The parish, which is generally fertile and well cultivated, comprises 6,972 acres (2,821 ha) of land, 3 acres (1. 2 ha) of water and 18 acres (7. 3 ha) of foreshore and lies predominantly on granite. It is more elevated at its northern part and slopes gently north to south-east towards the sea. Carn Brea, (50°09’N, 5°65W), often described as the first hill in Cornwall (from a westerly perspective), sits at its northernmost edge and rises 657 feet (200 m) above sea level The hill is also an important historical site showing evidence of neolithic activity, as well as the remains of the chapel from which it is named. Toward the south is the village of St Buryan, which sits on a plateau and is centrally sited within the parish. Further to the south the terrain slopes down toward the sea, ending in several deep cut river valleys at Lamorna, Penberth and St Loy that are both sheltered and heavily forested. West of St Buryan, toward St Levan, the terrain again gently descends, causing the ground to become more marshy and waterlogged and less suitable for growing arable crops. East of the village the land also slopes away toward Drift, and its reservoir, past the wooded area at Pridden and the deep cut valley at Trelew (in which a steep embankment has been built to carry the B3283 road). Other settlements of note in the parish include Crows-an-Wra to the north, as well as Sparnon and Tregarnoe further south (see map, right). Since 1990 St Buryan and the surrounding region has been designated a conservation area by Penwith District Council; recognising the village’s status as an area of special architectural and historic interest and preventing development that might alter the village’s character.