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The Rumps Iron Age Castle

Journey through time at the Rumps, a magical twin headland in North Cornwall.

If you are looking to branch out from your luxury cottage and explore the area, a walk to the Rumps is definitely recommended. Not only a great way to stretch your legs and spy beautiful wildlife as you go, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about local history.

A striking twin-headland at the north-east corner of Pentire Head, about 16 miles from Padstow, the Rumps is linked to the mainland by a thin neck of land. Jutting out into the sea like twin fists, this incredible spot may look unassuming enough, but there are certain clues etched into the landscape that give its history away.

One of the most important of its kind in Cornwall, the Rumps is actually the site of an Iron Age promontory fort and was the subject of an extensive archaeological survey in the 1960s. Dating between 200BC and 100AD, it holds the secrets of a long-forgotten time where Ancient Britons roamed the land and built the foundations of an ever-more structured society amongst the county’s wind-battered throes.

Although the main functions of the castle aren’t entirely certain, we can have fun speculating. Its clifftop position gave it a great vantage point for both passing trade and defence and, given that it was protected by a series of ramparts (still visible in the landscape today), it’s possible that the community who lived there had a certain level of power and prestige.

As well as the ramparts, evidence of roundhouses between the ramparts has been discovered, as well as all sorts of intriguing artefacts. Excavated between 1963 and 1967, pottery (including ‘native wares’ made from the gabbroic clays sourced from the Lizard Peninsula), beads, spindle whorls (used for weaving), quern stones (used for grinding grain), thatch weights and bones have all been found.

Though little is left to be seen of the castle today, the atmosphere can’t be denied. Somewhere to let your imagination unravel, it’s both a captivating time capsule and a visual treat, bathed in the natural beauty this part of Cornwall is so famous for. Take a sheltered spot on the grass and look out to sea, breathing in the salty air and letting the rhythmic drumming of waves transport you to another time.

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