View from Gurnard's Head, Cornwall - photography by
View from Gurnard's Head, Cornwall - photography by

Gurnard's Head

Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

Gurnard's Head near Zennor

Gurnard's Head near Zennor

Gurnard's Head is a magnificent headland on Cornwall's north coast with unrivalled views of the surrounding coastline.

The headland is crowned by the remains of an Iron Age cliff castle of the simple multivallate type dating from around 2BC. Two stone ramparts and ditches span the neck of Gurnard's Head and sixteen round houses lie on the eastern area of the headland.

Excavations were carried out in 1939 by the Cornish Field Club and a number of pottery sherds were discovered of which most were hand made but some wheel-turned sherds were found.

The Gurnard's Head site bears a strong resemblance to some Breton sites, notably Kercaradec at Finistère.

This coastline is also notorious for its former shipwrecks and Gurnard's Head has featured in many a tale. The John and Mary, a schooner, was lost here in February 1852 and in 1920, the Hickleton, a coaster bound from St Malo to Port Talbot in Wales was lost after her rudder failed.

The Headland is named after the likeness of its shape to the head of the Gurnard fish. Local fishermen also refer to it by an older name, Izner, which refers to the chapel which was once located close-by, Chapel Jane. This ruined chapel is best seen when the undergrowth has died back as it is otherwise difficult to find. Follow the path out onto Gurnard's Head keeping to the east side (right). The chapel can be found on the edge of the cliff overlooking Treen Cove. Some of it has slipped into the sea. It's name is believed to come from the Cornish word 'yein' meaning 'bleak'.

Adjacent to the chapel is a holy well - Chapel Jane Well. The well does not have its stone covering but its spring still produces water which cascades over the cliff. (SW 434 383)

The remains of a tin mine and pilchard works can also be found here.

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Located in West Cornwall on the Land's End Peninsula. Accessed from the St Just to St Ives coast road - the B3306.

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Treen Cove, Gurnard's Head near Zennor
Treen Cove, Gurnard's Head near Zennor

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