St Nectan’s Glen: Visiting the Beauty of Britain

Not all myths and legends are so far out of reach that they are little more than wisps of smoke to which we desperately try to clutch. Along the northern, valley laden, Cornish coastline there are many tales which protrude so vehemently from the landscape that they are a commonplace name in most households. Nor far from the legendary castle of King Arthur’s birthplace, the world renowned cave of Merlin and museum fraught with the collections of a few centuries of witchcraft; there lays a simple path through the woods, made only by the passage of pilgrims over time to this isolated location, St Nectan’s Glen.

It is here that the river Trevillet, after having worked hard to wear away the Devonian Slate, falls for over 60 feet. The original basin (Kieve in Cornish), has also had a hole torn through it by the cascading water- see the photo above. The fallen water from then falls again into the beautiful valley, feeding the stream which guides travelers to this mystic sight.

The history of this waterfall begins with St Nectan, a monk from the 6th century who lived in hermitage above the falls. According to the legend, the sole task which he had appointed unto himself was that of ringing a silver bell in times of stormy weather; so that ships who strayed into the Rocky Valley (another beautiful, natural site to explore) were warned of the dangers of getting too close.

The legend goes that he is buried with his silver bell in the basin at the bottom of fall. If the occasion is to rise, people have claimed to hear the ringing of the bells during bad weather, where his spirit is still completing his task. This is not the only story of ghosts to haunt this natural wonder of the Cornish countryside; a pair of ladies in grey are also said to roam the pilgrim’s path, yet their history is unknown.

The Spiritual Scene

The staircase descending down to the edge of the Kieve

Having walked through the long woods, following the stream which is both clean and cool, you are greeted at an old cottage-like building by humble individuals. To the untrained eye maybe they appear as sorceresses straight out from some fairytale. Yet to those who can see, they are the spirits that imbue the Glen with life; their rituals are its preservation through the ages, the tending of every facet of life that graces the enclosing valley; their works of magic are felt in the eyes of those who return back to the mortal world, having been so moved by the voice of the Glen itself; and their spells, they are little more than opening the doors each day with a smile, offering tea and scones to weary travelers.

As you further explore the outstanding beauty of the Glen itself, there are fallen trees into which people have placed offerings of coins from their home countries, hoping that it will be them some prosperity. The sweet smell of incense resonates from unknown sources. Ribbons tied as votives, memories or prayers which cling to every branch. Painted pebbles, photos of revered loved ones smiling gleefully over barefooted individuals meditating as their feet are grounded in the water itself.

Rising gracefully from the waters are piles of stones stacked in differing sizes and made with varying complexity; these are the fairy stones, the Cairns of the valley, made by visitors who build them with an intention and a wish.

In Short…..

If you are to find yourself in the wholesome South-West of England, or even if there is a small inclination rooted in a deep desire to feel connected to Gaia Nature, then I suggest strongly to go to this most outstanding valley. It has been my favorite place since I first visited, indeed returning with many friends and family to rejoice in the natural temple of slate and water, tree and moss.

Perhaps if chance should take you there at the right time, then you can see or get involved in an event which is so magical that no words could not ever give the description justice; the marriage, the hand-fasting. Imagine being barefoot in a stream, the Sun is descending to the sound of the cascading falls behind you and the Glen is alight with small candles.

Anyway, my allowed time to write is up. Check out the Glen online! Let us Know what you think!!

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3 thoughts on “St Nectan’s Glen: Visiting the Beauty of Britain

  1. Very good post. Highly informative for travellers who want to visit St. Nectan’s Glen in Britain. Keep up the good work.


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