Sometimes the only way to escape the hustle and bustle of life is to take yourself away from it and try and gain a little perspective. I am not suggesting in any way that Cornwall has the rush and drive of other areas of the country. It doesn’t. In fact I have heard it said that if things get anymore relaxed in this part of the world they will just grind to a halt. But just sometimes I find I still need to stop, take a deep breath and take in the view to really appreciate how fortunate I am.
Trencrom offers I think one of the finest views in Cornwall. This ancient Iron Age Hill Fort gives you a 360 degree panorama of the Penwith. It is one of the few places from which you can see both the north and the south coast at the same time.
St Ives bay on one side . . . (above)
. . . and Mount’s Bay on the other. Can you spot the shadow of St Michael’s Mount?
The fort itself is now just a higgledy-piggledy pile of low rocky walls and huge natural outcrops covered at this time of year with wild flowers. But you can still make out its ancient fortress shape and there are two obvious gateways in to the enclosure which highlight man’s influence on this landscape.
For anyone who has read some of my previous blogs you will know that whenever I am somewhere like this my imagination starts working overtime and I always find myself wondering about the people who have stood where I am standing and what that place meant to them. Most of the early travel writers that produced guides to Cornwall, the kind of books I love and collect, waxed lyrical about the views from Trencrom. They weren’t wrong and I wonder how much the scene that I see today has changed, not too much I imagine. Although Robert Hunt seemed to think he could see the hills of St Austell (50 miles away) from here, he clearly had better eyesight than I do!
Trencrom, also known as Trecrobbin meaning the round town in Cornish, is roughly 500m above sea level and as well as being a fortress it is also meant to have been the home of giants. Those giants according to legend buried a golden treasure here so in the past this hill has been the site of some furious digging!
But one aspect of this beautiful place is often overlooked however, the land was in fact given to the National Trust so that it would be a memorial to the men and women of Cornwall who gave their lives in the two World Wars.
I have been to Trencrom many times before but on that day last week, looking for some peace and quiet, it was the first time that I noticed the weather-worn memorial plaque hidden in the shadow of a huge boulder. And it gave me all the perspective I needed.
Trencrom isn’t difficult to find, it is just a few miles from St Ives, take the road for Halsetown and turn off left when you see a signpost for Cripplesease. In less than a mile there is a narrow gateway on the right-hand-side of the road to a little car park. From here it is a short, but steep and uneven climb, to the fort. (TR27 6NP)