St Nectan’s Kieve Cornwall UK
St Nectan’s Kieve or Glen is a special place hidden in a deep gorge on the north Cornwall coast near Tintagel. It is the site of St Nectan’s hermitage where he is said to have lived for a while in the fifth century. The prayer cell was right at the top of the main waterfall and remains of his hermitage are built into the existing building.
The location is dramatic. A river cuts through woodland dropping in a breathtaking 30’ waterfall that has gouged out a path through solid rock forming a second waterfall below the first. Towering cliffs loom over as you stand in the shallows below the main waterfall and where the best view is before the river tumbles away again.
Many are drawn here because of the atmosphere and beauty. Spiritual seekers of all flavours come to this place and there are many cloutie trees where ribbons are hung representing individual wishes. But putting aside the evidence of new agers and witches, this is primarily an ancient Christian site.
St Nectan was the eldest of King Brychan’s sons born in 468AD who became a hermit here but also on the north coast of Devon at Hartland. He rang his bell during storms to warn ships to stay away from the dangerous rocky cliffs. The Devon legend has him being martyred at Hartland.
During my visit I sat on a log at the base of the main waterfall by the shallows. Once other visitors went I exalted Jesus and sang his praises. It was joyful, easy, despite all the pagan influences and I found there was once more an open heaven. In the Spirit there was a blinding flash of light that filled the area when I lifted up the name of Jesus. I can only assume it was the presence of His mighty angels. I also prayed above the waterfall outside where the ancient chapel is. I didn’t go into the meditation room as it felt overtly demonic, so prayed outside. I had a vision of St Nectan, arms spread open wide and an overwhelming sense that his heart was so loving he embraced and welcomed everyone. He was full of God’s love. It was very humbling.
On the way to the glen you also walk past St Piran’s well. It’s worth lingering here too. You can read about it in another entry.