Barrowfields Newquay

View from Barrowfields to Porth, by Keith Riley
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View from Barrowfields to Porth, by Keith Riley

Opposite the Hotel Bristol, you enter an open space known as the Barrowfields, named after the Barrows or Tumuli that have been discovered here. By following the cliff-side footpath you can marvel at some of the finest coastal views in Europe. Close your eyes and try to feel the power of this ancient landscape. Our Celtic ancestors honoured this as a sacred site. Fifteen barrows have been identified here, sadly few remain. How many can you count today? Before anyone understood their historic importance, a local farmer, named Cardell, removed much of the stone from most of the barrows for nothing more sinister than to shore up the walls

The Barrow on the Barriowfields Newquay, photo by Keith Riley
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The Barrow on the Barriowfields Newquay, photo by Keith Riley

surrounding his fields. One of the barrows was excavated, and deep at the centre were found charred cooking pots and a coarse pottery burial urn containing the mortal remains of a Bronze Age Chieftain, who lived here some 3500 years ago.

Some say this is a haunted place. In the dead of night when the moon is new and the lowering mist rolls off the sea, the ominous sound of galloping horses can be heard overhead. Could it have been because of this legend that in 1911 the RSPCA erected the granite horse trough on the junction of the Narrowcliff and Lusty Glaze Road?

Walking the coastpath, Newquay photo by Keith Riley
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Walking the coastpath, Newquay photo by Keith Riley

It was believed that sacred sites such as this were used not only for the honouring of their dead but also places for gathering and celebration.

In the 1920s the Barrowfields was purchased by the town council who preserved it as a recreational area. This tradition continues to be upheld and community open-air concerts and festivals have recently been revived and broadcast across the nation by the BBC. In 1999 this was one of the few places in the country where the total eclipse of the sun could be seen in all its mystic splendour. The granite cross, also at the junction of Lusty Glaze Road, was erected in June 2000 to commemorate the new Millenium.