Thursday, 7 May 2015

Blue Hills, St. Agnes, to Perranporth

The rugged cliffs between St. Agnes and Perranporth
The 3.3 mile walk from Blue Hills in the Jericho Valley (posting of 12 May 2012), near St. Agnes, to Perranporth is one of the most spectacular and rugged sections of the north Cornwall coast path. It should be trod with care, however, as the sedimentary rocks in this area are heavily eroded, and the crumbling path is in many places only a few feet from dizzying 270ft sheer drops to the rocks below.

Roughly half way the extraordinary rock colours on Cligga Head, a small granite intrusion in the killas, are evidence of the mineralisation in this area, which has been extensively mined over the centuries for copper, tin, arsenic and tungsten. 
Approaching Cligga Head
Spoil heaps cascade down to the beach at Cligga
Now all that remains are many capped mine shafts and spoil heaps, the engine houses having been cleared after the 1860s to make way for a large dynamite works, last owned by the Nobel company, and later for the airfield near the site.  During World War 2 tungsten was produced here, and the remaining buildings were demolished so as not to provide landmarks for the Luftwaffe.  The only surviving mine buildings are the ruins of the WW2 dressing floors.
Capped mine shaft with WW2 workings in the background
Rounding Droskyn Point a wonderful vista appears, looking down on Perranporth beach, and the 3 mile stretch of Penhale Sands (posting of 21 February 2010) leading to Holywell Bay.
The magnificent Perranporth beach and Penhale Sands
This is a moderately difficult walk with a total elevation gain of 800 ft.

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