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Chûn Downs Nature Reserve

The reserve is part of the West Penwith Moors, which overall contain 25% of Cornwall's heathland. The Downs are largely scrub covered and would have been created by woodland clearance in the 3rd or 2nd centuries BC. Stunning panoramic views extend across the landscape of historic small fields, Cornish hedges and spectacular heathland to the sea.

Location of Chun Downs nature reserve
Habitat type
: Lowland western heath
Size of reserve: 22 hectares / 54 acres
OS map number: 102
Grid reference: SW 403 346 (northern entrance)
Best time to visit: All year

County Wildlife SiteArea of Outstanding Natural BeautyScheduled Ancient Monumentarchaeological remainswonderful viewsbirds herebutterflies in season reptiles on sitegrazing animals may be on siteinformation boardrestricted parking
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Chûn Downs is located about 2 miles (3 km) inland from Pendeen on the north coast of the west Cornwall peninsula. A lane signposted to Chûn Castle leads west from the Penzance to Morvah road at Bosullow Common, 1 mile (1.6 km) south east of Morvah.

Cars may be parked at Trehyllys Farm and a path leads up to Chûn Castle. Several footpaths and a bridleway pass over the reserve, all well used, although they can be wet and muddy underfoot and there are some inclines.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
Cross-leaved heath is abundant here and blooms from June until October. The delicate, rose-pink flowers are oval to urn-shaped and the grey-green leaves are held in whorls of four. This downy plant thrives in damp, boggy areas.

Other information
Chun Quoit, photo by Ben VolantThe focal point of the reserve is Chûn Castle, a prehistoric hill-fort. Chûn is from the Cornish Chy-an-Woone, meaning 'the house on the downs'.

Close by to the west, are the remains of Chûn Quoit, an ancient burial chamber. This atmospheric monument consists of four huge upright slabs topped by a massive capstone and is the only example of its type in perfect preservation.

The surrounding area is filled with Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, such as the Lanyon Quoit, a chambered tomb, just a mile to the east.

The reserve was purchased in 1997 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations to a membership appeal.