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HERITAGE

Throughout the Neighbourhood Plan development process, it is important to acknowledge and identify areas and points of special historical significance to preserve and protect where appropriate. Mawgan-in-Pydar has many areas and points that a lot of the community might not necessarily know about.

Check out some blog posts below telling you more of what we have within our Neighbourhood!

BLOG: HISTORY ON OUR DOORSTEP

Written by Liz McKenzie

We have valuable history within the parish which our Neighbourhood Plan will record and seek to preserve.   

I knew there was some form of ancient settlement at Mawgan Porth, behind the Pitch and Putt, but I’d have been hard pushed to tell you what it was.  I remember my Dad taking us to look at it when I was a child all that sticks in my mind from that visit was seeing an adder basking in the sunshine in one of the house remains!  So when I saw there was to be a guided tour by Sheila Harper from the Archaeological group of Newquay Old Cornwall Society I was keen to attend.  I now know that it was a Dark Age settlement.  

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The existence of the site was first realised in 1934 by the discovery of stone walls, pottery and bone fragments and a skeleton.   Sheila explained that excavation had found there was a cemetery to the seaward side of the village where skeletons of both adults and children had been found in so-called slab graves where large slabs are used to form a stone coffin around the body.   A full excavation was carried out in the 1950s, which I guess is how my Dad would have known about it.   Further excavation was carried out in 1974, when the pitch and putt was enlarged, but since then the site had subsequently become overgrown.  Since 2013 the Archaeological group have been working to uncover and preserve the site, but it is a costly and time-consuming process, so they always need donations and volunteers if you have some spare cash or time and are keen to help.  

Taking us around each of the three courtyard houses in turn Sheila explained their composition, divided into three section, comprising an animal byre, dwelling area with hearth, and courtyard with smaller rooms leading off.  Sheila brought the houses to life by circulating pictures and identifying features, asking members of the audience to stand in the various sections and to mark doors, windows and drains – I was chosen to stand in the drain from the animal byre of House Two, nice!  We learned how the walls were constructed using local stone and how to identify stones in a different orientation which indicate the position of internal cupboards and shelves.   The digs found pottery remains, along with animal bones suggesting a domestic lifestyle, with a diet supplemented by shellfish – bone tools shaped to scoop mussels out of their shells have been found.  There was also evidence of slate pieces which could have been net weights, so they probably fished as well.  It would have been a good location, with the river and the sea nearby.  However the seaside location has its drawbacks as it is thought that sand blowing from the beach caused the inhabitants to leave the settlement – and we know what that can be like in the winter gales!  The suggestion is that they moved further up the valley towards St Mawgan, maybe to Gluvian, taking most of their possessions with them.  

If you want to know more there is a short information leaflet, prepared by the Cornwall Archaeological unit of Cornwall Council, copies of which are available in the Art Shed on the Pitch and Putt course.

BLOG: THOUGHTS ON A MISTY MOIST SEPTEMBER AFTERNOON

Written by Kate Mullard

I love where I live. I was lucky enough to be able to choose where I retired to, after my husband died and my children were settled in their lives. My family had holidayed on the North Cornwall coast since Great Uncle Fred had bought a bungalow in the 1920s at Trevone. He had a friend in Mawgan Porth he walked over the cliffs to see. Various members of the family had become permanent residents, died and been buried here.  My husband and I always wanted to work here but never quiet managed it, although he was South West area manager based near Bristol once, with frequent visits to Cornwall.

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I first came down before I was born, because Mum and Dad holidayed in Trevone every year. My twins were nearly born here, arriving seven weeks early, two days after we returned home from our Cornish holiday.  The good vibes were so strong that they had to get out into the good, clear, fresh Cornish air.  We always had happy holidays in Cornwall. I love being here because the style and pace of life is realistic and matched to our rural surroundings. Dreckly is a perfect word to describe that feeling when translated as 

“It will happen when the time is right.” There should be time to look around you and appreciate the white-tailed bee on the wildflowers, on a warm sunny day, or stop and pick a blackberry to eat from the footpath hedge on a walk.  But if there is a howling gale with trees falling and fishing boats capsized at sea, there are plenty of volunteers from the community to drop everything and immediately go to the aid of their friends, neighbours, and unknown folk.

The community thrives because the distractions of the city are not necessary here. The changing patterns of the clouds over the sea or the valley, on a clifftop walk, are enough to know the weather here or close by. It is good sitting inside watching the mist thickening, then drifting and rolling to reveal and hide the sea and farmland or hearing the screaming flock of every sort of bird, as they rise up from a newly ploughed field to glide and slip down the currents of wind, coming to rest on the electric wires by the window. 

 

In my experience the strength of a rural community is in the way all the residents come together, to listen to and then support each other’s efforts to achieve the best for everyone. I realised in Covid lockdown, how many folk were walking and cycling around on roads and footpaths, with one thing in common, to be in this calm, green, comfortable, uncluttered place that recharges our life battery. It is very important that this regenerating valley and seascape of Mawgan in Pydar remain.  Changes have happened since Great Uncle Fred visited his friend here, but nothing has been so big or destructive yet, that they would not recognise it as the family friendly space they knew and loved.

 

Over the years from the Vikings first visit, the marks left by visitors have been absorbed and broken down, back into that tranquillity.  Those who fought to try and make their mark by bringing it into a super prosperous, up to the minute, maelstrom of urban activity have failed to leave more than a possibly interesting scratch on the surface. The rural community survives here because it is as up to date as Cornwall and the rest of rural England can be. There are things wrong with the failure of support needed by rural communities throughout the UK from the government in London, but it is necessary to ask those residing here all year, and then listening to their answers before reacting randomly.

 

Sadly, our visiting big city dwellers, investing money in space but not time or all year residence, have not yet realised that by imposing their grand city dreams on our landscape, they are trying to destroy the very reasons that make Mawgan in Pydar so popular to everyone living and visiting here.  We need a Neighbourhood Plan that shows all the ideas and opinions of year-round residents and regular lifelong visitors, have been listened to properly and taken into account along with the history and experience of the past.  This way the future can be developed to support a vibrant, living rural community that is able to continue to welcome visitors from the rest of Cornwall and the rest of the world to our very particular bit of a rural ‘green and pleasant land.’