Cornwall in focus

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Mining in Cornwall

PenwithSt IvesCamborneRedruthSt AgnesWendronGwennapSt AustellPerranzabuloeCaradonTamar ValleyALL

CORNISH MINES. Use the controls to pan or zoom, or click on a marker to view further mine details.

An Overview

Like most other Cornishmen, mining, and especially tin and copper mining, means a lot to me. The St. Piran flag is meant to represent the 'white' tin occurring as veins against the dark rocks. Mining also played a huge part in the lives of my ancestors. One group of my forefathers gave up a reasonable existence as farmers on the Lizard peninsula and transported their whole family to the tin and copper-rich areas around Camborne in the mid-1840's. Others caught 'Gold Rush Fever' and went to California in 1849. Around 1907-08, my great-grandfather went to South Africa to work in the gold mines around Johannesburg and an uncle emigrated there to 'seek his fortune' in the 1950's.

Wheal Uny - Hinds Winding Engine House

Pysk, Sten ha Cober (Fish, Tin and Copper) - a Cornish Lament

I wanted to continue this tradition and was lucky enough to have spent some time at the world-reknowned Camborne School Of Mines. Here I learnt that mining in Cornwall dates back to between 1000 and 2000 B.C. when Cornwall is thought to have been visited by metal traders from the eastern Mediterranean. They even named Britain as the 'Cassiterides' - 'Tin Islands'. Cornwall along with the far west of Devon provided the vast majority of the United Kingdom's tin and arsenic and most of its copper. Initially the tin was found as alluvial deposits in the gravels of stream beds, but before long some sort of underground working took place. In fact, where the tin lodes outcropped on the cliffs underground mines sprung up as early as the 16th century.

Explore the Great Flat Lode Trail

Mining Database

There are eleven main metalliferous areas in Cornwall. A section dedicated to each area has been set up to complement the successful World Heritage Site Bid of 14th July 2006. Cornwall in Focus has revisited these areas taking photographs and researching information in order to set up a comprehensive Mining Database for each district. There are over 270 pages and an interactive map dedicated to all the major mines of Cornwall.

The areas in question are: Penwith and St. Ives; Camborne & Crowan, Redruth, Illogan and St. Agnes; and the Wendron & Gwinear area in the west; Gwennap and the Carnon Valley in Mid Cornwall and a large area bounded by Perranzabuloe, St. Austell, and Wadebridge to the Caradon Mining District and Tamar Valley Mining District centred on Callington, Calstock and Gunnislake in the east.

A taste of what it was like can be found at Geevor Mine at Pendeen; On film at the BBC's Nation on Film and also in the excellent Mining in Cornwall Series by J.H. Trounson & L.J. Bullen. What an epitaph to the thousands of men, women and children who toiled long hours in the 19th/20th centuries to 'win' that tin in the first place! Can it still be said that: At the bottom of every hole in the ground in the world there is a Cornishman'?

The Mineral Tramways Project

There are still several industrial relics left from the heyday of mining and the Mineral Tramways Project aims to provide a network of multi-use trails - such as the Great Flat Lode trail and the Coast to Coast trail - for recreation and interested members of the public. Why not learn more by turning up to one of the many events on the Mineral Tramways.

Trevithick Society

Geevor Mine

Levant Mine

Walking the Tramways

Mineral Tramways Project

King Edward Mine

Cornish Miners Association

Poldark Mine

Great Flat Lode

Great Flat Lode

Explore the rich mining history of the Great Flat Lode near Camborne-Redruth

Walking Cornwall

Walking Cornwall

Walk the Coast of Cornwall in easy bite-sized chunks

Mining Database

Mining database

Dig a little deeper into Cornwall's mining history

Outdoor Gear

Outdoor Gear

Outdoor Gear - Stay warm and dry with the latest outdoor gear



Be safe and prepared with the latest maps from the Ordnance Survey


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