Rocky Valley Labyrinths – Cornwall, England - Atlas Obscura

Cornwall, England

Rocky Valley Labyrinths

These mysterious mazes carved on the rock may be up to 4,000 years old. 

One mile east of Tintagel, tucked away in the ruins of an old mill, lie the Rocky Valley labyrinth carvings. Discovered in 1948, their origins are unknown, though many who have studied the mysterious labyrinths agree they most likely date from the Bronze Age. 

Still, the story of these carvings remains a mystery, and theories surrounding their origin continue to be debated. One idea is that they may have been carved by a bored worker at the mill. During the 18th century, mazes such as these grew in popularity. The labyrinth pattern started to pop up all over the place, in architecture and gardens and other odd locations. However, the Rocky Valley labyrinths are quite unlike any other rock carvings in southern England

Another theory is that these labyrinths come from the Celtic culture, where they may have been a symbol of fertility or life, or maybe even used in pagan rituals. Today, the ancient sacred site is popular with neo-pagans who visit from all over the world. Many leave offerings that can be found hanging on trees and inside the cracks and crevices of the derelict mill.  

Know Before You Go

Can be reached by taking the footpath linking the B3266 to the South West Coast Path, just south of Trethevy village in Cornwall.

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