Cornish folklore has been capturing our imaginations for centuries, much of its roots found in the ancient sagas of gods and monsters. The county’s tallest tales are about giants; colossal beings who could shape the land with their brute strength and bare hands, making for fantastical stories that draw parallels with Nordic myths and Welsh bardic lore.
These enduring chronicles continue to define Cornish heritage, passed down from generation to generation by way of spoken word or chapter and verse. As an introduction to some of Cornwall’s most legendary giants here is the tale of Bedruthan…
As history goes, the giant Bedruthan is by far the youngest of Cornwall’s select group of Cornish gargantuan’s, his legend believed to have been invented to satisfy the curiosities of Victorian tourists – although some argue the story’s origins lurk deeper down the annals. The steps are in fact a series of sea stacks found on a stretch of coastline between Newquay and Padstow in the parish of St Eval.
The legend tells of an enormous giant travelling by the name Bedruthan who would use the sea stacks as steps as he traversed the Atlantic coast, no doubt helping himself to one or two sheep along the way. The sea stacks have their own individual names; (from north to south) Queen Bess, Samaritan Island, Redcove Island, Pendarves Island and Carnewas Island.