Giant's Tomb Entrance Grave

Porth Hellick Down Burial Chamber

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Giant's Tomb burial chamber - Porth Hellick

The Giant's Tomb (also known as the Great Tomb) is the largest of a group of eight entrance graves at Porth Hellick. The site, Porth Hellick Down, is about a mile and a half east of Hugh Town on St Mary's, overlooking Porth Hellick Bay. As well as the rare remaining grouping of Neolithic and Bronze Age tombs, you can also make out traces of the prehistoric field system.

Porth Hellick Downs Entrance Grave

Entrance graves are unusual in Britain, and are found only on Scilly and in West Cornwall. A circular mound is built around a chamber, reached by a long, unroofed passageway (hence the name). Porth Hellick is a particularly exciting site, because it's unusual to see so many surviving entrance graves in one place.

Porth Hellick Down Burial Chamber

This particular entrance grave is the best preserved as well as the biggest. It's 40 feet in diameter, and has a 12' open passage that leads to a D-shaped chamber, covered by four capstones. When it was excavated in the late 19th century, the grave was empty apart from some Bronze Age shards; however, from other excavations, we know that the chambers originally housed burial urns.

Porth Hellick Down is under the care of English Heritage. Entrance is free, and you're welcome to visit at "any reasonable time during daylight hours". Pick a clear day to walk up here, to make the most of those glorious sea views.