Pendeen Walks

Short walks and strolls around Pendeen

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Peter Wilkinson

First Edition January 2017, Second Edition, extensively corrected, February 2017

Revision History
Revision 1 5 August 2015
Changes after receiving information about Upland Management
Revision 2 15 August 2015
Corrected name of Three Stone Oar.
Revision 3 29 March 2016
Added some distances
Revision 4 15 January 2017
Moved sources to XMLMind. Added Fir Trees walk
Revision 5 1 February 2017
Second edition. Extensive corrections. Bigger maps


Short walks and strolls around the West Penwith village of Pendeen in Cornwall, which allow the walker to explore the paths and by-ways of the village and surroundings.

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When folks come to visit they often ask for directions for short walks around Pendeen so they can explore the village. Pendeen has a number of footpaths but not all of them have clear starting points and only a few have actual signs. This book is an attempt fill the gap.

The book will be printed in small runs so it can be updated quickly. If you find any errors please e-mail The first person to find any such will be entitled to a free copy of the updated edition.

Sold in aid of Liberty: the National Council for Civil Liberties.

Peter Wilkinson



1. Where does that lead?

Read on to and out. The walks in this little book are not big country rambles. They are aimed at someone who wants to see Pendeen from its unusual network of paths and lanes, or is looking for an afternoon stroll. Mostly they are under an hour and half though some are a little longer and some much shorter (noted in the summary of each walk). If you are used to walking on the flat some of the walks may turn out to have more gradient than you are accustomed to, but the uphill does not go on for long and the view is usually worth it. There is some duplication in the walks. To minimize this there is also some cross referencing - join such and such walk at this point - sort of thing. All the paths in this book are walked regularly, although no claim is made as to their status as rights of way.

2. West Penwith

Cornwall is not like England, and in many ways the northern part of West Penwith is unlike the rest of Cornwall. The French word presqu'ile, an almost-island, describes Penwith well. Clinging to the western edge of Europe, it has a wild and slightly untidy feel. Whether due to deforestation or winter gales, big tracts are largely treeless; the sea can be seen almost everywhere but is accessed only in tiny coves at the end of tracks, paths and cliff scrambles, which leaves the not altogether unfounded impression that the sea on this coast is for experts. Half close your eyes and you could be in any of the Celtic Atlantic outposts such as the west of Ireland or Ushant on the tip of Brittany. Geologically, the high centre of Penwith is a granite boss, a kind of volcano that never managed to break the surface. The upward progress of the hot liquid rock was blocked by the overburden and so it flowed outwards to some extent. The surrounding rock was baked and transformed, locally into basalt. The up-welling itself cooled into granite. Later weathering removed the overburden, leaving the harder granite exposed. Penwith is one on a line of such bosses: Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor, the high ground around Redruth and the Isles of Scilly.

3. Pendeen: a bit of history

Pendeen as a location is not easy to pin down. Until the 1840s it only existed as the name of the headland and of Pendeen Manor, which you can see in the distance from walk 3, Boscaswell Cliff. Pendeen is a Peel Parish, named for Sir Robert Peel, the then prime minister, and was formed in 1846 by hiving off Boscaswell Downs, Lower Boscaswell, Trewellard, Portheras and other settlements from the eastern part of the parish of St Just [Gazette 1846], in response to sudden population growth. Perhaps the friendly rivalry that still exists between Pendeen and St Just can be put down to faint ripples of this event. The 1836 signpost at Portheras Cross, now firmly part of Pendeen, pre-dates its establishment by 10 years and so indicates “Pendeen” is a mile down the road toward the lighthouse! This booklet takes a rather loose view about the extent of Pendeen.

Signpost at Portheras Cross, Pendeen

Pendeen used to mean the headland, a mile down the road

Pendeen is not a pretty-pretty village like some of the famous Cornish coastal resorts, and in many ways is more interesting because of that: it has never been over-conserved so the present area is a kind of palimpsest of layered uses stretching back thousands of years. This is not a book about history but mentioning a couple of aspects to look out for may make these walks more interesting.

Everywhere you will notice small irregularly shaped fields bounded by Cornish hedges. Of these Oliver Rackham, academic historian of the British landscape says, calling Cornish hedges banks:

In the Land’s End Peninsula there is one of the most impressively ancient farmland landscapes in Europe.[...]The banks, from their construction are contemporary with the fields; once formed they are difficult to alter and cannot be added to. They can be roughly dated by the Bronze Age objects buried in the banks. These banks, indeed, are among the world's oldest artifacts still in use. [Rackham 1990]

Remember the last sentence when you are clambering over a Cornish hedge.

Look too at the surface of some of the tracks. Now they are mere footpaths or farm access tracks, but look again, especially at the top end of Jubilee Place and at the village end of the track into Hillside in Chapter 6, Jubilee Place and Hillside. These tracks weren't the result of a farmer casually teeming a cartload or two of field stones on to a muddy track. Someone built these tracks: the stone is carefully sized and packed; there is camber and the line chosen with thought for gradient and drainage; the black basalt stone often used doesn't occur scattered about in fields; but mostly it is that there is simply so much stone in the tracks, probably a tonne or two per metre. These tracks were built to carry loads, and to last.

4. About the walks

Many of the walks start and/or end at the Costcutter store in the centre of Pendeen, between the North Inn and the Radjel Inn and close by Lil’s chippy. There is a small free car park opposite the store. Although flip-flops may be a bit light, you should not need boots. There are some loose stony paths and sometimes some boggy bits: these are signalled in the summary of each walk. After rain, in mist, or early in the morning bracken and long grass can soak your legs even when it is not actually raining: I find shorts the best solution to this problem. You may encounter cattle in fields. It is entirely a matter for your judgement as to whether you walk through a field of cattle. Cattle are inquisitive animals and young cattle are surprisingly agile and fast. There are adders in this area. Snakes have acute hearing and pick up vibrations through the ground and usually scuttle, or I suppose slither, off before you get a chance to see them. You have to almost to tread on one to get bitten. To put things into perspective:

Most bites occurred in men who foolishly picked up the adder.[...] In England and Wales only one death from adder bite was recorded in 1950-72, but there were 61 deaths from bee or wasp stings. [Reid 1976]

Dogs are in more danger than people: they are inquisitive, nearer the ground, and have lower body mass if they are bitten. If you are a visitor and have a dog, put the number for a local vet on to your phone: they all know what to do and have their phones diverted to out-of-hours services when they are closed.

Throughout this area there are mine shafts and other fall-in and fall-off hazards such as revetments, audits and basements of ruined buildings, but if you stick to paths and open grassy pasture areas you will be fine. What you should not do, and frankly are unlikely to do, is to plunge headlong into any dense bramble thickets: these sometimes mark hazards and have grown up exactly because folks have given them a wide berth over the years.

5. Maps and Apps

All the walks are on Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 102, Scale 1:25,000. The maps shown are based on OpenStreetMap for copyright reasons, though I don't recommend any of the phone apps that use OpenStreetMap: they are awkward to use and need continuous mobile phone data connectivity, which is poor, at best, in this area.

What is recommended is the excellent, though curiously titled, OS MapFinder app. It is available for Android, IOS, and Kindle Fire and lets you buy 100km2 (10km x 10km) tiles of 1:25000 Explorer maps at high resolution for about £1.50 each. You can then use these off-line, without a phone connection at all to plan and record walks and more importantly discover exactly where you are. It takes a quite a while to install initially even on a fast connection, so do it at home. See

6. Upland management: cattle on open moorland

In addition to encountering cattle in fields, mentioned above, you may also come across cattle grazing in open moorland. They are slow moving, concentrating on doing their very worthwhile job of keeping the encroaching gorse under control and creating a mosaic of areas grazed to different extents. This light-touch management increases the bio-diversity as well as maintaining access for us humans. Even though much of the Penwith moorland is designated as Access Land under the CRoW Act (2000) this would have no practical value if it were inaccessible because it was choked with gorse.

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Chapter 1. East End and Leat Road

A short stroll towards the east end of Pendeen without going along the main road. Goes around the football field and back up Leat Road.
Length 1.6 km, 1 mile, 30 minutes
Climb Almost flat
Surface Two stiles, a grass field, otherwise track/road

In the car park opposite the Costcutter store, with your back to the store, you will see a grassy path on the right. Head up this path alongside the school field. Turn left at the top to join St John's Terrace then turn right up the lane.

Pendeen, top of St John's Terrace

Finding the path out of the top of St John's Terrace

Just to the left of the gate into the driveway of the last but- one bungalow on the left is a half-hidden path - almost a tunnel of overhanging branches; take this path. About 10m down the path is a stile where you emerge into a grassy field with an isolated mine chimney planted in the middle. Not surprisingly this field is locally known as the Chimney Field. Follow the north (left hand) side of the field, with the sixties style houses of Talveneth just over the hedge. You are heading for a stone stile on the hedge opposite, about 20m right of the corner in front of you.

Pendeen Chimney Field

The stile out of the Chimney Field

Cross the stone stile and take the path along the edge of the garden for about 50m. Turn left into the grassy lane that is the “front” of Carn View Terrace. Follow the lane, which separates the cottages in Carn View Terrace from their front gardens, down to the gate that takes you on to the St Ives Road.

Cross St Ives Road and go right about 50 m, passing the house called “Carn View” and take the little lane on the left just before the Calartha Terrace street name sign. Emerge into the back lane for the terrace and cross it, continuing to head north toward the sea through a small thicket of Japanese Knotweed. Now skirt the football field leaving it to your right. This is actually Borlase Park - home of Pendeen Rovers AFC. Pass the substantial but now sadly disused club house and follow the track around to the right to join Calartha Road opposite the white bungalow “Western Watch” . The building that looks like a coast guard lookout, in the garden, was built by a William Waters, a previous owner who was fascinated by radio all his life and as an adult he had a career as a marine radio operator. After he retired he equipped the lookout tower as a shipboard radio-room and would call up passing ships. The extensive array of equipment he owned was finally donated to the Marconi radio museum in Essex Radio Collection Returns Home (2011). Having turned left on to Calartha Road, head slightly downhill toward the sea.

Take the next road on the left, after about 200m. This is Leat Road, which leads back to the start of the walk. The eponymous leat runs up the left hand side of the road. On the left near the top is a small park with a picnic bench and a little pond.

Map of East End of Pendeen with Leat Road

East End and Leat Road

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Chapter 2. Pendeen Carn

Through the churchyard to the top of the Carn, the hill dominating the view south of the village. Back by St John's Terrace
Length 1.6 km, 1 mile, 35 minutes
Climb About 60m
Surface Track, lanes and good footpath but one short section can be a bit wet and boggy. The short grass on the Carn can be slippy when wet

In the car park opposite the Costcutter store, with your back to the store, you will see a grassy path on the right. Head up this path alongside the school field. At the top of the school field turn right and shortly enter the churchyard of St John's Church.

If you spend a few moments glancing at the headstones you will see evidence of the Cornish diaspora: place names including South Africa and California can be seen without leaving the path. The “Cousin Jacks” who went out from Cornwall were not, in general, desperate economic migrants like those from Ireland and Scotland. Rather they were skilled miners and engineers making a temporary career choice. My own great uncle (not called Jack, unfortunately) went to the USA in the early part of the last century, returned to get married, then went back again with his bride, travelling 2nd class according to the passenger lists. Even today there are men in the village who worked on projects such as Channel Tunnel and the Hong Kong Tunnel. “Look down a hole anywhere in the world and you will find a Cornishman”.

The path through the churchyard exits through the front gates onto the grassy top end of Church Road. Turn left, cross the stile and follow the track up the hill. If you need a breather there is a seat halfway up. After you climb the stile next to the seat the vegetation is thicker and a little more wild. Another 100 m sees you at the top.

From the summit rocks there is wide panoramic view. On a good day you can see most of Pendeen as well as on the horizon, from the Isles of Scilly 40 km off to the south west (clockwise) around to Trevose Head, past Newquay 40 km in the opposite direction. If you can see big ships, they are most likely headed north in the traffic separation scheme, a kind of dual carriageway for ships, off Lands End. The southbound lane is further out to the west and the ships are hard to see without glasses.

Take the path to the left (east) off the Carn. On the right is a quarry: don’t go too close, although it isn’t deep. The path joins St John's Terrace. Turn left and walk back down into Pendeen.

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Chapter 3. Boscaswell Cliff

via Lower Boscaswell or Geevor Mine

Via Lower Boscaswell, or Geevor Mine, Boscaswell Cliff, Pendeen Watch and back up Calatha Road. With good views including: Geevor mine, Levant arsenic works, the coast and Pendeen Watch Lighthouse
Length 3 km, 2 miles, 40 minutes via Lower Boscaswell, 4km, 2.5 mile, 1 hour and 10 minutes via Geevor
Climb About 200m down and up via Lower Boscaswell. 300m via the mine, with quite a steep pull up Boscaswell Cliff
Surface Track then path over field. Well defined and maintained paths through National Trust land (part of Southwest Coast Path. There is small stream with firm banks, to step over. Finally, black-top road back up in to Pendeen.

1. via Geevor Mine

Geevor Mine site is crisscrossed with public footpaths allowing free access at any time, even with the mine is closed. This walk is not a substitute for ticketed access though, which provides interpretation, access to buildings and displays, and the chance to go underground.

Saturday is the best day for this walk, when the mine is closed - you will have the place more or less to yourself.

From the Costcutter stores or the car park, walk west towards St Just to the main entrance of Geevor Mine: look out for the big red winding wheel. This part of the walk is described in the first few paragraphs of Chapter 6, Jubilee Place and Hillside. Turn right in the mine entrance, past the Gig Club hut on the right. If the big vehicle gates are shut (as they will be on a Saturday) use the pedestrian opening on the right, by the weigh-bridge. Take the wide road downhill; following the signs to "Disabled Parking".

You will see a ticket office. There is no need to buy a ticket: you are following a public footpath. Just after the small disabled car park is the shop and cafe building and the road is barred, to vehicles, by a gate. Cross the stile on the right of the gate and continue downhill.

The lower part of the site is penetrated by Trewellard Zawn: a small steep sided cove and you need to keep to the right of this. The South West Coast path cuts, left to right, across the site down towards the zawn. Turn right to follow the coast path up and round the headland, out of the mine site. Just before the mine passes out of sight look back at the cliff on the far side of the zawn and notice the spectacular colours staining the rock. From what I remember of chemistry at school I guess this is colour is imparted by copper compounds, presumably from leaching or even waste dumping, in the days before environmental concern.

Follow the coast path up the steep climb to the top of Bocaswell Cliff.

2. via Lower Boscaswell

Start down the right hand side of the Costcutter Stores. Make sure you don’t fork right down Leat Road. Pass the WI Hut and the North Inn camping field on the left. In about 200 m carry on through Lower Boscaswell, originally built for miners. In about another 200 m the road ends and opens out into a turning/ parking space. Diagonally across to the right is a building with a small bell tower: the “Mission House”. Follow the lane that puts this building on your left left. Downhill, follow the lane as it leaves the village. Take the left-hand stub as the black-top turns into a quite substantial green lane with high dry stone hedges (with verdant lichen on the right-hand hedge). There are good views to the left over Geevor Mine and arsenic works. The bottom of this lane is barred by a gate, with a stone stepped stile to the left. Cross the stile in to the grass pasture field and turn sharp right.

Pendeen, gate north of Lower Boscaswell

Gate at end of lane from Lower Boscaswell

Follow the general line of the hedge on your right until you can see a slight summit in front and a little to the left. Head for it, passing and not going through two or three tempting looking gates on your right. At the little summit cross the hedge at the small notch that passes for a stile and keep going straight, neither right nor left, downhill until you join the South West Coast path by a whitish outcrop of rock.

3. Boscaswell Cliff

The white rock at the top of Boscaswell Cliff is actually black, but is covered in white lichen. If you have come from Lower Boscaswell, turn right, otherwise carry on towards the Lighthouse, which you can see in the distance.

Negotiate the “gate” in the electric fence, which is sometimes present, using the insulated handle, in case it is on. We are heading for the right-hand end of the coastguard cottages high in front of you. The headland this side of the lighthouse is almost an island - the gap is not natural. It was blasted out by miners for the tin it contained. If you think this is rather extreme you should know there were houses in Penzance that were demolished during one tin price spike, because the stone they were built with happened to have a high tin content [Joseph 2012].

The imposing farm building, with big square chimney stacks, on the horizon to the right of the coastguard cottages is Pendeen Manor, parts of which date from 1670, supposed birthplace of William Borlase, sometime Rector of Ludgvan and eminent Cornish antiquary in 1695. Drop down and cross the stream. The path off to the left leads 100 m or so to a nice picnic spot, but for now carry on up the valley. The stream is the same one that gives Leat Road its name. Look out for half covered ruins of buildings and revetments: there were mills or stamps in the valley as some stage, presumably driven by the stream.

4. Return from Pendeen Watch

The path joins the road at the terrace of coastguard cottages. We are turning right, but the lighthouse is only 200 m left if you have time to visit. Follow the road, right, up the hill, pass the driveway to Manor Farm (the current name of Pendeen Manor), resisting if you can the invitation to a Cornish cream tea, and take the second turning on the right: Leat Road, mentioned towards the end of walk at Chapter 1, East End and Leat Road

Boscaswell Cliff

Boscaswell Cliff. Return by Pendeen Watch in blue

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Chapter 4. Portheras Cove

This walk starts and ends at Portheras Cross at the St Ives end of Pendeen and takes you by Bojewyan Stennack past Chyrose and Chypraze Farms to Portheras Cove, and returning either by Portheras Farm or by Pendeen Watch Lighthouse. A longish walk, but with the opportunity of a break sitting on the beach.
Length 2.5 km, 1.5 mile, 40 minutes returning by Portheras Farm. 3.5 km, 2 mile, 60 minutes returning by Pendeen Watch
Climb About 130m if you go all the way down the beach, otherwise about 115m
Surface Road, tracks and well defined footpaths, with some boulders to step over. There is a small stream to cross, with big stones to help. If you choose the shorter, Portheras Farm, route back there is a small patch of soft mud except at the end of a dry summer, and a fairly steep slippy 5m earthy slope. The last few metres down onto the beach is a bit of a scramble, with a 1m step off.

Portheras Cove is Pendeen’s private beach. It is only accessible on foot, which makes rather a magic place. The timing for this walk doesn't include any time for a stay and you will want to stay a while. There is nothing there in the way of facilities: take with you anything you might need, and please leave nothing behind. Burying rubbish doesn't work: it gets uncovered by tide or animals (or if you are lucky, by the devoted Friends of Portheras Cove, before it causes too much harm)

Start from Portheras Cross, where North Road (the road to Penzance) meets the St Ives Road, and head east toward St Ives along Ponds Hill. This is a busy road so take care. A few hundred metres sees you pass the hamlet of Bojewyan Stennack, which has more than its share of listed buildings. Look out on the left for a small block-work hut with a single green door, window and a little chimney: this hut housed the Bojewyan Mens’ Institute from 1908 until 1948 [CISI 2002].

Pendeen, Bojewyan Mens’ Institute 1908 - 1948

Bojewyan Mens’ Institute 1908 - 1948

We will meet the stream that runs under the road again down at the Cove. Turn off left, signposted Chyrose Farm. The road turns into a track at the entrance to Chyrose Farm and is then barred by a gate. Cross the stone stepped stile next to the gate and carry on along the track. The farm, left, high on the other side of the valley is Portheras Farm, which we will pass on the way back.

The track becomes grassy and fades out at the entrance to a field. You can take the path straight along the left-hand field margin, but its nicer follow the path slightly left into gorse bushes and though a couple of little grassy clearings. These alternatives join up in a couple of hundred metres. Your sense of direction will alert you that the path is gradually curving around to the right, away from the sea. Don’t panic, we are crossing around in to the next valley, and will actually walk away from the sea for a short way while we drop down towards Chypraze Farm . Off to the left you will be just be able to see the top of the white dome of Pendeen Watch lighthouse and offshore from it a group of rocks: the Wra or the Three Stone Oar. On a spring ebb tide the current can run round these stones at an impressive 3 knots.

As the path starts to drop down to Chypraze notice the bungalow high on the other side of the valley. I say notice, but you can hardly miss it. Cross the stream in the bed of the valley and turn left on to the track. On another visit you can park here at Chypraze Farm for a small fee, and take the short walk from there: useful if you have small children or lots of beach toys. Pass first the driveway to the bungalow, then the Southwest Coast Path to Zennor, both on the right. Warn children and dogs that there is an unguarded drop coming up. The track turns into a path as it turns left (the drop is on the right here) down to the smart new footbridge over the stream.

Take some time to have a look at the cove but don’t sit close under the cliff: it is peppered with stones as big as microwave ovens, which drop out from time to time. Otherwise it is beautiful spot, maintained in its pristine state to a large extent by the Friends of Portheras Cove, a local group that coordinates activities with their eponymous Facebook page.

Climb the rocky path up from the bridge, leaving on the right the spur off down to the beach, and go through small iron gate. This is one of the quite discrete measures needed for controlling the small number of cattle that roam the coast to manage the otherwise invasive vegetation. See Section 6, “Upland management: cattle on open moorland” Next to the gate is the Coastguard emergency telephone, needed because neither phones nor marine VHF radios have coverage here. A few metres past the gate, as the path levels out a little, you are faced with a choice marked by a post with yellow waymark arrows.

1. Return by Portheras Farm

The left, uphill, fork is the shortest way back to Pendeen, but it can be very muddy along a 50m stretch. The mud is fed by a spring so it doesn't form immediately after rain, but can last from winter well into the summer. That said, it is a quick and picturesque way back and towards the end of the summer the offending stretch is often merely damp but firm.

At first the path is through bracken and gorse scrub but soon rises to climb the valley side and become a kind of tunnel through bushes. Keep an eye open on the left for old workings in the valley and for clear signs that the path has had some work done on it in the past. At one point the left hand margin of the path is formed by a revetment built from substantial masoned stones.

When you get to the muddy bit take a minute choosing a route: look for stones to tread on; try to keep to the extreme edge. No-one, to my knowledge, has ever disappeared here, but children and dogs may need hosing off before being let in the house.

After the mud, which ends as quickly as it began, keep a lookout for a sharp turn right and up short earthy scramble. At the top, through a grassy patch is a stone stepped stile that leads directly into Portheras Farm. Follow the road out of the farm yard back up to Portheras Cross.

2. Return by Pendeen Watch

This is a longer way back into Pendeen, but the surface is better and it offers the chance of a detour down to the Boat Cove and takes you past Pendeen Watch lighthouse

Where the path splits just after the little iron gate mentioned above, take the right-hand fork. No further directions are really needed. You will see the dome of the lighthouse: head for it. It seems at one point as if you are walking away from the lighthouse as the path takes a zig-zag down the hill. There is no need to worry, the path soon turns back west again. At the bottom of the zig-zag is a spur off to the right to the Boat Cove. This is unlikely spot for a working fishing harbour, but that is what it is. Have a look, but if they are working don’t get in the way.

From the lighthouse follow the directions at Section 4, “Return from Pendeen Watch” towards the end of Chapter 3, Boscaswell Cliff

Portheras Cove - return by Pendeen Watch in yellow, Portheras Farm in blue

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Chapter 5. Woon Gumpus Common


If it is misty you may want to consider doing this walk another day. There is no real danger, but it can be unnerving to walk on featureless moorland in poor visibility.

In late summer there is a fire risk. Take the obvious precautions.

Walk over open moorland and scrub south east of Pendeen. Return through the hamlet of Bojewyan. Depending on the time of year there can be abundant wild flowers and butterflies on this walk.
Length 4 km, 2.5 mile, 50 minutes. Add about 2km, 1 mile and 30 minutes to visit the quoit
Climb less than 10 m - almost flat. Add about 30 m to visit the quoit
Surface Track throughout but one section can be flooded in winter and early spring. The flooded portion has a quite firm bottom and can be forded carefully in wellies. About 50m of the walk is along North Road, which carries fast traffic.

The Gump is the affectionate local name for what appears on Ordinance Survey maps as Woon Gumpus Common. This main walk goes quite close to, but does not actually pass Chun Quoit because that would be a little too far in a booklet subtitled Short Walks, however there is straightforward extension included for those who want to visit the quoit.

Woon Gumpus Common is an area of moor east of North Road (the road from the east end of Pendeen towards Penzance). It is treeless scrub with gorse, heather and bracken and is crisscrossed with a network of paths. The stream that runs under the St Ives road at Bojewyan Stennack and then flows down Rose Valley to Portheras Cove, mentioned in Chapter 4, Portheras Cove, rises on the Common.

The walk starts up St John's Terrace, opposite the Costcutter store. St John's Terrace actually starts in three places: the road, the back lane and a grassy path. It doesn't matter which one you take since they all join up after a hundred metres or so. The terrace turns in to well surfaced tractor track as the houses run out. You will pass the Chimney Field on the left and the a small fir tree plantation on the right. Just before the fir trees in a slight dip in the track: at this point there is a well in the left verge, with steps down to the water. It can get overgrown in the summer so take care not to fall in. While you are at the well, look right. Half way up the field is a revetment that is all that remains of Wheal Zandras. The track rises to meet North Road at a shallow angle: turn right, well, carry on straight really. If you are following the Fir Trees walk you should turn to Chapter 7, Fir Trees now.

Walk uphill along North Road for about 50m cross over and take the track off to the left. Ignore the little footpath off to the right. After 50m take the grassy tractor track on the right. You are now walking parallel to North Road (south-ish) towards a truncated lattice mast on the hill way off in front. After about 100m the track bends around to the left and you are faced with a fan of four or five paths and tracks: take the left-most track, by no means the most distinct, and for the next 800m or so, when you are faced with a fork, continue to take the left choice.

Off to your right, on the high ground, is a VOR (VHF omni-directional range) station - a navigational aid for the many aircraft that you can usually see overhead, coasting in from transatlantic crossings. I find it very reassuring that aircraft find their way with something so grounded, rather than GPS maintained by the good graces of the cousins.

The track pans round the left and at first drops in the basin that forms the headwaters of the stream that crosses under the road at Bojewyan. This is where, in winter or spring, you may be faced with a substantial puddle. The bottom is firm and the water often clear. Once through the you are in the clear and there is no more water ahead.

As the track begins to rise look back over your left shoulder and see the two engine houses of Wheal Hearle or East Boscaswell mine. Keep up the "aways take the left-most choice" rule until the two engine house are in line with each other: a kind of engine house eclipse. Now abandon the rule. Soon you will join a very well made track, like a cow motorway heading slightly down hill. This is used to move the Bojewyan Jerseys from one beautifully kept field to another so they keep producing the milk that goes into Rodda's Cornish Cream.

By now you will have made enough left turns to be facing the sea, and will have Pendeen on your left. In a couple of hundred metres the cow motorway takes a sharp turn right and up. Carry on the same line, heading towards the sea, in to a grassy track between two hedges. At the right time of year this track, almost a cutting, is thick with butterflies. Because the track is a cutting, don't be surprised to see a cow at head height looking down at you - they don't jump off.

The track leads in Bojewyan. Pass the bungalow and you will see a barn in front. Turn left around the house and thread your way through the houses to reach the main road. Turn left onto the main road and walk back to Pendeen through the hamlet of Bojewyan Stennack

Woon Gumpus (optional visit to Chun Quoit in blue)

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Chapter 6. Jubilee Place and Hillside

Jubilee Place and Hillside are nuclei of once-separate hamlets as well as being names of tracks. The walk goes up one, almost to the top of the Carn and back down the other, rejoining the main road near the Trewellard Garage. There are panoramic views on this walk.
Length 4 km, 2.5 mile, 50 minutes
Climb Quite a climb up. The steepest bit is about halfway up, then it is down and flat. About 60m climb overall
Surface Firm well defined lane to the top, then well defined grassy path down into Hillside

Head west along the main street towards St Just past the North Inn until you come to the Trewellard sign. Jubilee Place is on the left between signs for Logs and The Old Manse. On your way notice the terrace, numbers 1 to 4 Church Road. They are set at the level of the original road through the village, somewhat below the current level. Jubilee Place forms the border between Pendeen and Trewellard and derives from a cluster of buildings that formed Wheal Carn mine. Follow the lane around its twisty route to the top of the hill, ignoring turnings. The scary electric fence halfway up does not enclose the den of a villain bent on world domination, but is there to protect the birds within from foxes. As the lane levels out at the top and the hedge on the right disappears keep a lookout for a grassy path on the right turning almost backwards through the gorse and heather. The hedge on the left contains some very unexpected bushes, including Fuchsia, Hydrangea, and several sorts of Rose.

Before you turn right, take a look around. You should be able to see St Just, with the prominent large white chapel building; beyond that the rocks of Longships Lighthouse; and if it is clear, and you have good eyes, right on the horizon, the Isles of Scilly, some 40 km distant. The isolated lighthouse off to the left of Longships, and further out, is Wolf Rock. The high ground to the east, behind you, is the Watch Croft, the highest point in West Penwith.

Turn right, almost back round, onto a grassy path. Notice two lines of substantial utility poles, presumably from the days when the mine was a big user of electricity. Follow the path down through the heather and grouse. After a bit the path grows into a good track with a firm surface. The group of derelict buildings off to the left just before you enter the village was Wheal Bal Tin Mine before conversion to farm buildings. Notice the tallest building is the characteristic shape of an engine house, but without its chimney. Take this as a indication not to stray off the path too far.

The track turns into a lane and emerges by the Trewellard Meadery. Turn right and walk back along the road, pass the entrance of Geevor Mine towards the Stores and the end of the walk.

Jubilee Place and Hillside

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Chapter 7. Fir Trees

Woodland of any sort is scarce in Pendeen. This walk has a short stretch through a small conifer plantation that, because it has been left untended for some time, it more interesting and varied than you might expect. The OS Map calls this little plantation Portheras Common although most folks call it the Fir Trees. The walk takes you through a private garden, but the arrangements the owner has made for the path indicate there is no need to feel uncomfortable about this.
Length About 3km, just under 2 miles. About an hour.
Climb Although you actually climb the whole way from the village to nearly the top of the Carn the grade is very gentle and you hardly realise you are climbing. About 60m
Surface Firm well defined tracks and paths mostly. The stretch in the wood is mossy with a few fallen and rotting branches, but they can be stepped over.

The walks starts off along the same route as Chapter 5, Woon Gumpus Common, which you should turn to and follow up St John's Terrace.

From St John's Terrace, just after the well and the path off to the left the track starts to rise and you will see on the right a conifer plantation. Pass the first track, which is an access to the field on the right, but take the second track, into the trees. At first it seems as if it too will simply take you in to the field but then the path turns left further into the woods.

At first the woods are quite open but soon the path turns into a tunnel through the overhanging branches. The section though the woods is not long - maybe a hundred metres or two. The path emerges onto the driveway for Carminowe Farm. Turn right towards the farm, a short distance away. As you approach the house you will see where the path enters the garden, on the right, leaving the house to the left. Walk between the house and the chickens and follow the hedge past the hundreds of milk-bottle mini-greenhouses protecting the young plants the new owners have planted to renew the woodland.

After a short distance another hedge closes in from the left so the path now runs between two hedges, out of the woodland garden, Now that the vista opens up it becomes clear that we have been climbing. The Carn is visible off to the right. The left hand hedge falls away and the right hand one turns into a barbed wire fence as the path crosses a rough scrubby patch up to Trewellard Road.

There is no need to go all the way up to the main road to take you chances with the traffic: look out for a light rugby-goal stile in the wire fence on the right: cross this into a rough field and head for a rusty piece of abandoned machinery. Follow the general direction of the heavy duty power lines (a legacy of the mine, which must have been a heavy user of energy) to find a matching stile about 100m away in the next field. Head for that. Cross the stile and turn right: not hard right, which is a driveway, but the left leg of the fork.

In perhaps 50-80m you will come to triangle where three tracks meet. Take the right hand track, leaving the Carn to the left, to drop back down to St John's Terrace, where you can turn left and retrace you steps back into the village.

Or carry on straight (towards the sea), leaving the Carn to the right, to drop back down to Jubilee Place, mentioned in more detail in Chapter 6, Jubilee Place and Hillside. When you reach the main road turn right to get back to the start of the walk.

Fir Trees

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Bal, Wheal, Jubilee Place and Hillside
Bojewyan Mens’ Institute, Portheras Cove
Borlase Park, East End and Leat Road
Borlase, William, Boscaswell Cliff


Calartha Terrace, East End and Leat Road
Carminowe Farm, Fir Trees
Carn View Terrace, East End and Leat Road
Cattle in fields, About the walks
Chimney Field, East End and Leat Road
Chun Quoit, Woon Gumpus Common
Church Road, Pendeen Carn
Chypraze Farm, Portheras Cove
Costcutter, About the walks
Cousin Jacks, Pendeen Carn


diaspora, Cornish, Pendeen Carn


Earl, Wheal (see Hearle, Wheal)


Fir Trees, Fir Trees
Friends of Portheras Cove, Portheras Cove


Hearle, Wheal, Woon Gumpus Common


Leat Road, East End and Leat Road
Lil's chippy, About the walks


Chypraze Farm, Portheras Cove
in centre of Pendeen, About the walks
Pendeen Manor, Boscaswell Cliff
Pendeen Rovers, East End and Leat Road
Portheras Common, Fir Trees
Portheras Cross, Portheras Cove


Snakes, About the walks
St John's Church, Pendeen Carn
St John's Terrace, Pendeen Carn


Trewellard Meadery, Jubilee Place and Hillside
Trewellard Road, Fir Trees
Trewellard Zawn, via Geevor Mine


view, from Carn, Pendeen Carn


Waters, William, East End and Leat Road
Western Watch, East End and Leat Road
Woon Gumpus Common, Woon Gumpus Common
Wra, the, Portheras Cove


Zandras, Wheal, Woon Gumpus Common
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[Gazette 1846] London gazette. January 1846. 20559. 87.

[Rackham 1990] Oliver Rackham. The History of the Countryside. J. M. Dent. London. 1990.

[Reid 1976] Reid, H.A.. Adder bites in Britain. .. British Medical Journal. 1976. 2. 153-156.

[West Briton 2011] “Radio collection returned home ”. The West Briton. April 28 2011.

[Joseph 2012] Joseph, P. So Very Foolish. The Trevithick Society. Truro. 2012.



Composed in XML with XMLMind Author and typeset with DocBook in Palatino Linotype body text and Helvetica titles. Maps exported from OpenStreetMap. Illustrations drawn by the author, with digital color washes applied in GIMP. Printed and bound by the reprographics team at Truro College.

Cover picture: Chun Quoit from Our own country (page 138), 1891, Cassell & Co. London. British Library shelfmark HMNTS 10348.i.8. Out of copyright.