Definitely the most enchantingly situated of all the Cornish holy wells, overlooking the wide expanse of St. Ives Bay, above Porth Kidney sands. The crystal clear water issues from a dark recess in the cliff face, filling a rock cut basin before falling away to the beach below. Surrounded by lush vegetation and overhanging trees, it resembles Alsia well but with much more spectacular views. There is no evidence, physical or literary, for the existence of a structure here, and the well is all the better for it.
The well is associated with St. Euny, who arrived in the parish in the fifth century C.E. The feast of St. Euny is the first day of february - the pagan festival of Imbolc (later to become Christianised into Candlemas). Imbolc is a time of purification and rebirth, a time associated with the Goddess Bride/Brighid, and is traditionally celebrated at holy wells. Such veneration is still in evidence by the tying of strips of cloth to the branches of surrounding trees. The well is also known locally as a wishing well.
Fairies are often associated with holy wells. Wells were often thought to lead to the underworld, and many wells were believed to be inhabited by Little Folk. The fairies controlled the powers of the well, the power to heal illness, tell the future or grant wishes. By offering a gift to the inhabitants of the well, perhaps a pin or a flower, one could ensure their good favour.
My last visit to this well was blessed with beautiful autumnal sunshine which lifted the stunning views of the bay to new heights. I didn't see any fairies that day but felt that i could stay there forever in their protection. The difficulty i had in finding this site added to the mystique of this most magical of holy wells.
|SW 536 386 (203).|
|1 mile NW of Lelant, 1½ miles SE of St. Ives.|
|On the A3074 at Carbis Bay, heading towards St. Ives, take the first turning for the beach. Shortly after passing a church turn right into Headland Road. Park at the end & follow the footpath N to the coastal path. Once over the railway line, head E through the trees. An easily missed left fork in the track leads down to the spring.|