Famous landmark Roche Rock closed to public after injury

Roche Rock with its ruined 15th century chapel
-Credit: (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)


A supposedly haunted landmark site could be closed to the public indefinitely after a visitor suffered an injury and had to be airlifted to hospital. Roche Rock near St Austell is an ancient chapel and hermitage that sits proudly on a granite outcrop with commanding views over the Clay Country.

Last year the breath-taking Cornish beauty spot was named among the best 'off the beaten track' locations in the country and came fourth out of a list of 100 hotspots, beating Wistman's Wood in Devon, which came sixth, and Wimbleball Lake in Somerset, which came in ninth. For generations it has been a draw for romantics and adventurers alike attracted to the rock for its raw beauty, amazing views, as well as its history, myths and legends.

The site, whose Cornish name is An Garrek, has long been regarded as a special place in Cornwall. The site if linked with legend and folklore and has also been used as a film location, including for horror flick Omen III.

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The chapel is dedicated to St Michael and is thought to date from the early 15th century and to have been a pilgrimage site in the past. According to legends, it was the abode of leper or a monk.

There is much folklore tales associated with Roche Rock, the two most famous being the legend of Jan Tregeagle, a 17th-century magistrate who, after death, found refuge in the chapel and the other being part of the Tristan and Iseult tale. For years, the chapel had been reached via an old metal ladder up a steep rockface.

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However, last month the rusty ladder was condemned with metal plates, chains and locks. Lord Falmouth's Tregothan Estate, which owns the land, also erected signs warning people to stay away from the 20-metre (60ft) outcrop.

Tregothnan Estate said the closure had come in as a result of the incident during which a visitor to the site suffered some injuries. A spokesperson said: "Following an incident where a member of the public suffered an injury and had to be airlifted off the rock, the estate were advised to close the ladder."

Tregothnan Estate, famous for growing tea, also said that access to the site was damaging the area which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a County Wildlife Site. The spokesperson added: "For the moment it will remain closed, but the estate will continue to take advice and act as appropriate."

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