Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Of Walks and Crosses .. Porthgwarra, Treryn Dinas and Logan Rock .. Cornwall pt 4

The weather in vast improvement to the preceding days, saw the sun shining and a striking blue but not quite cloudless sky. We decided a walk to Porthgwarra was indicated - with hopefully some migrant birds along the way?

Taking an inland route we headed across the fields passing Rospletha Cross and St Levan Church then taking the footpath towards Roskestral. At the junction of this path with the footpath to Ardenswah is a stile containing a Cross head in a field called "Churchway Downs" (Macneil Cooke 1996).

Churchway Field Cross

Our next stop was a small pool to the south west of the Porthgwarra road, scrub lined it looked promising for any skulking migrants. Only a single calling chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) was of note. However, our attention was still held for sometime by three golden-ringed dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii), in fierce aerial pursuit of each other.

On the cliffs to the immediate west of Porthgwarra, the heathers were in full bloom. An occasional wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) flushed ahead of us, but other than that birds on land were very scarce. Along the coast path a number of flighty grayling (Hipparchia Semele) tempted me to chase them for a photograph. With only the iPhone camera to hand I had to rely heavily on my meagre wildlife stalking skills, hampered as they were by the cast of a long shadow!

Grayling (Record Shot)

Whilst, head down chasing the grayling, a chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) called as it flew overhead.

No trip to Porthgwarra is complete without taking refreshment at the: Porthgwarra Cove Café The traditional Cornish Pasty served at this Café - is our most favourite pasty in all of our Cornish travels! The traditional pasty from Kynance Café comes a very close second, and on a good day it's very difficult to make the call between them both?

The best Cornish Pasty in the County? Probably!

With a very enjoyable lunch break over, we took a slow walk past the Cottage gardens following the coast path east out of the cove. The birds if any were hiding! We passed St Levan's Holy Well, Porthcurno and carried on towards Treryn Dinas.

All along the coastal path we kept stopping at the frequent clumps of ivy (Hedera helix) which grow within the hedgerows and scrub layer. No ivy was complete without an adornment of butterflies - red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) being the most common, with painted lady (V. cardui) and small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) also present in significant numbers. Between the hedgerows speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) defiantly held on to their territories, even so late in the season.

Red admiral(s) on coastal Ivy

Towards Treryn Dinas and the Logan Rock

Treryn Dinas is an Iron Age promontory hillfort dating somewhere between 300BC -100BC (MacNeil Cooke 1996). Historic England (2017) describes such monuments as: "a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land".

The "naturally defended" aspect of Treyrn Dinas can be clearly seen in the photograph below - where a bank and ditch runs down to the cliff edge below it. In total the defences at Treryn Dinas comprise three banks and ditches and a causeway which is defended by a low stone wall (Historic England 2017).

Treryn Dinas - rampart detail

Treryn Dinas - Outer wall and ditch

Beyond the causeway lie towering rocky outcrops, one of which contains the famous "Logan Rock". Deriving it's name from the massive stones ability to be rocked - or logged - it is the local celebrity, and the public house at nearby Treen is named after it. The 19th Century account of its deliberate dislodgement by a Captain and crew of a cutter, is the stuff of legend. The eponymous Logan Rock Inn contains many an account of the cost born in returning the stone to its rightful resting place, after the act of deliberate vandalism.

It is not hard to see why the dramatic cliff top setting of this windswept hillfort has evoked other more mystical & magickal legends - of a site inhabited by witches, little people; and of a Giant who held the fort and hurled rocks at passing ships (MacNeil Cooke 1996).

Logan Rock

Logan Rock and windswept "selfie"

A description of some of the local legends associated with Porthcurno and its surroundings incl. Treryn Dinas can be found at: https://www.cornwalls.co.uk/myths-legends/porthcurno.htm


MacNeil Cooke, I. (1996) 2nd Edition Mermaid to Merrymaid Journey to the Stones Cornwall Litho Redruth

Historic England (2017) ONLINE Promontory fort known as Treryn Dinas Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1006733 Retrieved 2nd Jan 2018

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