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Cornish Mining World Heritage Site:
(Caradon Mining District: Caradon Hill & Minions Area)

This area was granted World Heritage Site status in 2006

The Caradon Hill and Minions area (the major part of the "Liskeard Mining District") is one of ten areas of Cornwall and West Devon that won World Heritage Site status from the United Nations. This mining area includes the South Caradon Mine (which in 2004 was the subject of the BBC programme "Restoration"), and many other copper and tin mining sites that date between 1700 and 1914. In 2013, the old underground Slate Mine at Carnglaze Caverns at St Neot became affiliated to the World Heritage Site, and were appended to this area.

South Caradon Mine
South Caradon Mine

Mining in Cornwall, whether it was for tin, copper, arsenic, or any of the other minerals mined here, was an extremely hard life, and miners lives were mostly short. If accident and injury did not find them first, then debilitating lung disease from the dusty unventilated atmosphere, and the long shifts "below grass", soon started to take their toll. Working underground, and climbing the long fathoms of ladders down and back to the surface at the end of every shift, was not for the faint-hearted. John Harris was a nineteenth century miner-poet, and what he writes here is very evocative...

...from "The Mining Scene"

"Hast ever seen a mine? Hast ever been
Down it in its fabled grottoes, walled with gems,
And canopied with torrid mineral belts,
That blaze within the fiery orifice?
Hast ever, by the glimmer of a lamp,
Or the fast waning taper, gone down, down,
Towards the earth's dread centre, where wise men
Have told us that the earthquake is conceived,
And great Vesuvius hath his lava-house,
Which burns and burns forever, shooting forth
As from a fountain of eternal fire?
Hast ever heard, within this prison house,
The startling hoof of fear? the eternal flow
Of some dread meaning whispering to thy soul?"

(Reference: "The Meads of Love: The Life and Poetry of John Harris 1820-84", Paul Newman 1994;
and quoted in Philip Payton's "Cornwall: A History", published in 1996 and 2004).

World Heritage Site (Caradon Mining District)
The Caradon Hill and Minions area became a World Heritage Site in 2006

Extensive Cornish Mining sites exist around the Minions and Caradon Hill areas, where copper mining was at its height during the 1840s to the 1890s. At Minions, you can visit the Minions Heritage Centre, that now occupies the Engine House of Houseman's Shaft, which was a part of the old South Phoenix Mine.

Minions is the highest village in Cornwall, and is an excellent centre to base your walking to discover the area's mining history, and to explore this part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. Minions was originally called "Cheesewring Railway", and it grew as a central junction and shunting area on the newly built Liskeard & Caradon Railway, and provided much needed housing for the miners, quarry workers and railway workers moving in to the area. Visit the Minions Heritage Centre on the edge of the moor to start.

Minions Heritage Centre in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site
Minions Heritage Centre

World Heritage Site (affiliated): Carnglaze Caverns
Carnglaze Caverns, an old underground Slate Quarry near St Neot,
became affiliated to the World Heritage Site in 2013

A visit to Carnglaze Caverns near St.Neot will take you deep inside a Cornish hill, and into the underground world of the old slate quarrymen and slate miners. Carnglaze is set in the now very pretty wooded valley of the River Loveny. The caverns were originally a slate quarry, that "grew" underground to reach the better quality slate. Slate was quarried up until the early 1900s, when the cost of transport became too great, and their usage decreased. There are no doubt many houses around Cornwall with Carnglaze slate on the roof!

Carnglaze Caverns Slate Mine
The entrance to the underground Carnglaze Caverns Slate Quarry (not usually called a mine!)

For more extensive images and information, see Carnglaze Caverns on this website, and for more information about Concerts and Events held inside the Caverns, visit the Rum Store.

Discover the Extrordinary ~ Cornish Mining World Heritage Site (Caradon Mining District)

Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project  (CHAHP)
was a 2.8m project, funded largely by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF),
with Cornwall County Council, and (then) Caradon District Council.

The Minions Heritage Centre also served as the base for the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project. This wide ranging project has provided for significant conservation works on both the natural and industrial heritage of the area that covers not only Caradon Hill, but most of the south east corner of Bodmin Moor, and south to Liskeard. It includes several significant copper and tin mining sites, as well as many other prehistoric sites, a large number of wildlife, geological and conservation area sites, and over 100 scheduled monuments.

The implementation work which started in 2010, was completed in 2014, and was aimed at conserving the landscape and working nature of the moor, managing access to the many historic, natural, archaeological and industrial mining heritage sites, plus the physical conservation and consolidation of mine site structures; together with an extensive education and training programme, involving as many local people as possible.

Although the CHAHP programme has now finished, the project laid the foundations of ongoing work now being continued and co-ordinated through the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Partnership.

CHAHP is based at the Minions Heritage Centre
Houseman's Engine House (now the Minions Heritage Centre)

The sun may have set on Cornish mining's industrial past, but the rich heritage that is left to us from that past still needs to be carefully protected, but only within the overall management and conservation of both the natural and historical environments that have been left in our care. Most importantly, Bodmin Moor needs to be respected as the living and working landscape that it still is, where the welfare of the livestock and land is preserved.

Sunset at New Phoenix Mine
New Phoenix Mine ~ sometimes known as Silver Valley Mine

Visit the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Partnership website.
(The CHAHP website is now being maintained by the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Partnership)

Visit the remains of the old Wheal Victoria Copper Mine at Golitha Falls!


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