Around Bodmin Moor

A moorland walk across the exhilarating wilds of Bodmin Moor

NEAREST LOCATION

Bodmin Moor

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

3.5 miles (5.6kms)

ASCENT
230ft (70m)
TIME
2hrs
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Easy
STARTING POINT
SX260711

About the walk

Walk across London's Westminster Bridge and you walk across Bodmin Moor. Granite used in the bridge comes from the now disused granite quarry of the Cheesewring that dominates the eastern section of the moor near the village of Minions. Bodmin Moor granite was also used in London's Albert Memorial and in countless other structures worldwide, including a lighthouse in Sri Lanka. Nineteenth-century stone workers extracted granite, not only from the great raw gash of Cheesewring Quarry, but also from the wildest parts of the moor such as the lower slopes of Kilmar Tor, on Twelve Men's Moor, where this walk leads. Cheesewring Quarry is the torn-open heart of Stowe's Hill. It takes its name from a remarkable granite 'tor', a pile of naturally formed rock that stands on the quarry's lip. The name 'Cheesewring' comes from the tor's resemblance to a traditional cider press, used to crush apples into a 'cheese'. There are many similar 'cheesewrings' throughout Bodmin Moor, but none such as this. Such formations were partly formed below ground millions of years ago, and were then exposed when erosion sculpted the landscape.

On the way up to the Cheesewring, visit Daniel Gumb's Cave, a reconstructed version of a rock 'house' once occupied by an 18th-century stone worker who was also a self-taught philosopher and mathematician. On the roof you will see a roughly carved theorem, though its authenticity is not proven. Beyond the Cheesewring, the summit of Stowe's Hill is enclosed by an old 'pound', the walls of a possible Bronze Age settlement. Relics of a much older society than that of the quarry workers are found at the very start of the walk, where you pass the stone circles called The Hurlers. These are remnants of Bronze Age ceremonial sites, though a later culture created fanciful tales of the pillars, and those of the nearby 'Pipers'. It's said they were men turned to stone for playing the Cornish ball-throwing sport of hurling on a Sunday - to the sound of music. Relish the names, but reflect on the more intriguing Bronze Age realities. Beyond the Cheesewring and The Hurlers, the walk will take you through a compelling landscape, along the granite 'setts' or slabs of disused quarry tramways, and past lonely tors at the heart of Bodmin Moor.

Walk directions

Leave the car park by steps at its top end. Cross the grass to a broad stony track. Turn right and follow the track, passing The Hurlers circles (there is an information board about the stone circles in the car park) on the right and The Pipers Standing Stones further on.

At a three-way junction, take the right-hand track down through a shallow valley bottom, then climb uphill on a green track towards Cheesewring Quarry. At a junction with another track, cross over and follow a grassy track uphill towards the right side of the quarry. Bear left to the nearest green hillock on the quarry edge, go sharp right, then round to the left to find Daniel Gumb's Cave. Return to the path and follow it uphill alongside the fenced-in rim of the quarry to the Cheesewring rock formation.

Retrace your steps towards the shallow valley bottom.

A short distance from the valley bottom, abreast of some thorn trees on the right and just before a fenced-off mound on the left, turn off right along a path. Keep left of the thorn trees and a big leaning block of granite and pick up the faint beginnings of a grassy track. Follow this track, keeping to the right of a thorn tree and gorse bushes. The track soon becomes much clearer.

The track begins to divide. At a leaning rock, split like a whale's mouth, keep right along a path through scrub and with the rocky heights of Sharp Tor in line ahead. Keep to the path round the slope, with Wardbrook Farm left and Sharp Tor ahead. Reach a surfaced road. Without going onto the road, turn right for few paces to reach a slim granite pillar.

Just past the pillar, keep to the right of the fence and follow a path, initially parallel to the lane, along a disused tramway.

About 100yds (110m) beyond some mountainous spoil heaps turn sharp right at a wall corner. Follow a green track uphill and alongside a wall. Where the wall ends, keep on uphill to reach a broad track.

Turn right along the track if you want to visit Cheesewring Quarry. For the main route, turn left, soon skirting left round a fenced shaft, and follow the track to Minions village. Pass the Minions Heritage Centre, a converted mine engine house. At the main road, turn right through the village to return to the car park.

Additional information

Moorland tracks and paths and disused quarry tramways

Open moorland punctuated with rocky tors

Under control at all times; on lead in nesting season (1 March–15 July)

OS Explorer 109 Bodmin Moor

The Hurlers car park on southwest side of Minions village

None on route

There are no refreshment places to stop anywhere on the moor. You are advised to take food and drink with you. The Cheesewring Hotel & Restaurant at Minions does meals and the Hurlers Halt and Minions Tearoom serve coffee, tea and meals.    

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Walking in safety

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About the area

Discover Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Cornwall has just about everything – wild moorland landscapes, glorious river valley scenery, picturesque villages and miles of breathtaking coastline. With more than 80 surfing spots, there are plenty of sporting enthusiasts who also make their way here to enjoy wave-surfing, kite surfing and blokarting.

In recent years, new or restored visitor attractions have attracted even more visitors to the region; the Eden Project is famous for its giant geodesic domes housing exotic plants from different parts of the globe, while nearby the Lost Gardens of Heligan has impressive kitchen gardens and a wildlife hide.