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Gwennap Pit to Carn Marth

It may have been blowing a hooley at the weekend, but we still managed a gorgeous (and dry!) 3-mile ramble where I took 24 wonderful people around Gwennap Pit and Carn Marth.

Using the iWalkCornwall route, I took the group via Gwennap Pit, up to the quarry of Carn Marth, where we took in the 360° views and let the dogs have a swim before heading our way back down the rocky lanes and to the cars.

Carn Marth and Gwennap Pit hold a special place in my heart, nestled within the breath-taking landscapes of Cornwall; Carn Marth, with its ancient granite outcrop standing majestically against the sky, offers a sense of timeless wonder. Its sweeping views of the countryside below never fail to inspire awe and contemplation. Whether exploring its rugged trails or simply basking in its tranquil atmosphere, Carn Marth invites me to connect with nature in its purest form.

Meanwhile, Gwennap Pit carries an aura of spiritual significance and historical intrigue. Carved out by nature and shaped by human hands, this natural amphitheater feels like a sacred space, steeped in centuries of tradition and reverence. Walking its circular paths, I feel a sense of peace and reflection, as if tapping into the collective energy of all those who have come before me.

Both sites offer not only physical beauty but also a deep sense of connection—to the land, to history, and to something greater than ourselves. In Carn Marth and Gwennap Pit, I find solace, inspiration, and a profound appreciation for the wonders of Cornwall's natural and cultural heritage.

Keep reading to find out a little more on these two magical places and why I love to spend so much time exploring every corner I can...

Gwennap Pit

One of the most exciting sections of this route is Gwennap Pit. As you make your way up the grassy steps, get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor as it opens up to a 12-tiered amphitheatre. This historical site is the spot in which English cleric, theologian and evangelist, John Wesley, once described as “the most magnificent spectacle this side of heaven.”

The amphitheatre can fit up to 1500 people and it is said if you were to walk around every single ring from top to bottom and back up again, you will walk an exact mile – have you tried it yet?

It is believed that the original pit was a 'natural' depression in the surrounding area, probably caused by the surface collapsing into an abandoned mine dig below. The fact that the pit does not collect water to this day, probably adds credibility to the truth of this.

According to the Cornwall Guide; "The first use of Gwennap Pit for preaching was September 6th 1762 and the occasion was marked by John Wesley himself, who wrote: 'The wind was so high that I could not stand at the usual place at [the village of] Gwennap; but a small distance was a hollow capable of containing many thousands of people. I stood on one side of this amphitheatre towards the top and with people beneath on all sides, I enlarged on those words in the gospel for the day Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see....hear the things that ye hear.'"

Fun Fact: The 12 circular terraces that form the seats were cut by local miners between 1803 and 1806.

Carn Marth

Once you have spent enough time racing each other around the Pit, the next leg of the walk will take you up to one of my favourite places to sit and think; Carn Marth (Karn Margh).

Carn Marth is essentially a really big hill. Standing at approximately 771ft high, it is known for its large quarry at the top which is popular to fishermen and those who choose to go for a dip - I wouldn’t recommend it though as quarries can be dangerous and carry a whole host of nasty germs.

Carn Marth lies 2 kilometres southeast of Redruth and is part of the Carnmenellis granite plateau, the 'Carnmenellis Granite', one of several granite plutons in Cornwall that make up part of the Cornubian batholith, a large mass of granite rock formed about 280 million years ago, which lies beneath much of Cornwall and Devon.

On a clear day, you will be treated to panoramic shots of St. Agnes Beacon, Falmouth, the reservoir at Stithians and even Roughtor and Brown Willy; the highest hill in Cornwall all the way over on Bodmin Moor. Impressive right?

The topmost parts of the Carn are clothed in lowland heath, gorse, bracken and a generous mixture of wild flowers. Lower down there are fields for grazing, their limits marked by Cornish Hedges. Throughout the centuries, Carn Marth has continued to be a place of cultural and recreational significance for the local community. Its stunning vistas and tranquil surroundings have attracted artists, writers, and nature enthusiasts, drawing inspiration from its timeless beauty.

Today, Carn Marth remains a beloved destination for hikers, walkers, and those seeking to connect with Cornwall's rich history and natural heritage. Whether exploring its ancient ruins, admiring its panoramic views, or simply enjoying a peaceful moment in nature, Carn Marth continues to captivate visitors with its enduring allure and timeless charm.

Have you visited Gwennap Pit or Carn Marth before?

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