• Start: Small car at grid reference SW418344
  • End: Small car at grid reference SW418344
  • Country: England
  • County: Cornwall
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: Ordnance Survey Explorer 102
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Take a gentle walk in the West Penwith section of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, writes Peter Maxted

Take a gentle walk in the West Penwith section of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, writes Peter Maxted

Distance: 7.2 km (4 1/2 miles) Time: 2 hours Exertion: Easy



Park in the small parking area beside the road opposite the old school house. Follow the track north-east past a derelict farm and some medieval walled fields for about half a mile until you see the sign on the right for Men-an-Tol (stone of the hole). Climb over the stile to the site, which consists of two standing stones and the central holed stone (big enough to crawl through if you need to cure your rickets, scrofula, bad back or wish to become particularly fertile). Around are the remains of other stones suggesting the Men-an-Tol was once at the centre of a Neolithic or early Bronze Age stone circle.


Back on the track continue for another 100m and you will see the Men Scryfa (written stone) not signposted in a field on your left. There is a small stile to the left of the farm gate. Sometimes there are cattle in the field and the area round the stone can be muddy. The Latin inscription translates as Rialobran, son of Cunoval, a local prince from around the late 5th century AD and the stone may mark his grave. The stone itself is almost certainly from a much earlier period.


The track comes to crossroads, where there is a boundary stone, the meeting place of four parishes. Go straight over and you are on a slightly climbing footpath bearing round to the south-east and approaching the Nine Maidens stone circle. There are currently 11 stones, which have been recently restored, with some re-erected, although the original structure may have contained as many as 22 uprights. From here there are any number of tracks through the gorse and heather to the bulk of Ding Dong Mine about 600m further on.
The mines in this area are reported to be the oldest in the England, dating back to prehistoric times. There is a legend that Joseph of Arimathea visited the area trading for tin and that he brought the young Jesus with him before going on to Glastonbury. One of Cornwalls most famous sons, Richard Trevithick, worked as engineer of the Ding Dong Mine in 1796.


Pass the restored mine building on your right and take the track downhill for about a mile until you hit the road. Turn right and follow the road and after about half a mile you reach a sign on the right for Lanyon Quoit. Its quite easy to miss as the Cornish hedge is often overgrown. Climb over the stile and in just a few yards you are at the impressive prehistoric monument. Originally the 5.5m (18ft) capstone sat on four pillars but in 1815 it collapsed in a storm (probably having been weakened by years of people digging for treasure). It is now on only three uprights and these have been shortened and squared off so its much lower than before.
Back on the road, pass Lanyon Farm (theres usually a stall outside selling excellent preserves) and in roughly 10 minutes you will be back at the start.

This walk was kindly supplied by Cornwall AONB, which comprises one single protected area, divided into 12 parts. These make up some of the best of Cornwalls coastland, moorland, farmland, woodland, streams, creeks and estuaries and covers an area of 958 sq km or 370 sq miles more than a quarter of the countys countryside. For further information contact 01872 322350,

Points of Interest

Men-an-Tol holed stone
Scryfa stone
Nine Maidens stone circle
Ding Dong mine ruins
Lanyon Quoit


Start: Small car at grid reference SW418344
Terrain: Minor road, wide mining tracks, footpaths through gorse and heather; two stiles and one fairly gentle climb
Child/dog friendly: Very, but look out for grazing cattle
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 102
Refreshments: Cream teas at Lanyon Farm, good pubs in Madron and Pendeen
Public transport: Nearest bus services are in Madron or Morvah. Visit:
Further information: For more details on these sites visit:


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