Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ancient Cornwall: Just Do It!

Zennor quoit, West Penwith
The granite peninsula of Penwith forms Cornwall’s western tip.  By turn wild or sun-softened, the landscape varies from brooding greys to summer’s heathland radiance, and unbelievably vivid skies. Further east at the Duchy’s heart, the crags and spaces of Bodmin Moor breathe myth; hamlets and farms huddle in shallow valleys, along tiny twisting lanes. Both places are isolated and moody, but magnificent. 

It’s not just the views which captivate; the two areas watch over a wealth of ancient riches, some of Britain’s finest prehistoric stone sites. Other parts of Cornwall too have their share of monuments, thousands of years old. The great stones are a winner for walks and discovering, and inspire an emotional connection which may surprise you.

Ancient Cornwall is my latest little book for Cornish publisher Tor Mark. It’s a glimpse at the Duchy’s most spectacular ancient treasures, and the gorgeous countryside which makes exploring such an unforgettable experience.

You may meet no-one; pause to listen and often the only sound is birdsong, or the wind. But as well as the stones and scenery you’ll find wildlife: brown mottled buzzards, forever patrolling with cold all-seeing stare; perhaps a lizard at rest on warm rocks; along the path a bold stoat, sitting up with front legs waggling.

There’s no rush to see everything at once. Cornwall’s beautiful stones have stood for thousands of years; they’ll be around for a long while yet. Bask in the atmosphere whether bracing or sublime, let the elements soothe or assault you. The ancient sites are a world away from busy beaches and organised entertainments, especially in high summer. On the moors there are no ice-creams or pasties, but take a packed lunch and soak up the serenity; you’ll want for nothing.

Ancient Cornwall will be published in March of next year.

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