St Nectan’s Glen, Cornwall
Some of you will probably know that I am inordinately fond of Cornwall, and have explored quite a few of its special places.
The minute you cross the Tamar Bridge, the air seems different and the magic starts to stir.
We always make our way to Tintagel first, as we are Merlin and Arthur fanatics and this is our most important stop.
On our many trips to the West Country, we have discovered so many wonderful places, from magical forests to beautiful waterfalls. The stunning Atlantic coast with its rugged cliffs and caves, some of which involving a death defying climb that will literally turn your hair white.
We have visited most of the sites that are reported to be connected to Merlin and Arthur, including the pool where the sword Excalibur is supposed to lie. We have almost been blown off the cliffs when the weather turned bad, and have lost count of the times we have been soaked to the skin. But the weather, with all the glorious sunsets and scenery, including the sudden downpours, are all part of Cornwall’s magic.
And if you ever visit, you must remember to look up at the night sky. Nowhere else in the UK will you see night skies like the ones in Cornwall. The heavens seem so low; you can almost reach out and touch the millions of stars right above your head.
My personal favourite is St. Nectan’s Glen. Not easy to find, or get to, as it is only accessible on foot. This sacred site is where the river Trevillet has carved its way through the Devonian slate, and created a magnificent 60-foot waterfall. This water then punched a hole through the original kieve (basin) and cascades into a beautiful valley.
You walk through ancient woodland to get there, and it is quite a route march to reach the small hut or hermitage at the top where the monk St. Nectan built the sanctuary in 500AD. The frustrating part of this particular journey is the fact that you don’t see the falls until the very last minute. You gradually hear the murmur of the water as you get closer, but the landscape seems to keep it safe and secret until the very last minute, and is even more stunning because of this.
This place is sublimely spiritual, like nowhere else I have ever been and always has a profound effect on me. From the trees with all the multi-coloured wish ribbons, to the freezing spray of the white water, fighting its way through deep chasms in the rocks, this place inspires me to be better than I am…