World at a Glance: Cornwall mining landscapes

2018-09-19T09:59:51+00:0010 March 2016|Cornwall, England, UNESCO World Heritage|

Cornwall mining landscape

Cornwall is one of my favourite parts of Britain. And not just the curiously captivating fishing villages, but inland, too.

Last summer, Cat spent a few days at horse riding camp on Bodmin Moor. On the way, we naturally used the opportunity to spend another night at Jamaica Inn. And this time, we also had a look at the remaining traces of Cornwall’s mining heritage, the region’s significant contribution to the Industrial Revolution.

Bodmin Moor abound with remnants of ancient times (you can read a bit more about standing stones, ghosts and mysteries in this post). On the moor, you’ll also find the remains of tin mining, a 4000-year-old industry. And copper mining as well. Did you know this area supplied two-thirds of the world’s copper back in the early parts of the 19th century? Here’s what UNESCO has to say:

The substantial remains are a testimony to the contribution Cornwall and West Devon made to the Industrial Revolution in the rest of Britain and to the fundamental influence the area had on the mining world at large. Cornish technology embodied in engines, engine houses and mining equipment was exported around the world. Cornwall and West Devon were the heartland from which mining technology rapidly spread.

The heritage site comprises 10 subsites, spanning from the southern reaches of Cornwall all the way into neighbouring Devon. We visited the subsite Caradon Mining District and stumbled over leftover rocks, old railway tracks, chimney stacks and engine houses dabbled across the ancient landscape.

It’s challenging to reach with public transport, as it’s a bit out of the way, even for already remote Bodmin Moor, but absolutely worth a detour. Alexandra and I loved wandering around here. Cat, lucky girl, got to ride through this gorgeous landscape, but I expect a 12-year-old probably doesn’t appreciate the history quite as much.

World at a Glance is a series of short articles here on Sophie’s World, with a single photo, portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad or wondrous, unexpected little encounters.


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Cornwall and West Devon mining landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited around the world.

Want more fab photos from around the world? Then hop over to this week’s TravelPhotoThursday.

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  1. Linda March 10 March 2016 at 1104 - Reply

    I find that all Britain has a lot of interesting sites to see. From east to the west you can see a lot of history sites. I didn’t actually know that Cornwall county was such a huge supplier of copper. Probably because they’ve discovered how to better process the metal and create alloys with it. I presume that aren’t any mines in the area now and most of the mines are empty of copper.

    • Sophie 10 March 2016 at 1202 - Reply

      Definitely one of my favourite countries; one I never seem to tire of. The last mine in Cornwall was closed in 1998, so not all that long ago. There is talk of reopening one, though.

  2. budget jan 10 March 2016 at 1256 - Reply

    Horseriding on the moor sounds like great fun. Cornwall is a gorgeous place, as is Devon. 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 10 March 2016 at 1402 - Reply

      Just love the landscape in Cornwall – so full of mystery.

  3. Marcia 15 March 2016 at 0155 - Reply

    I can see why you love Cornwall, Sophie. The landscape is such a deep green, so lush and beautiful. It looks like anything could grow there easily.
    I don’t think I knew about its mining history though. Interesting.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 March 2016 at 1454 - Reply


  4. Jane Elizabeth 18 July 2016 at 1439 - Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Cornwall is such a spectacular part of the world and well-worth a visit. It has so much to offer. It’s the perfect destination for a summer holiday – whether you’re for a relaxing break or an adventurous trip in the great outdoors. I love all the picturesque coasts ideal for hiking, sailing on or just enjoying a nice cup of tea and scone with clotted cream. There really isn’t anything better! These heritage mining remains are very interesting to have visited – definitely another spot to add to the list of to do’s in Cornwall.

  5. Charles W 4 March 2017 at 1936 - Reply

    Challenging to reach places is sometimes a good thing, depends on what you’re looking for.

    If you travel a lot (and I see you do) you know pictures don’t resemble reality. I’m giving an obvious example here, you look at an Eiffel Tower picture and it’s great, you’re thinking why didn’t see it already in person, how crazy can one be? So you plan a trip and once you get there you see the masses of tourists crowding the place, long lines of people waiting to get tickets to enter, the atmosphere from that picture is hard to be found in reality.

    And this is because it’s advertised and easily accessible for most people. That’s why I love places like Bodmin Moor, which still manage to retain some of its initial allure due to the remote location. Unfortunately these places slowly vanish one by one in the race for profit.

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