Castle an Dinas

Castle an Dinas

Castle-an-Dinas is one of the largest and most impressive hillforts in Cornwall, sited in an imposing position on the summit of Castle Downs with extensive and panoramic views across central Cornwall to both north and south coasts. It features in Cornish legend as one of the seats of the Duke of Cornwall and folklore has it that Cador, Duke of Cornwall, and Ygraine, King Arthur’s mother were killed here.

That the site has attracted such mythic associations may be a reflection of its continued significance from its prehistoric beginnings into the Post-Roman and Early mediæval periods. The very limited excavations that took place in the 1960s were unable to provide evidence to confirm this, however.

The hillfort is surrounded by three ramparts and ditches, one of which is of a noticeably slighter construction and indicates either an earlier phase of occupation, or the remodelling of the ramparts. There are two Bronze Age barrows, now in a rather poor condition, in the interior and these may represent the initial use of the site around which the later enclosures were built.

Alternatively, the several gaps within the slighter bank have led to speculation that they are multiple entrances and this is in fact the remains of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure which would pre-date the barrows and indicates an even earlier origin for the site.


1 mile North of the A30 at Goss Moor (OS Map 200; ref SW 945624) near St Columb Major. Access is easy, once you find the right road. Follow the minor road East-South-East from the A39 roundabout at St Columb Major. Castle an Dinas is marked on the road sign at this roundabout. The turning to the hillfort is about a mile and half along this road. A car-park is located about 400 metres up this track.