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Part 1 of this walk around Boskednan Downs covered the monuments of Men-an-Tol and Maen Scryfa and the views toward Carn Galver, and concluded at the converging pathways at the NE end of the Maen Scryfa field.

At the end of the field, continue east past a derelict farm building to where several tracks meet. Turn south, and head for the old gate in front of you. This area is also subject to flooding so watch your step! Note: There has been some work done recently in this are as part of the ‘enclosure’ of Boskednan Downs for cattle grazing. Additional fencing is now in place in this area.

Just through the old gate and on the right is a large recumbent boundary stone with an incised cross. This stone marks the meeting of the four ancient parishes of Zennor, Morvah, Gulval, and Madron.

Four Parish Stone © AlanS

With your back to the stone, look to the southeast. The hill you can see is your next destination. Follow the steeper path up the slope onto Boskednan Downs. Halfway up this hill and to the right of the path, at National Grid Reference SW434349 lies Boskednan Cairn.

Boskednan Cairn

This cairn was cleared of gorse and vegetation in 2005 as part of the CASPN site cleanup initiative, and at that time one of the stones of the retaining kerb was discovered to have a seam of blue-grey quartz crystal in a distinctive inverted-V shaped notch. This was almost certainly selected as a stone with special significance for the burial site.

Boskednan Cairn Quartz © AlanS

From here, the path levels out, and even dips very slightly, before rising again to come to a stone circle. Despite the rising ground, the path here can get very waterlogged and boggy, so caution is advised.

Boskednan Nine Maidens

The circle you see here is not as it originally was. It is thought there were originally up to twenty-two stones in the circle. As recently as 2004 two stones were re-erected and three others stabilised, bringing the current total to eleven. The stump of an outlying standing stone can also be found some 70m to the west.

Quite where the name Nine Maidens comes from is not clear! Some ascribe a mystical background to the number, rather than a count of the stones. There are several other references to Nine Maidens elsewhere in Cornwall, referring to the legend where a group of maidens were caught dancing on the Sabbath and immediately turned to stone.

Boskednan Nine Maidens © AlanS

Further caution must  be taken for this next part of the walk, as abandoned mine shafts dot the landscape all around. Sticking to the worn path is advisable.

Boskednan Southern Cairn

Continue up the hill to the high point, where another path crosses the one you’re on. Undergrowth allowing, just to the left (at SW435350) can be seen a banked cairn circle.


Boskednan Banked Cairn <BR> © AlanS


If the weather is clement, rest here awhile to take in some of the spectacular views from this highest point of the ridge.  Using the map (you do have a map with you, don’t you!), see how many landmarks you can spot from here.

Looming to the immediate south, is the remains of the engine house for Ding Dong Mine, which is our next stop, and from where the final part of the walk commences. Follow the path to the engine house, keeping an eye out for those abandoned shafts.

…to be concluded in Part 3


January 2011

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