Carn Euny - Fogou and Well

Winding away from the coast following signs to the English Heritage maintained Carn Euny the road narrows and heads continually uphill.  Crossing moorland and traversing small villages,  eventually the road runs out.  It is then a short walk across fields to the hill-top village of Carn Euny.  

Hidden within the grassy hillside the ancient stones start to appear and the structure of an iron age village becomes visible.  Carn Euny is a courtyard house settlement, found in this part of Cornwall from about 500BC,  inhabited until about the 5th Century.  

The house would have one entrance and beehive hut with a thatched or turfed roof.  At Carn Euny, there appears to be four of these settlements interlinking with each other.  The settlement sits on the edge of a hill with views across the Cornish landscape.  The inhabitants would have farmed the surrounding landscape and may have mined the tin, found in the area which is used for the manufacture of bronze.

The structures remain as does the fogou.  An impression of the once thriving small village.  Fogou comes for the Cornish for tunnel or cave and this really does describe this structure within the settlement.  There is uncertainty about the function of this tunnel, but it aligns with the rising midsummer sun and was sealed at both ends with just a small crawl tunnel.  This is complimented by the entrance to the beehive hut being aligned with the rising winter solstice sun.

Taking the path from the west corner of Carn Euny village it is  short walk to the two small wells of St Euny.  These are hidden by the side of the path, one on each side of the main path to Bartine Castle.  The wells are surrounded by tress, dappled in light with a tranquil atmosphere and the slightly surreal clooties, found at many sacred sites across Cornwall including St Nectan's Glen.  These originate in witchcraft and a piece of clothing or cloth worn around or over an ailment to the well was then laid over the tree as healing was asked for from the spirits.  Over time the cloth would fall to the ground and rot at the same time as the individual would heal.  I am however unsure how synthetic materials, tied tightly around the tree, stunting its growth and leaving a trail of detritus in the area can have the same power as the original offering of a cloutie.


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