On the Edge of Bodmin Moor.

Start. Minions.

Route. Minions - The Hurlers - Rillaton Barrow - The Cheesewring - Stow Hill - Boundary Rock - New Phoenix Mine - Minions Mound - The Pipers - The Hurlers - Houseman's Engine House Visitors Centre - Minions.

Notes. We turned our backs on the coast today, thought it was time we muddied our boots on Bodmin Moor, not having a clue where to go we picked a name on the map, a name our 2 year old granddaughter instantly recognized when Sue sent a picture of the village sign to mum, Minions. It turned out Minions was an incredible place, so why not join us on a short ramble through pre-history and help turn the pages on modern history on a walk under the big skies of Bodmin Moor.

Minions on the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor, the highest village in Cornwall, built between 1863 and 1880 to service the many tin and copper mines that had been driven into the pristine moorland. Although it was not the first time man had made his home on these moors. In the Bronze Age man lived and farmed up there before being driven from his land by climate change, and you thought that was something we invented. He left behind his creeds, beliefs, his monuments and the bones and cremated remains of his ancestors, all remain to this day for the likes of us to explore.

Just before entering Minions from the south a large car park bears testament to the popularity of this place, we parked here. To the rear of the car park a flight of steps allowed access to Bodmin Moor, this was our doorway into pre-history. A wide green trod guided us to The Hurlers, three Bronze Age stone circles dating back to 1500BC, if you line the centre of the circles up they point directly to Rillaton Barrow, our next port of call. In 1837 workers looking for building materials found a skeleton along with a bronze dagger, several faience beads (small beads made from sand or quartz mixed with ash or lime into a paste, when heated they fuse together to form a glass like material) and a decorative pot containing a gold cup. The entrance to this Round Barrow is on the east side, access was impossible.

From the barrow we made our way to Stowe's Hill, unfortunately the hill has been quarried but the remains of a walled Neolithic settlement are clearly visible, Bronze Age cairns also adorn the hill as does the Cheesewring, a weather sculptured rock formation one of a number rising from the tor. From Stowe's Hill you can stand and wonder over a landscape rich in history, heritage and legend, the views are stunning, from our vantage point we picked our next objective, the New Phoenix Mine.

We descended to the south, scrambled over granite boulders before traversing a shallow valley, passed Boundary Rock we walked to join the track bed of a disused railway, at an obvious junction we left the railway crossing open moorland, on the skyline a number of cairns adorned what looked like another barrow. Once at the cairned mound it was a short walk to the New Phoenix Engine House, after a quick look round we strolled out over boggy ground to reach Minions Mound another slice of Bronze Age history.

To the north of Minions Mound two standing stones rise from the moorland, at first I thought they were modern gate stoops. The Pipers date back to the same time as the rest of the monuments up here, stand to the south of them and they guide the eye directly to Stowe's Hill, could they possibly be the original entrance to this amazing Bronze Age site. The Pipers behind us we wandered passed The Hurlers to access Houseman's Engine House, restored, refurbished and a very good exhibition centre, just a short walk from Minions.

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Minions the highest village in Cornwall.

The Hurlers, three Bronze Age stone circles dating from around 1500BC....

....a line drawn through the centre of the three circles lines up perfectly with Rillaton Barrow, a Bronze Age burial mound.

The view south towards Minions.

Rillaton Barrow the largest round barrow on Bodmin Moor, about 35 metres in diameter and almost 3 metres high, a short walk from The Hurlers stone circles. It was here the Rillaton Gold Cup was found, now held in the British Museum.

I thought this may have been some Bronze Age defensive ditch, not so it's the remains of a tramway.

Carved by ice, sculptured by weather the Cheesewring stands proud on Stowe's Hill.

Granite rock architecture on Stowe's Hill, proving mother nature does a far better job than the hand of man.

Prince of Wales Mine seen from Stowe's Hill.

Looking over the Cornish landscape from Stowe's Hill.

A glimpse of Siblybeck Lake seen over Craddock Moor.

Viewing Stowe's Hill from near the New Phoenix Engine House.

The New Phoenix Engine House.

Looking west from near Minions Mound.

The Pipers with views to Stowe's Hill.

Strolling through pre-history en route to....

....Houseman's Engine House, now an exhibition centre.

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