Walk - Lands End Youth Hostel - Geevor
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
From Lands End Youth Hostel cross the stream and turn left onto the small track at Rosewell Cottage. At the road turn right to head towards St Just. The lane twists and turns, climbing steadily. When you reach Bosrone Road turn right. This will take you in to St Just.
From St Just take either the Western Greyhound 507 bus ( St Just - Gurnards Head service) or the First in Devon & Cornwall 10A bus ( St Just - Newbridge - Penzance service). both stop at Geevor Tin Mine (on B3306) and should take no more than 20 minutes journey time.
- Leave the car park at Geevor and walk downhill passing the restored water wheel, the old spoil heaps and the entrance to the underground adit.
The Geevor Tin Mine Museum and Heritage Centre is open daily except Saturdays and conducts underground tours, and is a great introduction to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
- Join the Coast Path and turn right heading north over a footbridge. Pass the rocks called The Avarack where there was once a bathing place in the rocks used by miners and their families. Follow the Coast Path uphill and down again to a stream valley.
You will see the big island, the Enys, on the seaward side and the coastguard cottages ahead.
- Reaching the road at the coastguard cottages turn left and walk towards the lighthouse at Pendeen Watch.
The Coast Path turns right in front of the lighthouse and heads east towards Portheras Cove with wonderful views ahead to Gurnards Head. Follow the Coast Path signs along the cliff above Portheras Beach.
The white sandy beach of Portheras Cove nestles between sheer cliffs at the mouth of the shallow valley below Pendeen, and it is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. At low tide there are rocks below the sand, and sometimes grey seals haul themselves out onto the beach. In the summer it is also a good place for spotting dolphins.
Until 2004, when it was cleaned up, parts of the beach were out of bounds, made unsafe by sharp fragments of the MV Alacrity, wrecked here in 1963. The British cargo ship, built in 1940 by Goole of London, was carrying a cargo of anthracite when it ran aground on the rocks and broke up.
- When you reach the path to the beach, the Coast Path heads inland across stepping stones; a detour to the beach is perhaps irresistible. Once you have crossed the stepping stones stay on the Coast Path climbing out of the little valley and heading inland.
- After 100 yards of climbing you see signs to the left for the Coast Path and Morvah; ignore these and now leave the Coast Path continuing to head inland and uphill to the small farm at Chypraze.
Follow the lane up to the road (B3306) and when you meet the coast road turn right. After 500 yards you should see a sign for Yew Tree Gallery which is worth a visit if open. Here turn sharp left and walk along a sunken farm lane past the Keigwin farms.
- After 500 yards (where a waymark points to Chun Castle ahead) turn right up a rutted farm track. Stay on the track as it turns right again. When a house comes into view at a t-junction of tracks turn right, and continue upwards ignoring two other paths to the right.
If it is not misty you will soon see the ancient burial chamber of Chun Quoit ahead. The view from the Quoit is spectacular. Chûn Quoit is a chambered tomb dating from the Late Stone Age, times,(about 3000-2000 BC). It is one of only three in the district. It consists of four large upright granite slabs, three of them supporting a massive, almost circular, horizontal capstone. Once it was surrounded by a stone cairn with an outer kerb of upright stones. All that can be seen of these today are some cobbles in the grass.
Quoits were used for communal burials, and although no bones remain in them now, it is thought that their chief function was as ancestral repositories. They were sited in high places with dramatic views over rivers and estuaries so as to establish territorial ownership over the surrounding land.
‘Chûn' is a contraction of the Cornish 'chy-an-woon', meaning 'house on the downs'.
Our route takes the first right path (a narrow track through the heather) from the Quoit on a bearing of 240 degrees. Aim for the rocky outcrop of Carn Kenidjack on the western horizon. Cross a field through two stiles and emerge on Woon Gumpus Common with a wide track leading directly to the car park on North Road.
Carn Kenidjack (or 'Hooting Cairn') is a granite tor on the downs above Botallack Nearby, to the south, is the Tregeseal Stone Circle, also known as 'The Dancing Stones' and 'The Nine Maidens'. This was once part of a ritual complex of two or even three stone circles. It was thought to date back to the early Bronze Age. There are a number of associated holed stones in the surrounding heather and a large menhir some distance to the east. There is also a chambered cairn, the Tregeseal Barrow, where a Bronze Age urn containing cremated remains was found. This is now in the British Museum.
A local legend recalls two miners staggering home from the pub in Morvah one night and finding themselves by Carn Kenidjack. Just then an unearthly howl summoned a band of ghostly giants to a wrestling match taking place in an eerie glow beside the cairn. Unwillingly swept along as spectactors, the miners watched as one of the wrestlers suffered a mortal injury; and as one miner was a lay preacher he said a prayer for the dying man's soul. Instantly there was a clap of thunder and the vision vanished in a puff of smoke.
This track is easy walking in summer but can get very wet in winter.
- From the car park on North Road take the road straight ahead (due west), to Trewellard Hill. After half a mile you reach Wheal Bal Farm on your left. Take the wide track to your right over Trewellard Common. Ignore the right turn to Higher Trewellard Hill Farm. Ignore the next right, keeping straight ahead with Pendeen Carn to your right.
Spread out below you see the village of Pendeen, with the church built by miners in the mid 19th century, the headgear of Geevor Tin Mine and, in the distance, Pendeen Watch Lighthouse. On a clear day you will see the Scilly Isles on the horizon over to your left.
- Continue down the track past the houses of Jubilee Place to emerge on the road (B3306). Slightly to the left across the road is a path which leads back to Geevor Car Park.
From the Geevor Tin Mine bus stop on the B3306 take either the Western Greyhound 507 bus ( St Just - Gurnards Head service) or the First in Devon & Cornwall 10A bus ( St Just - Newbridge - Penzance service). Both stop at St Just. The journey should take no more than 20 minutes.
Geevor Tin Mine Café, every day except Saturday. Pubs in Pendeen village and a seasonal café at Morvah Schoolhouse Gallery.Near to the start/end of the walk in Pendeen the Trewellard Arms Hotel, the Radjel Inn and the North Inn are recommended by www.doggiepubs.org.uk users as serving good food and being dog-friendly.