We visited Cornwall in October 2012 with every intention of going to the Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This didn’t happen , we had such fun trying to find the mystical stones of Cornwall and the healing wells down the country lanes in the middle of knowwhere, often with only a grid reference to find them!
We stayed in The Crown Inn, Lanlivery, is one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall offering relaxed bed & breakfast accommodation near to St Austell, Bodmin, the Eden Project, Lostwithiel, Lanhydrock & Fowey. It is known that there has been an inn on the site since the 12th century serving weary travellers using the ancient track known as the Saint’s Way.
Some villages and places in Cornwall lay along the St Michaels Ley Line which we discovered when we got chatting to the man in the book store in Boscastle, who happened to also be the author of the book The Secret Land, Paul Broadhurst, about the location of a series of giant animal figures hidden in the Cornish landscape, which reflect important star constellations connected with ancient myths. According to Paul, these creatures are the basis for the story of King Arthur and the original Round Table of the Stars. He also co wrote a book called The Sun And The Serpent, about two researchers who began a remarkable journey of discovery across southern Britain, as they travelled along the St Michael Line. The Ley line runs across England from the tip of cornwall to the Eastern tip of Norfolk/Suffolk border, passing through prehistoric sites of The Hurlers, Glastonbury Tor, Avebury, and numerous other significant sites either named St. Michael or St George.
To enter Cornwall you need to cross the Tamar Bridge, which is a major road bridge at Saltash in southwest England carrying traffic between Cornwall and Devon over the River Tamar.
When we reached the village of Looe we could see a huge rainbow covering it. It was quite spectacular!
Our first stop was to my favourite village of all the ones visited Polperro. The was something quite beautiful about the whole village. Visitors are no longer permitted to drive cars into the village, having to leave them in the main car park at Crumplehorn to the north of the village and walk through the half-mile length of the village to its harbour. The village’s quaint but narrow streets make driving difficult. There are horse and cart rides and milk floats disguised as trams for those who prefer not to walk.
We were stood outside a building when my bracelet broke, Lee bent down to pick the beads up, which had strewn all over the floor and also asked me where I wanted to stop for a coffee. My reply was “Somewhere?” We looked up only to find that the shop we were in front of was called “Somewhere“, how spooky! They served the best Cornish Cream Tea, two hot freshly baked scones, along with a pot of clotted cream, strawberry jam and strawberries to garnish.
We stopped to take photos of The Shell House which is one of the most photographed and famous houses in Polperro and has featured in numerous books on the village. It is also available as holiday let
We loacated Madron Holy Well down down a muddy path lined with blackthorn and hawthorn just north of the village of Madron. Madron Well which has long been revered for its magical and healing powers as well as its supply of water to the local community. Even today strips of cloth, or clouties, can be seen tied to surrounding branches and stand testament to its continued use. The clouties (pieces of rag) tied to the tree was a traditional custom at healing wells. The rags were torn from a part of the body where there was an injury or hurt and tied on a tree close to the well. As the material disintegrated (most materials were biodegradable) so the hurt was supposed to go.
Holy Wells like Madron would originally have been a source of fresh water for people, and came to be venerated for the ‘genus loci’ or spirit of the place who was thought to dwell there.
Next stop Lanyon Quoit. It is believed that Lanyon and other quoits in the area were used as ritual funeral sites. Lanyon Quoit is situated in a field by the side of the Morvah to Madron road.
Next was the Men-an-Tol has generated a wealth of folklore and tradition. It is renowned for curing many ailments, particularly rickets in children, by passing the sufferer through the hole. It was also said to provide an alternative cure “scrofulous taint”, also known as the “Kings Evil” which was otherwise only curable by the touch of the reigning monarch. The site’s has a reputation for curing back problems.
Whilst we were at the Men-an-Tol we decided to make a mad dash to Lands End to catch the sunset. Land’s End is the legendary Cornish destination that has inspired people since ancient Greek times when it was referred to as Belerion – the shining land. The mythical ‘Lost Land of Lyonesse’ is said to lie beneath the waves between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly; according to legend, Lyonesse was a rich part of King Arthur’s realm which was drowned by the sea on a cataclysmically stormy night.
The next day we visited Port Issac (aka Port Wenn Doc Martin’s Country) Most of the old centre of the village consists of 18th. and 19th. century cottages, many officially listed as of architectural or historic importance, along narrow alleys and ‘opes’ winding down steep hillsides. The Village of Port Isaac, was frequently used as a ‘set’ for filming the Poldark series, as well as Doc Martin a British television comedy drama starred Martin Clunes as a doctor whose tactless manner causes mayhem in the small Cornish community of Port Wenn.
From Port Issac we drove around to Tintagel. The weather wasn’t looking so great.
Tintagel is situated on the North coast of Cornwall and is renowned for its association with the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The magic of the association is captured particularly by the castle, King Arthur’s Castle, which is reached by steps leading from the main land. We didnt get a chance to visit the castle as the weather was too wet to climb the slates steps to get to it. This is planned for a return trip. We did get a few photos of the beach and the entrance to Merlins Cave. According to one legend the infant Arthur was thrown by the waves on the beach by Merlin’s cave.
On Halloween we decided we would visit Boscastle and the Museum of Witchcraft. A flash flood on 16 August 2004 caused extensive damage to the village of Boscastle. Residents were trapped in houses as the roads turned into rivers: people were trapped on roofs, in cars, in buildings and on the river’s banks. and the village’s visitor centre was washed away. Two Royal Air Force Westland Sea King rescue helicopters searched for and assisted casualties in and around the village. Around 50 cars were swept into the harbour and the bridge was washed away, roads were submerged under 2.75 m of water
The flood lines can still be seen in and around the village. We even spoke to the lady that was airlifted by one of the helicopters.
The Museum houses the world’s largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia. The museum has been located in Boscastle for fifty years and is amongst Cornwall’s most popular museums. It houses a collection of artefacts relating to the craft of cunning folk, wise women, occultists and magicians as well as witches since about the Middle Ages.
We took photos of The Wheel of the Year which is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern Pagans. It consists of either four or eight festivals: either the solstices and equinoxes, known as the “quarter days”, or the four midpoints between, known as the “cross quarter days”; syncretic traditions like Wicca often celebrate all eight festivals.
Halloween evening we paid a visit to the famous Jamaica Inn, a stunning 18th Century coaching Inn situated on the borders of Bodmin Moor. The Inn is well known for its smuggling past, but is perhaps most recognised as the location for the novel by author Daphne du Maurier, as well as several ghostly occurrences.
Have to say it was quite an eerie experience.
On our next day out, we stopped to collect some spring water from the Holy Well of St. Neot , as Lee stepped outside the van, the heaven opened with huge hail stones and got soaked through, me I stayed in the van laughing! The nearby St Neots Church has been on this site for over 1,000 years, the present one was built between 1425 and 1530.
We drove up to the moors to see The Hurlers, which is a group of three stone circles on Bodmin Moor. The local legend has it that some of the local men were playing a Cornish game known as hurling on the Sabbath and were turned into stone as punishment. The Hurlers attract visitors from all over the world who come to “Dowse” the stone circles and feel the energy that is said to come from them. It is noticeable that the Hurlers triple circle were oriented towards Orion when they were built, they are also roughly orientated along the axis of the St. Michaels Ley.
Then onto the parish of Parish of St Cleer. St Cleer holy well, set in a beautiful fifteenth-century building; here there used to be a total immersion (or ‘bowssening’) pool here which was used for the attempted cure of the insane.
Also near to the parish is the King Doniert’s Stone consists of two pieces of a decorated 9th century cross. The inscription is believed to commemorate Dungarth, King of Cornwall who died around 875
Nearby Trethevy Quoit is situated north of Liskeard in the hamlet of Tremar Coombe. it is a Neolithic ‘dolmen’ burial chamber that stands 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) high. There are five standing stones, surmounted by a huge capstone.
We also visited the harbour village of Charlestown which was a Georgian ‘new town’ a port development for the export of copper and china clay.
My favourite beach that took my breathe away was settled beneath the striking grounds of Caerhays Castle & Gardens is Porthluney Cove, also known as Caerhays Beach.
Can’t wait to return to Cornwall to one day. It is a place filled with magic.