Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bodmin Moor and Brown Willy/Political Correctness.Beauty Spots on the Moor

Brown Willy, on Bodmin Moor

Cornwall is in the national news today concerning Bodmin Moor and Brown Willy, the name of the highest point in Cornwall. Its Cornish name is Bronn Wennili, "hill of swallows," and previous records of the name go back to Brunwenely c.1200, Bronwenely 1280 and Brounwenyly 140.

Owing to the connotations of the word willy, the ghastly trend towards political correctness and what Chris Hines, a founder member of Surfers Against Sewage, calls ‘the giggle factor’ , he has started a campaign to get the council to change the name back to Bronn Wennili.

It is easy to see how the name changed from Bronn Wennili to Brown Willy, as the British have a blithe disregard regarding correct pronunciation, and always go for the easy option. (Ypres in Belgium immediately springs to mind, called Wipers by British troops during World War I). 

Bodmin Moor is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Megalithic cairns, barrows, stone circles, stone rows and evidence of Bronze Age settlements abound, for example the one on the edge of Rough Tor. (Another example of pronunciation to fathom out:  locals pronounce this 'Row'  to rhyme with 'how now brown cow', amended thanks to comment below ).

The Cheesewring

The Hurlers

Rillaton Barrow Bronze Age Cup

Rillaton round barrow

The Moor is a beautiful place of low-growing vegetation with abundant gorse, heather and rough pasture for horses, ponies, sheep and cattle.

Minions is the highest village in Cornwall at 980 ft. People go there to climb up the old quarry and Caradon Hill, to see the wild life, the Rillaton round barrow, (where a Bronze Age gold cup was unearthed as well as a skeleton presumably), the lake, the Hurlers stone circle and the Cheesewring rock. Many people bring picnics but there is also rather a nice pub.

Dozmary Pool
Other excitements on Bodmin Moor are a panther-like wildcat, the Beast of Bodmin (akin to the Loch Ness Monster, but sighted now and then) and Dozmary Pool, which is reputedly the lake where King Arthur’s knight Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur, Arthur’s magic sword, for a Lady.