stone gatepost at one of the entrances of Chûn Castle
In West Penwith, the south-westerly tip of Britain, there is a small Iron Age hillfort called
Chûn Castle, built about 2500 years ago. It is not far east of the
Chûn Quoit dolmen, built several thousand years previously.
Chûn Castle is about 84m (280ft) in diameter, and its stone walls are up to 2.7m (9 ft) high.
Originally their inner walls stood perhaps as high as 6m (20ft), and there are stone gateposts still flanking the entrance. Actually, there are two stone walls and ditches that encircle the summit
of the hill. The entrances are staggered to make it harder for an enemy to enter. Inside are the
remains of huts built when the fort was reused in the Dark Ages. On the western side there's also
a chocked well which was originally walled around, having steps descending to the water. In 1925
several small smelting pits were discovered here, and one contained a piece of slag which proved to be
tin. This suggests that the Cornish tin industry has been in existence for at least 2000 years.
1754 Dr Borlase wrote On a commanding hill... stand the remains of one of the most perfect hill
castles of Cornwall, Chun Castle. However, in the following century the castle has been greatly
mutilated, large quantities of the stone having been carried away and used in other buildings. On the
sides of the hill and the surrounding common are great numbers of small barrows and small heaps of
stones about 1m (3ft) in height.