As well as the organised trips, you can visit a number of mining sites in Cornwall as a tourist. These include:
The towering beam engines at East Pool Mine are the very centre of the Cornish World Heritage Site – and rightly so. They were powered by Richard Trevithick’s high-pressure steam boilers, and remind us of the role we played as world leaders in engineering innovation. East Pool Mine was in action from the early 18th Century right up to 1945, mining first copper, then china clay and tin. The mine sits in the middle of several significant mineral veins and proved so profitable that it generated enough money to build the country house at Tehidy. Even after the demand for tin declined in the late 19th Century, the mine remained an integral part of our community and employed more than 500 people almost every year between 1884 and 1913. Today, East Pool is a National Trust site. The pumping engine is one of the largest surviving Cornish Beam Engines in the world and there are daily demonstrations of the restored winding engine thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers. Pay a visit to the Industrial Discovery Centre and enjoy exhibitions, films, models and chats with local guides to find out more about the history of Cornish mining. Distance from the college: 1 mile by road.
The oldest complete mine site in Cornwall, and one of only two Cornish Tin mines left in the world. It’s a vital part of our heritage and all the buildings are listed because of their national and international importance. Work in the mine stopped in 1890 but it was re-opened as a training centre for the Camborne School of Mines in 1897. Fully equipped with the latest machinery, it was producing tin right up until the First World War when operations were suspended. After that, the surface was used for teaching, ore dressing and surveying until a volunteer group took over in 1987. Their aim was to conserve the site for the local community and they’ve restored the mine to its former glory using rescued machinery, much of it among the last of its kind in the world. If you want to experience the atmosphere of mining at the turn of the last century, give King Edward Mine a visit. There’s a museum where you can learn about our local history, a self-guided tour, archaeology and ecology trails, a full demonstration of how the tin mill works and lots of other events throughout the year. You’ll find the mine near Troon, about a mile and a half from town. Just head up the hill past the station and look for the signs. Distance from the college: 2 miles by road.
Geevor is the largest preserved mining site in the country, the key centre within the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. Come and explore the many buildings such as the Winder and Compressor Houses with their magnificent mining machinery. The Mill buildings contain unique mining equipment that was used to process the rock brought up from underground to produce the precious tin concentrate that Geevor sold. Geevor Tin Mine has an important collection of relics and artefacts, collected over the years by volunteers, enthusiasts and historians to preserve and demonstrate the significance of the Cornish tin mining industry. The diverse collection includes rocks and minerals and mining tools. Photography, recorded oral histories, maps, plans and paperwork are an integral part of the collection. It also includes the Geevor buildings themselves, large industrial equipment. We are also pleased to host the Holman Collection, an impressive collection of engineering artefacts – come and see them on your way back up from the mine. Distance from the college: 23 miles by road.
Levant Mine and Beam Engine is located within the St Just Mining District; one of the most ancient hard-rock tin and copper mining areas in Cornwall. Copper and tin has been mined here for generations, and the mine workings of Levant extend over a mile out under the sea bed. In 1820, the Levant Mining Company was formed with a capital of £400, though Levant Mine first appeared on a map in 1748. By 1836, 320 men, 44 women and 186 children were employed on the site. In Levant's first 20 years of business, £170,000 was made from mining copper. New technology was introduced to streamline production, and in 1857 the now-infamous man engine was installed. This engine carried men many fathoms up and down the mine, to and from work each day. In 1919, the man engine suffered a disastrous failure when a link between the rod and the engine snapped, killing 31 men. Levant experienced a steady decline and in 1930 the mine closed. Guided tours with extremely knowledgeable guides are available on site from 11am. They give an overview of Levant's history, including a visit down the Man Engine tunnel where 31 men tragically lost their lives in 1919. At the heart of the site is the 1840s beam engine, which was lovingly restored by members of the Greasy Gang. The engine steamings are every half an hour and you can pick up a timed ticket from reception to go into the engine house. Distance from the college: 24 miles by road.
This is the site of a former slate mine where slate was both quarried and mined underground in Cornwall. You can find out about the miners' ingenuity and skills, and how slate roofed the Industrial Revolution. You will go on a self-guided underground tour (may be guided in high seasons) to learn how the mine was worked, ending at the Underground Lake with its crystal clear blue/green water. Browse the comprehensive collection of minerals mined and quarried in the South West, after which you will descend a flight of 60 steps taking you about 150m into the hillside and 60m below ground.
The first of the three Caverns, the Rum Store, was one of the nation's safe storage areas during WW2. It is now used as a 400 capacity concert and event venue with outstanding acoustics and atmosphere, offering a wide range of musical entertainment and events throughout the year.
The Moseley Toy and Train Museum is a private collection of vintage modern railways and toys displayed at Tumblydown Farm in Redruth. Among its collection is an authentic industrial railway which stretches for half a mile through the paddock outside and a number of locomotives, which have been restored from engines in local mines.
Moseley is now the home of a number of working engines once used in nearby South Crofty Tin Mine. Lovingly restored by enthusiasts, these now work on the tracks at the museum. A great destination for kids and grown-ups alike, Moseley Museum showcases the engineering prowess behind the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. Open throughout the year, admission to Moseley Museum can be made by appointment, or just simply come along on one of the many open days. Dogs on leads are welcome. Admission, parking and all activities on site are free of charge. Voluntary donations to assist with running costs and development are appreciated. (Moseley Museum is a NAMHO member.)
Tolgus Mill takes visitors through the process of tin streaming and how tin ore recovered from the stream running through our park is smelted on-site to create exquisite Cornish jewellery. See how rock from local mining waste was pulverised by huge stamping machines, learn about the machinery and explore the ingenuity and human stories behind this last working link to Cornwall’s past.
Tolgus Mill is an ongoing restoration project. The proceeds from the Tolgus jewellery collection along with visitor donations allow them keep this heritage alive.
Guided tours for groups are available by appointment. Call 01209 203280 for more details.
In addition to specific mine sites, visitors may want to explore details of the Cornish and West Devon Mining Landscape. The Cornwall County Council have details of this World Heritage Site on their website.