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Bodmin Moor

Few parts of Britain (or indeed western Europe) are as wild and rugged as Bodmin Moor. Studded with spectacular granite tors, stone circles and old mine chimneys, the moor is wonderful walking territory all year round.

Bodmin Moor, image Victoria Clare

The gateway to the moor from South East Cornwall is the village of Minions. Within a few miles of the village, you can see plenty of evidence of human occupation of the moor, from the neolithic Trethevy Quoit (one of the best preserved megalithic tombs in the British Isles), and the Bronze Age stone circles called The Hurlers, right up to the remains of the Phoenix United copper and tin mine. Excavation of nearby Rillaton Barrow in 1837 discovered a fabulous gold cup dating to perhaps 1,700 BC. It is now in the British Museum in London, although there is a replica in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

Trethevy Quoit, image Jim Champion

The Hurlers at Sunset, image Paul Watts

In geological terms, Bodmin Moor is part of the Cornubian batholith - a group of granite intrusions throughout the southwest. This unusual geology is responsible for the metals that have been mined here since at least the early Bronze Age, especially tin. Mining reached its peak in the nineteenth century, but finished in the early twentieth. Today, you will find many old mine workings as you walk across the moor. It is the mining which gives Bodmin Moor its status as part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. 

The moor features Cornwall's two highest points - Brown Willy and Rough Tor. From Rough Tor you will even be able to see the north coast of Cornwall on a good day if you clamber to the top of its slowly eroded granite outcroppings.

Rough Tor, image Matt Jessop

 

 

 

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