Monday 24 June 2019

The Magical, Mysterious Waterfall at St.Nectan's Kieve, Cornwall

St.Nectan's Kieve and Waterfall, Cornwall

My previous post was about St.Piran's Holy Well and St. Piran's Church. From the same area - Trethevey - there is a walk to what is often known as St.Nectan's Waterfall. This is a quite magical and mysterious place to visit. The photo above shows the waterfall.

First though it's a walk alongside a couple of cottages.

Cottages walking towards St. Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

And after a short while, the sea on Cornwall's north coast comes into view across the fields.

Views of sea and countyside walking to St.Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

The path becomes wooded and St.Nectan's Glen, with it's waterfall, is at the top of the valley.

Walking through woods towards St, Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

The path through the woods continues ...

Woodland near St.Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

... until the waterfall is reached - well, nearly. Unfortunately this is on private ground so there is a charge to continue to the waterfall itself (see current prices here).

Virtually at St.Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

At last we are at St.Nectan's waterfall. 

 St.Nectan's Waterfall and Kieve, Cornwall

To be correct though we are actually at St.Nectan's Kieve (Kieve being the Cornish word for wash tub!)

It's an idyllic, almost spiritual place, with a touch of magic thrown in. The waterfall cascades about 60 feet. It has been an inspiration for many writers and artists, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.

St.Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

Charles Dickens visited the site with his friend the artist, Daniel Maclise. This resulted is the romanticised painting as seen below, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1843. 

The woman in the painting is believed to be Georgina Hogarth, Dickens sister-in-law.
All around the Kieve there are ribbons on trees with messages left by visitors.

Ribbons on trees at St.Nectan's Waterfall

The area can get a little busy at the height of the tourist season - my photos were snapped when all was reasonably quiet.

Ribbons people have left at St. Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwll

As well as all of the ribbons there are stone messages and thoughts left by visitors.

Messages on stones left at St.Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

I think it's a lovely spot, the hole in the rock makes the waterfall a bit special.

St.Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

There is a money tree as well - lots of coins pushed into a tree trunk. The reason for this is as per my blog post The Cornish Piskies and the Money Tree.

A magical money tree, St Nectan's Waterfall, Cornwall

To quote the owners about the Kieve: "this is a place where animals and birds play amid a mysticism of fairies, piskies, serenaded by the wonderful sound of bird song". 


To finish the post there is a mystery or perhaps a legend!

It is said that shortly before his death St.Nectan threw his silver chapel bell into the waterfall. On his death his body and other treasures were placed in a chest beneath the rocks in the kieve.

The years passed until a group of miners attempted to blast their way through to the treasure, but this proved unsuccessful. 

As they were leaving they heard the ringing of a bell and then came an invisible voice which said, "The child is not yet born who shall recover the treasure."


  1. A magical place indeed and you have told and shown the story beautifully!

    1. Thanks you Ann, it's a special place - that is, when there aren't too many people about to spoil the ambiance. Hard to believe we are nearly into July, how time flies. All best wishes.




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