Callestock Blog

29 Jul

Far from the Madding Crowds - Cultural Cornwall

Cornwall has a rich history, with its tin mines, standing stones, smuggling and ancient language, but if you're visiting the region, you may not know where best to experience historic Cornwall.

Here's our insider's guide to the very best cultural landmarks of Cornwall.

7. Nine Maidens, St Columb Major

These granite megaliths stand in a row in the Cornish countryside near the North coast. They're surrounding by green fields, hedges, and local wildlife, making them all the more mysterious. How did they get there? What do they mean? Who put them there?

Did you know....? Legend has it that nine young girls were dancing on the moors on the Sabbath, strictly forbidden at the time, when they were turned to stone as punishment. On a quiet day, if the wind is in blowing in the right direction and you listen very carefully, you can still hear the music*.....

6. St Cuthberts Well, Holywell Bay

Featured heavily in the latest BBC series of Poldark, Holywell beach is one of the county's best-known stretches of sand. But less well-known is its natural cave, carved from years of the power of the sea.

On first glance it's just a slit, but head inside and you'll discover a twinkling grotto of red, blue and creamy white walls, created by the mineral-rich water dripping from the roof.

Top tips: Go at low tide, wear suitable shoes, bring a torch, and don't go alone. The slippery steps are treacherous.

5. Carn Brea, near Redruth

Dating back to the 14th Century, this castle stands over 700ft above sea level. On a clear day, you can see both coasts of Cornwall from its peak. It's quite a hike to reach its summit so wear walking boots and take plenty of water if visiting on a hot day. You'll also want to take a camera to capture the breath-taking views. 

Carn Brea Cornwall

Trivia: The blue Ford Anglia, featured in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets blockbuster in 2002, was found abandoned at the castle in 2006, just months after it was reported stolen from a film prop studio in the South West. Did it fly there?

4. The Hurlers, Minions

The standing stones at Minions are nothing to do with the small yellow army working for Gru - they are a set of three historic ceremonial stone circles on Bodmin Moor.

People come from all over the world to visit this Bronze Age monument, dowse the stones and feel their energy.

Myths & Legends: The Nine Maidens aren't the only "evidence" of punishment for behaving inappropriately on the Sabbath - the Hurlers are reportedly the remains of men, petrified for playing the traditional Cornish game of hurling on a Sunday!

3. Chysauster Ancient Village

Thanks to preservation by English Heritage, you can still walk around the 'streets' of this ancient village near Land's End, and get a feel for what life was like thousands of years ago.

It's thought that the village was populated for over 200 years, with inhabitants farming cereal crops in the surrounding fields of West Cornwall.

Don't miss: Visit Chysauster Village and you'll also be treated to wonderful views out to sea, along with beautiful wildlife, plants and trees nearby. Look out for 'The Fogou' - some say it was used as a shelter, others suggest it was storage, but maybe you can think of another use.

2. Men an Tol

Balanced precariously on the moors near Penzance, about half a mile from the road, this megalithic structure is one of the best-known in the country.

Forming the shape of a large doughnut (cue photo opportunity with head sticking out through the hole) flanked by two standing stones, the landmark offers a peaceful escape from the hubbub of Cornwall in the Summer.

Folklore: Traditionally, it's thought that the central stone holds healing qualities, curing rickets and back pain by passing people through its centre. Some also believe it can offer protection against evil and witchcraft.

1. Rough Tor, Bodmin Moor (pronounced 'row', as in 'cow')

Here you'll find the remains of a Bronze Age settlement comprising over 100 stone huts - the site was also once home to a medieval chapel. At Rough Tor, Cornwall's second highest point, you'll find stone circles, neolithic cairns and unfathomable stone stacks. The views from the peak are predictably stunning,

Rough Tor Bodmin Moor Cornwall

Climb to the top and you'll find impressive granite tors, smoothed and shaped by the weather over hundreds of years.

Trivia: The river in the shadow of Rough Tor was the scene of a gruesome murder in the 1840s. House servant Charlotte Dymond was stabbed by fellow servant Matthew Weeks, on this spot - her body was found over a week after she was last seen, and Weeks was tried, convicted and hanged for her murder the same year. Legend has it that Charlotte's ghost still haunts the moors...

Next time you visit Cornwall, consider taking in one or two of the county's ancient landmarks. They offer some of the best views from coast to coast, and have been known to improve your mood, aid your sleep and give you something interesting to talk about at family parties.

Book your Summer short break at Callestock Courtyard Cottages today from less than £225 each. Book online or call 01872 540 445.

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* Only kidding - or am I...?