The Great Flat Lode Trail - Wheal Basset
Wheal Basset along with West Wheal Basset, North Wheal Basset and South Wheal Frances formed the Basset United Mines Group which lay on the eastern edge of the Great Flat Lode. To walk this section of the trail, park your car in the car park at Seleggan Smelting Works at the top of the hill leading from Redruth to Carnkie. This popular trail can be quite busy on the weekends so to ensure a parking space please arrive early. Walk downhill away from the carpark on the obvious path and pass through a kissing gate in the corner of a building.
Continue along the trail passing the old chimmneys of the smelter heading south west. After a short while the arched remains of Wheal Basset Stamps Vanner House fill the skyline on the ridge above left. Pass the large granite sign for Wheal Basset near to the former Basset Count House before following the track up to the Vanner House.
Enter the Vanner (shaking table) House and read the information boards to glean more information about the complex of buildings, engine houses and shafts. One of the most enlightening plaques shows the view north and names all the points of interest such as the West Wheal Basset Stamps and associated buildings across the shallow valley on the southern side of Carn Brea.
Explore the buildings for a while and also note the frequent shafts dotted around the area such as Robert's shaft, Theager's Shaft and also Richard's Shaft with its smithy and dressing floors. For a panoramic view of the area, please follow this link. A short distance southwest along the trail through the tramway tunnel lies South Wheal Frances with its complex of buildings - a one time competitor but amalgamated with the Basset Mines in 1896.
Follow the trail down as it passes to the left of the former Count House and cross the road with care at the bottom. Head right to explore the various buildings of North Wheal Basset such as the low remains of the winding engine house at Miner's Shaft before following the tracks over to the well preserved twin engine houses of North Wheal Basset Lyle's shaft. There are even picnic tables here for those requiring a rest. Take the main path up to the myriad of buildings at West Wheal Basset Stamps, taking care where necessary.
The Great Flat Lode is an enormous ore bearing body tilted at an angle of about 45 degrees situated to the south of Carn Brea. Normally lodes are found perpendicular to the ground surface or at best at angles of about 60 degrees. The Great Flat lode got its name as in relative terms it lay a lot flatter in the ground. This, meant that mines could be placed at the optimum locations to extract the tin or copper ore from the ground without digging to excessive depths. The Great Flat Lode Trail encompasses all the major mines of the Camborne-Redruth area running in a 7.5 mile multi-use circular trail around the granite hill of Carn Brea. Follow the hyperlinks for more information and photographs on the main sections of this excellent trail.
'World Heritage' status for this area was granted on 14th July 2006. This should help to provide the necessary funding to improve and interlink all the mineral tramway projects. The majority of the trail is off-road and suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There are even some parts accessible to wheelchair users. There are frequent information boards giving excellent in depth information on each of the sections, helping to whet the visitors appetite for more information.
For those of you with
possibly a little more time to explore, once you've done
bit', why not explore Cornwall's industrial heritage through its Tin and Copper Mines or learn more from my Cornish Bookstore