The various ancient sites that dot the landscape of Cornwall date from as far back as the Stone Age. Most of the Stone Age henges and megaliths (circles and standing stones), were constructed in the Stone Age (10,000 - 2,500 BC). In the Bronze Age (6,000 - 2,400 BC) many of the regions ceremonial and burial monuments were constructed. These mainly took the form of stone circles, rows and standing stones or menhirs, and the barrows. The final era of the stones was the Iron Age (600 - 43 BC). In this period as the population increased there was more of a shift to defensive structures such as hill forts and cliff castles.
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Allabury Hill Fort
Iron Age hill fort located on a hill overlooking North Hill village.
Location - 1m West of North Hill. (OS Map 201; ref SX257769).
In a spectacular position, this Bronze Age chambered tomb has a complex layout. This elaborate and unusual barrow with two concentric inner walls in a ring, has now been restored. Within the interior three stone cists were discovered, two with cremations inside. The site was originally covered with a cairn of stones approximately 20 yards in diameter. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 1m West of St. Just near Carn Gloose. (OS Map 203; ref SW354313).
Bant's Carn Burial Chamber and Halangy Down Ancient Village
St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
In a wonderful scenic location, on a hillside above the site of the ancient Iron Age village, you will find this Bronze Age burial mound with an entrance passage and chamber. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 1m North of Hugh Town. (OS Map 203; ref SV911124).
A circular earthwork described on the map as an "enclosure". On the surrounding gorse-covered hillside (Bartinney Downs) there are numerous tumuli, cairns and ancient field systems. Close to the trig point at the summit there is what looks like a well.
Location - 2m South-East of St. Just. (OS Map 203; ref SW394293).
Berry Castle is roughly rectangular in plan lies on a hilltop about one mile north-east of St. Neot. With dimensions of 110 yards long x 80 yards wide x 4 feet high. Not in the best of preservation, the bank appears as a tumble of stones enclosing the sites of eight Neolithic or Early Bronze Age round houses.
Location - 1m North-East of St. Neot. (OS Map 201; ref SX197688).
Bodrifty Iron Age Settlement
Bodrifty Iron Age Settlement is the remains of an Iron Age settlement, consisting of the ruins of eight roundhouses within a low enclosing bank. The site was excavated in the 1950's and a wider area surveyed In 1985. Some Bronze Age pottery was found indicating occupation. The people lived in round houses with thick stone walls and conical thatched roofs. The earlier houses were small and had doorways facing south-west; the larger later houses had doorways facing south-east, towards the sun but away from the prevailing winds. Fragments of banks, perhaps walls of gardens or animal pens, are attached to some houses. The surrounding enclosure wall was built to protect their cattle and sheep.
Location - 3m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW447352).
Boscawen Un Stone Circle
This is a very secluded and peaceful site. It consists of a leaning central standing stone that is eight feet long with nineteen stones in an ellipse around it. The dimensions of the oval are 25 yards by 22 yards surrounded by gorse and vegetation. It was restored in 1862 and a stone wall built around it.
Location - 1m North of St. Buryan. (OS Map 203; ref SW412274).
A small neolithic Scillonian entrance grave consisting of a five yard diameter circular mound of stones. The kerb of larger slabs is pierced by a passageway which faces the rising of the midwinter sun after the shortest day of the year.
Location - 4m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW431342).
Boskednan Stone Circle
Also known as the Nine Maidens, this circle is mostly in ruins, although its isolation on desolate moorland make it very attractive. There were probably twenty two stones making up the original circle, but only six are still erect, and most of those in the north are missing. They average about four feet in height, although the broken one at the north was over six feet when it was standing.
Location - 4m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW435351).
A large mound next to the chapel remains as evidence of the 12th century castle at Bossiney. Almost certainly the castle was built by Reginald, the illegitimate son of Henry I of England who made him Earl of Cornwall. According to legend, The Round Table of Camelot is supposed to be buried under the ruins of the Castle and on the eve of the summer solstice, the Round Table will appear when King Arthur and his knights are due to return.
Location - 0.5m East of Bossiney. (OS Map 200; ref SX887066).
The stone is of rectangular section measuring eight feet high. The front face is symmetrical; at the back there are two steps which reduce the width by half. In 1754 William Borlase illustrated the stone standing in a small low cairn, but by 1861 there was "hardly any trace of cairn" visible. The cairn today is around 12 inches high, and is "only just noticeable". The cairn may be the remains of a barrow.
Location - 2m North-East of St. Just. (OS Map 203; ref SW400328).
Bury Down Hill Fort
Lanreath, near Looe
Bury Down Iron Age Hill Fort lies in a prominent position on the western flank of a hill about one mile north of Lanreath. The fort consists of two oval ramparts, quite widely spaced with diameters of 185 yards and 213 yards. The outer rampart is now very indistinct but the inner retains much of its original structure.
Location - 1m North of Lanreath. (OS Map 201; ref SX188594).
This Iron Age hill fort crowns its steep sided hill with an impressive rampart. The gap on the south side is not an original one but entrances do exist to the east and west.
Location - 2m South-West of Callington (OS Map 201; ref SX343673)
The Iron Age hill fort of Caer Bran stands proudly on the summit of Brane Hill in the far west of Cornwall at Sancreed, near Penzance. It is well worth a visit, especially as it has recently been cleared of scrub and gorse, for it has excellent views in all directions. In the past it would have been an ideal place from which to keep watch over the surrounding countryside. It is well over 60 metres in diameter and there are magnificent views of Mount's Bay. Like nearby Chun Hillfort, much of the stone from this site was taken in the 19th century for building purposes. Despite this, some of the stone walls are still visible and you can clearly see the outer ramparts and ditches on the one side. In a field near to the site there are meant to be the remains of an ancient settlement, and the Iron Age village of Carn Euny is less than a kilometre away.
Location - 2m North of St. Buryan. (OS Map 203; ref SW407291).
Calstock Roman Fort
This is only the third Roman fort to have been found in Cornwall and the first with possible associations with Roman military interests in Cornwall's mineral resources. The site is located on a spur above the river Tamar near to St. Andrew's church in the parish of Calstock. The fort measures circa 170 yards by 160 yards. This is much larger than the other two known Roman forts in Cornwall. Roman pottery, fragments of furnace lining and some ore and slag which suggest that Roman metalworking was taking place in the 1st century AD. A track leading into the fort was also identified.
Location - 1m North of Calstock (OS Map 201; ref SX436691)
Cardinham Castle is a large 11th century earth ring-work mound of what was once a motte and bailey castle, founded by Richard Fitz Turold, Sheriff of Cornwall.
Location - 0.5m South of the village of Cardinham (OS Map 200; ref SX126680)
The Neolithic settlement at Carn Brea was a tor enclosure occupied around 3400 BC. A two-acre inner enclosure was surrounded by one of eleven acres. The ramparts consisted of stone walls with an earth bank and ditch. Traces of fourteen platforms on which would have stood Neolithic long houses have been found within its ramparts, along with pottery and flint artefacts. Over 700 flint arrowheads were found scattered at the site. Despite nineteenth-century destruction (work to level and widen the entrance track), there was a concentration of arrow heads around a probable entrance to the enclosure. In the Iron Age, the site was re-occupied and minerals were mined from the hillside. One hut floor was excavated, and sherds of characteristically Iron Age types, including 'cordoned ware', were found. Carn Brea Castle stands near the top of the hill. It is built on the site of a chapel built in 1379 probably dedicated to St. Michael. It was built in the 18th century by the Basset family as a hunting lodge. At the highest point of the hill is a 90-feet high Celtic cross erected as a monument to Sir Francis Basset.
Location - 1m South-West of Redruth (OS Map 203; ref SW685407)
Carn Euny Ancient Village
The remains of an Iron Age settlement, with foundations of stone huts and an intriguing curved underground passage, or fogou. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 1.5m South-West of Sancreed off A30 (OS Map 203; ref SW402289)
Carwynnen Quoit is one of Cornwall's lesser known Neolithic monuments belonging to a class of portal dolmens, the largest concentration of which lie high on the moors of West Penwith. For the past 40 or so years the massive stones which make up the monument have lain in a collapsed heap in a field on the Pendarves Estate which, up until recent times, was intensively farmed. The quoit was completely restored back to its original condition in 2014.
Location - 1m South of Camborne (OS Map 203; ref SW650372)
This neolithic henge has a long history. originally approached from the north, an extra entrance was added in the 13th century when the enclosure was adapted as an amphitheatre. It was re-used during the civil war as an defensive outpost. The surrounding bank stands up to six feet high
Location - 0.5m South-West of Lanivet (OS Map 200; ref SX031627)
Castle an Dinas
St. Columb Major
The Iron Age earthwork of Castle an Dinas near St. Mawgan stands 850 feet above sea level. The castle consists of four large circular ramparts. The inner circle is around 1650 feet by 1500 feet and occupies a commanding position. Excavations in the 1960's found evidence of occupation around the spring and a paved entrance way through the gap in the ramparts on the south-west. The site is also said to have been the hunting lodge for King Arthur. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 1m North of the A30 near St. Columb Major. (OS Map 200; ref SW945624).
This massive Iron Age defensive settlement is approximately 400 yards in diameter, with a bank and ditch (most visible on the south-west side) around it.
Location - 2m South-West of Bodmin (OS Map 201; ref SX085658).
Originally built around 200 BC, and re-built around 50 BC. Excavations in the 1930's discovered traces of timber halls which were identified as the palace of King Mark. There is still a seven foot high circular earth rampart. The site was also used as a strong point during the Civil War.
Location - 1m West of the village of Golant. (OS Map 200; ref SX104548).
Castle Gotha is a Small Iron Age oval shaped settlement, originally with a bank and ditch around it, the N, E & S side are all that remain, the rest having been ploughed away.
Location - 2m South of St. Austell. (OS Map 204; ref SX028497).
Neolithic Chamber Tomb dating back to c.4000 BC. An elegant structure with a simple rectangular chamber. It is surrounded by the traces of a mound about twelve yards diameter with some stones on the north of it like kerb-stones. This is one of the most well-preserved of the Quoits in Cornwall. A round capstone with a cup-mark lies on top of the closed chamber.
Location - 2m South of the village of Morvah. (OS Map 203; ref SW402339).
This small iron Age fort is entirely surrounded by two concentric stone ramparts, the remains of massive stone walling which is particularly well preserved next to the entrance on the west side. Walling here stands up to six feet high, the stone gate posts being especially prominent. Excavations on the interior showed that rectangular buildings of the sixth century overlay round huts of the second and third centuries BC.
Location - 2m South of the village of Morvah. (OS Map 203; ref SW405339).
Chysauster Ancient Village
A group of Iron Age courtyard houses dating from the first centuries AD. The site was occupied over a 400 year period between around 100 BC and 300 AD. This is a well restored and maintained village site with a group of stone huts complete with hearth stones and various household items. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 3m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW472350).
Cullacott is a Grade I listed 15th century medieval hall house built of granite, cob and stone, set in a cobbled courtyard on a small working farm. The house has been described as "the most important surviving medieval house in Cornwall".
Location - 3m North of Launceston. (OS Map 190; ref SX303880).
King Geraint of Dumnonia was killed in the fighting at Battle of Catterick here in 710. It is said that he is buried at Dingerein. The central enclosure measures 60 yards by 50 yards internally, and has a south-facing entrance. The uphill side of the enclosure is protected by a bank six feet high, with an outer ditch seven feet deep. The ploughed remains of two outworks, one topped by a modern wall, lie beyond. The west side of the enclosure, formed by fill, falls away as a scarp at least eight yards high. No occupation sites are visible. Locally called the Ringaround".
Location - 1m North of Gerrans. (OS Map 204; ref SW882375).
An promontory fort contained by an enormous double rampart, stretching from the cliffs on the west coast to those in the east and designed to defend the tip of the peninsula. The outside bank was nearly twenty feet high in places, and even the inside rampart reached five feet at the time. Almost half a mile long, the bulwark enclosed nearly fifty acres of land, and it was the longest ditch and rampart of any promontory fort anywhere in Cornwall.
Location - 2m South of Gorran. (OS Map 204; ref SX001398).
Duloe Stone Circle
Cornwall's only example of a quartz stone circle. The site features eight quartz stones with the tallest stone reaching up to a height of nine feet, thought to be the remnants of a retaining kerb for a burial mound. Cornwall's smallest stone circle. The circle was restored in the 1860's
Location - In the village of Duloe. (OS Map 201; ref SX236583).
Dunmere Hiil Fort
The fort is situated on the upper south eastern slopes of a prominent hill, and at the top of the steep western valley side of the River Camel. The hill fort survives completely covered in woodland as an oval enclosure measuring approximately 600 feet long by 440 feet wide defined by a single rampart bank of steep profile and up to 10 foot high and a rock cut outer ditch of up to six feet deep with near vertical sides in several places. There is a slightly in-turned causewayed entrance to the north-west.
Location - One mile north-west of Bodmin. (OS Map 200; ref SW051686).
Dupath Holy Well
A charming granite-built well house set over a holy well of c.1500 and still almost complete. This little baptistry and oratory contains the remains of a simple bath for the purpose of immersion. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 1m East of Callington off A388. (OS Map 201; ref SX374693).
St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
On a small but prominent knoll are the fragmentary remains of a small shell keep castle dating from the thirteenth or fourteenth century, known as Ennor Castle, the only medieval castle on the islands. It became redundant after Star Castle (at The Garrison) was built in the late sixteenth century, and much of its stone was then robbed for buildings in Old Town.
Location - In Old Town Village (OS Map 203, ref SV914103).
Fernacre Stone Circle
This is a very large stone circle in an attractive setting with Roughtor behind. It is a flattened circle of about 50 yards by 45 yards consisting of over 70 stones of which about 40 still stand and the tallest is five feet tall.
Location - 2m North-West of Bolventor. (OS Map 200; ref SX144799).
St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
The first stretch of curtain wall to defend the islands was built after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The wall was re-built and extended around the headland in the 18th century, and the fortifications here were still being put to military use during the Second World War. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 0.25m South-West of Hugh Town. (OS Map 203; ref SV895105).
Goodaver Stone Circle
The circle has a diameter of 106 feet and consists of 23 standing stones and one recumbent that has disappeared over the last century and was re-erected in 1906, they were originally thought to number 28. The stones are well presented situated near the top of Shephard's Hill at an altitude of 1,004 feet.
Location - 1m South-East of Bolventor on a hill overlooking the Fowey Valley. (OS Map 201; ref SX210752).
On of several strange underground tunnels, associated with Iron Age villages, which are unique to Cornwall. This one originally passed under the rampart of a defended Iron Age settlement. The passages are up to six feet high with a corbelled roof and heavy stone lintels and jambs. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 5 miles South-East of Helston off B3293 East of Garra on Trelowarren estate. (OS Map 203; ref SW714239).
St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
These two artillery bastions and length of curtain wall belong to an unfinished artillery fort, built above St. Mary's harbour in 1552. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 0.25m North of Hugh Town. (OS Map 203; ref SV909109).
An Iron Age hill fort comprising a single bank and external ditch enclosing an area about 140 yards in diameter. In places the inner face of the bank is visible and this shows that the rampart was built of dry stone walling. An annexe provides an additional enclosed area on the north-east – this may have been to provide defensive outworks to the entrance to the hill fort, or to provide an extra enclosed area for domestic or agricultural activity. It has a square ruin in the centre said to be the remains of a medieval chapel.
Location - 2 miles South-West of Camelford. (OS Map 200; ref SX084796).
Innisidgen Lower and Upper Burial Chambers
St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Two well preserved Neolithic tomb cairns, about 100 feet apart, with stunning views over towards St. Martins. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 1.75m North-East of Hugh Town. (OS Map 203; ref SV921127).
Kenidjack Castle is one of several Iron Age cliff castles making use of the natural granite outcrops of West Penwith. The neck of the headland was protected by a triple row of ramparts, dropping steeply before terminating abruptly near the vertical cliff.
Location - 1m North-West of St. Just. (OS Map 203; ref SW356326).
St. Mabyn, near Wadebridge
Remains of an Iron Age fortified settlement 250 yards in diameter. The excavations revealed traces of Roman activity. The fort has long been a leading candidate as the location of King Arthur's home fort of Celliwig.
Location - 2 miles North-West of Wadebridge. (OS Map 200; ref SX018736).
King Arthur's Hall
An enclosure 158 feet x 65 feet. Here and there a flat moor-stone still stands to remind us that they once formed the walls about this 'building'. Its origins and purpose are as mysterious as the moor itself as well as the many links with King Arthur. It is sited on King Arthur's Downs, close to Garrow Tor - a hill with a wealth of history.
Location - 2.5m West of Bolventor. (OS Map 200; ref SX129776).
King Doniert's Stone
Two decorated pieces of a 9th century cross with an inscription believed to commemorate Dungarth, King of Cornwall, who drowned c.875. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 1m North-West of St. Cleer off B3254. (OS Map 201; ref SX236688).
Burial chamber composed of three uprights and a capstone is one of the most famous in Cornwall and one of the easiest to reach. The chamber was once covered by a long barrow approximately 25 yards long by 12 yards wide. The capstone apparently fell in 1815, but was replaced in 1824.
Location - 3m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW430337).
Two Waters Foot, Near Liskeard
Remains of an Iron Age hill fort consisting of two enclosures.
Location 4m West of Liskeard. (os Map 201; ref SX168645).
Leaze Stone Circle
A stone wall passes through this badly-damaged ring. Of the original 28 stones in an 82 foot circle, only 16 remain, and only ten of those still stand at an average height of three feet six inches.
Location - 2m West of Bolventor. (OS Map 200; ref SX137773).
Lescudjack Hill Fort
An unexcavated Iron Age settlement positioned on the summit of a steep hill in the east of Penzance and consists of a single rampart enclosing an area of three acres. The site has been damaged and contains allotments and an open area of land which has recently been cleared of thick undergrowth. In 2004 this land was purchased by Penwith District Council and Penzance Town Council for £45,000 following a series of campaigns in the local community. The hill fort was formally handed over to public use on the 21st of December 2007 as part of the Montol Festival.
Location - Quarter of a mile north of Penzance railway station. (OS Map 203; ref SW476311).
Lanivet, near Bodmin
A ceremonial funerary monument built around 3500-2600 BC and used by Britain's early farming communities. It consists of two uprights and a leaning capstone set into a low stony irregular-shaped mound, possibly the result of field clearance. The capstone measures 16 feet by 10 feet. It is partially buried and leans against an upright measuring six feet high and five feet wide. Immediately to the north is a second upright measuring four feet high and nine feet wide.
Location - 2m South of Bodmin. (OS Map 200; ref SX071628).
Louden Hill Stone Circle
Located on top of the ridge at 935 foot altitude about half a mile to the south-west of Stannon stone circle. The one remaining decent sized stone still standing is a nice triangular shaped stone.
Location - 2.5m North-West of Bolventor. (OS Map 200; ref SX132795).
Madron Holy Well
Reached along a beautiful path, the well lies deep within the thicket in very boggy ground. It originally had a stone surround.
Location - 0.5m North-West of Madron. (OS Map 203; ref SW445327).
An Iron Age promontory fort or 'cliff castle' close to Land's End. It is one of only two fortified sites in Cornwall where Early Iron Age pottery has been found. Excavations took place in 1939 and 1948 and about 300 sherds were unearthed. The defences comprise a stone rampart, ditch and counter-scarp bank built across the neck of the headland.
Location - On the cliffs, 0.5m North of Land's End. (OS Map 203; ref SW347257).
Magor Farm Roman Villa
The Roman villa at Magor Farm, Illogan, near Camborne is the only one known in Cornwall, and was excavated in 1931.
Location - 2m North-West of Camborne. (OS Map 203; ref SW637424).
A prehistoric standing stone on St. Breock Downs, originally 16 feet high, set in beautiful countryside, shares a field with a batch of wind turbines.
Location - 2m South-West of Wadebridge. (OS Map 200; ref SW968683).
The name Men Scryfa translates simply as 'Inscribed Stone', and is 6 feet high. It probably dates from the Bronze Age but was inscribed around the fifth or sixth century to commemorate the death in battle of a royal warrior. The northern face bears the inscription 'RIALOBRANI CUNOVALI FILI' which in Cornish means 'Royal Raven son of the Glorious Prince'.
Location - 4m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW427353).
Menacuddle Holy Well
The name may derive from "mena" a sanctuary and St. Guidel - an unknown saint. The delightful well-house is from the 15th century. The Holy spring water was once held in high regard for its curative powers. Sick children were regularly bathed here.
Location - 0.5m North of St. Austell. (OS Map 200; ref SX011532).
Holed and standing stones. The suspicion is that these three stones are the remains of a Neolithic tomb, primarily because holed stones have been found in conjunction with the entrances to burial chambers. The doughnut-shaped stone is best known for the traditional belief that it had the power to heal illnesses.
Location - 4m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW426349).
Merry Maidens Stone Circle
Restored in the 1860's, this 78 foot perfect circle is Cornwall's pride and joy. Each of the 19 stones is about four feet high, and evenly spaced at about twelve foot intervals. There is a larger gap of 20 feet located at the east, which may indicate an astronomically-related entrance to the circle. There is a well-known tradition that the stones represent maidens who were turned into stone for dancing on the Sabbath.
Location - 0.5m North-West of Lamorna Cove. (OS Map 203; ref SW433245).
The Mulfra Quoit is partially collapsed and the capstone has slipped on the south-east side. Only three uprights and the capstone survive. The height of the supporting stones is about six feet and the capstone is around ten feet by nine feet weighing approximately five tons.
Location - 3m North of Penzance. (OS Map 203; ref SW452354).
Nanstallon Roman Fort
This fort overlooks the River Camel from the south, opposite Boscarne, due west of Bodmin town centre. This is the most southern and most western of all the Roman stations in the entire British Isles. The fort is excellently sited on a slight rise close to the lowest easily-fordable spot on the River Camel. Excavations conducted on the eastern half of the site in 1969 confirmed that the fort was built sometime between AD55 and AD65 and continued to be occupied until about AD80.
Location - 2m West of Bodmin. (OS Map 200; ref SX034670).
This is an attractive circle in a very peaceful location. This is a perfect circle of eight outer stones plus a centre one and is the smallest circle on the moor at fifteen yards diameter.
Location - 3m East of Bolventor. (OS Map 201; ref SX236781).
A bronze age enclosure which may have been a ancient village or settlement.
Location - 2m East of Menheniot. (OS Map 201; ref SX314610).
A burial chamber with a massive capstone rests horizontally on three uprights with a further three uprights making up the rest of the chamber. The whole thing would have been covered by a barrow.
Location - 2m South-West of Wadebridge. (OS Map 200; ref SW966696).
This iron age hill fort is 300 yards from the entrance to Pencarrow House and is literally split in two by the driveway up to the house. The small central enclosure is 90 yards in diameter. It is closely surrounded on the south-east side by an ovoid outer work which bulges away on the north–west side so that the gap between them is as much as 24 yards. On the west side there is an incomplete annexe formed by a single bank and ditch.
Location - 2m North-West of Bodmin. (OS Map 200; ref SX0470070).
Ruins of a medieval manor house surrounded by a protective moat. Managed by English Heritage. Built by Andrew de Cardinham in the 13th century.
Location - 1m North-West of Week St. Mary, near Bude, off minor road off A39 from Tavistock Cross. (OS Map 190; ref SX224974).
The monument includes a near circular defended late prehistoric enclosure, or round, with an inner bank and wide outer ditch, located just off the summit of a natural north facing spur. The site of the round is on the south eastern facing side of the spur above the river Kenwyn. It consists of an oval interior area, 280 feet north east - south west by 200 feet north west - south east, defended by a single earthen rampart surviving 25 feet wide and six feet high around the entire circuit except where entrance ways occur.
Location - Just North of Treliske, near Truro. (OS Map 204; ref SW797461).
This well is the probable reason for building a settlement at Liskeard. It dates from the 14th century and is referred to in old documents as "The Well of Lyskiret" or "The Well of St. Martins". The water of the well is fed by four springs and has never been known to run dry. Like most Cornish wells, it is meant to bring luck in matrimony and it was also believed to possess miraculous healing powers and would cure "weak eyes".
Location - In the town centre of Liskeard. (OS Map 201; ref SX252644).
An open-air, circular, earthen amphitheatre peculiar to Cornwall - a playing place or Plen-an-Gwary capable of seating up to 2000 people in which the Ordinalia (Cornish mystery plays) and other plays have been performed.
Location - Between Goonhavern and Perranporth off B3285. (OS Map 200; ref SW779545).
This fogou can be found in a quiet field just outside the village of Constantine. Like the others of its kind, was once part of an Iron Age settlement that has now been completely destroyed by generations of farming. Despite this because the fogou isn't as deep underground as some of the other examples it is still easy to spot.
Location - About half a mile north of the village of Constantine on the B3291. (OS Map 204 ref: SW728300).
Porth Hellick Down Burial Chamber
St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Probably the best preserved Bronze Age burial mounds on the islands, with an entrance passage and chamber. Managed by English Heritage.
Location - 1.5m East of Hugh Town. (OS Map 203; ref SV929108).
A ruined circle with an indeterminate number of stones on Treen Common, in the shadow of Carn Galver, there's a possibility that this is a Iron Age enclosure, rather than a true circle.
Location - 1m South-West of Zennor. (OS Map 203; ref SW444366).
The unique structure was built around 1500 by skilled craftsmen during the reign of Henry VIII using traditional techniques and materials such as cob, local stone and slate. A considerable amount of restoration work has been done with the aid of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Awards for all as well as a large amount of local fund-raising, to make the building sound and update the access and facilities to the required standard.
Location - 4m South of Bude. (OS Map 190; ref SX203990).
A roughly circular hill fort with three ramparts and the incomplete remains of a fourth in the west, probably associated with an entrance, though there is no obvious break in the third rampart. A circular depression, two feet deep, outside the fourth rampart on the eastern side and shown on the modern OS Map may possibly indicate the site of a round house or a small quarry. The interior area is about two acres. The extent of the defences is testimony to the importance of this site.
Location 2m South of Luxulyan near Par. (OS Map 200; ref SX059556).
Restormel Roman Fortlet
This Roman fortlet now exists only as a small, square earthwork situated upon a promontory overlooking the River Fowey near Restormel Castle. It encloses an area measuring about 60 by 70 yards; features quite typical of a small Roman fort or fortlet. It is thought that the site which only discovered in 2007 represents a small Iron-Age hill fort which was re-used by the Romans originally as a military defensive encampment, later possibly as a defended settlement.
Location - 1m North of Lostwithiel. (OS Map 200; ref SX102611).
The monument includes a small, singly-embanked hillfort, sub-circular, flattened to the SE side, and with a single entrance to the NW. The entrance faces an outer enclosure also with an entrance to the NW and defined on the NW side by outworks comprising of two banks and ditches. A ditch and double bank projects NW from the entrance to the outer enclosure. The hillfort encloses a sub-circular area 75 yards by 60 yards, markedly flattened along its SE side where it follows the crest of a steep scarp down to the St. Stephens River.
Location 1m South of St. Stephen. (OS Map 200; ref SX940511).
A very large Early Bronze Age barrow, 200 yards north-east of 'The Hurlers'. The barrow is approximately 30 yards in diameter. An excavation by local miners in 1837 discovered a granite cyst set in its eastern edge. The site of the cist is still visible in the side of the barrow. The cist contained the remains of a human skeleton, beads, spear head, pottery and the 'Rillaton' Gold Cup, now held in the British Museum. A copy can be seen in the Royal Cornwall Museum, in Truro.
Location - 0.5m North-West of Minions off B3254. (OS Map 201; ref SX260719).
The stone tower built on the 60 foot granite outcrop of Roche Rock is said to have been the dwelling of the hermit Ogrin who sheltered the lovers Tristan, a knight of the round table, and Iseult from the wrath of the betrayed King Mark, who is said to have been the husband of Iseult and uncle of Tristan. The ruined 14th century St. Michael's chapel clings precariously to the south side.
Location - 3m North of St. Austell. (OS Map 200; ref SW992596).
St. Breock Downs Monolith
A prehistoric standing stone or Menhir, originally 16 feet high, set in beautiful countryside, was known as Men Gurta. It is now called St. Breock Longstone. Weighing about 16.5 tons it is still the heaviest standing stone in Cornwall. For many centuries it has been recognised as a significant meeting place for the Cornish People. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - On St. Breock Downs, 3.75m South-West of Wadebridge off A39. (OS Map 200; ref SW968683).
St. Breward Holy Well
A dry well that is slowly disappearing into the undergrowth.
Location - A short walk from the village of St. Breward. (OS Map 200; ref SX091769).
St. Cleer's Holy Well
Formerly a bowssening pool where "mad people" were immersed frequently to try and cure there insanity.
Location - In the village of St. Cleer. (OS Map 201; ref SX249683).
St. Clement's Holy Well
This well is located at St Clement. Before you get to the turning to the church, the well is on the right hand side, next to a well pump.
Location - Just down from St. Clements church and close to the river. (OS Map 204; ref SW853438).
St. Clether's Holy Well
St. Clether, near Camelford
A clear spring of water flows under the altar in the well-house and then out into the baptistry chapel next to it. The water, once famous for its miraculous healing qualities, was made thus by the body of St. Clether that was lain by the altar. St. Clether (Clederus) was a 6th century Welsh prince who became a hermit here.
Location - In the village of St. Clether. (OS Map 201; ref SX203847).
St. Cyor's Holy Well
The Well is a restored 15th century structure set in a landscaped granite enclosure. Originally the source of the village's water supply, it is now dry as an unforeseen consequence of the construction of the nearby railway cutting in the 1870's. The structure was renovated following Sir Arthur Quiller Couch's visit in 1855 and again in the 1960's.
Location - In the village of Luxulyan. (OS Map 200; ref SX053581).
St. Dennis Hill Fort
St. Dennis near St. Austell
St. Dennis Hill Fort surrounds St. Dennis church atop a conical hill near Indian Queens. Located just to the south of the A30 trunk road, its position effectively controls all the land north across Goss Moor to Castle an Dinas and indicates how the Iron Age people used high points in the landscape to control this ancient trade route through Cornwall. Circular in shape the twin ramparts are about 110 yards in diameter.
Location - A short walk from the village of St. Dennis. (OS Map 200; ref SW951583).
St. Helen's Oratory
The remains of St. Helen's Oratory, which date back as far as Roman times according to one observer, is a tiny early Christian chapel located in a field at Cape Cornwall. An ancient cross with a chi-rho monogram was discovered on the site in the mid-19th century, but was sadly lost. The current cross on the chapel is one that was found nearby.
Location - A mile west of the village of St. Just. (OS Map 203; ref SW352319).
St. Just's Holy Well
A pretty little well despite of many warnings dotted around about the well water being unsafe to drink. Though this is the main well to visit, the smaller well on the way through the churchyard much more magical and endearing.
Location - In St. Just-in-Roseland churchyard. (OS Map 204: SW849358).
St. Keyne's Holy Well
The legend is that the water form this well provides instant power to one in a couple of newly-weds. The first of the couple to drink the water after getting married will be the boss. Reputed to be named after the daughter of a Welsh king who settled here in the fifth century.
Location - 0.5m South of the village of St. Keyne. (OS Map 201; ref SX248603).
St. Michael's Mount
St. Michael's Mount is a tidal island located 400 yards off the Mount's Bay. Ancient castle, four crosses and a well. St. Michael's Mount was widely known as a port by Prehistoric traders and was probably the island of 'Ictis' from which Cornish tin was exported to the Greek trading communities around the fourth century BC.
Location - 0.5m South of Marazion (OS Map 203; ref SW514298).
St. Piran's Oratory
St. Piran's oratory was the site of a 6th century early Christian church established by St. Piran, an Irish missionary who was the patron saint of tinners, and the most important saint in Cornwall. It lies a few hundred yards west of the ancient cross that also bears his name, in the wide expanse of Penhale Sands. Because of constant erosion by wind and sand the remains of the building have been buried to protect it. The mound is now topped with a smallish granite stone and a plaque.
Location 1 mile North of Perranporth. (OS Map 200; ref SW768564).
St. Torney's Holy Well
Set in a lovely abandoned location, in dark woods by the River Lyhner. The well itself seems to have been improved in relatively recent times. It is remote from the local church yet was a baptismal well, and it lies close to all the deserted settlements around Twelve Men's Moor.
Location - 0.25m South of the village of North Hill. (OS Map 201; ref SX270763).
Sancreed Beacon is an area of granite upland, 200 feet above sea level. It was probably inhabited during the Bronze Age. This area of natural moorland offers both a spectacular view across Mounts Bay and a wide variety of historic remains. There are two burial mounds which can be seen on the summit. The remains of what is believed to be a Bronze Age hut stand on its western slope. Open works and old shafts provide evidence of tin mining here in the mid-19th century.
Location - Near the village of Sancreed. (OS Map 203; ref SW414295).
Sancreed Holy Well
Set amongst pine and holly trees, steps lead down to this well which is lined with glowing moss-green phosphorence.
Location - In the village of Sancreed. (OS Map 203; ref SW417293).
This quoit is badly ruined with only one upright and three fallen stones remaining.
Location - 0.5m East of Zennor. (OS Map 203; ref SW470382).
This is a huge roughly circular ring of about 140 feet E-W by 133 feet dimensions. Like its neighbour Fernacre not too far to the east, its stones are irregularly spaced.
Location - 2m South-West of Camelford. (OS Map 201; ref SX126800).
A Bronze Age enclosure fort encircling the top of Stowe's Hill, North of The Hurlers and adjacent to the famous Cheesewring. It is easily accessed from the car park to the West of Minions. On the hill top there are two enclosures marked by lines of tumbled stones. The larger to the North has numerous hut circles. Traces of other walls descend the hill slope suggesting the beginning of a system of fields and drove ways.
Location - 1m North of Minions. (OS Map 201; ref SX258725).
This is a ruined circle-henge that once consisted of 28 stones in a 147 feet diameter ring. Of the remaining 15 stones, only four are standing. Near the centre of the circle is a fallen pillar twelve feet long.
Location - 2m West of Bolventor. (OS Map 200; ref SX144752).
The Blind Fiddler
This is a fine standing stone and must have been an important monument in it's time due the effort to erect it. It is about 11.5 feet high and roughly triangular in form. This is named after yet another unfortunate musician to play on the Sabbath.
Location - 1m North of St. Buryan. (OS Map 203: ref SW425281).
These three Bronze Age stone circles in a line on Bodmin Moor are some of the best examples of ceremonial standing stones in the south west. They have diameters of 115 feet, 138 feet and 108 feet. Excavations in 1935 revealed that the north circle had been paved in granite and that a path had joined it to the central circle. Care had been taken to shape the stones and set them it pits so that the tops were all level. many of the stones have been re-erected and stand up to six feet tall. Originally all the circles are said to have contained twenty nine stones. Two other monoliths, the Pipers, are 330 feet south west of the middle circle and may be entrance stones to the Hurlers. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 0.5m North-West of Minions off B3254. (OS Map 201; ref SX258714).
The Long Stone
Known locally as 'Long Tom', the Longstone stands a few yards from the road, on Craddock Moor in a very exposed and lonely spot. It has a mark on the back and carved cross. It may have once been a menhir that was then Christianised by carving a cross on its face.
Location - 0.5m South of Minions. (OS Map 201; ref SX255705).
A pair of standing stones very near to the Merry Maidens, but these stones are not visible from the circle. The north-east stone is the highest surviving stone in Cornwall at just over 16.5 feet but it is leaning. This is one of the pipers that played so that the merry maidens could dance.
Location - 0.5m North-West of Lamorna Cove. (OS Map 203; ref SW435248).
The Rumps Cliff Castle
This promontory fort with superb coastal vistas has a massive triple rampart and ditch system protecting an area of around six acres at the tip of the headland. Several hut circles lie within the enclosure. Excavations have unearthed pottery from the 1st century BC and indicate trade with the Mediterranean area.
Location - 1m North of Polzeath. (OS Map 200; ref SW934810).
The Tristan Stone
Beside the A3082 a short distance outside Fowey, in a convenient lay-by, this repositioned stone stands on a modern base nearly seven feet high. A Tau cross is carved in relief on the back of the stone, whilst the front has an inscription running down the stone: 'Drustanus Hic Lacit Cunomori Filius' (Drustanus lies here, son of Cunomorus (King Mark)). Mark was the son of King Felix. It is thought that the stone (or rather the inscription) dates to the 6th century and that Drustanus may be the famous Tristan of Tristan and Iseult story. Sadly, the first name on the inscription is now almost totally worn away.
Location - 1m West of Fowey. (OS Map 200; ref SX113521).
Three Brothers of Grugith
Burial cist which is getting rather overgrown.
Location - 1m North-West of Coverack. (OS Map 204; ref SW761198).
This is one of an original trio of circles. The remains of the central circle are just four stones in the wall immediately to the west of the surviving circle. In 1885 ten standing stones were recorded here, these were lost in field clearances and now only one is visible in the wall. The third circle is believed to be further east and is based on aerial photography as nothing is visible on the ground as it is under cultivation.
Location - 0.5m North of St. Just. (OS Map 203; ref SW387324).
Tregiffian Burial Chamber
A Neolithic or early Bronze Age chambered tomb by the side of a country road. This circular barrow, located just down the road from the Merry Maidens consists of a burial chamber composed of stone uprights, dry stone walling and four capstones. The northern half has been obliterated by the modern road. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 2m South-East of St. Buryan on B3315. (OS Map 203; ref SW430245).
This small hill fort is defended by a massive stone wall standing up to seven feet in places faced on both sides with stone slabs. The two entrances have fine sets of door jambs. Surface finds suggest a long period of occupation from the Neolithic through to the eighth century.
Location - 2m South of St. Ives. (OS Map 203; ref SW518362).
Treryn Dinas - Cliff Castle
(Cliff castle. Iron Age.) Promontory fort, protected by four massive ramparts sited on a spectacular headland. A natural rocking or Logan stone perched on the top. Re-erected in 1824, having been pushed over the cliff by a young naval officer.
Location - 3m South-East of St. Buryan. (OS Map 203; ref SW397221).
This well preserved 13th to 14th century dovecote (pigeon house), with its keystone finish roof, is thought to be only one of four surviving examples of its kind in Cornwall. The culverhouse was used to farm the eggs and meat of its inhabitants. This one originally served nearby Trevanion Manor. Built for the purposes of food and resources, the culver houses were built in local materials. Located on the southern outskirts of Wadebridge, the site is free and open to visit all year at any reasonable time. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 0.5m South of Wadebridge. (OS Map 200; ref SW999716).
Trevelgue - Cliff Castle
The headland is cut off by seven ramparts and is the most heavily defended prehistoric site in Cornwall. The seaward end is now an island. Excavations revealed evidence of bronze and iron smelting. There are two burial mounds, one on the island and one inside the outer rampart.
Location - 0.5 North of Newquay. (OS Map 200; ref SW827630).
An ancient Neolithic burial chamber on southern edge of Bodmin Moor, standing nine feet high and consisting of five stones surmounted by a huge capstone. This is perhaps the best preserved Portal Dolmen in the whole of Cornwall and one of the most impressive in Britain. Also known as King Arthur's Quoit. Managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Location - 1m North-East of St. Cleer near Darite of B3254. (OS Map 201; ref SX259688).
Stone circle 35 yards in diameter which may date back to the Late Neolithic period. This would have been an outstanding monument when built as the stones are large and were carefully selected with flat tops and inner faces. The name Trippet comes from the common legend around Cornwall that the stones are the petrified bodies of girls who were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath.
Location - 2.5m West of Bolventor. (OS Map 200; ref SX131750).
Bronze-Age round barrow/burial mound partly tree covered, is situated in a farmers field and is said to be the biggest barrow in England. It is 15 feet high and some 115 yards in circumference.
Location - 0.5m South of Veryan. (OS Map 204; ref SW912385).
An ancient fortress built with double ramparts and deep ditches, and two entrances opposite each other on both levels. It is 820 feet above sea level and in the centre is an oblong tumulus.
Location - 0.5 West of Warbstow village. (OS Map 190; ref SX202907).
Wendron Stone Circles
Two circles NE-SW of one another used to stand at this site, but only five stones of the SW circle survive. The NE circle contained ten stones four feet tall, and was about 60 feet in diameter.
Location - 4m South of Redruth. (OS Map 203; ref SW683365).
An ancient Neolithic burial chamber with a miniature porch in front of it. Lying in a fantastic location high on the moors, Zennor Quoit is quite well preserved. The huge capstone has fallen and leans on the chamber which is composed of seven uprights with a facade. It was originally covered by a cairn.
Location - 0.5m South-East of Zennor. (OS Map 203; ref SW469380).
Cornish Castles Standing Stones in Cornwall Cornwall's History Cornish Folklore and Legends
The National Trust in Cornwall English Heritage in Cornwall Cornwall Heritage Trust