Five to try: Cornish Mining World Heritage Site attractions

Five to try: Cornish Mining World Heritage Site attractions
Ten individual areas make up the Cornwall & west Devon World Heritage Site, included within them are attractions where visitors can take a trip back in time to experience the mining heyday... here are some of the highlights.

Geevor Tin Mine
Geevor shows the gritty reality and helps visitors really understand the life and times of Cornish miners. The outside exhibitions give an insight into the daily workings of the mine which started extracting tin in 1911 and inside everything is preserved as it was on the last day of the mine’s operation in 1990. You’ll find helmets and boots left in the changing rooms, last minute witty messages chalked up on the walls, empty teacups and newspapers lying around. It’s a bit like discovering the wreck of the Titanic – a little eerie but totally fascinating. You can also take a trip underground into some of the mines early workings.

Gwennap Pit
Gwennap Pit (see main picture) is an impressive open air amphitheater near Redruth made famous by Methodist founder John Wesley, who preached there on 18 occasions between 1762 and 1789. Its remarkable acoustic properties and distinctive natural setting make it perfect for services, musical events, school visits, performances and weddings. Visit to walk around the rows of seats from top to bottom and back up again which measures exactly one mile.

Wheal Martyn
Set in 26 acres of woodland walks, nestled in the historic Ruddle Valley behind St Austell and within two former clay works, Wheal Martyn gives a fascinating insight into Cornwall’s important billion pound china clay mining industry. The industrial and social history of this vital Cornish industry are explained through artefacts and interactive displays and the story is brought right up to date with a spectacular view into a modern working clay pit at the top of the site. To explore further take a walk, or cycle, along the nearby Clay Trails.

Levant Mine and Beam Engine
The mine beneath the sea with a dramatic clifftop setting Levant was, for 110 years, ‘the queen of Cornwall’s submarine mines’. Today, the surviving buildings and ruins offer a window on another world where men and women toiled to extract the riches of the earth from beneath the crashing waves. Join an expert guide to discover the site’s secrets and follow the miners' footsteps through the tunnel to the man-engine shaft. For fans of Poldark, why not leave the car at Levant and walk west along the South West Coast Path to Botallack where much of the filming took place?

East Pool Mine
In Cornwall’s industrial heartland sit two great beam engines, originally powered by high-pressure steam boilers introduced by local hero Richard Trevithick. Preserved in their towering engine houses, they are a reminder of Cornwall's days as a world-famous centre of industry, engineering and innovation. The pumping engine is one of the largest surviving Cornish beam engines in the world, and the restored winding engine can be seen in action daily. With lots of displays and a family trail, it’s a great place to discover the whole dramatic story of Cornish mining. Also worth visiting King Edward Mine while in the area.

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