We left Part 2 of this walk which covered some of the Boskednan Downs monuments as we were approaching the Ding Dong mine enginehouse, a landmark easily visible from many parts of West Penwith.
Ding Dong Mine
Tin mining has gone on in Cornwall for millennia, and Ding Dong is said to lie on the site of mine workings from 2,000 years ago. Indeed, one oft-repeated Cornish legend tells of a rather special visitor; Joseph of Arimathea is said to have once paid a visit with a young lad in tow – one Jesus of Nazareth.
From the engine house, there are two main paths to follow; the main track heads southeast and can be ignored, the other heads to the west through a gate, and this is the one we now need to take.
The path continues across some scrubland and comes to a much depleted field boundary wall. Pass through the wall and almost immediately head across to the left. This is not so much a track as a trampled path through undergrowth, which leads close by Bosiliack Barrow at Grid Reference SW431342.
This barrow is of the Scillonian type and is relatively rare on the mainland. The barrow is completely uncovered with no trace of the capstones remaining, and the structure can be seen in its entirety as a thing of beauty. The passage is said to align to the mid-winter sunrise.
From this point, a decision must be made. Lanyon Quoit lies in view almost directly to the south, and can be accessed by pressing on through the undergrowth. Alternatively, and easier, returning to the previous track and continuing down to the southwest brings you out to the road. Turn left at the road for Lanyon Quoit, which can be accessed via a stile.
Another iconic sight, also known as the Giant’s (or King Arthur’s) Table but sadly restored and looking nothing like it must have been originally. The capstone is now approx 2 metres above ground level, but it was said that prior to the restoration a man could ride below it on horseback. The site had been so disturbed by treasure hunters (sound familiar?) that a lightning strike in the early 19th Century was enough to topple the monument. It was restored in 1824 – the date can be found engraved on one of the uprights if you look carefully enough – with the uprights buried much deeper for stability.
There is one last stop on this tour for the adventurous, and one for the less so. From the quoit return to the road via the stile and turn right along the road. At the farm buildings, the house on the right serves a fine Cream Tea in season and is a welcome restorative after the walk across the downs.
Lanyon Farm is on the other side of the road, and hides a secret or two – namely West Lanyon Quoit and an associated hut settlement in the same field at Grid Reference SW 423337. Unfortunately, the sites are on private ground and not publicly accessible or viewable. West Lanyon is not as spectacular as Lanyon Quoit, consisting of a fallen upright with a capstone leaning against it. Worth seeing for the completist if anyone is around on the farm to request access, but otherwise enjoy the Cream Tea!
Continue along the road for 5-10 minutes to return to the start point by Men an Tol Studios to complete the walk.
If you decide to try this walk, please leave a comment to let us know how you got on.