Redgate Smithy Bed and Breakfast

Golitha Falls & Wheal Victoria Copper Mine

Golitha Falls

The beautiful Golitha Falls are literally just down the lane opposite us, and are set in the lovely wooded valley of the River Fowey. In amongst the lichen covered trees you can also find all that now remains of what was a nineteenth century industrial mining complex - the old Wheal Victoria Copper Mine, and its wheel-pits, shafts and adits. We are very lucky to have this peaceful and mysterious place so close to us.

To get to the Falls, which are part of a National Nature Reserve, it is a very short walk down the lane and then left over Draynes Bridge. The reserve is just over the bridge in the old Draynes Wood. There is a bi-lingual (Cornish) welcome plaque near the entrance, giving details of walks, and the wildlife to be seen.

Looking down Golitha Falls
Looking down the Upper Falls

The path eventually leads down into the wooded gorge, with many ways to climb around and explore, or if you wish, you can follow the way-marked paths. In fine weather, there is also access for disabled and wheelchair users, although it does become a little rugged further on in some places. By the side of the upper falls you will find the old wheel pits of the old Wheal Victoria Copper Mine, and further down by the lower Falls, near where King Doniert supposedly met his doom, you will also find hidden away at the water's edge an old mine adit that is now only home to bats. After wet days on the moor, the River Fowey swells its flow, and the Falls further down its course become very full; and the noise and the visual effect of sitting next to them can become quite entrancing. After a lot of rain, the roaring of the Falls can clearly be heard in our garden.

Wheal Victoria Copper Mine

The massive walls of the two wheel-pits are really all that now remain of the old Wheal Victoria copper mine, or at least they are the most obvious remains that can still be found at Golitha Falls, aside from the two adits and two shafts that are hidden away in the woods. Following the path along the side of the river and upper falls, you will come to the first of the two wheel-pits, with the second wheel-pit a little further along.

The second wheel pit
The Second Wheel-pit

The various leats and paths at Golitha Falls and the Wheal Victoria mine have now blended into a small maze of their own. What were originally leats, or water channels, for the water wheels and mine drainage, have now become paths and are confused with the original miner's access paths, that would have been used to service the mine, and even perhaps remove ore.

The main Wheal Victoria mine shaft, referred to in old mining reports as the Engine Shaft, lies up the steep track up the hill, leading from the open area at the entrance to the Golitha Falls. The shaft top is in a gentle hollow by the side of the track and, unusually, it is not capped with concrete, or "choked" (run-in). A grill covers it, and it is possible to peer down into its murky depths. The mine shaft is now a home to the bats that live in the mine, that now forms a part of the National Nature Reserve managed by English Nature.


Above the Falls on the hill, on the higher wooded slopes where the shafts of the mine can be found, the bluebells in Spring-time create a wonderful carpet of blue among the trees. There is a lovely woodland walk up here at other times of the year too!

Golitha Woods and the bluebells
Bluebells in Golitha Woods

For more extensive images and information, see Golitha Falls and the fascinating
old Wheal Victoria Copper Mine on PhotoFile Cornwall.

Redgate Smithy B&B     Redgate     St Cleer     Liskeard     Cornwall     PL14 6RU
Proprietors: Clive & Julie ffitch   ~   Telephone: +44 (0) 1579 321578   ~   Email:

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