Encounter Walking


The Cornwall Mining World Heritage Site

Day 3 Pendeen to St Just 5 miles along The South West Coast Path

Today's Walking Highlights

www.cornish-mining.org.uk Wheal Edward near Pendeen Cornwall

This is a short walking day but with good reason as there is just so much to see. The coast path climbs in and out of a skyline of sentinel chimneys, towering cliffs and heather and gorse valleys to St Just.

CLICK HERE to continue reading the route description Pendeen to St Just

Today's Mining Heritage Highlights

www.cornish-mining.org.uk Geevor Mine Pendeen Cornwall Walking Holiday

Today  is the highlight of the Mining sections of the walk as you walk your way through the largest and oldest submarine mining area in the world.

Geevor Tin Mine -  Leaving Pendeen you start with a thorough visit  at Geevor Mine,  centre piece of the World Heritage Site.  Mining here has taken place for over 300 years and with your own Hard Hat you are free to explore this 67 acre site at your own pace. Extensive interactive displays in the main mine buildings will give a good understanding of the area you are walking through whilst  the now silent machinery sheds and cavernous Mine Head buildings provide the atmosphere and the unexpected as you visit.

Geevor Mine Underground Tours Cornwall World Heritage Site Walking BreakThis was Cornwall’s last working Tin mine which closed in 1990 and the staff you will meet here are the ex-miners themselves who describe first hand  what working  Cornish mines meant to them and their communities. 

A highlight is the chance to go underground with them into the twisting tunnels of the 18C Wheal Mexico Mine giving a very real sense of the dark and claustrophobic conditions that the original tinners worked in – and believe us you will relish the open panoramas of The South West Coast Path all the more after this!

For some however the lasting memory will be  the silent rows of open lockers in the “Dry” room, where the Miners showered, fooled about and relaxed after a  dangerous shift, clothes and personal items left exactly as they were on the day the pumps were switched off and the sea flooded the tunnels for ever.  The last ever shift of Cornish Miners left the building simply spraying on one locker the message  16/2/90 – The End.

Before getting back on the trail you can fuel up with huge fresh pasties made on site in the excellent Mine Cafe with its panoramic views sraight out to sea over the mine site.

Botallack Mine Count House -  Overseen today by the National Trust Botallack Mine is perched just back from the Cliffs on the coast path are the the 19thC offices and Boardroom where  miners came to draw their pay from the Purser.

www.cornish-mining.org.uk Botallack Calciner Cornwall UK

Lavish dinners for shareholders would be laid on here and as you walk through this area you can visit the workshops and walk into the atmospheric remains of the Tin dressing floors and the labyrinthian Arsenic Works where the poison was extracted from the mined rocks and scraped off the walls by the unfortunate workers. 

The Crowns Mines  - Probably Cornwall’s most iconic and photographed engine houses these sit below the South West Coast Path clinging in an improbable fashion to the jagged rock just above the crashing Atlantic.

Men were carried up and down the shaft in a gig, a purpose-built, wheeled box – today you can descend here to gaze over the boiling ocean and feel at the edge of the world itself.

www.cornish-mining.org.uk Levant Mine Cornwall World Heritage Site WalkLevant Mine - Known as the Queen of Cornwall as it ran for over 110 years Levant Mine and Engine is  maintained by the National Trust and  once again the South West Coast Path brings you straight over the cliffs to it.  Here you can climb underground to  follow in the miners footsteps through the  “dry” tunnel to peer down into half a mile of vertical shafts. This mining is as dangerous as it got, the tunnels  running under the seabed here for over a mile, nervous miners having to listen to the rumbling of boulders being shifted by the Atlantic over their heads in Stormy weather.

In 1919, 32 men died in this very shaft when the device used to bring them up and down from the depths snapped – the significance of this disaster  for local mining communities is still felt, you may find flowers left here and there are still memorial services for the tragedy nearly a century on.  In the mine buildings  you can’t fail to find the oldest surviving Cornish Beam Engine a stupendous piece of engineering that has been restored and still powers under steam today.

www.cornish-mining.org.uk South West Coast Path Penwith Mining HeritageOther Remains  On the approach to St Just your walk continues to pass through a patchwork of enigmatic ruins including water powered tin stamping mills, Iron Age Forts,  old arsenic works, drying beds and an unforgettable skyline of haunting Mine Chimneys and shafts.

St Just  You will end the day following the paths inland that the miners took to and from their work to stay in the mines capital at the frontier town of St Just.  With its rows of granite miners cottages, public buildings Chapels  and squares, St Just-in-Penwith, , is often described as the most westerly town in England and very much fits the notion of The Wild West itself

Overnight Stays in St Just on the Mining Heritage Walk

 

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