Heneward Circular Walk
- Distance:1 mile
- Walk grade:Easy
- Start from:Heneward
- Recommended footwear:walking boots or wellies
- Riverside picnic spot
- Views over the moor to Roughtor and Brown Willy
- Remains of ancient settlements and mine workings
- Park on the grass just past the cattle grid, opposite old chimney
Old china clays works
- Follow the lane over the bridge to a T-junction
Mediaeval field patterns are still apparent on the hill ahead.
In mediaeval times, the Anglo-Saxon "stitch meal" technique was adopted in some parts of Cornwall. This involved dividing arable and meadow land into long strips called "stitches". Villagers would be allocated a (usually disconnected) set of strips so that the "best" fields were shared around, as evenly as possible. The long, thin shape was ideal for ploughing with oxen. A typical stitch was one furlong in length and one acre in area, which could be ploughed by a team of oxen in a day.
- Turn left at the T-junction onto another lane, with views ahead to Roughtor and Brown Willy
Rough Tor is the second highest peak on Bodmin Moor. It is pronouced "row-tor" because the local dialect word "row" meant "rough". The summit of Rough Tor is encircled by a series of rough Neolithic stone walls which link natural outcrops, to form a tor enclosure. Also on the summit are the foundations of a mediaeval chapel, built into the side of one of the larger cairns.
- At the junction where the road meets from the right by a cycle sign painted on the road, take the footpath to the left over 2 stiles.
The rocky summit off to the left is Brown Willy.
Brown Willy is a tor on the north-west area of Bodmin Moor.The name "Brown Willy" is actually a distortion of the Cornish Bronn Wennili which means "hill of swallows". The summit is the highest point in Cornwall, at 420m above sea level, but only 20m taller than Rough Tor.
- Head straight ahead following the line of the track through the gate.
Tors are the result of millions of years of weathering. They started out as a molten blob of rock beneath the surface, which cooled and crystallised into granite, cracking (mostly vertically) as it cooled. Hot water circulated through the cracks, reacting chemically with the rocks and depositing minerals. As the softer rocks above were worn away fairly quickly, the reduction in pressure from the weight of the rock above caused the granite to crack (this time more horizontally). Water, acidic from carbon dioxide in the air, circulated in the cracks, causing weathering. Repeated freezing and thawing during Ice Ages caused blocks of varying sizes to break off. The "basins" on the tops of some of the tors are also the result of repeated freezing and thawing of water which has collected on the surface.
- Follow the waymark to a gap in the hedge.
- Cross the field to another waymark in the middle of the far hedge.
- Cross stile and follow the left-hand hedge downhill to the stream, which is a tributary of the River Camel.
The River Camel runs for 30 miles from Bodmin Moor to Padstow Bay. The name Cam-El is from the Cornish meaning "crooked one". It is documented that only the upper reaches of the river, above Boscarne, were originally known as the "Camel". The section from Boscarne to Egloshayle was known as the "Allen" and below this, it was known as "Heyl".
The River Camel is classed as a SSSI and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats Directive. Bullhead, Atlantic Salmon and Otters breed in the river.
- Cross the stream on the footbridge and take the path that bears right
- Climb the steps and keep left (don't go through the gap into the right-hand field)
The number of cows in Cornwall has been estimated at around 75,000 so there's a good chance of encountering some in grassy fields. If you are crossing fields in which there are cows:
- Do not show any threatening behaviour towards calves (approaching them closely, making loud noises or walking between a calf and its mother) as you may provoke the mother to defend her young. Generally the best plan is to walk along the hedges.
- If cows approach you, do not run away as this will encourage them to chase you. Stand your ground and stretch out your arms to increase your size.
- Avoid taking dogs into fields with cows, particularly with calves. If you can't avoid it: if cows charge, release the dog from its lead as the dog will outrun the cows and the cows will generally chase the dog rather than you.
- Follow the right hedge up the field through a gap in an old wall to the remains of a settlement.
Looking across the barren granite landscape of Bodmin Moor, it may seem strange that so many settlements can be found here from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. About 10,000 years ago, Bodmin Moor was almost entirely covered in forest, and the Neolithic tribes would have lived in forest clearings. During the Bronze Age, the majority of forest was cleared for farmland. The burning and grazing, over several thousand years, has resulted in poor soils which are naturally quite acidic due to the granite rocks. This, together with the exposure to the wind, is why the few trees on the moor today are generally stunted.
- On leaving the walled remains head straight across the field ahead to a stile (taking care of the barbed wire either side)
In Celtic times, fields were small and surrounded by banks or stone walls. The fields were used both for growing crops such as oats, wheat or rye, and for keeping livestock. The field shape was round or square, rather than rectangular, so that the stones didn't have to be carried further than necessary. The small size was because they needed to be weeded by hand, in many ways similar to a modern-day allotment.
- Turn left on the lane which returns to where you parked