Exposed prehistoric burial chamber, with upright stones and a capstone.  Not to be confused with Quite (Cornish Cuyt) which is a wood.   Stiles:  Proper Cornish stiles are of stone, usually granite or slate.  See feature on Cornish Stiles for more information.   Round:  Circular embanked enclosure.  The term seems to be applied rather indiscriminately to both iron age farmstead sites, where there will be a ditch outside, and Plen-a-Gwarys, 'Playing Places' where the Cornish Ordinalia was performed.
Abbreviations
I am sure these will be either familiar or obvious.  Just in case, I list them anyway. CP:  Car parking.   L:  Left. R:  Right. T:  T junction.  FB:  Footbridge.   FP:  Footpath (sign).   LH:  Left-hand. RH:  Right-hand.   WM:  Way-mark.  X:  Cross (roads).   NT: National Trust.
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Stage 1 - Zennor Churchway - St. Ives to Zennor - 5.70 miles
For two reasons this is the nearest thing to a difficult stage on this six stage round walk from St. Ives to Cape Cornwall and back.  First, the steep road climb out of St. Ives.  Second, the astonishing number of Cornish stiles along the way, mostly coffen or cattle stiles.  Do not try this stage as a two car one.  Although there is parking for more than 1300 cars in St. Ives, it is expensive and places can be at a premium in summer.  Instead, park in Zennor for £1 and take the bus back to St. Ives.  The stage starts at the entrance to Smeatonís Pier and uses the Coast Path for a way.  There is then a steepish road climb before you get onto proper paths.  Do keep looking back for the great views over St. Ives Bay.  After that first mile or so, the rest of the way is all fairly level across pasture and arable so expect not just many stiles but also some chewed up and muddy parts.  Once on farmland at around 300 feet, the route goes almost as straight as an arrow, heading roughly south-west Ė through or past Venton Vision, Trowan, Trevalgan, Trevega, Trendrine, Boscubben, Wicca, Lower Tregerthen and Tremedda, mostly at between 350 and 400 feet Ė before dropping down to Zennor.  A possible short detour is suggested to include interest at Trevail Mill and Treveal.  Otherwise the main interest is in St. Ives and Zennor;  do allow time to linger in both. 
The church of St. Senara in Zennor
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Stage 1 - Zennor Churchway St. Ives to Zennor - Oliver's Diary
I have walked this part of the Zennor Churchway many times before, mostly on round walks from Zennor, a village I love.  On this occasion, in late February 2011, I parked in Zennor, took the bus back to St. Ives, spent a while taking photos there in glorious sun Ė St. Ives is so photogenic Ė and then walked to Zennor solo.  I found the first couple of miles uninteresting, except for the superb views looking back over St. Ives Bay to Godrevy lighthouse.  Road walking has never been my thing but one has no choice here.  It had been a wet February so field paths were pretty muddy in places but, other than at Trevalgan where inches of slurry covered the path, no diversion was needed.  As the joints get older, I find some stiles a bit more difficult.  The proliferation of big stiles on this section of the Churchway, combined with the climb out of St. Ives, persuaded me to classify this stage as moderate, rather than easy as level farmland might suggest.  You donít see much of the coast on this walk but the views inland to the Penwith hills Ė Trevalgan, Rosewall, Trendrine, Zennor and Carn Galver Ė make up for that.  They also made me look forward to the return leg over the moors on the Tinners Way.  All in all, an enjoyable walk but probably less interesting than the next two stages, the first on to Pendeen, the next on to Cape Cornwall.
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A cottage in attractive Trevega
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Stage 1 - Zennor Churchway - St. Ives to Zennor - Statistics
Distance:  5.70 miles.   Ascent:  750 feet, of which 500 feet in all leaving St Ives.   Highest Point:  430 feet between Trevalgan and Trevega.   Biggest climb:  Fairly steep 280 feet, on road from Porthmeor beach up to Burthallan Lane in St. Ives.   Steps:  Up 54.  Down 50.  All in St. Ives, no flights to speak of.   Stiles:  69, mostly cattle or coffen stiles, with a remarkable 35 stiles, 29 of them coffen, in less than 2 miles between Trendrine and Zennor.  Gates:  5 only.   Footing:  Initial road and footway out of St. Ives.  All field paths, a few tracks, for rest of way, dry in summer but can be very wet and muddy in winter.  Difficulty:  Overall moderate but, if you find Cornish stiles hard work, then perhaps fairly strenuous.   Map:  OS Explorer 102 Landís End.
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Stage 1 - Zennor Churchway - St. Ives to Zennor - Interest
Farms and barns:  You pass through, or close by, several attractive farms along this stage Ė Trowan, Trevessa, Boscubben, Wicca, Tregerthen and Tremedda.  Many have barn conversions that are either second or holiday homes.  Most attractive of these is Trowan.  This farming hamlet had fallen into bad disrepair when Yorkshireman Phil Bradby drove past the turning in 2003 and saw the farmer putting up a For Sale sign.  He bought it on the spot and, with the experience of redeveloping mills in Yorkshire and advice from the National Trust, restored the hamlet as 12 cottages.  Three are permanent homes, the other nine second homes.  The whole place looks lovely. 
On the Trevail, Treveal detour:   Trevail Mill:  A footpath goes right through the garden and past the private house.  The slate hung house is attractive, the garden delightful and a (presumably) former cart shed most unusual.   Treveal:  Owned by the National Trust, there are some interesting barns but the farm seems relatively unexploited by the NT although there are camping holidays arranged on the farm. 
Also below, features on St. Ives, Zennor and Cornish Stiles.
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Features St. Ives Zennor Cornish Stiles

St. Ives
Cornwall's best known harbour town is on the north coast, just a dozen or so miles from Land's End.  On its north side is Porthmeor, the surfers beach, above it a good beach café and the Tate Gallery.  Porthminster is on its south side with a bathing beach of golden sand and a rather classy beach café.  Between are The Island, topped by St. Nicholas Chapel and with the small Porthgwidden beach below, and the tidal fishing and boating harbour, also with a popular beach.  Behind the beaches and harbour are steep narrow streets crammed with tiny picturesque cottages and loads of art and craft studios, galleries and shops.  The artistic connection continues with an outpost of the Tate Gallery, a Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and galleries with changing exhibitions in the former Mariners Church.  Near the latter is the Sloop Craft Market.  You pass the local St. Ives Museum at the start of the walk.  Towards the edge of town, the former Bernard Leach Pottery is now a Pottery Museum.  The harbour front is full of cafés and restaurants - and take-away Cornish pasty shops and the inevitable cream teas.  St. Ives may be very touristy but it is still a delight and extremely photogenic.  Parking can be difficult and expensive but, if you arrive early, the car park by the station is convenient for a stroll to the start of the walk. 
Looking over Porthmister beach to the harbour
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Zennor
Just off the scenic north coast road from St. Ives to St. Just-in-Penwith, the tiny charming village consists of just an essentially Norman church, a couple of farms, the Tinners Arms, a backpackers hostel with tea rooms, a group of holiday cottages known as Post Office Row, and the Wayside Folk Museum, excellent and surprisingly comprehensive for such a tiny village.  Legends attach to the church.  One concerns its founder St. Senara, accused of infidelity to her Breton King husband, cast afloat in a barrel and washed ashore in Ireland, returning with her son Budoc, who was born in the barrel at sea, via Cornwall where she founded the church.  Another concerns the 'Mermaid seat' which has a bench end on which is carved a mermaid holding a comb and mirror.  Local legend has it that the mermaid entranced Matthew Trewhella and lured him to Pendour Cove where he drowned.  It is said that on quiet nights the two can be heard singing beneath the waves.  A memorial stone in the south wall of the church commemorates John Davey, apparently the last person to speak Old Cornish, if only as an academic exercise.  The Tinners Arms is open all day serving good food with cream teas in the afternoon.  If you like the idea of a serious challenge, try struggling through rampant furze up steep Zennor Hill to find a logan stone at The Carne and Zennor Quoit a little further on. 
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The Wayside Museum in Zennor
2012:  Some doubt about the future of the Wayside Folk Museum and Trewey Mill, put up for sale in 2012.
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Cornish Stiles
Disappointingly, many visitors to Cornwall never get to see a proper Cornish stile.  They walk the coast path, much owned by the National Trust which believes in wooden stiles or kissing gates, both very English devices for providing pedestrian access while keeping animals in their field.  Or they cycle the official trails and never see a stile.  I suppose it is a matter of cost;  it must be cheaper to make a wooden gate or stile than laboriously and skilfully set stone cross-pieces into a Cornish hedge.  A shame, because the granite or slate stile, in all its forms, expresses the character and landscape of Cornwall where a few bits of wood never can.  There are three basic Cornish stile types:  the open-stepped cattle stile, the sheep stile with its projecting stones and the coffen stile, its stones laid across a pit in the ground.  You will also find many variations, including combined coffen/cattle stiles and simple step stiles.  Happily, in West Penwith most stiles are traditional Cornish.  In the course of this stage, you will encounter an astonishing number of stiles, thanks to the tiny West Penwith fields:  69 in all, mostly cattle or coffen stiles, with a remarkable 35 stiles, 29 of them coffen, in less than 2 miles between Trendrine and Zennor.  To learn more about Cornish stiles (and hedges) go to Robin Meneerís excellent Cornish Hedges web site
Cattle tile and cross near St. Buryan, not on this walk
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Stage 1 - Zennor Churchway - St. Ives to Zennor - 5.70 miles - Route Directions
Route directions are fully detailed - some may think too much so - and contain some grid references, essentially to help finding antiquities
You will find Route Directions and Useful Information in a separate PDF file.  Click here for it. 
Useful Information included - parking, getting there, transport, refreshments and toilets.
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Stage 2 - Zennor Churchway - Zennor to Pendeen - 5.58 miles
You will have got accustomed to the proliferation of stiles in lowland West Penwith during the previous stage.  There, there were 69 in 5.70 miles.  Here there are 60 in 5.58 miles.  If you donít like stiles, donít worry, there are far fewer in the next stage.  Apart from the stiles, this stage could scarcely be easier.  The height range is only between 310 and 460 feet and there is no climb of over 100 feet.  Going underfoot is generally good, too.  And unlike the last stage, much of the time the sea is in view.  The stage starts in the charming village of Zennor where you can take the opportunity to stock up on food at the Old Chapel Backpackers Hostel.  After a short stretch of lane, you follow field paths to Poniou, then a stretch of road and field paths to the Gurnardís Head Inn, a gastro-pub.  A little more road, but you get off it at Higher Porthmeor.  From here to Rosemergy you encounter a standing stone, attractive old farms, remains of a mine and an early homestead, as you cross farmland and scrubby land.  One more bit of road after Trevowhan and then itís all field paths over farmland to Calartha Farm and the lane to Pendeen Watch.  The next stage starts here but, if you are parking in or staying in Pendeen, you have a final bit of lane to get there.  This is an easy and pleasant stage, if you donít mind the stiles. 
Massive hedge, overlooking Porthmeor Cove
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Stage 2 - Zennor Churchway - Zennor to Pendeen - Oliver's Diary
Although I have done a great deal of walking in West Penwith, most has involved the moors or the Coast Path.  So, much of this walk was new to me when I did it solo in early April 2011.  In fact, all that I had done previously was the delightful and fascinating half-mile or so around Higher and Lower Porthmeor.  I parked for free in Pendeen and used the 507 and 508 buses (now 16A or 300, summer only) to get to Zennor.  Despite having to walk for about a mile on road Ė happily quiet Ė I enjoyed this stage.  Not that I didnít encounter some difficulty.  After passing Bosigran Farm, it was not easy to find a way across the Open Access land below Carn Galver.  At Higher Porthmeor, a stile had been blocked so I had to climb a gate, and a footpath sign had been broken off.  At Rosemergy, another stile had been blocked and another gate had to be used.  I have to assume that the farmers here not like walkers.  Otherwise, I found the route straightforward.  It was a lovely sunny day and I got good photos, particularly of charming Lower Porthmeor and its nearby mine and homestead.  Walking was easy, though these old limbs find some of the hybrid coffen/cattle stiles fairly hard going.  Back in Pendeen, I noticed that, in addition to pub accommodation, there is at least one B&B and that the fish and chip shop also does sandwiches. 
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Remains of Porthmeor Mine
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Stage 2 - Zennor Churchway - Zennor to Pendeen - Statistics
Distance:  5.58 miles.   Ascent:  505 feet.   Highest Point:  460 feet at foot of Carn Galver and Watch Croft.  Range 310 to 460 feet.   Biggest climb:  No climbs of over 100 feet, all climbs easy.   Steps:  None.   Stiles:  60, of which 35 granite coffen or hybrid coffen/cattle stiles.   Gates:  8.   Footing:  Generally good, mostly on field paths.  Some rough ground around foot of Carn Galver and Watch Croft but not difficult.  1 mile of road in all, can be fairly busy in season.   Difficulty:  Overall easy, though with many stiles, some awkward.   Map:  OS Explorer 102 Landís End.
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Stage 2 - Zennor Churchway - Zennor to Pendeen - Interest
On the direct walk
Trewey Mill:  As at April 2011, the working flour mill, the Wayside Museum and the Millerís Cottage were all for sale at a price of around £1 million.  (Assume sold.  Still open)    Gurnardís Head Inn:  The pub has had its ups and downs.  It is on an up at present (2011), owned and refurbished by the people who own the famous Felin Fach Griffin near Hay-on-Wye.  Definitely a dining pub now with six attractive rooms.   Rosemergy:  John Wesley, who spent a great deal of time in Cornwall, visited the cottages in 1744, 1766 and 1768.    Lower Porthmeor:  Part of the farm is now owned by the Landmark Trust.  This was the childhood home of Arthur Berryman, the last of the Lower Porthmeor Berrymans, who was both farmer and Captain in a local tin mine.  His forebears settled here before 1600, and cousins still farm Higher Porthmeor.   Porthmeor Mine:  Nothing known of this mine but you can easily see not just a standing chimney but also buddles, see the photograph above.  As you continue past the mine, on a clear track uphill, you pass an ancient settlement, shown on the map as Homestead.  I think the massive hedge that you pass on your right, overlooking Porthmeor Cove, must relate to this. 
Off the direct walk
Pendeen:  Once a busy mining village, serving Geevor, Levant and the many other tin mines close by, Pendeenís character changed as the mines closed and it is now a pleasant quiet straggling village.  It has a post office and shop, a fish and chip shop and a car park.  There are three pubs - the North Inn and the Radjel Inn have accommodation - and a couple of bed and breakfasts.   Pendeen Manor:  This farmhouse was once the home of 18th century Cornish antiquarian Dr. William Borlase.  In the 20th century it was used for some shots of Trenwith, Ross Poldarkís home in the first TV series.  In the farmyard (ask permission) is an impressive fogou, an iron age underground chamber, its purpose unknown.  Usefully, the manor does bed and breakfast.   Pendeen Watch:  Gurnardís Head and the Wra near Portheras Cove had been the sites of many wrecks as Longships and Trevose Lights were both unable to cover them.  Pendeen Watch was completed in 1900, removing this blindspot.  The light has a 16 nautical mile range and there is a foghorn with automatic fog detector.  It may be possible to take a tour. 
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Stage 2 - Zennor Churchway - Zennor to Pendeen - 5.58 miles - Route Directions
Route directions are fully detailed - some may think too much so - and contain some grid references, essentially to help find antiquities.
You will find Route Directions and Useful Information in a separate PDF file.  Click here for it. 
Useful Information included - parking, getting there, transport, refreshments and toilets.
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Stage 3 - Zennor Churchway - Pendeen to Cape Cornwall - 4.27 miles
This is quite an easy short walk, despite two climbs towards the end.  It starts by Calartha Farm, where the previous route directions finished but, if you are using car or bus, there is first a short stretch of lane.  You start roughly west and soon go through charming Lower Boscaswell village, where two small detours are included for a fogou and a holy well.  From there the overall direction is roughly south-west most of the way, first heading for Geevor Mine and passing through the museum site.  Field paths and tracks then lead you to Hillside and Botallack and on down to the Kenidjack Valley, once a thriving mining area.  Here you join the Coast Path, crossing the Kenidjack stream, which once powered 50 waterwheels, before a  moderate climb, an easy descent and a final steep climb up to Cape Cornwall itself.  Apart from the fogou and holy well at Boscaswell the major interest will be for the mining enthusiast, who can visit Geevor and may like to detour from there to see East Levant mine and visit Levant Mine museum, detour from Botallack to see the important remains by the cliffs, and spend time exploring the Kenidjack Valley.  Since the walking is easy, there could be ample time for those detours, adding perhaps two to three miles in all.  Finest views are as you approach Cape Cornwall and from the summit of the Cape itself, looking to Landís End. 
You pass by the headgear at Geevor Mine Museum
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Stage 3 - Zennor Churchway - Pendeen to Cape Cornwall - Oliver's Diary
I walked this with Bob and Pam in March 2011, leaving one car at Cape Cornwall and one in Pendeen.  This is familiar territory, having several times done a circular walk, first with Jane, then separately with my two sisters, from Pendeen Watch, along the coast to Botallack Mine and back on the reverse of this route.  One part was new to me, the section from Botallack village to the Kenidjack Valley.  Itís amazing how different a walk can seem when done in the reverse direction, as we did on the way to Botallack.  First we found ourselves unintentionally going right through the middle of Geevor Mine.  Then, en route to Botallack, the fog rolled in just as we came to fields that had recently been ploughed, obliterating paths and making it quite difficult, even with compass, to find our way.  Leaving Botallack, we went off route because of a lack of waymarks;  so be sure to take the path to the left of Parknoweth cottage, which looks as if it just goes into the cottageís garden.  As you enter the path, look out for Ė you canít miss it Ė the goose shelter;  I have seen others at Rosemergy and below Butterstor and I am assured that was their purpose.  We may have had a bit of route trouble researching this stage but it was still a most enjoyable walk. I always love being in the Kenidjack Valley and have explored its mine remains more than once. 
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Cape Cornwall and The Brisons from Edge o'Beyond
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Stage 3 - Zennor Churchway - Pendeen to Cape Cornwall - Statistics
Distance:  4.27 miles.   Ascent:  555 feet, mostly in last mile to Cape Cornwall.   Highest Point:  420 feet at Levant Road in Hillside.   Biggest climb:  Fairly steep 135 feet up Cape Cornwall.  125 feet out of Kenidjack valley. Steps:  Up 59, of which 55 up from Kenidjack Valley.  Down 87, down from Cape Cornwall.   Stiles:  20, most mixed granite. Gates:  2 only.  Footing:  Generally good on short lane, tracks and field paths.  A couple of stony paths but almost no muddy patches.  Difficulty:  Overall easy, despite the two climbs.  Map:  OS Explorer 102 Landís End.
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Stage 3 - Zennor Churchway - Pendeen to Cape Cornwall - Interest
Mines:  Along the way you pass through or close to, many major mining sites.  You pass through Geevor, Botallack and the Kenidjack Valley and get views of East Levant and many more.  And, of course, you finish at the mine chimney on the top of Cape Cornwall.  Along the way, you could visit the excellent museum at Geevor Mine (the mine closed in 1990) where there is an underground tour.  You could also make your own detours to visit Levant Mine Museum, with its working beam engine, and the famous Crown Engine Houses at Botallack.  For more information on all these go to my Industrial History and Museums page or visit the Cornish Mining World Heritage site.   Boscaswell Fogou and Holy Well:  The fogou is just north of the attractive village, off a path towards the coast.  It is in the care of the National Trust though there is nothing on their web site about it.  The entrance is blocked.  Behind it is a high oval walled area, probably the remains of a courtyard house, part of an iron age settlement of which the high drystone walls defining the track may be part as certainly are crumbled walls in the fields.  The holy well is near a bungalow in a well-tended grassy plot.  When dry, you can see the interior construction, but sometimes it may be completely flooded.   Botallack Goose Shelter:  As you leave the village, you pass an odd grassed-over stone building on your left.  This appears to have been a goose shelter, where geese were shut in for the night to protect them from marauding foxes. See features below for Fogous;  Cape Cornwall, St. Helenís ĎChapelí and Priests Cove;  and St. Just.
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Stage 3 - Zennor Churchway - Pendeen to Cape Cornwall - Features
FEATURES Fogous Cape Cornwall St. Just-in-Penwith

Fogous
In Cornwall the word is 'fogou', in Scotland 'earth house', in France 'souterrain'.  No one has any idea of the purpose of such an underground structure.  Guesses include grain store and defensive retreat.  Almost certainly they were not burial sites. There are said to be eleven fogous in Cornwall, all in West Penwith or on the Lizard Peninsula, all dating from the late Iron Age.  Considering there are so few, it is a surprise to realise that there are two within a mile of one another in these parts.  At the end of the last stage (or at the beginning of this) you would have had the chance to visit Pendeen Vau fogou.  It is in the farmyard of Pendeen Manor Farm - so ask permission and be prepared to ease your way past the cows and through slurry.  It is worth it as you can negotiate the two main chambers easily; the second also has a small creep entrance.  A rough subsidiary chamber has a very low opening and is very muddy and messy.  On this stage you can see Lower Boscaswell fogou though what you see is not particularly impressive.  Cornwallís most easily accessible and most impressive fogou is that at Carn Euny, open all year.  There is another at Chysauster nearby but English Heritage does not allow access to it.  Some say the best of all is Halligye Fogou on the Trelowarren estate on the Lizard. 
The entrance to Carn Euny Fogou, not on ths trail
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Cape Cornwall
Cape Cornwall:  Englandís only cape was once believed to be its most westerly point.  It is surprising to find mine remains (the chimney stack) in such a location.  The mine opened in 1863 and finally closed in 1883. Views from the top of the cape Ė to Landís End, to Botallack Head and up the Kenidjack Valley are superb.   St. Helen's Chapel, which you walk past, is probably just a barn with a cross stuck on the gable.   Francis Oats:  Born in St. Just, he worked as a miner there, educated himself by walking after work to Penzance to attend evening classes.  Emigrating to South Africa, he rose to become chairman of diamond mining company De Beers.  He returned hom to St. Just and built Porthledden House above the cape.  Remains of his garden, running all the way down to the foot of Cape Cornwall and to Priestís Cove, can still be seen, including walled gardens above Priestís Cove.   Priestís Cove:  Tucked away from easy public view below the south flank of Cape Cornwall, it is, along with Penberth Cove, one of West Penwithís most remarkable survivals, a tiny cove from which fishermen still harvest crab and lobster and occasional hand-line mackerel and sea bass.  Small boats are drawn up a slippery ramp, huts perch on the cliffs, mesembryanthemum grows rampant on walls and even over the huts.  A very photogenic spot.
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A fisherman's hut on the cliffs of Priest's Cove
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St. Just-in-Penwith
Not to be confused with St. Just-in-Roseland, a very different place.  When tin mining prospered here in St. Just-in-Penwith in the 19th century, its population was over 5000.  Then St. Just would have been very workaday, its character dictated by the toughness of its workers' occupation.  It is more attractive now but, despite recent regeneration, the population is still only around 4000.  Now that visitors come to see the relics of industry, to enjoy the glories of Cape Cornwall and find respite from the rigours of the Cornish Coast Path, St. Just has acquired a couple of teashops and several art galleries and craft shops yet still retains its local shops, butchers, baker etc, and several pubs;  homes look well cared for.  St. Justus church is handsome from outside, thanks to its tower and elaborate porch, and of interest inside for its frescoes and inscribed stones.  Behind Bank Square, in the centre of the town, a circular embanked enclosure is described as a Ďroundí, a 'plen a gwary' or 'playing place' where the Cornish Ordinalia was performed in medieval times; however, it is always possible that its origin was as an iron age settlement enclosure, a typical bank with encircling ditch. The several pubs and a pasty shop are all in or near the square. There is a moderate amount of car parking, including some spaces in the square. 
St. Justus Church
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Stage 3 - Zennor Churchway - Pendeen  to Cape Cornwall - 4.27 miles - Route Directions
Route directions are fully detailed - some may think too much so - and contain some grid references, essentially to help find antiquities.
You will find Route Directions and Useful Information in a separate PDF file.  Click here for it. 
Useful Information included - parking, getting there, transport, refreshments and toilets.
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The Tinners Way - an Introduction
Before I started this project  I  knew of the Tinners Way, also known as the Old St. Ives Road.  I had walked most of it while doing round walks and helping re-research the Land's End Trail.   However, I didn't know the full details until I searched on the web and found an article in The Ley Hunter written by Craig Weatherhill - Cornishman, historian, novelist, artist, antiquarian, horseman, Cornish language expert and nationalist - about the Zennor Churchway, and another on Save Penwith Moors about the antiquity of the Tinners Way.  I searched further and found Men-an-Tol Studio artist Ian Cooke's detailed Tinners Way guide, based on research by Hugh Miners and Craig Weatherhill.  Ian's excellent guide follows a moorland route from St. Just to St. Ives.  Craig's Tinners Way article concludes that it may not have followed the published route all the way.  Its main track may have finished in Penzance rather than St. Ives.  I find this persuasive since St. Ives is on the dangerous north coast.  St. Michael's Mount, close to Penzance, has a tin trade history dating back to Roman times and seems the logical destination.   I have used Ian's route, with small variations.  In future I hope to add a Penzance alternative.  Before walking this trail, do look at the informative links below.
The Nine Maidens Stone Circle
Slightly off the most direct route but included here
Craig's Zennor Churchway article with map  - no longer found
Ian Cooke's Tinners Way guide with maps - no longer found
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Stage 4 - Tinners Way - Cape Cornwall to Bosullow Common - 5.83 miles
The route starts at the Cape Cornwall National Trust car park, the last stage of the outward Zennor Churchway route having included the Cape itself.  You start with a steepish 600 yard climb on the road but then take a field path and lane into St. Just.  From St. Just a field path takes you down to Nancherrow, then there is another steepish 600 yard climb up No Go By Hill to No Go By Cottages.  Now itís all tracks and field paths to Bosullow Common, except for a short stretch of tarmac approaching Woon Gumpus Common and a final 500 yards to the Bosullow Common car park.  At No Go By Cottages you will have reached around 600 feet and will stay between 500 and 700 feet for the rest of the way.  Going is generally easy though Woon Gumpus Common but the path after Chûn Castle can be muddy. There are 16 stiles but only three hunting gates.  Major interest along the way is the antiquities Ė Tregeseal Stone Circle, Chûn Quoit and Castle, and Bosullow Trehyllys iron age settlement Ė but St. Just is well worth lingering in for its 'round' and its fascinating church.  Best views of the walk are from Chûn Quoit and Castle.  Best times to walk, depending on what you are looking for, are probably winter for the lower growth or summer for the heather but it will be an exhilarating walk at any time. 
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Tregeseal Stone Circle
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Stage 4 - Tinners Way - Cape Cornwall to Bosullow Common - Oliver's Diary
In the past, I have walked much of the Tinners Way even though, at the time, I didn't know that was what it was.  I was first here in 2007, walking the Landís End Trail east to west from Tavistock to Landís End.  At that time the Tinners Way meant little to me and it was only later that I learned of it as an ancient trackway.  In 2008 I walked the Penwith Round, a circular trail from St. Michaelís Mount to Cape Cornwall and back to Penzance.  Unbeknown to me, on both occasions I had walked on part of the Tinners Way, a combination of the two walks taking me from St. Just to Lady Downs.  I have walked the Landís End Trail twice since, once in each direction.  The only part of this walk with which I have had difficulty is the descent from Chûn Castle.  The first field is so scrub covered that you donít even realise it is hedged and it is awkward going and easy to lose your direction.  Do take the advice in the route directions and take a compass bearing in order to arrive at the gap in the hedge at the bottom.  I love Cornwallís high moorland and find it difficult to decide whether I prefer Bodmin Moor or the West Penwith moors.  It matters not because both are superb walking country and offer a sense of isolation that the Coast Path doesnít.  Perhaps West Penwith wins for its proliferation of major, varied and fascinating antiquities.
Chûn Castle, the western entrance
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Stage 4 - Tinners Way - Cape Cornwall to Bosullow Common -Statistics
Distance:  5.83 miles.   Ascent:  750 feet, of which 245 feet Cape Cornwall CP to St. Just Church, 205 feet Nancherrow to Kenython Lane, 3 other climbs of around 100 feet.  Highest Point:  685 feet at Chun Castle.  3 other high points of 600 feet or more.   Biggest climb:  245 feet from Cape Cornwall CP to St. Just Church.   Steps:  None. Stiles:  16, mostly cattle or coffen stiles.  Gates:  3 only, all hunting gates.   Footing:  Part road to St. Just church.  Field then lane to Kenython Lane.  Clear but sometimes muddy tracks to Woon Gumpus CP.  Muddy rutted track and field path to Chûn Quoit.  Muddy overgrown paths to road at Bosullow Common.   Difficulty:  Overall moderate but may be easy in dry weather.   Map:  OS Explorer 102 Landís End.
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Stage 4 - Tinners Way - Cape Cornwall to Bosullow Common - Interest
St. Just:   See feature in Stage 3.   Tregeseal Circle:  At the foot of Bosullow Common, within sight of rocky Carn Kenidjack, one of Cornwallís most impressive and most complete stone circles.  Restored, it has 19 standing stones but no central stone.  Not far away, but often impossible to find among the rampant bracken, is a stone row which includes a line of holed stones.   Chûn Quoit and Castle:  Chûn Castle and the nearby Chûn Quoit neolithic burial chamber are among Cornwall's least accessible ancient monuments.  Footpaths to the site are not signed and, although the shortest route is from Trehyllys Farm, this route is the easiest way to find the site as, from Woon Gumpus Common, you can see the quoit on top of the hill.  The site is worth finding.  The Quoit, though small, is one of Cornwallís best preserved.  The ragged ruins of Chûn Castle suggest the former size of this iron age fort.  Almost 200 feet in diameter, its tumbled double walls must have been six feet thick - and in 1951 Jacquetta Hawkes recorded that, in living memory, its walls had stood twelve feet high.  Sadly it was robbed of stone to pave the streets of Penzance.  Hawkes was first to suggest a connection with the tin trade and traces of huts, a well and a smelting pit have been found.  Methodist ministers preached from the walls here in the 19th century. While you will need to use considerable imagination, this is an impressively dominant site, which must have been much like an Irish rath and similar to Staigue Fort in Ireland's County Kerry.    Bosullow Trehyllys:  This iron age village is just to the right of the route as you head from Chûn Castle to Carn Downs.  It is on private land and, although perfectly easily accessed you should really telephone the farmer on 01736 261402.  I quote Crag Weatherhillís description. in "Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly" (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000) Ė "This superb, unexcavated Iron Age/Romano-British village consists of three detached courtyard houses, a number of detached round houses, and an interlocking complex of round houses incorporating a fourth courtyard house and possibly the remains of a small above ground fogou.  Walls still reach a height of 1.8m in places and the buildings are surrounded by a bewildering array of tiny contemporary fields and garden plots.  The settlement is situated immediately beside a preserved stretch of the main prehistoric trackway of the peninsula, and is known to have extended to the northern side of the track. The only remains there are a stone-lined well and a stone hump which preserves part of a fifth courtyard house."  Pity is that the site is really only visible, except as lumps in the grass, when vegetation has died back in late winter.
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Stage 4 - Tinners Way - Cape Cornwall to Bosullow Common - Route Directions
Route directions are fully detailed - some may think too much so - and contain some grid references, essentially to help find antiquities.
You will find Route Directions and Useful Information in a separate PDF file.  Click here for it. 
Useful Information included - parking, getting there, transport, refreshments and toilets.
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Stage 5 - Tinners Way - Bosullow Common to Towednack - 6.24 miles
Starting at the small car parking area at Bosullow Common at around 550 feet, you set off on a well made track that takes you past Mên-an-Tol stones, Men Scryfa inscribed stone, and the Four Parish Stone, to the Open Access heather moorland of Nine Maidens Common.  Here you could continue directly to Bodrifty but should not miss the Nine Maidens stone circle at around 750 feet, included in the route directions.  The path across the common, once very overgrown, has been much improved by PAROW.  You drop down from the common to Bodrifty iron age settlement from where you could make a detour, adding about half-a-mile, to see the recreated Round House and Mulfra Quoit.  From Bodrifty you climb Mulfra Hill and descend easily to Kerrowe Turning.  The next mile is on a quiet lane and a well made track to Lady Downs, where a waymarked detour to Zennor Quoit would add a little over 1½ miles.  Now you skirt Amalveor Downs on the way to a short stretch of road and field path to Towednack Church.  The only route difficulty occurs leaving Sweetwater Trout Farm, where a waymark to a stile is obscured.  Interest on this stage is enormous, especially taking the detours.  Views are good and going is generally easy with only a few stiles, no gates, only minor climbs and little mud.
Five of the Nine Maidens stone circle
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Stage 5 - Tinners Way - Bosullow Common to Towednack - Oliver's Diary
As with the previous stage, I have walked much of this many times, including treks on the Landís End Trail and Penwith Round.  In my early walking days Jane and I enjoyed a round walk from Bosullow Common to the Nine Maidens, Ding Dong mine and Lanyon Quoit.  When I walked this, in March 2011 with Bob and Pam, the one section that was new to me was from Lady Downs to Towednack.  Previously, on the Landís End Trail, I had turned south-east to Woonsmith, heading for Trencrom Hill.  This time we continued forward, skirting Amalveor Downs.  The sunken green lane that heads down to Embla Vean and Amalveor had presumably been in a very bad state.  When we walked it, massive drainage works had been carried out with deep ditches and several culverts;  I am glad I hadnít tried it before!  We did get a bit confused leaving Sweetwater Trout Farm, where a waymark and stile were hidden by a clump of bamboo, otherwise the route proved to be straightforward.  Of all six stages on this Zennor Churchway and Tinners Way trail, this stage is my undoubted favourite, for its wealth of antiquity both on and off the route.  I also love the heather moorland of Nine Maidens Common and Mulfra Hill, and the long views.  We were lucky with the weather but on a dull winterís day these could be a bit bleak.
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Bob and Pam in the best of the Bodrifty hut circles
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Stage 5 - Tinners Way - Bosullow Common to Towednack - Statistics
Distance:  6.24 miles.   Ascent:  570 feet.   Highest Point:  765 feet on Amalveor Downs.  755 feet at the Nine Maidens.   Biggest climb:  Easy 200 feet from Bosullow Common to the Nine Maidens.  Easy 175 feet from Kerrowell Cottage to Amalveor Downs.   Steps:  None.   Stiles: 5, mix of granite stile types.   Gates:  None. Footing:  Well made track for first mile.  Clear paths to Kerrowe Turning.  Lane and well made track for 1 mile to Bishops Head and Foot.  Clear paths and tracks to Embla Vean.  Lane to Sweetwater Trout Farm.  Field paths to Towednack.   Difficulty:   Overall easy but may be muddy on Commons and Downs in winter.   Map:  OS Explorer 102 Landís End.
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Stage 5 - Tinners Way - Bosullow Common to Towednack - Interest
Men-an-Tol:  At 42654/34948.  See feature below, includes Men Scryfa.   Four Parish Stone:  At 42983/35420.  A small item on Morvah village's web site says ... "At a point where the four parishes of Zennor, Morvah, Gulval, and Madron meet, is a flat stone with a cross cut on it.  Saxon kings are said to have dined on this stone.  The only tradition which is known amongst the peasantry of Sennen is that Prince Arthur and the Kings who aided him against the Danes, in the great battle fought near Vellan-Drucher, dined on the Table-mên, after which they defeated the Danes".   Nine Maidens Stone Circle:  At 43416/35133.  At its restoration in 2004, three stones were said to have been re-erected to add to the existing six.  In September 2006 I counted eleven!  If Nine Maidens followed the same reported practice as other West Penwith circles, there would originally have been nineteen stones with, like Boscawen-ûn, one standing stone in the centre.  The site has a wonderfully remote feeling, high on Nine Maidens Common with only the rugged heights of Carn Galver visible to the north and a glimpse of the remains of Ding Dong mine to the south.  Bodrifty Iron Age Village:  At 44395/35420.  Within a badly degraded embanked enclosure are the remains of eight iron age roundhouses.  Sadly an excavation in the 1950s did a lot of damage but the site, on a gently sloping hillside just north of Bodrifty Farm, is still well worth seeing.  The location was apparently occupied in the Bronze Age but what you see now is what remains of occupation from 600BC to around 43AD.  If you follow the yellow markers from the site you will find a good roundhouse reconstruction, done by Bodrifty Farm owner Fred Mustill.  This was done primarily for the benefit of school groups but anyone is welcome.  Mulfra Quoit:  (Off the trail)  An impressive neolithic portal dolmen.  Three of four 6 foot uprights remain in place.  The massive capstone has slipped and now leans against the uprights.  It weighs around 5 tons.  Off the trail but accessible by leaving the route at Bodrifty at 44467/35408 and following the route in italics in the Route Directions.  Adds a little over ½ mile.  Zennor Quoit:   (Off the trail)  Although collapsed, this is even more impressive than Mulfra Quoit.  Here there are five uprights and a capstone weighing almost 10 tons.  Other parts of the cairn, within which the quoit stood, stand to its south side.  Sadly an 18th century farmer broke up parts of Zennor Quoit to build a cattle shed.  Off the route but accessible by following a signed path on Lady Downs at 47238/36817.  Adds about 1½ miles.  Towednack:  The church is a delight with one unique feature for Cornwall its stumpy two-stage tower carries no pinnacles. The present church seems to date from 12th to 16th centuries but the site, a raised one, is almost certainly earlier than that and might be pre-Christian.  Wednack was apparently a 6th century Breton hermit, also known as Winnow and Winwaloe, so there may well be connections with St. Winnow near Fowey, Gunwalloe Church Cove, Poundstock, and Landewednack Church Cove on the Lizard.  Inside is simple and charming, wagon-roofed, the aisle divided from the nave by a fine arcade. The chancel arch, of around 1400 is said to be unique in Cornwall.  Two unusual features are a rough granite altar, bearing five carved crosses, and the font, the bowl of which is dated 1720, the base being an upturned Norman font.  Outside the porch are remains of two Cornish crosses;  in the graveyard is a primitive table tomb.  You can understand why the church was used for the wedding of Francis and Elizabeth in the BBC Poldark series.
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Feature - Mên-an-Tol and Mên Scryfa
Off the narrow road from Morvah to Penzance is one of Cornwall's most fascinating ancient monuments, Mên-an-Tol.  Park opposite the small former chapel at Bosullow and walk up a (mostly) well-made farm track, leading towards Nine Maidens Common, to find the site which is signed over a stile halfway along the lane on the right.  Two rather phallic uprights stand either side of an upright circular stone with a large hole through it.  It is this 'stone with a hole' that gives the site its name.  Almost certainly formerly part of a burial chamber, the present upright stones stand either side of the circular stone which would probably have been the entrance to the grave.  The stones are said to have curative rather than fertility properties.  Passing through the hole will cure a child of tuberculosis or rickets, an adult of rheumatism.  On the way along the lane, elaborate stone walls enclose small fields, close to a ruined farmstead and a recently abandoned one.  Further up the lane, on the way to the Nine Maidens, Men Scryfa, an inscribed stone, stands in a field on the left.  Standing 6 feet high, this commemorates Rigalobranos, son of Cunovalos, and incorporates a cross.  Some believe that there is a connection with Caer Bran near Sancreed, an iron age hill fort, as raven is part of the English translation of both names. 
Mén-an-Tol, the holed stone, a short detour
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Stage 5 - Tinners Way - Bosullow Common to Towednack - Route Directions
Route directions are fully detailed - some may think too much so - and contain some grid references, essentially to help find antiquities.
You will find Route Directions and Useful Information in a separate PDF file.  Click here for it. 
Useful Information included - parking, getting there, transport, refreshments and toilets.
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Stage 6 - Towednack to St. Ives - 3.29 miles
There is not a lot to say about this stage Ė except that it is short, easy and almost all downhill, mostly on tarmac.  Although faithful to the original Tinners Way as far as Consols, it then follows a route of my own devising through St. Ives.  It starts from the charming little church at Towednack Ė there is not much else there Ė and follows very quiet Towednack Lane, the Old St. Ives Road, to the outskirts of St. Ives at Consols.  Crossing the busy St. Ives to St. Just road, it then passes a small farmhouse on its way to find paths though the built-up area as far as St. Ives Rugby Club.  It then follows Alexandra Road to the Barnoon car park where you could cut off a corner.  The route prefers to take a soon precipitous lane down to St. Iaís church, then finally along the waterfront to Smeatonís Pier.  Starting from high up, you get some good views along the way, including across St. Ives Bay to Godrevy Light.  Except for short stretches, I had never walked any of this before so I was pleasantly surprised that it proved to be an acceptable short walk.  Not wishing to pay St. Ives heavy parking charges, I had parked in Towednack, walked the route and, after coffee outside the Sloop Inn Ė I can recommend it as a watering hole - spent a while taking photos before catching a bus back to Towednack to where I had started my walk from.
Sloop Inn, St. Ives waterfront near Smeaton's Pier
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Stage 6 - Towednack to St. Ives - Statistics
Distance:  3.29 miles.   Ascent:  125 feet, of which easy 100 feet out of Towednack.   Highest Point:  610 feet on Towednack Lane.   Biggest climb:  Easy 100 feet out of Towednack.   Steps:  3 up.   Stiles:  None.   Gates:  None.   Footing:  Quiet lane 1.62 miles from Towednack to Consols.  FP (mainly tarmac) 0.29 miles through first part of St. Ives.  Road and lanes for rest of way.   Difficulty:   Overall very easy.   Map:  OS Explorer 102 Landís End.
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Stage 6 - Tinners Way - Towednack to St. Ives - Route Directions
Route directions are fully detailed - some may think too much so - and contain some grid references, essentially to help find antiquities.
You will find Route Directions and Useful Information in a separate PDF file.  Click here for it. 
Useful Information included - parking, getting there, transport, refreshments and toilets.
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CORNWALL REVIEWS INDEX and SITE CONTENTS
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Page updated 10 January 2016

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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