5 Walks in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site

5 Walks in Cornish Mining World Heritage Site

It’s at the root of Cornish culture and on a par with international treasures so pull on your walking boots and tread in the footsteps of Cornish miners with our pick of five of the best walks in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

The Basset Mines at South Wheal Frances
Perhaps not the must-have fashion accessory of miners but for the 21st Century visitor, a MP3 player is a handy piece of kit when exploring the Basset Mines at South Wheal Frances a couple of miles south from Redruth. Do your prep beforehand and download an audio trail from cornish-mining.org.uk and you’ll be taken back to the 1900’s. You’ll find yourself in the shoes of a potential investor as the mine’s accountant treats you to a personal tour of the site. As you snake your way around the shafts, engine houses and ore-sorter you’ll gain a fun insight into the life of a miner extracting tin from this intriguing site on the Great Flat Lode.

St Erth and Hayle Foundry
If walking in the path of miners isn’t an excuse for enjoying a Cornish pasty we don’t know what is, so pop into Philps Bakery in Hayle to stock up on the traditional fuel of miners before parking in St Erth and beginning a circular trail to Hayle Foundry. At four miles the route follows an idyllic stretch of the River Hayle and passes Ryans Field RSPB Nature Reserve offering some great spots to devour that mouth watering pasty in your backpack. Or if you can resistant temptation a little longer, perch outside the Hayle Foundry which in its heyday welcomed the engineering elite such as Richard Trevithick and helped take Cornish Mining global by producing engine beams which were exported across the world.

Geevor to Levant
MP3 players at the ready again as another top Cornish Mining walk which has been given the audio treatment is ‘The Mines Under the Sea’ trail in west Cornwall. With your mobile as your guide, the trail will take you on a 1.5 mile journey through the mining landscape around Geevor and Levant before heading down to the sea and following the coast to the ‘champion’ Levant Mine. Perched on the cliff tops, Levant is a mine with a view and makes a perfect spot to take five and imagine how this now peaceful environment was once a hub for industry and a vital slice of Cornwall’s rich and colourful past. 

Wheal Martyn Historical Trail
Uncover the secret of the China Clay industry by following the historical trail which weaves its way through Wheal Martyn Country Park. Come face-to-face with the sheer strength and power behind Cornish Mining as you are dwarfed by the 35ft working water wheal as it powers the slurry pumps in the Clay pits. Make a beeline for the crib hut which housed the Kettle Boy, who at 13 may have been the youngest person on the site but had the most important job; to keep the kettle boiling to warm the pasties for the hungry miners after a mornings work! End the trail by stepping onto the viewing platform at the top of the pit and if you’ve got a head for heights peer down hundreds of feet and see the modern China Clay industry at work.

Minions, Bodmin Moor
This walk has made the top five not just for its remnants of Cornish Mining which are plentiful and varied but for its wild and rugged views. Think vast open spaces, distant and clear horizons and atmospheric moors. As you pound across open fields and along disused tramways its not hard to imagine the beyond era and in the minds eye make out the shape of hardy miners throwing themselves into work. From the Minions to views of the Cheeswring and Kit Hill, this landscape is scattered with mining relics and offers countless tales of Cornish Mining history.