Wheal Martyn China Clay Heritage Centre

Wheal Martyn unlocks the secret of Cornwall's "White Alps" and unfolds the 250 year saga behind Cornwall's biggest industry on a 26 acre site which combines real production with reconstruction.

China Clay comes from decomposing feldspar in granite and is the main ingredient of porcelain - for years a Chinese secret until in 1768, a Plymouth apothecary called William Cookworthy patented his formula for a paste using Cornish deposits. Today it remains a key component of ceramics but is more widely used for paper coating and filling.

A fascinating history comes alive in Wheal Martyn's vivid audio-visual, which charts the extraordinary rise of China Stone and Clay from local building material and furnace-liner to high profile, international industry, creating world-famous tableware and producing over 3,000,000 tons annually.
This background stands you in good stead for the History Trail. Prefaced by displays of tools, steam locomotives and the original oil-fired generator, it takes you stage by stage through a 19th century clay works which incorporate Cornwall's largest working water-wheel.
A second Nature Trail shows the reconciliation of industry and environment. It explores a unique range of habitats - man-made and natural - culminating in the spectacular Pit View overlooking the modern Wheal Martyn at work, employing the latest extraction methods.

Children meanwhile are well catered for. There is a play area for the little ones, and for the over-l 0's a challenging, commando-style Adventure Trail of their own. The Gift and Coffee Shops provide a choice of rendezvous for the family to meet for a snack or choose a souvenir of an unforgettable visit.


Wheal Martyn is situated at Carthew, two miles out of St Austell on the B3274. If approaching on the A391, white-on-brown signs point the way from the Stenalees roundabout.

Daily, 10am - 6pm, 1st April to 31 October inclusive. The last admission is one hour prior to closing time.

Guided party tours are available by prior arrangement.

Ample free parking for cars and coaches on site.

On leads, please.

Cornwall PL26 8XG
Tel and Fax: 01726 850362

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