This walk across Bodmin Moor offers rugged hills and tors, including the downright bizarre Cheesewring, a pile of massive granite rocks said to resemble the press-like device once used to make cheese.
Start in the former mining village of Minions on the moor. Turn right opposite the Cheesewring Hotel and follow a track past some houses until you reach Houseman’s Engine House. Once part of a mine complex which sought tin and copper ore, the house is now restored as Minions Heritage Centre.
Turn left at the centre on to a well-worn path. Soon, moorland stretches as far as the eye can see. After an easygoing mile followed by a short climb adjacent to an old quarry, you reach the Cheesewring. According to local myth, this outlandish geological formation is the result of a rock-throwing contest between a giant and a diminutive saint – the giant, inevitably, was beaten by divine powers. Wilkie Collins described it well in Rambles Beyond Railways Or Notes in Cornwall Taken A-Foot: “If a man dreamt of a great pile of stones in a nightmare, he would dream of such a pile as the Cheesewring.”
To return for a pint in Cornwall’s highest pub, the Cheesewring Hotel, head down from the Cheesewring and veer right towards a wide track. Sheep and Bodmin ponies abound, so, as you turn left for the return leg, be careful if you have dogs – not least when they start to investigate the remains of burial chambers, which are also prominent.
After about two-thirds of a mile, you will come across the Hurlers, a group of three stone circles. Legend has it that these are local men turned to stone for playing a game of hurling on the Lord’s Day. You may, or may not, choose to ponder this over lunch and ale in the Cheesewring Hotel.
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Moors, tors, myths and ponies
Start and finish
Minions, OS Ref SX261712
Length of walk
Cheesewring Hotel Minions, 01579 362321; www.minions-cornwall.co.uk