Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Best Walks in Cornwall - Brown Willy

3. Rough Tor Car Park to Brown Willy - 5.2 miles

Although the Cornish coast is what it's famed for, Cornwall does have some amazing moorland as well. Heading up through Bodmin and out, into what seems to be the middle of nowhere sits Rough Tor (pronounced row) and then Brown Willy - the highest point in Cornwall. From the car park, 5.2 miles seems a ridiculous length for this walk, but don't be fooled. So many people climb up to what they believe to be Rough Tor, the smaller stack on the horizon, and think that the larger one must therefore be Brown Willy.
 From this perspective, it seems a lovely picnic walk, however once you get up to the top, you will then see Brown Willy. Although it is only 20m higher than Rough Tor, it is worth the relatively steep climb (unless you are wobbly on your legs then you'll be fine) to the top, for fabulous views over the county, and even out to sea. Brown Willy stands at 420m above sea level, and gets its somewhat comical name from the Cornish for "hill of swallows" - Bronn Wennili. During this walk there are many cairns to take note of, 2 of which are man made, but the Brown Willy Summit cairn could date back as far as the early Bronze Age - around 1500 BC. This ancient history continues along your walk, with holy wells, stone circles and the ruins of old settlements all making an appearance on the way up to the summit. 
Once you reach the top, you will see the aforementioned summit cairn, which has never been excavated, although local folklore suggests that the body of an ancient Cornish king may be buried underneath it. All of this history is great for entertaining kids, and providing they have the right footwear (this walk gets surprisingly boggy even in the summer), it's a great walk for not only tiring them up but for getting them used to walking before you attempt some of the coastal paths. If they don't have the right boots, check out our kids footwear here.  
Dogs are allowed on this piece of moorland, however there are sheep and ponies grazing so if they do have a tendency to run off, keep them on a lead! This is really the only walk on this page that doesn't require directions - simply find the car park and walk from there - it is so wide open you aren't in danger of getting lost! 

If ancient history is your thing, check out our walk no. 1 here!

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