Photo to insert
President: Dr Garry Tregidga
Chairman: Malcolm Gould
Secretary: Ros Hayward
Treasurer: Ros Hayward
Guided Walk to Prideaux Hillfort, 30 June 2019
On a warm but not too hot Sunday afternoon 20 members met at Luxulyan Church to set off on a most interesting and enjoyable walk led by local historian and Luxulyan and District OCS member, Roger Smith. We headed south down the Saints’ Way, noting the lovely old school building, designed by renowned architect Silvanus Trevail, born nearby at Carne Farm. We crossed over the Atlantic Coast Railway Line, linking Par with Newquay; Roger explained that Trevail was very keen to encourage tourism and was instrumental in the provision of this rail line which enabled those of the middle classes to reach and stay in the new Newquay hotels such as the beautiful Headland Hotel which he had also designed. Nowadays the rail line carries china clay from Rocks driers down to Par where it is distributed by lorry either to the docks at Fowey or to many destinations by road.
We soon reached the tramway built by Joseph Treffry; this starts with an inclined plane from the canal basin at Ponts Mill, past the Carmears Rocks to the level top of the valley, then on through Bridges to its terminus at the Bugle Inn near Mollinis. The tramway is included in the Cornish Mining Word Heritage Site which we were to enter again a little later when returned through the Luxulyan Valley. We carried on to Cam Bridges where we tried to make sense of the all the various water courses and crossed a stile with an ancient cross head at its side, Crossing fields we reached Trevanney Farm where a 70 ton piece of “Luxullianite” was found which was fashioned into a sarcophagus for the Duke of Wellington.
We reached Great Prideaux where more members joined us and we made our way up to the Hillfort. We were fortunate that Cornwall Archaeological Society had spent a great deal of time last winter “scrub bashing” so that we were able to see the layout of rings, Roger distributed a plan to help us understand the importance of this significant site. We walked around the ramparts and admired the lovely views, in particular across St Austell Bay to Black Head and beyond. The hillfort is a scheduled monument and is on private ground; we were visiting with permission from the owner who also very kindly provided us with a cream tea in her beautiful garden. We are very grateful to Yvonne and Larry for looking after us so well, it is fortunate their teapot was so large, we were all very thirsty after our walk in the sun, the jam and cream scones were delicious too.
After enjoying our rest and refreshments we headed back via the valley road, past Rock Cottage and Rock Mill, until we reached the Treffry viaduct, where we ascended to the top and crossed to follow the aforementioned tramway for a short distance. We left the tramway to follow a path which probably served one of the many quarries in the valley and, looking back, we were able to admire the bridges which carried the tramway across pathways and the river. Roger pointed out a beautifully constructed granite lined reservoir with later modifications for use with China Clay processing. We passed through Cam Bridges again and crossed the fields and railway line to end our walk back at Luxulyan Church.
We are very grateful to Roger for leading the walk and giving us far more information than I have been able to include here. Also thank you again to Yvonne and Larry at Great Prideaux for their hospitality and allowing us access to the hillfort.
Thursday 17 October 2019: Talk by Hazel Harradence “The Home Front in the Great War”, Luxulyan Memorial Institute, 7 pm
Thursday 21 November 2019: Talk by Roger Smith “Protecting Luxulyan’s Heritage”, Luxulyan Memorial Institute, 7 pm
Thursday 12 December 2019: Picrous Celebration at the Kings Arms, Bridges from 8 pm
Thursday 16 January 2020: Talk by Graeme Kirkham “Painting the past: exploring watercolours from the 1870s by Thomas Quiller Couch”, Luxulyan Memorial Institute, 7 pm
Thursday 20 February 2020: Talk by Ian Thompson, Milestones of the Luxulyan District, Luxulyan Memorial Institute, 7 pm
We have met up for two guided walks over the summer; the first to Carloggas Downs, was led by Malcolm Gould, took place on a fine summer evening when a group of members and friends set off from Rescorla Chapel and headed up to the former Lantern China clay works which closed in 1942. Apart from the beautiful water-filled pit, little remains to be seen although the chimney stacks belonging to the dry remain amongst the overgrown vegetation. It was noted that the main road into Rescorla had originally run through F.C Bray and Sons coal yard but had been diverted to its present route as the pit was extended. We crossed the main road and headed up the footpath, pausing to look down on the former medieval field system, much of it has now disappeared beneath china clay dumps
Originally a ritual enclosure surrounded the hill-top of Carloggas Downs, there were three barrows and a number of flint flakes found there are in the Plymouth museum. The area was subject to an archaeological survey prior to being used for tipping china clay waste. We circuited the hill top, admiring the panoramic views but concerned by considerable smoke and flames which we later learned was a barn fire at St Mabyn.
Reaching Singlerose, a very old tin pit started for clay in 1830, we headed down fairly overgrown footpaths to reach Band House Lane, where we stopped to see the small building where Stenalees Silver band practised circa 1888-1960. Cutting through another footpath we crossed the former Carbean mineral branch line built 1839 to Gunheath pit from Goonbarrow Junction, Bugle (closed 1965) and headed past the church of St Peter the Apostle Church and the former Primary School, now tastefully converted to living accommodation. We returned to Rescorla Heritage Centre via Lantern for well-earned refreshments.
Our second walk to Castilly Henge took place on a blustery August afternoon, we were very fortunate that any showers passed us by. The walk was organised and led by Roger Smith who, along with volunteers organised by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit, had been involved in clearing the bank and ditches of undergrowth. He explained that Castilly is the oldest Scheduled Monument in Luxulyan parish and one of the few Neolithic henges in Cornwall.
Roger painted an interesting picture of the history of the site, which may have been used later as a plen-an-gwarry (Medieval playing place) and briefly as an encampment in the Civil War. He felt the surrounding area had changed little over the centuries, remaining open until the later 19th century. We headed into a nearby field where Roger pointed out a Bronze Age barrow (also on private land), now overgrown with brambles. There had once been numerous other barrows on Innis Downs, one of which, Black Barrow, was one of the boundary markers at the north of the parish.
We then walked to Innis Chapel which is described in its Listing as a Wayside Bible Christian chapel. There are several listed tombs, including the c1840's tomb of Methodist Thomasine Bryant, a descendant of the Quaker Grosse family and mother of William Bryant (later O'Bryan). Roger gave us an insight into her life and we were then welcomed into the little chapel where drinks and jam and cream scones were waiting for us. Garry Tregidga gave us a brief history of the chapel and we were interested to note an inscription on one of the gateposts as we left, more on this to follow! We returned to our cars just in time to avoid a heavy shower.
We would like to thank the Hoskin family, who own and farm the land where the henge and barrow are situated, for allowing us access to these sites. We would also like to thanks Joanne Cooper for opening the chapel and kindly providing refreshments.