Sacred Sites in Cornwall: St. Nectan’s Glen

I’ll start this post with the disclaimer that I have travelled a number of times to Cornwall, but am very far from having a comprehensive knowledge of the region’s sacred sites.  There are so many things to see.  Here are some of my favorites.

North Cornwall
St. Nectan’s Glen
is located in the village of Trethevy, north of Tintagel, and south ofBoscastle.  There is a small parking lot on the west side of the road where you may leave a car. I passed the glen on an earlier trip in 2005, but in the summer of 2016, while staying in Devon, we made a special day trip.

The path along the gushing stream to St. Nectan's Glen.

You’ll cross the street and walk down a path adjacent to a tiny stone church, and from there, into the woods.  This is pilgrimage at its best on a small scale.  The approach to the glen takes some time, and involves liminal crossings of a gushing stream, and walking on soft duff, muddy lowland paths, and a bit of climbing into the hills.  I savored the walk, and used it as a meditation in preparation for some spiritual work I needed to do.  Upon arriving at the building perched atop the stone cliffs, we paid our admission fee, and were offered some musty wellies from a nearby shed.  (Bring your own if you’re sensitive to mildew!) We slowly descended the stairways, stopping on the viewing platforms to gaze down at the loud, rushing falls.  It is a faery glen, with mosses, ferns, and life sprouting everywhere.  At the bottom, the glen opens out, and the waters are shallow.

My partner examines a log filled with coins.

Let your instincts guide where you walk, and what you do next.  People have filled the glen with an abundance of clouties and other offerings.  I took a long time just standing in front of the spectacular round opening in the stone at the base of the falls, my glasses fogging from the spray.  Something in me cracked wide open, and I enjoyed a mystical unbinding of some energies that had been very stuck before.  This moment set the tone for the next three weeks of our

Stand in front of the falls and take your time.

pilgrimage. When we were ready, we made our way back to the entrance, returned our musty boots, and walked back along the stream, down through the woods.  On the return visit I felt so light and full of joy.  It was indescribable. 

I live in Oregon, and there are dozens of spectacular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge.  This was a different experience entirely, with the spirits of the place speaking very strongly and benevolently.

I’ll add a great deal more to the Cornwall page over the coming weeks.  This is just the beginning.  Next up:  The Rocky Valley, the labyrinths, and that wild saddle of rock, Tintagel.

 

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