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Cornish Mining World Heritage Site

The area around Minions & Caradon Hill was granted World Heritage Site status 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, a part of the old South Phoenix Mine. At Carnglaze Caverns at St Neot, you can visit an old underground Slate Mine that joined the World Heritage Site in 2013.

The Caradon Hill and Minions area (the major part of the "Liskeard Mining District") and Carnglaze, are one of ten areas of Cornwall and West Devon that won World Heritage Site status from the United Nations. This mining area, which is very local to us, includes the South Caradon Mine which during 2004 was the subject of the BBC programme "Restoration", plus many other copper and tin mines, dated between 1700 and 1914.

Minions Heritage Centre
Houseman's Engine House ~ now the Minions Heritage Centre

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.

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!

A Rich Heritage

There are many old mine workings around this area of Bodmin Moor, carrying many once famous names... not only the South Caradon Mine, but the West Caradon, the Phoenix United Mine (last operating just before the First World War), the South Phoenix, Craddock Moor, and Wheal Jenkin Mines, and many more.

Looking over towards Caradon Hill from the Cheesewring granite quarry, you can see along the remains of the track bed of the old Liskeard & Caradon Railway, leading back towards Minions and around Caradon Hill. Now returned back to nature, with its past now succumbing to slow decay and overgrowth, this whole landscape during the second half of the nineteenth century was a maelstrom of industry, mining engines, hammering and breaking of the ore, noise and smoke... It was areas like this, and similar mining areas, that witnessed the birth of the Industrial Revolution, and in particular the second phase of industrial revolution brought about during the 1840s/1850s, with the growth of steam power and the railways.

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, within the overall management and conservation of both the natural and historical environments 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.

For more extensive images and information about Cornish Mining,
see the World Heritage Site and the Mining Heritage sections on PhotoFile Cornwall.

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

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