The mining heritage of this area is internationally important and is designated as part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Perhaps the most obvious markers of mining heritage in the landscape are the granite engine houses, built to house the pumping engines and machinery that enabled deep working during the 19th-century copper and tin boom.
However, it is still possible to identify Bronze-Age (c. 2,500 – 700BC) and Romano-British workings (c. 44 – 410AD), and find evidence of earlier medieval and post-medieval tin streaming and later surface & shallow working of metal ores, in the local landscape if you know what to look for.
Features of the Caradon Hill area
19th-century mine sites in the Caradon area followed much the same pattern as in the west of the county, but they have left less of an obvious footprint here, where agricultural industry is far more evident. This is partly due to the Caradon area mines being established later than ancillary developments, such as Holman's in Camborne, Harvey's Foundry in Hayle and Bickford-Smith's Fuseworks in Tuckingmill, so they didn’t need to build these mining-related industries locally as they already existed in the west. Unlike most of the old mine sites further west in Cornwall, Caradon is also predominantly Common Land and is grazed by Registered Graziers (Commoners) so the land has been able to revert back to agricultural use rather than being developed for housing, as is typical of brown-field sites.
Need to know
- Ore extraction dates back to pre-historic times, not just to the times of the derelict 19th-century engine houses
- Engine houses are just the surface evidence of mining production processes; the majority of the mine workings are hidden underground
- Most Common Land is de facto designated as Open Access (CRoW Act), so the public are permitted to walk freely across the sites with certain local safety, livestock, wildlife and management restrictions – some permanent, some temporary