Neolithic Cornwall


Today we finally managed to find the layby near to the Lanyon Quoit (Neolithic Period) along the Morvah to Madron road in West Penwith. Having driven past many times it is a relief to finally find the right spot! Just a short leap over a stile and you are on the north end of a long barrow, which is not easily seen as it is covered in bracken and grass.

The dolmen* collapsed in a storm in 1815 and was re-erected 9 years later, and as a result the dolmen is now very different from its original appearance.

In the background is a more recent building, the Ding Dong mine.Β The mines themselves are believed to be the oldest in the UK, going back as far as the prehistoric period.

Near the mine ruins can be found the Bronze Age Nine Maidens Stone Circle, the Men-an-Tol as well as Lanyon Quoit. I do have photos of the Men-an-Tol, but need to go back and get some better ones. And also try to get closer to Ding Dong.

*A dolmen is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical megaliths supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (“table”), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic (4000–3000 BC).


32 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue says:

    Oh, wonderful! I am enjoying following your exploring, and shall be most interested to see what you find at Ding Dong…

    1. Heyjude says:

      I think I have figured out how to get close to it, just need to pick a day when there are no tourists!

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    Oh, this is right up my street, Jude. That second shot is a whizz – dolmen and Ding Dong combined with current agricultural scene – six thousand years covered in one shot!

    1. Heyjude says:

      I thought that too. An incredible feeling being on that spot.

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    We went to all of these on our visit to Cornwall a few years ago. Though I admit Lanyon Quoit involved a fair bit of reversing. It’s not at all clear!

    1. Heyjude says:

      No. I am amazed that these sites are not sign-posted. This one does not even get a fingerpost!

  4. I’m glad you finally found it! It’s fantastic to think mining has been happening here for so many millennia.

  5. beetleypete says:

    Some years back, I went to see this, in Wales.
    As you can see from the link, it is remarkably similar.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      I do have a photo of that one! Note to self: Must write about my Welsh trips. We raced there on the one sunny day we had in Pembrokeshire (Christmas) before the sun set. Marvellous setting.

      1. beetleypete says:

        I have some film prints I took there, but they are somewhere long forgotten.

  6. restlessjo says:

    Ding Dong the witch is dead! Which old witch, the wicked witch? Sorry, can’t help myself. The image of you gaily leaping over the stile has gone to my head. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ On a more serious note… whatever possessed people to go digging and then be able to utilise the stone? Amazing, in’ it? πŸ™‚

    1. Heyjude says:

      You’d have laughed your socks off if you could have seen me land in a cow pat! Whatever possessed a cow to go under the capstone?

      1. restlessjo says:

        πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. I’d be interested to learn more about the naming of the mine – Ding Dong is rather more playful than I expected!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Wikipedia: “According to a 1936 book by Henry R. Jenkins, the name may refer to the ‘head of the lode’ or the outcrop of tin on the hill. He also notes that in Madron church there is a ‘Ding Dong Bell’ that was rung to mark the end of the last shift of the miners.”

      1. Well, thank you for that! Ask and ye shall receive!
        I am a mineral collector and have a fondness for cassiterite, which is the ore of tin. So your Ding Dong Mine has double appeal for me.

        1. Heyjude says:

          I shall investigate…

  8. Tina Schell says:

    Amazing to have something like that nearby – LOVE the way you captured it in the opening shot Jude. Funny how people in the US consider things from the 1600s to be ancient LOL.

    1. Heyjude says:

      My eye was taken by the later mine building in the background, such an odd juxtaposition, but later I discovered that it was mined long before the 18th century mine was opened.

  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I love the atmosphere and other world feel of these places, magic Jude!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Gilly, thought you would like this.

  10. Cornwall keeps giving in unexpected ways and lovely sharp photos – you’ve captured every blade of grass. I love the composition of the second photo. It seems that rearranging the dolmen is a kind of sacrilege. And maybe the cow was under the cap for the same reason as you? (I didn’t laugh, but it was hard work!)

    1. Heyjude says:

      Nah, can’t see a cow with a camera….

  11. Your very own Stonehenge at the bottom of the garden πŸ˜‰

    1. Heyjude says:

      A very mini one!

      1. You’re a lucky lass πŸ™‚

  12. Joanne Sisco says:

    I was into the seriousness of this post and its reaches far back into history.

    Then you tossed the Ding Dong in there. Sorry. I’m only going to remember the Ding Dong πŸ˜‰

    1. Heyjude says:

      You obviously didn’t read about the cow pat….

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        … and the fact that you got “up close and personal” with a cow patty under the stones? πŸ˜‰
        I told you cows were dangerous …

        1. Heyjude says:

          I know! In more ways than one it seems…

        2. Joanne Sisco says:

          Hehehehehe!! πŸ˜€

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