PUBLISHED: 16:53 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 13:02 30 August 2017



This guided walk takes you through fascinating ancient monuments and spectacular views across the edge of England

Packed with fascinating ancient monuments and spectacular views across the edge of England ROBERT HESKETH heads for Mel an Tor for walk that is the stuff of legends

Distance: 12km/7 miles

Time: 4 hours

Exertion: Moderate

Points of Interest

Men-an-Tol, mysterious Bronze Age megalith

Nine Maidens stone circle

Ding Dong and Carn Galver Mines

Splendid coastal scenery

Allow extra time for exploration on this figure of eight walk near Land’s End, which is packed with interest, including two ancient monuments and two mines with their ruined buildings and chimneys. Both the inland and the coastal scenery are splendid, but please follow the directions and your map carefully as there are several cross tracks and unofficial paths.

The Nine Maidens stone circle is part of the rich prehistoric landscape of the Land’s End peninsula, with its remarkable variety of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. Legend has it the Maidens are a group of girls turned to stone as punishment for dancing on the Sabbath. Similar legends attach to the Merry Maidens near St Buryan and the Tregeseal Dancing Stones, near St Just, whilst the Hurlers stone circle near Minions on Bodmin Moor is reputedly a group of men petrified for hurling on a Sunday.

Men-an-Tol is even more mysterious. Several authorities have suggested it was once part of a stone circle, whilst its holed stone (which may be the result of natural erosion rather than the work of man) was part of a portal tomb. Some assert the holed stone is a window on other worlds, others aver it is a source of miraculous healing for rickets, back and limb complaints. It is also claimed that a woman can become pregnant by passing through it backwards seven times at full moon, though conventional methods of achieving this state of affairs remain popular.

Mining brings us back to earth. Ding Dong mine was variously worked for tin between the 17th century and 1915. Its handsome engine house remains, whilst the National Trust has preserved a whim (winding) house and an engine house at Carn Galver Mine.

Boot’s on? Let’s go!

1 From the parking area on the Madron/Morvah road take the signed Public Footpath Men-an-Tol’.

2 After 850m (½ mile), turn right to visit Men-an-Tol. Continue on the same path to Ding Dong mine. Ignore the first path left. Walk behind the engine house and continue to a track junction.

3 With your back to the

engine house, turn left.

Follow the track on a northerly course, which curves right towards a group of houses. Just before reaching a metal gate, turn left onto the path. Keep right when the path forks and head north west to visit Nine Maidens stone circle.

4 From the stone circle, continue north-west on the same path towards Carn Galver, passing a round barrow (prehistoric burial chamber) en route. Follow the path as it curves left towards a ruined barn.

5 Turn right at the cross-tracks. Follow the broad path uphill, passing Carn Galver on your right and down to the B3306.

6 Turn right. Turn left at Carn Galver’s second engine house down a rocky path. Bear right onto a cross path over a stile. Keep right when the path forks 100m ahead. Follow it over two low stone walls. Turn right and continue on the path with a stone wall on your right. Follow the path downhill through heather and gorse.

7 Follow the Coast Path east to Porthmeor Cove.

8 Turn right and uphill. When the path forks, bear right and uphill. The path levels out. Cross a stile into Bosigran Farm. Turn left towards the house, then right. Continue ahead as signed through fields with a stone wall on your left.

9 At end of the last field pick up rough path through gorse. This curves diagonally right and downhill through fields. Cross a stile. Continue downhill. Turn left (west) onto the Coast Path and follow it for 1km (¾ mile).

10 Turn left onto the Watch Croft’ footpath. Reaching the road, turn right. After only 30m, turn left onto a bridlepath and follow it uphill. Continue gently downhill by a stony track to a lane. Turn left and follow the lane to the start.

This article first appeared in May 2015 Cornwall Life

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Cornwall Life