Upon the hill fort area around the well, there is a lane leading up to the superb spectacle of St Nectan’s Well. It led to a well, and throughout the whole valley that lead down to the sea is one of the mystical as well as one of the most strangely beautifully sacred places at Tintangle in Cornwall.
The breezes that whisper through the hedgerows and around the tree tops are laden with a mysterious quality that defies description. But first the legend.
The story of St Nectan associated with this place must serve as a background for this old well, for there was an intimate connection between the anciently-revered spring and the other in this mysterious valley.
In medieval times, pilgrims on their way to visit the hermitage at the head of the glen would have invariably stopped at the well to drink its pure water, where they would be healed from all their ailments.
It seems St Nekton settled beside the Trevillet river, building his sanctuary above a mystic waterfall and kieve (Cornish for ‘basin’) in this most secluded spot, in about the sixth century.
The waters tumble in a spray of silver mist through an arch of stone into the kieve, shaped like an immense sugar bowl twenty feet deep, before flowing away down through the densely wooded valley, past a ruined mill and mysterious, ancient rock carvings of mazes, to find a meandering way to the sea.
Tradition has it that St Nekton’s near the waterfall had a tower in which hung a silver bell, which would ring out to summon help from the castle in Tintagel in times of storm and shipwreck, for, from the tower, ships could see both castle and coast.