Cape Cornwall

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Cape Cornwall
Cape Cornwall.jpg
Headland of Cape Cornwall
Cape Cornwall is located in Cornwall
Cape Cornwall
Cape Cornwall
Location within Cornwall
OS grid referenceSW371315
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTR19 7
Dialling code01736
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°07′37″N 5°42′22″W / 50.127°N 5.706°W / 50.127; -5.706Coordinates: 50°07′37″N 5°42′22″W / 50.127°N 5.706°W / 50.127; -5.706

Cape Cornwall (Cornish: Kilgoodh Ust, meaning "goose back of St Just")[1] is a small headland in West Cornwall, UK. It is four miles north of Land's End near the town of St Just.[2] Until the first Ordnance Survey in the early 19th century, Cape Cornwall was believed to be the most westerly point in Cornwall.[3]

Most of the headland is owned by the National Trust. National Coastwatch has a look-out on the seaward side. The only tourist infrastructure at present is a car park (owned by the National Trust), public toilets, and a refreshments counter during the summer.

The Brisons, two offshore rocks, are located approximately one mile southwest of Cape Cornwall. They mark the starting line of the annual swimming race ending at Priest Cove.[2][3]


The name Cape Cornwall appeared first on a maritime chart around the year 1600. The original Cornish name, Kilgoodh Ust, has fallen out of use. In English it translates to "goose-back at St Just", a reference to the shape of the cape.[4] An alternative name, Pen Kernow, is a recent translation back to Cornish of the English.

A cape is the point of land where two bodies of water meet. Cape Cornwall is one of only two capes in the United Kingdom, the other being Cape Wrath in North West Scotland.[5]

Early history[edit]

Heinz Monument (the 1864 chimney of the former Cape Cornwall Mine visible in the centre) commemorates the purchase of Cape Cornwall for the nation by H. J. Heinz Company. The ruins of St. Helens Oratory can be seen in the left, with the two offshore rocks called The Brisons in the distance.

Pottery found in cists on the Cape have been dated to the Late Bronze Age. The presence of another cliff castle nearby (Kenidjack) may indicate that the area was important in the Iron Age. On the landward side of the Cape is the remains of the medieval St Helen’s Oratory, which replaced a 6th-century church. A font now installed in the porch of St Just church may be from this building.[3]

19th century to present[edit]

Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall Mine, a tin mine on the cape, was operated intermittently between 1838 and 1883. The mine's 1864 chimney near the peak of the cape was retained as an aid to navigation. In the early 20th century the former ore dressing floors were for a time converted for use as greenhouses and wineries.

In 1987 the mine site was purchased by the H. J. Heinz Company of the United States (and British plants) and donated to the nation. The remains of Cape Cornwall Mine are designated as part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


  1. ^ Craig Weatherhill (2017). The Place-Names of the Land's End Peninsula. Penwith Press. p. 112. ISBN 9781999777500.
  2. ^ a b Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
  3. ^ a b c Joseph, Peter. 2006. Cape Cornwall Mine. British Mining No. 79. Sheffield: Northern Mine Research Society; p. 111. ISBN 978-0-901450-60-9.
  4. ^ Weatherhill, C. (2007) Cornish Place Names and Language. Ammanford: Sigma Press.
  5. ^ "Cape Cornwall. Just up the coast from Lands End, one of only two Capes in the United Kingdom". Cornwall by Cornishlight. Retrieved 28 October 2020.

External links[edit]