The Great Flat Lode Trail - Carn Brea Mines
Carn Brea and Tincroft Mines now form part of the enlarged sett of South Crofty. They were separate concerns at one stage lying just to the north and northwest of the granite hill of Carn Brea overlooking the Camborne-Redruth area. Carn Brea sett was one of the largest setts in this part of Cornwall. The mine was situated on the lower slopes of the hill and was bounded to the east by Carn Brea Village and the sett of Wheal Union and Wheal Uny, Redruth. To the north lay the main Great Western Railway line from Penzance to Paddington and the setts of East Pool, Wheal Agar and Tehidy. To the west lay the hamlets of Tregajorran and Penhellick and the Tincroft, Illogan Mines and Crofty setts. Over the hill to the south the area was leased to the North Frances and South Carn Brea setts.
Tincroft was first mentioned in historical texts in the 1680s as 'Penhellick Vean & Tyn Croft'. In 1832 Wheal Druid was amalgamated with Wheal Fanny, Tregajorran Mine and Barncoose Mine to become Carn Brea Mines. During the 1840-50's production from the highly mineralised area running southeast from Camborne to Bissoe was at its peak. Cornwall produced almost 80% of the UK's copper and about a quarter of world production! 1859 A 'man engine' was installed on Dunkin's shaft, connected to a 26-inch rotative beam engine at South Tincroft Mine - Grid reference SW669406. 1850-1870 As copper production fell tin production increased with advances in mining technology allowing the tin to be worked at greater depths. 1891 The compressor house was constructed at South Tincroft housing a horizontal steam-driven compressor made by Harvey's of Hayle which powered the rock drills underground. 1896 Tincroft and Carn Brea Mines amalgamated - records show that in this year the mine employed 466 workers undergound and 607 on the surface - quite a shock when you see the area today. 1921 South Tincroft mine closed. In their lifetime Carn Brea and Tincroft mines produced 470,000 tons of copper and 53,000 tons of tin.
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.
It is hoped to achieve 'World Heritage' status for this area shortly which 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.
For those of you with possibly a little more time to explore, once
you've done 'the tourist bit', why not explore
Cornwall's industrial heritage through its Tin and Copper
Mines or learn more from my Cornish Bookstore