Tin Mining Country

Gwennap Pit, Redruth, Godolphin HouseAs one heads north towards the towns of Camborne and Redruth, there are yet more dramatic changes to the surrounding landscape. North of Helston lies a chequerboard of fields, footpaths and shady country lanes - farmlands dotted with pretty hamlets: Breage, Crowan, Sithney, Godolphin, Stithians ... each one a cluster of granite cottages around a fine church. This truly is the best of both worlds - rural splendour yet only minutes away from the sea, to the north and south.

This is Tin Mining Country, and relics of the area's rich industrial past are all around. Cornwall's thriving mining activities of the 18th and 1 9th centuries are distant memories now, but the ivy covered engine houses with their tall chimneys still preside over this landscape and serve as a permanent reminder of times past. Miners cottages still stand - many remain as family homes -and offer a glimpse of the lives and endeavours of the mining workforce.

These neighbouring towns were once the hub of the most intensively mined area in the world. Today, they are bustling centres offering full amenities and plenty to occupy the family on days away from the beach. The mining legacy has not been forgotten however, and each year both towns celebrate their proud heritage in a blaze of music and colour - Camborne with Trevithick Day in April and Redruth with Murdoch Day in June.

Looming high above both towns is the granite tor of Carn Brea, crowned by its stark memorial to the mine owner Francis Bassett, with spectacular views across Tin Mining Country to the north cliffs, Portreath and St. Ives Bay.

Another rich inheritance from the long-abandoned mine and quarry workings here is the extensive footpath and bridleway network which retraces the routes that once connected mining areas to the coastal ports. Pick up a map from the Mineral Tramways Discovery Centre at Pool and set off on the industrial heritage trail for yourself. Cornwall's mining past can also be explored at the Camborne School of Mines Geological Museum, while the Trevithick Trust is responsible for a number of visitor facilities in the area, including the Cornish Engines and recently renovated Cornish Heritage Centre at Pool.

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