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The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

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Brown Willy

Age group: 10+

Location: NORTH Cornwall


Contact: nr Camelford, PL32

TEL: n/a


Cornwall's highest point - 1,378 feet (420 m). It is situated about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north-west of Bolventor and about 4 miles (6.4 km) south-east of Camelford as the crow flies and about 1 mile from Rough Tor.


The hill is known for a meteorological phenomenon known as the Brown Willy effect, in which heavy rainfall develops over high ground and then travels downwind for a long distance. The effect produces very heavy localised rain which can cause disastrous flash flooding such as the Boscastle flood of 2004.


Brown Willy is unusual in that, unlike other hills on Bodmin Moor, there is very little evidence of prehistoric settlement around it. It may have instead been set aside for use as a communal area for people from the surrounding settlements, who may have used the ridge as a ceremonial procession route.


There are two man-made cairns on the summit. Brown Willy Summit Cairn or Brown Willy North Cairn is a man made rock pile that sits alongside an Ordnance Survey triangulation station. Brown Willy Summit Cairn has never been excavated and folklore suggests an ancient Cornish king may lie entombed underneath.


Streams and marshes are common surrounding the summit, and the River Fowey also rises nearby. There are naturally-occurring piles of granite boulders around the summit, and one, known as the Cheesewring is composed of 5 separate rocks which get larger and larger towards the top.

Camelford 8 miles, Tintagel 13 miles, Port Isaac 13 miles, Wadebridge 13 miles