Logan Rock presides over a beautiful stretch of coast land that sweeps away in one direction passed pale sandy beaches of Pedn Vounder and Porthcurno to the world famous Minack Theatre to the west and guarded by the pale white outline of the Tater Du lighthouse to the east. The Logan Rock takes its name from a the famous rocking stone or Logan that sits high in the rocky cairn set above sculptural honeyed cliffs plunging into clear turquoise blue waters.
Our visit to Logan Rock
We made the most of the fabulous heat wave delivered by the jet stream this February to walk across the fields from Treen to Logan Rock once more and explore the rocky cairn that is the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort, ancestral home of a Giant and sport of witches if local legends are to be believed!
The countryside grows wilder and more untamed as we left Penzance and turned of towards St Buryan a typical village of granite cottages hewn from the very landscape of Cornwall, set around the imposing tower of St Buryan Church. (There is a good walk from here to the Stone circle of Boscawen-un stone circle)
The drive is itself beyond Penzance is fascinating marked by old milestones and ancient crosses, some part of the megalithic arrangement across the Lands End and with the joy of spring flowers clinging to the warm Cornish banks beside the road (Many pre-Christian stones were altered when the priests were ordered to remove them but fearing the wrath of the population adopted a political solution)
The road stops amongst the huddle of cottages that is Treen village with a tiny surprisingly full car park. We walked across the fields from Treen in the early spring, sunshine revelling in the renewal of the year just as beautifully worked land planted stretched under out feet filled with orderly crops of potatoes holding the promise of the harvest.
We soon found a happy rhythm crossing the traditional Cornish styles that are so much full of the memories of previous generation who walked these fields until we reached the cliff and the entrance to the Iron Age fort of Treryn Dinas and heard the moan of the Runnel stone carried on the wind towards us.
The Logan Rock is fiercely beautiful with great honey coloured stacks and time worn boulders to explore amongst the turbulent music of the waves crashing far below.
A picnic with a view
We settled for our lunch in the warm honeyed bowl of lichen clad rocks, fascinated by the beautiful isolated beaches ranging along the cliffs and even more so by the antics of the hardy swimmers wading out into the still turquoise seas in the lee of the great rock.
They were our only company that day apart from the diving sea birds and the occasional seal disporting under the cliff.
It seemed strange at that moment to remember the previous week when I had stood on the Minack Theatre and looked across the sea to the embracing arm of The Logan rock that had tempted me come today.
Finally we moved on to explore the last cairn of rocks on the rocky promontory, following the hoof prints of the hardy ponies that sometimes graze here, to clamber up into the steep granite rocks but alas never to touch the Logan stone.
As we emerged back onto the headland trying to remember our route through the maze of rocks, the wind changed from the throaty roar of the west momentarily bringing a softer note from the east at the castle entrance and we retraced our footsteps across the fields once more.
As we reached the car park two walkers sat with a thermos flask swinging their legs from the tailgate of their car “had a good walk” they asked “Yes wonderful” we replied. And truly, on a day lent from summer, we had a wonderful day out on the Cornish cliffs.
Walking from Treen to Logan Rock
- Take the turning from the Land’s End road once more at Catchall towards St Buryan B3283
- Continue through St Buryan with a Grade one church and tower said to be visible from the Isles of Scilly
- The road will wind for some way before dropping into a valley. Just passed a sharp bend with stalls on either side of the road selling big buckets of flowers turn left signposted Treen and Logan Rock Inn.
- Drive passed the Inn and down passed the rows of granite cottages to a small car park.
- Walk back o the car park entrance and turn down to the left beside a cottage (usually there is a sign saying “we don’t know where the beach is” but disappointingly it had vanished for our visit maybe they only put it out in summer!) Alternatively carry on along the unmade lane marked “To the beach” to emerge further along the cliff for a more circular route
- The path dissects fields of crops towards the coast with several styles along the way
- Finally cast to the left and enter Logan Rock through an entrance in the ancient Hill Fort of Treryn Dinas
A history note about Logan’s Rock
The 80 ton Logan rock was famously displaced by a Naval Lieutenant Goldsmith from the cutter HMS Nimble, aided by ten or twelve sailors in April 1824. Such was the outrage amongst the local residents that he was obliged to replace the stone, mainly at his own expense, using thirteen capstans provided by the Admiralty from the dockyard in Plymouth aided by a grant of £25.
He was to work diligently over the months and finally with just an hour of daylight left before sunset on Tuesday 2nd November he replaced the rock at 4.20 1824 This was accomplished with the help of over 60 men in front of crowds of interested observers. The final receipt for the work can be found in The Logan Rock Inn in Treen for £130 8s 6d and was said to have ruined Goldsmith for life.
The Logan rock is said not to rock as easily and sweetly as it did before but noted Cornish historian Craig Weatherhill says that a series of rhythmic heaves will still set the rock in motion and the momentum can then be maintained by one hand. Certainly a famous visitor to Cornwall – Virginia Woolf recalled watching her father setting the stone to rock on a childhood visit.
Iron age castle of Treryn Dinas
Logan Rock is the sight of an Iron Age Promontory Hill Fort of Treryn Dinas and the entrance passes through the ramparts today marked by a neat plaque of it custodians the National Trust.
Erosion and robbing of the site has left little but earth banks but a keen observer can just make out two platforms though to have contained round houses amongst the five defensive rings
Giants and witches
Legend declared Logan Rock to be the home to the giant Dan Dynas and his wife who piled rocks about the site and local superstition says that bad luck would befall anybody moving stone from here but at some point the promontory has been robbed of the facing stone of the ramparts. Dan Dynas was rumoured to have been killed by his wife in some stories when she fell for a younger giant but was tuned to stone for her sin whereas others picture them in marital harmony sitting in the giant and giantess chair amongst the rocks.
Witches were said to have cast spells further along the point riding on stalks of Ragwort to lure ships to their doom. They lived on in local memory to the extent that when Electricity came to Penzance it was thought so dangerous that only a letter in the local paper claiming the witches riding over Logan Rock would protect them calmed the residents (Observer 1879) Certainly Treen is enthusiastically festooned with electricity wires to this day.
Why not subscribe?
I hope that have enjoyed reading this week’s blog exploring Logan Rock, along with a taste of the history and legends that still shape the landscape in Cornwall. To read my next blog when we visited Sennen as the February heatwave continued why not subscribe – there is a box in the top left hand corner of this page – you will only receive my weekly blog and nothing else. (and this time we remembered to take a flask of tea!)
Follow the Penwith Tour to find more special places in West Cornwall
Follow the Penwith Tour to find Logan Rock and other magical places to explore in West Cornwall Details here for section three