Cape Cornwall

Posted in Cape Cornwall on March 8th, 2013 by David Murphy

Looking over towards Cape Conwall.

On the 8th of December 2012 on my tour around Cornwall I first camped in Exmoor National Park carried on to Bodmin Moor where I wildcamped and then around the north coast to Lands End I was then going to carry on along the south coast take in St. Michaels Mount and onto Dartmoor.

But my Wildcamping on Cape Cornwall was to be my last on this trip the problems with my Exped Downmat caused me to lose a day looking for a replacement and the plan to cross over to St Michaels Mount at the time of arrival I would have been met by darkness and didnt fancy crossing and looking for a spot to camp in darkness.

I had a chart for the firing times on Dartmoor and the two day window I planned to camp was gonna be to tight now, dark nights were becoming a problem moral wasnt at its best, packing up going into town for breakfast travelling around to my next unplanned location, using my mobiles Internet to plan my next spot (this is great in the summer months when daylight is plentiful)  and hoping to arrive there in daylight to survey the wildcamp spot.

After visiting Lands End I had then to look into wildcamping spots I was looking at the map and looking at extreme Western headlands and Cape Cornwall was the one I settle for I first surveyed the spot during daylight and walking around the side to discover an occupied lookout tower and thought this could be a little tricky camping here unseen.

 National Coastwatch look out


On seeing my pitch I then needed to pass some time and find somewhere I would park overnight, the golf club 5 Min’s walk away would prove to be the answer.
Heinz Monument (the 1864 chimney of the former Cape Cornwall Mine in Background.

After downing a few pints here the prospect of meeting that Coastwatch guard didn’t seem as much of a problem lol.
I took mt backpack from my car and walked up the path I had gone previous, it was pitch black. I proceeded to errect my tent only using the red light on my head torch in-case of been seen.
I didn’t cook on this camp due to noise of the stove and a slap up meal I had earlier in the golf club, but I did have four cans of lager with me to enjoy on the top on Heinz Monument.
Heinz Monument Below

The View from Heinz Monument

More of the Akto

Looking up to the Monument

Checkout my video at the bottom of page.

Coordinates: 50°07′37″N 5°42′22″W / 50.127°N 5.706°W / 50.127; -5.706

Cape Cornwall (Cornish: Kilgoodh Ust, meaning "goose back of St Just") is a small headland in Cornwall, UK. It is four miles north of Land's End near the town of St Just.[1] A cape is the point of land where two bodies of water meet and until the first Ordnance Survey, 200 years ago, it was thought that Cape Cornwall was the most westerly point in Cornwall.[2]

Most of the headland is owned by the National Trust. There is also a National Coastwatch look out on the seaward side. The only tourist infrastructure at present is a car park (owned by the National Trust) and a public toilet and refreshments van during the summer.

The Brisons, two offshore rocks, are located approximately one mile southwest of Cape Cornwall and are the finish line of the annual swimming race from Priest Cove.[1][2]

Heinz Monument (the 1864 chimney of the former Cape Cornwall Mine) visible in the centre. It commemorates the purchase of Cape Cornwall for the nation by H. J. Heinz Company. The ruins of St. Helens Oratory also can be seen in the left. The two offshore rocks called Brisons are located approximately one mile southwest of the cape.

Just one mile from the Cape is the westernmost school on the British mainland, Cape Cornwall School. This is Cornwall's smallest secondary school with (as of January 2008) about 450 young people aged 11 to 16. Commonly known as "Cape" it is Cornwall's only school that specialises in art, photography and music. Most of its pupils come from the town of St Just in Penwith and the nearby villages of Pendeen, Sennen, St Buryan and St Levan but over 10% travel to the school from Penzance and further east.


The name Cape Cornwall appeared first on a maritime chart around the year 1600 and the original Cornish name Kilgodh Ust has fallen out of use. In English it translates to "goose-back at St Just", a reference to the shape of the cape.[3] An alternative name, Pen Kernow, is a recent translation of the English.

Early history

Pottery found in cists on the Cape have been dated to the Late Bronze Age and the presence of another cliff castle nearby (Kenidjack) may indicate that the area was important in the Iron Age. On the landward side of the Cape is the remains of the medieval St Helen’s Oratory, which replaced a 6th-century church. A font in the porch of St Just church may be from this building.[2]

Cape Cornwall Mine, a tin mine on Cape Cornwall, operated intermittently between 1838 and 1883. The mine's 1864 chimney near the peak of the cape was retained as an aid to navigation, and in the early 20th century the former ore dressing floors were for a time converted into greenhouses and wineries. In 1987 the site was donated to the nation by the H. J. Heinz Company. The remains of Cape Cornwall Mine now form part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


  1. ^ a b Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
  2. ^ a b c Joseph P. 2006. Cape Cornwall Mine. British Mining No 79. Northern Mine Research Society. Sheffield. pp.111. ISBN – 13: 978-0-901450-60-9.
  3. ^ Weatherhill C. (2007) Cornish Place Names and Language. Ammanford: Sigma Press.

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