The more we walk through the landscape of Penwith, the more important the Tinners’ Way appears to be. It stretches from Cape Cornwall to either Carbis Bay/St Ives or Ludgvan/Marazion – or vice versa if you prefer. It appears to have been used of centuries and to walk along it is literally to walk through history: from Neolithic times to the Iron Age. To us, the Tinners’ Way is Penwith’s answer to the Sacred Valley in Peru which follows the Urabamba river past the staggering Ollyantaytambo giving access to Machu Picchu. every step brings something new, some new story.
Within easy reach of the path are Neolithic quoits and barrows, Bronze Age standing stones and stone circles, Iron Age villages and Early Christian stones. And, who can refuse Cape Cornwall which is beautiful in any weather?
Our original source was Craig Weatherhill’s book Belerion which describes the ancient sites of the Land’s End peninsular (Penwith). He suggests that the route divided around the charmingly obscure Bishops Head and Foot, with one branch going to St Ives, the other heading for Ludgvan and almost linking up with the St Michael’s Way.
When we first did the walk, we had no other source and relied on Craig’s book – now sadly out of print. We originally picked up the trail at Castle an Dinas using the southern branch and did the route in five parts as as a series of circular walks: Part 1, Part 2, Interlude, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. There is a map of our West Penwith walks below.
More recently, that other expert on wild Penwith, Ian Cooke, has produced a definitive guide which divides the route into five walks. This is available here.
The Tinners’ Way is highly recommended, especially if you like ancient monuments as we do. The path is relatively easy to follow, except near Bosporthennis Common where a row of BS are marked on the map but are hidden in a very boggy area (head south and swing round in an arc).