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The famous Cornish Mine that everyone is talking about.

Welcome to the official Website pages of Poldark Tin Mine, Trenere Wolas Gardyn & the Cornish National Heritage Collection.

The Mine and Museum operate entirely on a voluntary not-for-profit basis and relies on the support of a small group of volunteers to keep the mine and Museum operating. Our operating losses have been supported financially by a main sponsor from 2014 until 2019 but that support is no longer possible and we need to secure other sources of funding. In September 2022 a grant application for professional administration support to secure funding from other sources was made.

Donations of articles to the museum or offers of sponsorship are always gratefully received. Please contact us if you wish to assist in this way or if you can spare some time to volunteer.

NEWS, NEWS, NEWS.........Sadly we remain TEMPORARILY CLOSED at the present time [updated October 21st 2022]. POLDARK TIN MINE & THE CORNISH NATIONAL HERITAGE COLLECTION is a UNESCO World Heritage location & part of the West Devon & Cornwall Mining Heritage Landscape.

Here there is a unique Bronze Age Scheduled Ancient Monument to tin working on this land which was happening some 3,500 years ago, making this place one of the oldest industrial heritage locations in the United Kingdom. Listed on the National Heritage List for Historic England as monument No.1021409 and known as the Trenear Mortar Outcrop. We call this living groundfast rock Tin Henge.

The mine itself is also a Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site (RIGS) No. K31. There are only 86 such sites in the UK.

During the late 1200s Cistercian Monks from St Marys Abbey at Rewley near Oxford were given the village church and the land here. A Royal Inspeximus dated 15th September 1284 confirmed this gift. in 1354 The Black Prince donated more land to the same monks.[All eventually grabbed back by King Henry Vlll] The monks created a mile and a half long aqueduct which remains to this day and built waterwheels to process tin here which continued for almost 600 years until 1875. A corn mill, a smithy, a sawmill and a blowing house together with extensive fish ponds and a garden were established here. The water powered tin stamps operated until 1875 or thereabouts. Later the tin stamps were sold in 1888 and by the 1890s a dairy was established and continued to use the aqueduct until 1972. The founder Peter Young purchased the village forge in 1966 and some land. The collection started and the museum opened to the public in 1971 and the mine was rediscovered in 1974, its life having commenced in the early 1700s until circa 1820.

Our reopening is now unlikely to be until 2023 partly due to the effects of a legal case with the Duchy of Cornwall which has affected our credit rating which prevented us from opening in summer of 2022 as although we had with great difficulty managed to find an insurer we could not obtain credit to pay for the insurance premium over 12 months.

In addition the difficulties with Covid & the war in the Ukraine has had a bearing on greatly increased costing for pumping 25 million gallons of water annually just to keep the four levels of the ancient mine open to mining students and visitors. No other mine in the entire UK does this. The closure of the mine & museum due to Covid was three years ago and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Duchy. The museum, gardens and all the land here which is circa 10 acres is freehold being owned outright with no mortgage and has nothing to do with the Duchy of Cornwall. The unique Ancient Monument in our grounds is also owned outright and has nothing to do with English Heritage or anyone else.

We are having very unpleasant difficulties in a legal dispute with the Duchy of Cornwall & their solicitors, Stephens Scrown. This relates to the underground mine workings only. The Duchy claims to own the workings but we believe they do not. The duchy appear to only own the mineral rights which is why we have challenged the imposed mine rent. The land above the mine workings is owned by our neighbour. We have been asking the duchy to produce the papers prior to 2000 so that we can unravel the situation. A definite agreement was reached with the feudal organisation to provide us with copies of missing paperwork. This was given by an individual [James Conibear] acting as a legal person in the Dukes office but they have steadfastly failed to honour that promise despite many reminders, we pursued the matter and instead of complying with their promise they switched to using their solicitors [S.S.].

Instead of advising their clients to forward the missing papers they spent months making excuses and arguing about the agreement to produce the requested documents, but still the papers have not been given to us. They finally waspishly landed us with a massive bill of almost ten thousand pounds instead! They also refused to refund us 1,800 we paid them in error! We eventually found a solicitor prepared to act for us, however they wanted 700 per hour plus VAT which was extortionate and way beyond our means. The result was that we were unable to defend the case, so by default the case was not heard in court and judgement awarded to The Duchy by default only. The duchy office failed abysmally in their dialogue with us and not as was reported in the press.

Recently all of this was twisted, sensationalised and badly misreported by the press at a moment of National mourning for our late Queen, it seems that the press have no compunction whatsoever when it comes to misleading the public. The press have used a variety of very old photographs to add to their stories, these were all used without our permission despite our ownership.

However, it should be noted that the Duchy office is exempt from the Freedom of information Acts but alarmingly is still enabled to use the courts, which is something that needs to be ratified. One law for the Duchy and another for us.

The former Duke is not to blame here but the administrators of the Duchy. We have the greatest respect for the late Queen and her family in mourning at this sad time. God Save The King.

These matters all have an effect on us such as the greatly increased expenses for mine pumping and the situation with the Duchy of Cornwall is preventing us from obtaining credit and insurance cover. We might manage to do something soon and will make an announcement when we have a result. Any changes will be updated on our web & facebook pages. Please check before making a visit to us. Please be assured that we will reopen just as soon as we are able.

VIRTUAL MUSEUM & DIARY. In the meantime we are keeping up regular light hearted informative postings on our Facebook pages about the mine, the gardens, the museum, this historic location and a host of interesting links relating to industrial heritage locations, the Cornish National Heritage Collection and Cornish life in general.


CHILL OUT WITH US...... On a hot day its deliciously COOL to delve deep underground into the subterranean passageways of Wheal Roots 18th century tin mine workings at the Poldark Mine - 11 degrees [52 fahrenheit] underground ...and thats constant all year round so in Winter its usually warmer than on the surface - its also a cool thing to do and our educational guided mine tours are definitely the coolest of all.

DOGS & PROTECTED WILDLIFE STATEMENT

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT PERMIT DOGS IN CARS, OUR CAR PARK, OR ANYWHERE ON OUR GROUNDS. Day Kennels are available locally if pre booked. There are absolutely no exceptions to our ban on dogs - this rule is in place due to the many birds & animals that live here - there are doves, peafowl, rabbits, a host of wild birds, water voles, wild deer to name some - Poldark Mine PROTECTED WILDLIFE ZONE - for more information see the RESTRICTIONS notes which appear on the prices & times pages.

www.k9kennelscornwall.co.uk

COMMENTING GUIDELINES

The Financial Times Commenting guidelines are ideal for those who wish to comment on our Website or Facebook or Trip Advisor pages or any other posting. Anyone who posts comments outside the FT guidelines will be blocked without warning.

The basics are as follows:-

Keep it relevant: Off-topic comments may be removed.

Keep it respectful: Criticise ideas, not people.

Avoid offensive language (this includes profanity)

Keep it neat: Avoid excessive use of bold type and capital letters. Here is a link to the FT guidelines ....

https://help.ft.com/faq/commenting-on-articles/what-are-your-commenting-guidelines/

Wheal Roots subterranean tin mine workings are found at The Poldark Mine of today. This mine and museum are part of the Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape and UNESCO World Heritage Location. It is the only true & complete underground tin mine in Cornwall open to the general public for underground educational guided tours. Generally regarded as one of the most historic locations in the annals of Cornish Mining History, the mine has been open to the public for 47 years.

The industrial heritage museum, known today as The Cornish National Heritage Collection was founded in 1963 when its founder the late Peter Young commenced collecting machines and was first opened to the public on June 1st 1971, over fifty years ago. The long forgotten Wheal Roots tin mine was rediscovered a few years later. It was last worked around 1800. The water wheel powered Trenear Wolas Tin stamps was founded by Cistercian Monks in the 13th century & continued in use for six hundred years until about 1875 and were eventually sold at auction on Thursday 18th January 1885. This is most probably the oldest known industrial location in the UK as alluvial tin was processed here during the late Bronze Age, some 3,500 years ago.

The mine is on several levels and the guided tours by experienced guides receive many accolades for their unvarnished presentation - there are no gimmicks or frills. The atmosphere in Wheal Roots 18th century Tin Mine Workings is palpable, leaving an outstanding & profound memory with the explorers who venture below.

The 18th century mine tours encompass two,three or four levels of the 18th century mine workings of the Wheal Roots Tin Mine which prospered during the 1700s, but can boast far earlier hand worked medieval origins [sometime between 500 AD to about 1500 AD] in peripheral adits and other areas of the mine that are inaccessible to visitors.

The hamlet of Trenear [Trenere Wolas] is part of the village and district of Wendron near Helston and lies in a vale below the village church. This is where the three mines, Trenear Tin Stamping Mills, the post office, the village shop, grist mill, blowing house, the forge & blacksmiths with its petrol pumps, the sawmill and the Wheelwrights workshop were thriving a century ago that continued in part until the end of the 1970s. The Tin Stamps water Mill was converted into the Trenear Dairy which operated from 1888 to 1972 using water power to drive the machinery and generate power. Wendron is one of the few rural villages in Cornwall that has no new houses.

Trenear is located on the B3297 Helston to Redruth road 3 miles from Helston on the edge of the beautiful Lizard Peninsula which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB]. The mine & museum is located on Porkellis Lane in Lower Trenear [Trenere Wolas] set below a granite escarpment in eight acres of waterside country style gardens in a beautiful wooded glen on the River Cober valley floor.

The fast flowing Cober River rises near Four Maidens & the mile-and-a-half-long 13th century aqueduct or mill race is fed by the river from the adjoining Porkellis Moor a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI] due to its biodiversity. The rich flora and fauna naturally extends through the woodlands surrounding the Poldark grounds which are teeming with wildlife.

The workings lie below several acres of hillside fields that form private farmland in the village. The grounds are known today as the Trenere Wolas Gardyn being the name of the location in the 1400s and before. The spelling of Gardyn is taken from middle English which was in use from circa 1100 to 1500. Wolas means lower in Cornish.

The tiny Poldark Demesne is about 230 feet above sea level in a rural farming community about 4 miles uphill from the ancient port of Gweek from where much tin was exported, the port dates to 450 BC when tin was traded with the Phoenicians.

In Medieval times Gweek was a busy river port. Tin and copper ore from the mines in Wendron were exported, charcoal for smelting tin, coal and timber was imported. Trade dwindled due to the decline of tin and copper mining and the port of Gweek on the Helford River became silted up and gradually fell into disuse.

Porthleven is another harbour less than 6 miles from Trenear, it sits near Mounts Bay on the English Channel to the south, close to the point where the waters from our river reaches the Loe Pool and the sea at Loe Bar. The mine is around 8 miles from the Atlantic Coast to the West at Hayle.

Wheal Roots, Hwel Roots or Huel Roots, is a tin mine now known as The Poldark Mine and has a special place in the story of Cornish tin mining. An ancient location that is the veritable cradle of tinning in Cornwall, the mine is also a Regionally Important Geological & Geomorphological Site [RIGS] No K31 [there are only 56 such designations in the entire United Kingdom]. The old mine workings represent the roots of a lode. This cannot be seen anywhere else. The main stope shaft has most recently been identified as the location of a Carbona Mass and its upper level was once worked as a Goffen Shaft in ancient times - again most unusual.

The mine, Scheduled Ancient Monument & grounds are part of the UNESCO Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Inscription - Area 4.

A Bronze-Age Scheduled Ancient Monument - the unique Trenear Mortar Outcrop - sits in our riverside grounds where alluvial tin ore was processed by ancient Britons circa 3,500 to 4,000 years ago. There is no other in the UK - We know this as our Tin Henge and this place is the virtual cradle of tin dressing in Cornwall.

The Trenear Mortar Outcrop is formed from a living granite outcrop some 290 million years old. The granite here is the oldest in Cornwall being some 20 million years earlier than the remainder and is part of the Carnmenellis Pluton. This modest Monument Stone serves to confirm the great antiquity and global importance of the location which is why we call this place TIN HENGE.

Tin from this area of Cornwall was used in antiquity for objects such as the circa 3,600 year old Nebra Sky Disk discovered in Germany in 1999 thanks to new dating technology. Ancient ingots of tin recovered from ships wrecked in Israel thousands of years ago are now known to be from Cornwall & Devon due to recent studies by Heidelberg University.

The Cornish National Heritage Collection was started by the late Peter Brigham Young in 1963 and first opened its doors to the public on June 1st 1971. It was one of the very first Industrial Heritage Museums and today is the interpretation centre for the Wendron Mining District which once had over 640 mines & tin streaming operations with some 9,000 people and workers at its peak.

The area formerly produced great quantities of tin, copper, small amounts of China clay and other minerals. Much of the Wendron tin was processed here at the Tin Stamps & Tin Dressing Floors which were operated by water wheels from the 13th century until the mid 1870s. There was also a blowing house here, a grist or corn mill and some large fish ponds. At one time there were no less than four water wheels and between 55 and 24 heads of tin stamps.

Copper ore was handled here from Wendron Consols Mine which from 1854 was under the same ownership of Mr Frederick Hill and his group of Adventurers. Wendron Consols Mine together with New Wendron Consols Mine are linked underground through Wheal Roots Mine. The intricate maze of 13th century river diversions & man made water courses can still be seen in the grounds and village. One of the original water wheel pits is extant but contains a more modern 1904 wheel from Treamble Iron Ore & Fullers Earth Mine at a coastal location North of Perranporth, this 1904 wheel was made at Redruth Foundry.

Visitors travel from all corners of the globe to trace the footsteps of their Wendron ancestors and to explore the labyrinth of four levels, caverns, adits, stopes, passageways and shafts that make up the workings of this 18th century mine. The distinctive blue coloured veins of tin bearing ore are up to two foot in width can be seen in the mine but nowhere else in Cornwall. Great numbers of people have ventured underground since the mine was first opened to the public in 1974.

The mine has been seen by many millions of people all over the world due to the BBC television Poldark Drama that was filmed on location here twice during the 1970s. The current BBC Television series of Poldark uses underground sequences filmed on location here during 2014 and some of our mine artefacts including our two bells were used as props. Sadly the more recent filming was not exclusively in Cornwall with many locations in a variety of places from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Bristol and Wales. However this mine remains the only real Cornish Mine where underground filming was done on location for all Poldark productions.

Other BBC Television productions have been filmed here, such as Penmarric in 1977, BBC Television Childrens programmes, Harry & Marjorie Corbett came with Sooty, Sweep & Sue in 1976, BBC TVs FLOG IT, and sequences in a number of educational documentaries such as with Adam Hart-Davies. BBC TV broadcast a Walks of Life programme in 2019 with presenter JB Gill. It features the mine and has been on air several times since spring 2019 and in early 2020 and can be viewed on iplayer sometimes. ITV, Thames Television & several other television companies have filmed here a number of times over the years, most recently during the Covid closure in 2021 celebrity chef John Terode filmed on location here.

Winston Mawdsley Graham OBE, the author of the Poldark series of book renamed Wheal Roots Mine in 1975 and it became known thereafter as The Poldark Mine. He became good friends with the founder of the museum and discoverer of the mine, the late Peter Young. Several of Mr Grahams books launches were held here, most notably his penultimate work Bella Poldark [No 12] in 2002, he sadly passed away in July 2003 at the age of 94. His last book launch was celebrated by BBC Television and BBC Radio Cornwall in a special televised event in the gardens. Hundreds of people attended and had books signed by the late Mr Graham. Photographs of this occasion may be seen in the museum. Mr Graham wrote many other books including his biography which was published in 2003.

WALKS OF LIFE.... BBC television cameras returned again in 2018 and in March & April 2019 former pop star J B Gill presented the BBC Television Walks of Life documentary from the mine and was guided through the workings by our good friend Kingsley Rickard vice Chairman of the Trevithick Society.

Kingsley Rickard is a Cornishman and a much respected historian and has made several presentations for us. The Trevithick Society included a visit to the workings as part of their 2019 AGM weekend and Kingsley expertly led the tour for our guests. He often pops in to see us, and you may be fortunate enough to meet & have a chat with him in the mine or the grounds.



WHEAL ROOTS TIN MINE WORKINGS in modern times.

THE MINE WORKINGS & A MODERN EDUCATIONAL MINING ROLE

Wheal Roots is a true subterranean & very old Cornish Tin mine of National importance. There are passages on four levels that may be explored, there is a further unexplored & flooded level deeper below. There are a number of capped access shafts and about 3 miles of explored passageways. The mine has three stope shafts where tin bearing ore was removed and these distinctive blue tinted veins are seen on the guided tours. The mine was worked by vertical shafts with ladders some of which are pointed out during the tour, others are not accessible or are capped. Ladderway Shaft is fitted with a staircase which is used to access 3 LEVEL of the mine.

There are a number of unique features such as the Shammeling Shaft and distinctive veins of blue peach or ore-bearing tourmaline. Recently one of the professors from the Camborne School of Mines discovered that the main stope shaft is the location of a relatively rare Carbona Mass. Parts of the mine were worked in mediaeval times but the areas shown to visitors today date from the 1700s.

ATMOSPHERIC UNDERGROUND MINE TOURS

Sir Neil Cossons OBE FSA FMA, the former chairman of English Heritage and current President of the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), is regarded as the leading authority on industrial heritage in Britain. He declared that Poldark Mine was One of the two most atmospheric mine tours in Europe. The other mine being the vast 14th century former Royal Salt Mine near Krakow in Poland which has been open as a state museum for many years.

Wheal Roots at Poldark Tin Mine has been open to the public for almost fifty years, an incredible record that no other UK mine can equal. Literally millions of visitors have been here during those years and many millions more have seen the mine in a variety of BBC television programmes and documentaries.

The mine has a George V Royal Mail postbox underground which has been there for over 40 years and postcards mailed in the mine get stamped with a special postmark.

THE BBC POLDARK DRAMA CONNECTION

Most recently and twice during the 1970s the mine has been the only real location for the underground sequences in the three BBC Television series of Poldark! People are continuing to come here from all over the world to have a peek at this remarkable and historic mine that is described as The Jewel in the Crown of the World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO] World Heritage Team.

CAMBORNE SCHOOL OF MINES at POLDARK TIN MINE - Although Wheal Roots ceased mining over 200 years ago it continues to have a vital and active role in training mining students from all over the world for multidisciplinary mining qualifications. Cornwall continues to have a significant effect on mining throughout the world. We at the mine are pleased to be a field study location for CSM which is part of Exeter University which furthers our educational aims and activities.

The world renowned Camborne School of Mines founded in 1888 is part of Exeter University and Wheal Roots Tin Mine Workings at Poldark Mine are used by the University as a field study location for their students & postgraduates who are based at their Penryn Campus near Falmouth just 8 miles away from us.

Practical surveying using both state of the art Global Positioning System [GPS] and traditional mechanical theodolites is taught. Applied geology, training & induction courses, together with other underground training work is carried out by postgraduates and students in the mine, usually but not exclusively outside public opening times. You may note the modern survey tags on the passageway walls and roofs throughout the workings. There are several GPS permanent markers on the surface here at Poldark Mine - see if you can spot them. The equipment used is very expensive and students get several days practical training here combined with study & lectures at the university.

Since the mine workings were first opened to the public over 45 years ago many CSM students have worked here as volunteers and mine guides. This link has continued down the years with several former students who regularly assist and support in a variety of ways. For a number of years, our regular monthly inspections are carried out by Henderson Mines Research whose principal qualified from the CSM many years ago and who has a long association with the mine since the very early days as his father worked here with our founder.

An example of this bond can be downloaded from elsewhere on this web site as the late Dr N. G. LeBOUTILLIER BSc PhD MCSM EurGeol CGeol FGS produced a definitive geological survey of the mine for his degree in 2004. He loved this place and is sadly missed, his survey is used by todays mining students. The mine workings were filled with mud and rubble and much of this was cleared by volunteers many of whom were students at Camborne School of Mines [CSM]. More recently a number of modern fire doors, windows and other items including our ticket office windows, were reclaimed from the former Camborne School of Mine premises which closed a few years ago when the campus moved to Penryn.

From the Bronze Age to Today.....

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Address: Poldark Mine, Trenear, Wendron, Helston, Cornwall TR13 0ES UK      Call: 01326 573 173

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