The story goes that shipwrecked Normans, driven to the shore of Gillan Creek in the C12th, vowed to St Anthony that if they were saved they would build a church in his name. The church was built, using fine grained granite not found in Cornwall but found in Normandy and so gives credibility to the story.
One of five parishes that makes up that part of the Lizard Penninsula known as, ‘Meneage’, translated as, ‘the land of monks’. Gillan Creek sits under the headland of, ‘Dennis Head’, where ancient entrenchments possibly dating back to Celtic days can still be seen. Dennis can be correctly pronounced as, ‘Dinas‘, meaning fortress and it was this fortress and entrenchments that were occupied by Royalists during the Civil War. Along with Pendennis Castle in Falmouth and St Michaels mount in Marizion the Dendis Fort was one of the last in Cornwall to be surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1646.
The Parish FEAST held on the Sunday nearest to the 26th of December each year is known as, ‘Piggy Feast’, as the emblem of St Anthony is the pig. All children born in the parish are called, ‘St Anthony Pigs’.
Look for the old, ‘whipping post’, alongside the church and the chain where the old stocks used to stand.
You can also hire boats, kayaks and motor boats from Sailaway boat hire and there is a beautiful well stocked shore side shop serving delicious ice-creams!
Start your walk by parking in the Helford Car-Park @ TR12 6JX, walk on down through the woodland, around the headland of St Dennis and on to St Anthony in Meneage. The walk is around 5 miles, part narrow road, track paths with moderate but not too steep climbs.
If you missed Exploring the Helford #Part1 you can find it >>HERE<<