Carn Brea, St Just

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Carn Brea
View from Chapel Carn Brea towards St Levan
Range: Penwith
Summit: 650 feet SW385280
50°5’38"N, 5°39’25"W

Carn Brea is a hill in the very west of Cornwall; an elevated Hercynian granite outcrop on the granite basolith of Penwith that is Cornwall's westernmost finger. The hill is owned by the National Trust. Carn Brea is to be found at the southern edge of the parish of St Just, 3 miles south of the village 2 miles east of Sennen Cove.

It should not be confused with another Carn Brea, the hill overlooking the Camborne–Redruth area.[1]

Carn Brea is often described as the first hill in Cornwall (from a westerly perspective) and rises 649.6 feet (198.0 m) above sea level.


Neolithic remains at the summit of Chapel Carn Brea

The hill is an important historical site showing evidence of late Neolithic and early Bronze Age activity, as well as the remains of the thirteenth century chapel from which it is named. The chapel which was pulled down in 1816 was said to be the home of holy men or monks. A manuscript from 1396 kept at the County Records Office, Truro records the ′beaconage′ received from fishermen for the burning an ′ecclesiastical light′, normally a brazier or fire basket at the ″Chapel of St Michael of Bree″.[2] This is the earliest record of a navigational light in Cornwall. The Old Cornwall Society continues to light a beacon fire for the summer solstice on 23 June each year.[3]

During the second world war the summit housed a Royal Air Force radar, a plaque, near the car park is dedicated to those that served there.[3]

Plaque on Chapel Carn Brea

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Carn Brea, St Just)


  1. Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
  2. Henderson, Charles (1962). "Review: Ancient parishes of West Cornwall". Cornish Archaeology 1: 126-7. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jones, Robin (2011). Lighthouses of the South West. Wellington: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 107 4.