St Buryan

St Buryan Church
St Buryan Church

St Buryan, named for the Irish Saint Buriana, is an attractive village located at the heart of the West Penwith peninsula. Granite cottages cluster around its central 14th century church, which acts as a distinctive landmark for miles around, and its circular graveyard. The church is a grade 1 listed building and its six bells are said to have the heaviest peel in the country. Legends surrounding the founder of the original church on this site tell us that the 6th century saint was buried here after perishing while kidnapped by a local king, despite Cornwall's patron Saint Piran's attempts to save her.

Agriculture is strong in St Buryan, with ploughing competitions and horse shows still a regular part of summer festivities and a thriving Young Farmers group. The local store is particularly well stocked and the St Buryan Inn offers a simple menu.

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Boscawen-un
Boscawen-un

Nearby stone circles include the 5,000-year-old Boscawen-un to the north, with its crystal rich leaning centre stone. This was the site of the first meeting of Cornish Bards in 1928. The Merry Maidens to the south were reputedly turned to stone, along with their tall pipers in a neighbouring field, for dancing on the Sabbath. Look out also for ancient crosses on roadsides in this area.

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Porthguarnon Cove near Penberth
Porthguarnon Cove near Penberth

Further towards Land's End, the superbly unspoilt village of Treen boasts a lovely old pub, the Logan Rock, and paths leading to the famous balancing Logan Rock headland and some very off-the-beaten-track beaches, including one that is popular with naturists. The 80-ton boulder was pushed from its perch by a boisterous Navy officer and his men in 1824. Much aggrieved, local villagers forced him to replace it at his own cost.

In the wooded valley between these two villages, an ancient handful of cottages make up the tiny, yet still-functioning, fishing cove of Penberth. Vehicular access is restricted, but it is certainly worth a walk around. Another wooded valley just south of St Buryan is St Loy. A carpet of bluebells in spring, these woods lead down to a beautiful cove of rounded rocks.

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