Welcome to this latest installment in my account of my Cornish winter break, which is the beginning of a ‘series within a series’ – a number of linked posts about Tintagel, mythical birthplace of King Arthur and an English Heritage site.
To get from southeast Cornwall to Tintagel involves a journey across Bodmin Moor. My sister who was driving took what Satnav considered to be a short cut, which in brute distance terms it was, but that fails to take into account the relative quality of the roads involved. We found a space in the car park in the village (like many other places in Cornwall a former rotten borough), walked to the visitor centre only to find ti closed, and then headed for the castle.
HEADING TO THE CASTLE
The path down to the bridge which takes one into the castle grounds (of which more later) is very steep, and offers nothing to grip on to for support, so I opted for the Land Rover service instead (costs £1.50) as did my mother. The Land Rover drop off point is right at the bridgehead.
A NEW LANDMARK THAT COMBINES ACCESSIBILITY AND FUTURE PROOFING
I consider the new bridge that enables one to enter the castle grounds without descending right the valley floor and then climbing back up the other side to be a landmark in its own right, and as the driver of the Land Rover I travelled in explained, it is vital for another reason – before it was built the site was one major landslide away from being turned into an island, whereas now it will remain accessible for future generations. This is a place that definitely dates back to the 4th century, and maybe earlier (the Arthur connection is that whoever lived here then was rich and influential enough to still be importing stuff from the Mediterranean, Rome’s declining influence notwithstanding), and for it to have been cut off what have been a tragedy.