Driving out of Zennor village towards St Ives there is a house known as the Eagles Nest perched on a crag looking out to sea. It was in the valley below this house that D H Lawrence spent 1915 writing Women in Love and just opposite its white painted gate there is a track leading out across the downs. This is the start of our walk.
Just over the brow of the hill there is a pull-in on the right with space for a car. The view from here towards the coast is across some of the oldest farmed land in the world. The field systems are pre-historic. Leave your wheels, walk back and take that track uphill . . .
This is one of those paths that feels timeless, like it has always been there and I imagine all the footsteps before mine. Don’t forget to look back behind you to the sea, Lawrence said it was always peacock-coloured and I hope it is for you. Oh try not to stand on the violets . . .
Keep the rocky hill-top on your left . . .
When the track bears right there is a footpath off to the left hugging a low wall . . . take it and look for the ruin on the hill ahead . . .
Beside these ruined walls, maybe an old barn or cottage I’m not sure, there will be a path striking out right across the downs, follow and look for a silhouette on the skyline . . .
When I am here I am often completely alone and the landscape seems empty too, just those silent rocky outcrops, the wind in the grass and on this particular day a distance Cuckoo . . .
Your destination is the impressive Zennor Quoit, a Neolithic burial chamber. It’s enormous capstone, which weighs around 12 tons, slid off sometime in the 19th century but William Borlase sketched it for us in 1769 . . .
This wonderful historical site seems to stand alone on the Amalveor Downs, solid, mysterious but there are signs of ancient people everywhere here, numerous barrows and hut circles lie hidden in the bracken. We are never quite alone in the landscape.
This walk isn’t difficult, although the tracks are uneven and not signposted, it takes me about 20mins to the quoit. Longer when I am breathing in the stunning views. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
For more try: Monumental Minerals or Butney Bank