Pick a Pit
Hello m' ansums,
"Why have you brought us to a pit!!!" cackled my eldest daughter, when she saw the sign for 'Gwennap Pit'. "Why not?" I retorted. She wanted a mystery road tour and this was our second scheduled stop (the first being a play park with zip wire). With UK lockdown easing, the incoming visitors can have the beaches, buckets of ice-cream and waiting mutant seagulls . Maybe only walkers, Poldark lovers and the odd weirdo know of the joy of pits.
Busveal Chapel, built 1836
Gwennap Pit is a funny old place. We drove through steeply climbing narrow lanes, closely edged with dry stone walls and fields full of horses and gypsy caravans. An unassuming wooden sign post initially marks the spot, which could be easily missed.
This welcome sign reads 'for GOD is here', not 'for COD is here' as I misread.
There's a metal entrance gate by the small whitewashed chapel. A path with some World Heritage information boards leads to steps, then the pit is suddenly there.
Gwennap Pit, Cornwall
You'd be forgiven for thinking this is an ancient druid site. It is in fact a Methodist memorial site created in 1806. With twelve perfect, concentric rings sculpted out of stone and turf, it is believed to have been formed within the natural indent of a collapsed mine.
The amphitheater, was created in the memory of John Wesley, who preached here eighteen times. He thought the site 'the most magnificent spectacle this side of heaven' and sought to provide spiritual enlightenment and guidance to the local Copper miners and families.
In its hey day, thousands would come to worship. The site is still used regularly by worshipers.
Ever heard of Pit Training? I felt a bit bad about our frolicking about on this spiritual site, until I read this afterwards on the Visit Redruth website -
'Don’t miss the chance to walk around the Pit, and time yourself to see
how long it takes you to walk around all 12 tiers from the top to the
bottom and back up again (it equals one mile!). Children can look
forward to receiving a certificate if they do the full course.'
Whilst we had the place to ourselves, the girls made up a
torture course for me. After three rounds of the pit in my khaki action outfit, the frog jumps proved too much crunch! I would have asked for a certificate but the visitor centre / chapel is currently closed.
Onto our next pit stop: the quarry garden in Gyllingdune gardens. This featured in a post back in December here, but you didn't get to see the pit then. These amazing, free gardens overlook Falmouth Bay.
The nine meter deep pit exists because stone was quarried and used for the estate house, built around 1837. Commissioned by a retired general of the empire, William Jesser Coope died in a stagecoach accident not long after the house was completed. The estate was thus left to his son, Reverend Coope.
It is thought that Reverend Coope planted up a garden in the quarry, as well as introducing the 'stone henge' monolithic arch. His daughters decorated the charming shell grotto and shell caves (I will share these with you in a future post). In 2004 the council received Heritage Lottery funding to restore the gardens.
By summer, the pit really does look like something from Jurassic Park, with its lush Tree Ferns (Dissonia antartica) and towering Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera manicata).
Gunnera manicata getting ready to rocket.
Welcome back to Long Mizzle now for a much needed cuppa....
In my own little pit (see my post 'Who fell into the Pit' ), the sea thrift (Armeria maritima) that I detached from mother sea thrift, beneath the red azalea, have recovered and started to flower. After a three year wait, the Tree Echium (Echium pininana) is forming flower buds.
Just yesterday I hard pruned the Buddleja behind the playhouse. It looks a bit severe, but it will hopefully make for a bushier plant with more flowers. I've usually done this job by now, but better late than never eh.
The Parrot tulips have taken flight, joining the Foxtrots and Quebecs -
As it's Friday night, there's a 'special spritzer' waiting for me. I'll be putting my feet up to watch Gardeners World once the kids are in bed. Tomorrow I'll be planting up my baby Dahlia plants which arrived via post today (see Flowers for Frida). I'll also be sowing some extra veggie and cut flower seeds for my brother and sister-in-law's new allotment, which I am very excited to see grow.
So if you were to pick a pit, which one would you pick?
Please do say hello in the comments section below, to let me know you've stopped by.
Thank you for visiting!
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