Bodmin Moor is smaller, and less daunting than its neighbours, Dartmoor and Exmoor, but nevertheless contains 100 square miles of windswept uplands. Bodmin Moor with its rolling landscapes with dramatic granite outcrops have led to it being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, about 100 square miles in area. Particularly well known to visitors to Cornwall today, because the A30, the main road in to Cornwall, sweeps across the open moorland.
Bodmin Moor during the Bronze Age was heavily populated and a number of hut circles and sacred sites. Stone Age man lived here, as can be seen from the remains of settlements and field systems dotted along the edge of Rough Tor.
Most of the moor lies above 800 feet, and the highest point, also the highest point in Cornwall, is Brown Willy at 1377 feet, with Rough Tor at 1300 feet close behind (Rough Tor has a memorial to Charlotte Dymond at the bottom and the Wessex Regiment at the top.). Both can be reached after a brisk walk from the nearest car park. Cornwall's two most important rivers, the Camel and the Fowey, both rise on the Moor. And there are two reservoirs, Colliford and Siblyback.
Also there is Dozmary Pool, which legend says is where Arthur's sword Excalibur was throw. From the waters of the lake rose the hand of the Lady of the Lake to receive the sword. Perhaps the sword is still there! Dozmary Pool is not far from Bolventor, a lonely high lake.
Since the 1960's there have been a number of sightings of the so called "Beast of Bodmin Moor", said to be a large animal of the cat family - puma, leopard or similar.
Perhaps the best known place on Bodmin Moor today is Jamaica Inn. It can be found at Bolventor, a small hamlet in the middle of the moor. This is a slate hung 18th century building, used by smugglers in the past, as it was the only stopping place on the lonely hike across the exposed upland. Immortalised by Daphne du Maurier in her book of the same name, Jamaica Inn is more accessible today, as it is on the A30. It was apparently once owned by the novelist Alistair MacLean.
Bodmin Moor background information is available from exhibition centres both at Bodmin Shire Hall and at the Minions Heritage Centre situated in an old pump house at Minions.
The towns and villages are naturally round the edge of the Moor, the high moor itself being too inhospitable a place to live.
Alternun - Stone cottages and an ancient Pack Horse bridge with a 15th century church.
Blisland - village green, granite cottages, Norman & Medieval church with a richly carved and painted interior.
St Neot - An attractive village set deep in a valley on the edge of the moor
Minions - An exposed moorland village, a busy copper mining area in the 19th century with 20 mines.
Ancient sites to visit include Trethevy Quoit, the Cheesewring, the Hurlers.
Bodmin Moor (Explorer Maps) Ordnance Survey
Bodmin Moor: An Archaeological Survey: v. 2 Peter Herring
Cheesewring and South East Cornwall: A Climber's Guide Sean Hawken