Welcome to Towednack
Our website serves the parish of Towednack and has two main aims:
- to allow parish council documents and information to be distributed and available for everyone to access
- to engage you with the activities of your Parish Council and encourage your input and participation in Parish Council matters
The website is run by the parish council for the residents of Towednack and aims to offer a useful information resource for all. We hope you find the website easy to use and helps you to keep connected to the activities of your parish council.
Please get in touch if you have any suggestions about how we might improve the website.
About Towednack Parish
Towednack Parish in West Penwith lies in an area most of which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also encloses many Areas of Great Historic Value, Areas of Heritage Coast and Areas of Great Scientific Value.
It comprises of the village of Nancledra and the hamlets of Amalebra, Amalwhidden, Amalveor, Georgia, Towednack, Trevega and Penderleath. The Red River and its tributaries flow through the southern part of the parish, down through the valley of Nancledra finally meeting the sea at Marazion.
The unique landscape is a mix of lowland wetland, moorland, and agricultural land.
The diverse landscape supports a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are rarely found in other counties and some of which are exclusive to West Cornwall
Skies are dark, the Milky Way can be seen easily on clear nights.
The northern boundary of the parish is the rocky north coast, battered by atlantic rollers and easily enjoyed by walking the coastal path. There are numerous little coves along this short stretch: Seven Years Cove, Bowling Cove, Brea Cove, Zawn Bros and River Cove.
The most northerly point is Carn Nuan. The rocky outcrop on the western side of the coastal boundary is Towednack Quae Head.
The western boundary of the parish encloses a large area of moorland down comprising Beagletodn Downs, Amalveor Downs, Lady Downs and Conquer Downs. Each of these moorland areas have their own special characteristics.
The downs are notable for the large numbers of Tumuli (ancient burial grounds or barrow) , evidence of the settlements of our bronze age ancestors. Landmarks are these downs are Sperris Croft and Trendrine Hill.
Sperris Croft consists of seven hut circles running in a line along a ridge 700ft) above sea level, exposed and windswept. The huts measure between 20 and 46 ft in diameter. Although very clearly seen, little more than foundations remain as stone from them was used in the building of two nearby mines, Wheal Sandwich and Wheal Sperris. Little remains of either of these mines.
Trendrine Hill is topped by a group of three round barrows. One of the barrows is a mound 6’6″ high surrounded by very large stones. At the centre of the mound are the remains of a large cist including a displaced capstone. The largest barrow is a large cairn of stones 62′ across and 8’6″ high. It is topped by an Ordnance Survey pillar. All that can be seen of the third barrow is a slight mound between the other two.
The eastern boundary of the parish is riddled with mine shafts and ruined engine houses, the legacy of two hundred years of deep shaft mining and a reminder of the parish’s contribution to the Industrial Revolution. Prior to this, tin streaming had been carried out on a large scale since medieval times.
Nancledra was at the centre of the mining community, both china clay and tin mines surrounded the village providing work for the village and surrounding hamlets. Miners often walked many miles over the moors to get work and a great network of footpaths still remain which we can now use to get to the north coast. In addition to the mines there were three sets of tin stamps operating in the Red River, so until the 1930’s Nancledra was a pretty busy and noisy place with numerous pubs and chapels to support the workforce.
The remains of old china clay works including drying beds and fire mouths can be found at Georgia. That everything remains, except roof and machinery makes the site archaeologically important. The clay pits are now ponds within the Baker’s Pit Nature Reserve which is managed by Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
Towednack Parish is now largely an agricultural parish, it also has a range of artists living and working in the parish including glassblowers, potters, textile artists, a silversmith and painters.
As well as agriculture, tourism is very important to the parish economy.
Visitors come to enjoy the footpaths, the landscape, archaeological sites and proximity to the coastal towns of St Ives and Penzance. There are camp sites and holiday cottages available, but the parish is fortunate that there are not so many that visitors outnumber the locals and there are very few ‘second homes’ in the parish. This helps to keep the community alive and vibrant.
The centre of the community of Towednack Parish is the village of Nancledra.
Although there are no longer any shop or post office facilities in the very middle of the village, the community is lucky to have an excellent village school (Nancledra School), a village hall (The Gilbert Hall), a parish church (Towednack Parish Church) a parish cemetery, a local pub (The Engine Inn at Cripplesease) and an excellent bus service to St Ives and Penzance.
Awkwardly, half of the village of Nancledra lies in the adjoining parish of Ludgvan, but for general community purposes most people regard themselves as belonging to Towednack Parish.