St. Michael's Way - 26th March 2015
St. Michael's Way is a 12 mile route between Lelant, near St. Ives, and St. Michael's Mount at Marazion. It was part of a network of pilgrim routes that led to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, one of the three most important Christian pilgrim sites, and as such it has been designated a "European Cultural Route". The route was used by missionaries and pilgrims arriving from Wales and Ireland who chose to avoid the treacherous waters around Land's End by walking across the peninsular from Lelant to Marazion. The trail was largely forgotten until 1987 when the Council of Europe decided to promote the pilgrim route to Santiago as a European Cultural symbol, and the trail was officially opened in 2004.
The walk starts at the Church of St. Uny in Lelant, on a sandy headland overlooking Lelant harbour and Hayle. The church is thought to date back to the arrival of St. Uny in the 6th century. The walk follows the coast to Carbis Bay, where it turns inland to Steeple Hill and the Knill monument. John Knill was the collector of customs in St. Ives and died in 1782, and he built the monument as a mausoleum for himself. It consists of a 50 foot high pointed obelisk with a burial chamber below, but the burial chamber was never used as it was not built on consecrated ground. The path heads off inland towards Trencom Hill, passing Bowl Rock, a huge piece of granite said to have been put in place by a giant. Trencom Hill stands alone at 550 feet elevation, and is thought to have been a Neolithic fort, yet unexcavated. Neolithic axe heads found on the lower slopes of the hill date back to 3500 BC.
The path continues to Ninnes Bridge, where it passes through the front garden of a former Wesleyan Chapel dating from 1783. It is significant for its association with John Wesley's landmark visit to Cornwall. An early cross and a line of standing stones seem to mark the site as a religious centre from a much earlier time.
The final section takes you to Ludgvan from where there is a choice of two authentic medieval routes to Marazion. The first crosses the swampy marshes of Marazion, now managed by the RSBP as an important habitat for birds. The second goes along the country lanes to Gulval. In medieval times the Gulval route was used as an alternative path when wet ground and tides make the Marazion marshes unpassable.
||Elevation in meters
Church of St. Uny, Lelant
Ancient granite cross
The Mission of St. Uny
Yellow arrow for footpaths, blue for bridle ways and red for byways.
Approaching Carbis Bay
Looking across to St. Ives
Crossing the railway bridge near Carbis Bay Station
The path crosses over the railway again by the Station, and drops down to Carbis Bay
You re-cross the railway and begin the climb up to Knill's Monument
Looking back down to Carbis Bay
On reaching the main road you turn right, past The Cornish Arms, until you reach a road going to the left called "Higher Tregenna Road". On entering Higher Tregenna Road you will notice a narrow road going immediately off to the left called Steeple Lane.
Steeple Lane eventually changes to Steeple Close, and at this point you have to take the narrow lane to the left
Eventually you come to the entrance to Knill's Monument
At this point the signpost tells you that you have covered 3.5 miles from Lelant and have 8.5 miles to go to Marazion
Looking back to Knill's Monument
Trencom Hill 11/4 miles
Close to Trencom Hill
Half way.... time for a sandwich
Marker telling you to take the road to the left
Approaching the Wesley Chapel, now a private house. There is a right of way around the edge of the garden.
The Wesley Chapel
Right of way along the edge of the garden by the standing stones
Looking back to Trencom Hill
Good signage and signs of upkeep on the pathway
Heading towards Ashtown Farm
First sight of St. Michael's Mount in the distance shortly after Ashtown Farm
Looking back up the gorse covered hill
Boskennal only 1/3 of a mile
After crossing this bridge the path rises gently until it reaches a road; there is no signpost at this road
but you have to turn almost 180 degrees and go back on yourself
Getting closer to St. Michael's Mount
Ludgvan Church. The path emerges onto the main road between the church and the telephone box. There is a bench conveniently positioned where you can sit and consult a map. If you are going by the Marazion Marsh route you want the road to the right of this picture i.e. turn left as you emerge onto the road by the church.
Right turn off Church Road