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Bodmin Moor

Walking and exploration of the south-east part of Bodmin Moor is excellent if you park at Minions, and access is then straight from the car-park and on to the Moor from here. Walking only of course - vehicles are definitely not permitted - and the beauty and mystique of the moors are yours.

"The Hidden Heart of Cornwall"
Bodmin Moor is the heart of Cornwall. It is as distinctive as Dartmoor, and in no way less impressive. Its fringes
are scattered with tiny farms and homesteads of granite and slate, with boundaries of turf and stone to enclose
the meagre, hard won fields, and its vast sweep is broken by a tumbled mass of rugged tors and smoothly rounded
downs and only here and there the dark, forlorn outline of a tortured, stunted tree leaning from the wind.

(Reference: from W.MacArthur "The River Fowey"; 1948)

Looking up towards Stowe's Hill
Looking up past the stunted and windswept trees towards Stowe's Hill and the Cheesewring

There are many fine tors on Bodmin Moor (for a full list, see "Tors" on PhotoFile Cornwall, link below); most are accessible to the walker. There are several in easy reach on the south east part of the moor, and from whichever angle you approach them, you will see something new. Kilmar Tor is especially worth a visit, where the world can seem a very different place.

Windswept and rugged, on a fine day it is easy and clear to see where you are going - although a map is very advisable - but when the mist and cloud come down, you will soon lose your bearings, and the way ahead can get very confused. A compass as well as the map is more than useful if you get caught out!

Looking out over Bodmin Moor
Fine weather, and a fine view across just one part of the moor

Even the flatter areas of the moor can, when you get closer, suddenly appear to be pock-marked and rent asunder - the remains of centuries of prospecting and digging for tin have transformed the landscape and left their scars. Now returned back to nature, these wounds have healed, and reveal an intriguing glimpse back to the ghosts of the past, and the "Old Men" as the early tin miners and tin streamers of the moor are referred to, were working to extract the ores here. The Withybrook tin works are several hundred years old, and drain into the Withybrook Marsh, seen below in the middle distance. Beyond them are the hills of Newal Tor and Langstone Downs.

Withybrook tin streaming works on Bodmin Moor
Looking along the extensive Withybrook tin streaming works.

The landscape of Bodmin Moor around Minions has also been transformed by the copper mining boom, and by tin mining and granite extraction from quarries, of the second half of the nineteenth century. Much can still be seen, and the area has been granted World Heritage Site status for Cornish Mining.

Wildlife abounds on the moor, whether it is grazing sheep and ponies, wheeling buzzards, or other flora and fauna. The moor itself is still very much a working environment where the welfare of livestock and land both need full consideration when walking in the area. With sheep all over the moor, dogs need to be kept under full control when out walking, and particularly during the five months of March to July when it is lambing time, and ground nesting time for birds.

The weather on the moor can bring very different moods to the landscape, whether it be rain or shine, mist and low cloud, great visibility for miles and miles, or moody grey skies. Oh yes, sunsets can be good too!

For more extensive images and information about Bodmin Moor,
see Bodmin Moor on PhotoFile Cornwall.

Redgate Smithy B&B     Redgate     St Cleer     Liskeard     Cornwall     PL14 6RU
Proprietors: Clive & Julie ffitch   ~   Telephone: +44 (0) 1579 321578   ~   Email: enquiries@redgatesmithy.co.uk

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