A Secret Place

Exploring England #13

Many attractions in Cornwall, like the Eden Project and Land’s End, are well-known and easy to locate. Carn Euny Ancient Village is different. We only learned of its existence from a map of English Heritage sites. It’s free to visit; the only cost is the effort required to find this hidden gem. With no local knowledge, we relied on our GPS to show us the way.

After negotiating narrow Cornish lanes lined by tall hedgerows, the road ended abruptly at a small car park. A dilapidated sign was the only indication we were heading in the right direction. It was as if we were searching for a secret place, known by just a few.

p1130349

We set off on foot on a wide track lined by green fields, where the local inhabitants watched in silence as we walked past. On the opposite side, the hedges were laden with fruit and tiny flowers.

p1130343

p1130344

Even though we saw a couple of homes tucked away behind high hedges, barking dogs were the only signs of life. The mystery deepened when the track ended, replaced by a narrow path leading down into a shaded wood.

p1130354

We passed the remains of a old chapel and a sacred well dedicated to St Euny, almost hidden by a jumble of fallen stones.

p1130350

p1130378

We knew we must be close and, as suddenly as we had entered the wood, we were out in the open again. Before us was the ancient village of Carn Euny. The area was occupied from as early as 800 BC until around 400 AD, and the stone foundations visible today date from the 2nd century AD. An information board showed us how the settlement may have looked around 300 AD.

p1130355

p1130369

The structures were stone courtyard houses, built in a style unique to Cornwall. As we explored the site, we found the entrance to an underground passage.

p1130360

p1130358

The passage, known as a fogou, is one of just a few found only in this part of Cornwall. The purpose of the fogou and the large underground chamber to which it leads is unknown, although archaeologists think they may have been used for storage or religious ceremonies.

p1130359

p1150931

Standing inside the fogou, the sense of mystery enveloped us and we wondered about the people who once lived here. Even with our GPS and mobile phones we felt alone in this place. Would they have felt as isolated 1700 years ago as we did in the 21st century?

p1130370

Join Jo for more Monday Walks.

Advertisements

55 thoughts on “A Secret Place

  1. I love that signpost; with letters half erased as if to discourage visitors! I think these untouristy sites are great. No tourist office, no car park, no admission ticket, just an interesting piece of history. On another topic, I remember those narrow Cornish lanes with the high hedges! Driving for miles and wondering what was the other side of the hedge!

    • Well, it’s on the English Heritage map but there isn’t much information. We thought it sounded interesting and it was the closest site to where we were so we thought why not go and have a look. Very glad we did!

  2. I adore ancient sites, and I haven’t heard of this one before. As so little is known about them and there is nothing ‘exciting’ to see, you often get to rummage around by yourself. Isn’t that a gorgeous part of the world – I think Cornwall abounds with mysterious places.

  3. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : LagoΓ£o Trail | restlessjo

  4. What an interesting and mysterious place – I like the underground passage. I think it’s great finding and exploring out-of-the-way places – that signpost almost looks as if this one didn’t want to be found πŸ™‚

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s