Set on the beautiful Cornish coast, Mincarlo is more of a home than a holiday let, with far-…
The 550ft (168m) Trencrom Hill is clearly visible from the A30 as you drive onto the Land’s End Peninsula. It stands out against a smooth backdrop of higher ground, a distinctive beehive of a hill. It was this strategic position that made Trencrom the ideal venue for a prehistoric ‘castle’, and the flat summit of the hill once contained a small Iron Age settlement at this gateway to the ‘First and Last’ outpost of ancient Britain.
Mythical giants have their place at Trencrom, inevitably. They are said to have hurled huge boulders at their rival giants of St Michael’s Mount, the fabulous rocky island in Mount’s Bay to the south.
Today Trencrom is in the care of the National Trust and is a splendid wildlife habitat. There is a pleasant feeling of being marooned deep inland at the start of this walk as you pass through a tunnel of blackthorn and hawthorn trees, wreathed in ivy. Soon you emerge into a more open landscape of dense vegetation, dwarf oak and sycamore trees. Look out for the small perching birds – known as passerines – such as stonechat and yellowhammer, and listen for their brisk chirping. The plant life of this lush, damp habitat includes willowherb, yarrow, betony, and the common mouse-ear with its tiny white petals.
Iron Age site
As you reach the top of the hill you pass between two granite uprights. These are the ‘doorposts’ of an overgrown embankment that still encircles the summit of the hill and is believed to date from at least the early Iron Age. Several hollows on the summit itself indicate the sites of possible Iron Age stone huts.
The strategic importance that the site must have had is clear. There are sweeping views to the east, and towards the thickening waist of Cornwall, from where enemies might well have come. To the northeast lies the half-moon of St Ives Bay. To the south is the vast open gulf of Mount’s Bay, with its rocky island of St Michael’s Mount. Immediately west and north of Trencrom the view is more immediately of small compact fields, dotted with clumps of trees and farm settlements, all in rich greens and browns. Enjoy this glorious panorama and, as you turn full circle, you will see instantly why those watchful ancestors of the ancient land favoured this breezy hilltop.
Go through a metal gate to the left of the car park entrance, facing out. Follow the path alongside trees and shrubs and past a cottage on the right.
At a junction keep to the right-hand path. Go through a wooden barrier and reach a cross-junction.
Turn left and climb steadily uphill. Keep straight on at a junction. Soon you rise above the tree line and superb views of the sea open to the northeast, with a focal point being the offshore Godrevy Lighthouse.
Pass between a tall granite pillar on your right and a shorter pillar on the left to reach the flat grassy summit of Trencrom Hill.
Walk straight ahead past a flat rock. Go left, and when abreast of two flat rocks, go right onto a grassy path and follow it downhill.
Turn left at a T-junction, and in a few paces reach a broad track. Turn left to return to the car park.
Good and well-defined, but narrow in places; may be muddy
Grassy hill dotted with trees and granite outcrops
Good, but keep under strict control around horse riders
OS Explorer 102 Land’s End
Small National Trust car park (free) on the south side of the hill
None on route
WALKING IN SAFETY
Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.
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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.
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