Walk - Rôskestal & Bosistow
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2019. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From Porthgwarra car park walk towards the shop, turning right before you reach it onto the South West Coast Path, heading around Gwennap Head, ignoring the many small paths inland.
People have lived and worked in this area for many thousands of years, and the heathland is littered with faint remnants of prehistoric dwellings, fortifications and field systems, overlaid with other overgrown relics of later periods.
- Arriving above the cove at Porth Loe, carry on along the Coast Path around the edge of the heathland at Rôskestal West Cliff.
- After passing the point at Carn Barra the path descends gently to a stream at Carn Trevean before climbing gradually out of the valley towards Higher Bosistow Cliff. When the path forks, take the right-hand path, leaving the Coast Path to pick up the grassy lane running uphill to Higher Bosistow itself. Carry on along the road, bearing right towards the top to bear right around Bosistow Farmhouse.
- Take the footpath on the right before the farmhouse, going through the hedge and turning right in the field to walk slightly uphill to the far right-hand corner of this field and the next, turning left on the drive at Arden-Sawah ('Silver Stream') Farm and following it a short distance to the road.
- Turn right on the road to follow it past the buildings and on towards Rôskestal. Ignore two footpaths and the lane on your left at the right-hand bend, but take the footpath to the left a moment after it, following it alongside the right-hand hedge and directly ahead along downhill through fields, passing a wayside cross, to come out at the church at St Levan.
There were at least five wayside crosses in this area, marking out the paths to the church. There are more than 400 of these ancient stone crosses throughout Cornwall, and the fragments of at least 200 more. Usually these pointed the way to holy sites, such as shrines, wells, chapels and churches (see the Lankelly & Menabilly Walk).
St Levan was born near St Buryan in the sixth century, at a time when christianity was under siege by the Anglo-Saxon pagans who flooded into Britain after the Romans left. He was one of numerous Celtic saints who established hermitages around the Cornish coast in response to the threat (see the St Levan Walk).
On the south side of the church in the medieval churchyard, the St Levan Stone was a sacred monument to the pagans worshiping here before the saint arrived. It is in two halves, said to have been caused when St Levan struck it with his staff. According to the legends, the world will end when a packhorse with panniers can ride between the two halves. The tall cross beside the St Levan Stone is thought to have been erected in medieval times to sanctify the pagan site.
- For a shortcut, continue along the road past the church to take the footpath on your right, heading downhill across the valley and following the top right-hand hedge beyond to rejoin the Coast Path, where you turn right. For the full route, take the footpath leading to the north-east from the churchyard, heading straight past another wayside cross to come out between the farm buildings at Rospletha. Turn right on the drive and walk to the road, turning left here around the dog-leg to walk towards Porthcurno.
At Porthcurno, the Submarine Telegraphy Museum celebrates a century of international communications centred on this tiny hamlet. The first undersea cables connecting Britain with her Empire were run from here in 1870 (see the Porthcurno & Penberth Walk). A short distance away, the famous Minack Theatre is perched dramatically on the cliffs above. Treryn Dinas and the Logan Rock across the cove provide a spectacular backdrop to the open-air performances that have been taking place here since the first production, 'The Tempest', was put on in 1932.
- Pick up the Coast Path on the right, following the acorn waymarkers above the beach and on around Minack Point and Pedn-mên-an-mere ('Headland of the Big Stone').
- The path drops steeply to the sandy cove at Porth Chapel and climbs equally steeply out on the far side. Carry on along the Coast Path to return to the car park at Porthgwarra.
At Porth Chapel Beach, if you have the energy spare, take time to visit the St Levan's tiny hermit's cell on the hillside above the cove, and the well associated with it.
In Porthgwarra car park (seasonal)