Ancient Sites - A Tour of West Penwith 1
The main sites of Penwith form a crescent across the whole of the Land's End Peninsula, here are some of the main ones:-
Pendeen Vau (Pendeen Voe) Grid ref. SW381356
Pendeen Vau or Fogou is a Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age structure dating from about 1000 BC to 400 BC. The fogou is set in a hedge in the farmyard of Pendeen Manor Farm and may be visited if permission has been granted by the farm owners. It is thought possibly to be part of a larger settlement. Some historians think that formerly there was a cliff castle near the present day Pendeen Watch Lighthouse, which is situated nearby. To back up this hypothesis, the translation of Pendeen or Pen-Dyn is 'Headland of the Castle'.
Carn Glûze or Ballowall Barrow Grid ref. SW355313
Otherwise known as Ballowal Barrow, Carn Glûze is situated on the cliff-tops overlooking the Atlantic Ocean just south of Cape Cornwall. This chambered cairn is quite striking now but when built it must have been very impressive indeed. Dates from the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age - about 2000 BC to 1000 BC. Nearby mine workings confuse your senses but when tracked down, rest awhile you will not be disappointed.
Sperris Quoit Grid ref. SW471383. Sperris Quoit retains only one upright 1.5 metre stone from the original structure, although there are several others located nearby. It dates from the late Mesolithic or Neolithic period, some 4000-7000 years ago The quoit lies just to the NE of Zennor Quoit - Grid ref. SW468380 on the 230m contour between Zennor and Trendrine Hills.
Technical Information: Height 1.5m
Zennor Quoit Grid ref. SW468380
Set as it is near the summit of the imposing Zennor Hill, Zennor Quoit must have been quite an awesome sight when intact but is now a shadow of its former self. Some time ago a farmer tried to demolish it and only succeeded in toppling the huge 5 metre capstone (weighing in excess of 9 tons) so now it lies partly toppled on its uprights. It dates from the time of the Quoit or Cromlech builders during the Late Mesolithic or Neolithic period.
Technical Information: Height 2.4m
Mulfra Quoit - Another quoit with its capstone lying against the three uprights. Mulfra Quoit dates from the Late Mesolithic to Neolithic Era, about Over 10000 BC to 2000 BC some thousand years earlier than Ballowall Barrow. Once again set high on a hill near the hamlet of Newmill, overlooking the patchwork fields below. Grid ref. SW452354.
Technical Information: Height 1.7m.
Just to the south of the Quoit lie the ruined remains of a group of Iron Age Courtyard Houses at Grid ref. SW453349.
Bodrifty Iron Age Village Grid ref. SW445354.
Bodrifty lies just west of Mulfra Quoit and about a kilometre south of Bosporthennis. The Village consists of 6 or 7 circular huts dating from the late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age and so represent a 4000 year old site. Archaeologists have discovered several differing types and ages of pottery in the settlement indicating that the site was inhabited for some 1000-600 years. For more information contact the website at Bodrifty Iron Age Settlement.
Bosporthennis Valley lies just east of the craggy Carn Galver and leads down to the coast at the secluded Porthmeor Cove. It contains remains of the 4000-7000 year old Bosporthennis Quoit, an Iron Age or Early Christian Holy Well and a somewhat better preserved Beehive Hut and passage.
Bosporthennis Quoit Grid ref. SW436365.
Bosporthennis Quoit is now almost completely collapsed, is the only known cromlech to be situated in a valley. It dates from the Late Mesolithic to Neolithic Era, about 8000 BC to 2000 BC. Bosporthennis Hut and Corbelled Passage Grid ref. SW436470, dates from the late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age and so indicates possible habitation in this area for maybe 4000 years. The remains of Bosporthennis Holy Well lie off to the north at Grid ref. SW439363.
The Nine Maidens of Boskednan Grid
The Nine Maidens of Boskednan are stone circle formerly of 19 upright stones set on a hilltop mid-way between Mên-an-Tol and Bodrifty Iron Age Village. Dates from the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age - about 2000 BC to 1000 BC. The circle has been ravaged by time and nearby mining, so much so that now only 6 uprights remain with 5 others leaning or completely horizontal.