A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

A walk from the Natural England free car park on the A3292, taking in early Bronze Age monuments, World War Two

Season: Spring, summer, early autumn

Walk level: Easy to moderate

Length: Up to 3 miles

Accessible: Path (near car park)

Map: OS Explorer 103

 

 

 

A: Start: Goonhilly car park. Grid ref: SW728213

A: National Nature Reserve car park
B: RAF Drytree receiver block
C: Glider obstructions
D: Croft Pascoe Pool
E: Croft Noweth
F: Turf stacks
G: Cruc Draenoc Barrow
H: Dry Tree Menhir

Second World War: RAF Drytree

B: RAF Drytree at Goonhilly was one of several radar stations across the country, set up during World War Two to detect and monitor approaching enemy aircraft. Here you will find the receiver block, in which radar operators (mainly from the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) would have been monitoring skies around the clock. It is not possible to go inside, but climb the external stairs to the roof and enjoy a panoramic view of Goonhilly downs.

C: As you set out across the heathlands, look for the lines of mounds. These are the remains of glider ‘baffles’, each of which would have supported a tall pole, to obstruct enemy gliders from landing on the flat open plain. No enemy gliders, in fact, ever attempted to land here.

Crofting

D: Croft Pascoe Pool is now a wildlife haven for birds and dragonflies, among other wildlife. Nightjars nest nearby in the summer months. The Pool would have originally been made by crofters two centuries ago, either as a dew pool for cattle, or to extract turf.

E: The smallholding of Croft Noweth dates back to the early nineteenth century. In the summer, you’ll find orchids and butterflies round the ruined farmhouse. Go inside to find the remains of the hearth, and walking away from the cottage discover old Cornish hedges marking out the original field boundaries.

F: They are difficult to spot, but near Croft Noweth look out for shallow raised platforms. These are turf ‘steads’, on which the crofters would have stacked the turfs to dry after cutting.

The Bronze Age

G: Cruc Draenoc, which means ‘thorny barrow’, is the largest of three barrows associated with the Dry Tree Menhir. It is one of several barrows at Goonhilly. This the highest point on Goonhilly Downs. On a clear day, you can see as far as the St Austell granite uplands. It has been used in mapping by the Ordnance Survey, and the triangulation point is still there.

Dry Tree Menhir, made of gabbro from the Crousa Downs two miles away, is one of the few standing stones found on Goonhilly. For hundreds of years it lay on its side, until in 1916 some soldiers started to break it up to use in resurfacing a road. Fortunately, Sir Courtenay Vyvyan of Trelowarren and Colonel Serecold of Rosuic stoped them, and arranged to have the menhir re-erected. Thanks to the soldiers’ efforts, though, it is a metre shorter than its original height.