"Jamaica Inn and the wild moorland." Top 5 Page for this destination Bodmin by leics
Bodmin Travel Guide: 52 reviews and 132 photos
Jamaica Inn is not in Bodmin. It's in Bolventor....a tiny hamlet high up on wild and empty Bodmin Moor and not in the VT database (not surprisingly)
I didn't visit Bodmin the town. I'll do that next time. But Bolventor (and Jamaica Inn) make a good stopping-off place on the A30 between Devon and Cornwall.
There has been an inn on this spot since the 1500s, but the present building dates from 1750. It was built in 1750 as a coaching inn...a sort of 'service station' on the ancient route into Cornwall from the rest of England. Its isolated location meant it was ideal for those involved in the smuggling trade and i is thought that the name came from its links with rum. Daphne Du Maurier's novel 'Jamaica Inn', inspired by an overnight stay in the 1930s, made the name even more famous.
If I'd had time I would have explored Bolventor and its surroundings a little more. The hamlet consists of just a (closed) church and a few houses, but the surrounding wild moorland was tempting for a walk...most especially to nearby Dozymary Pool, where the woman's arm emerged to catch the sword Excalibur when it was thrown in after King Arthur's death. Or so they say.
But I didn't have time, and it was anyway chilly and very windy. So I just had a coffee at Jamaica Inn (not a very good coffee, unfortunately), poked around a bit, used their toilet (very nice) and carried on with my journey.
Next time I visit, if the weather allows, I'll explore more of Bodmin Moor (see below).
Bodmin Moor is granite upland, wild, uncultivated, pretty much still in its original state. It is grazed by wild ponies and has hundreds of prehistoric monuments, from stone circles to standing stones to Bronze Age settlements. The area was particularly densely populated during the Bronze Age (Around 400 years ago), when the climate was slightly warmer than today.
The highest point is Brown Willy, standing 1377 feet above sea level, but the moor is not mountainous..wide sweeps of flat land, rather than undulations. There was a great deal of mining here, especially in the 'boom' years of the 1800s, and you can see many ruined enginehouses, chimneys and grassed-over spoil heaps dotting the landscape.
Legends and ghost stories abound, inevitably, and there still remains the mystery of the 'Beast of Bodmin Moor'. There are many sightings and tales of big cats in the area, sheep savaged and paw prints found....and yes, it makes perfect sense to me that some of the animals thrown out in the 1970s (when the law changed and ordinary folk were no longer allowed to keep big cats) might well have been able to survive and even breed in such an isolated spot. But there has been no absolute confirmation. Yet.......
I stopped in a layby a little further on, to try and get some photos of the moor. There were standing stones in the layby, but what they are called I have not been able to find out.
I think I'll return to Bodmin Moor, to explore its archaeology. Not in January, for it is exposed and wild and empty and not a sensible place to walk alone in the winter. Perhaps in October, when the weather may be better and the daylight hours longer. Or perhaps...when I have finished work...in the Spring, for the wildflowers and the birds.
If you enjoy emptiness and archaeology, birds and flowers and space and walking, Bodmin Moor may be somewhere for you too.
- Pros:Convenient coffee/toilet stop, beautiful wild countryside
- Cons:Very busy in season: coach parties etc
- In a nutshell:Bodmin Moor is just waiting to be explored
leics' Related Pages
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- "Bodmin, North Cornwall"
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- "Bodmin - Bosvenegh"
- "Jamaica Inn and the wild moorland."
- "Bodmin, A day out in Cornwall, UK"
- "Memory of Bodmin Moor with My Daddy"
- "Bodmin...a typical Cornish town."
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