Cornish Mining World Heritage Site:
(Minions, Caradon Hill & Carnglaze Caverns)
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
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
was also granted World Heritage status and appended to this area.
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
"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
Heritage Site (Caradon Mining District: Minions)
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
& 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
Heritage Site (Carnglaze Caverns)
Carnglaze Caverns, an old underground Slate Quarry near St Neot,
joined 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!
The entrance to the
underground Carnglaze Caverns Slate Quarry (not usually called a mine!)
For more extensive images
and information, see
Caverns on this website, and for more information about Concerts and Events held inside the
Caverns, visit the
Discover the Extrordinary ~ Cornish
Mining World Heritage Site (Caradon Mining District)
Caradon Hill Area Heritage
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
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.
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
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.
New Phoenix Mine ~ sometimes known as
Silver Valley Mine
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
Victoria Copper Mine at Golitha Falls!
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