St Nectans Glen Waterfall, Cornwall

The Story Behind the Image - St Nectan's Glen Waterfall

I can't think of a more beautiful location in Cornwall, or one more steeped in history and a certain 'something'; a sense of mystery and timelessness, than St Nectan's Glen, near Trethevy. What an incredible location.

St Nectan's Glen is a deeply wooden glen running inland for several miles from the coast at Rocky Valley. At the head of the glen is a waterfall known as St Nectan's Kieve, though sometimes the name is applied to the entire glen and sometimes the name 'glen' is [incorrectly] applied to the waterfall as well.

The waterfall is amazing. Over time the force of the water has eroded a pathway through the solid rock, leaving an arch of rock that resembles a flying buttress on a medieval church.

The water tumbles down a steep cliff face between moss-covered rocks and out through a circular hole in the rock before ending up in a shallow pool at the base of the cliffs.

St Nectan's Glen has been a holy site since at least the coming of Christianity to Ciornwall and very likely long before that time. Cut into the solid rock above the waterfall is a hermitage, or chapel oinked to St Nectan, a 6th-century saint.

The Kieve is still considered a holy place by many visitors and the mossy rock ledges around the waterfall are covered with mementoes, pieces of brightly coloured cloth, coins, and personal offerings.

To get this photo I had to walk out into the pool at the base of the waterfall. I came prepared; I stuffed my rubber boots into my unwilling backpack and lugged them two miles to the waterfall.

I needn't have bothered, for the owners of the waterfall and its cafe have thoughtfully provided wellies for visitors.

I did have to be very careful, though, as the spray from the falling water kept covering my camera lens, so I'd have to take a photo, then turn the camera around and check for water droplets after every attempt.


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