Explore the Mineral Tramways network of cycle trails from Elm Farm
There is a wide variety of cycle trails within easy reach of Elm Farm.
The trails link in with existing routes such as the Coast to Coast and the Great Flat Lode Cycle Trails and being mainly traffic-free, offer improved and safer access to schools, places of work, local facilities, historic settlements and visitor attractions.
The Coast to Coast Cycle Trail is the most popular and it links the historic mining harbours of Portreath on the north coast and Devoran on the south coast following the line of two early horse-drawn tramroads, the Portreath Tramroad and the Redruth & Chacewater Railway. A more strenuous 2 mile/3 km loop via Wheal Busy and Hawke’s Engine House is steeper and rougher than the rest of the trail, but worth the effort. Interpretive boards on route highlight the area’s 19th century mining history.
Some sites of interest to lookout for
1 Arsenic works at Poldice
A “moon landscape” area with many walled shafts and an arsenic calciner dating from the mid 19th century. The chambers collected and condensed the arsenic fumes, and the crystals of arsenic were then gathered, bagged and sold to the Americas as an insecticide to control the cotton boll weevil, to New Zealand as an ingredient for sheep dip, and to Scandinavia to clarify glass.
2 Carn Brea
Prominent granite hill with important archaeological remains from Neolithic to medieval times and great views over the former mining area. The summit (250 metres, 740 ft) is crowned by the imposing De Dunstanville Memorial (30 metres 98ft tall), built in1836 in memory of the district’s leading mine owner, Sir Francis Basset of Tehidy (1757-1835), and Carn Brea Castle (his former hunting lodge, now a restaurant). In the 19th century the writer George Henwood spotted over 100 engine houses and 130 vessels at sea from here.
3 Carn Marth (“Carn of Horses”), near Lanner
Area of great landscape value offering spectacular coast to coast views from its highest point (235 metres, 757 ft). Ancient barrows have been excavated and the “Swiss cheese” effect on the rock face was created by pneumatic drills when tested by the famous engineering company Holman Bros. Pennance quarry was opened in the 1880s to provide granite for Redruth’s late-Victorian buildings. It has been landscaped to create an open air amphitheatre by the Carn Marth Trust. Tel 01209 820463 or visit the Carn Marth website (opens in a new window)
4 Cook’s Kitchen Mine
A very old mine, probably dating back to the 17th century and described in 1796 as “one of the most remarkable mines for copper perhaps in the world”, although from the 1850s it used four steam engines and four water-wheels to produce mainly tin. It was also one of the deepest mines. The name is said to derive from a miner named Cook who described the lode he discovered as being as wide as his kitchen.
5 Dolcoath Mine
Cornwall’s greatest and longest-lived mine, at the forefront of technical developments, and of copper production for much of the 18th century, with a workforce of over 1,300 in the 19th century. It housed one of the earliest Newcomen engines by 1758 and, working at 917 metres (3,030 feet), was the deepest metal mine in Britain. It finally closed in 1921.
6 Hawke’s Shaft, Killifreth Mine
Killifreth worked at various times, for tin and copper, between 1826 and 1928. The engine house here has the tallest surviving stack in Cornwall. It was originally built in 1891 for an 80 inch engine, but was doubled in height in 1913 to create sufficient draught to operate the boilers for a new 85 inch engine. The shaft was linked to the County Adit, a deep drainage outlet constructed from 1748 which became 31 miles long and served over 60 mines.
7 Marriot’s Shaft, South Wheal Frances, Basset Mines Ltd
A magnificent group of cathedral-like structures, awesome in terms of both their scale and impact. The remains include engine houses for pumping, winding, compressor and crusher engines and the miners’ ‘dry’ (changing house). Constructed in 1899, the pumping engine house contained an inverted vertical beam engine (unique to Cornwall) with compound 40 inch and 80 inch cylinders. This shaft and Pascoe’s shaft (which was near Treskillard) worked until the closure of Basset Mines Ltd 1918.
8 Portreath Harbour
Developed as a mining port from 1760 when most of Cornwall’s copper ore production was sent to Swansea for smelting. Much of the historic harbour remains – its 1800 and 1846 granite basins, jetties, Pilot’s Lookout and cast iron capstans.
9 Tehidy Country Park
A 250 acre recreational country park, once part of the estate owned by the wealthy Bassett mining family who held the estate from around 1150. The Bassets resided here until 1916 but the grand house was largely destroyed by fire when it became the Cornwall Sanatorium for the treatment of Tuberculosis. In 1983 the grounds were purchased by Cornwall County Council and developed as a Country Park to provide over three miles of woodland trails, bridleways and a range of outdoor amenities, events and training. There are four access points to join the trail including North Cliff Car Park, and South Drive Car Park. 0300 1234 222 (See Tehidy Country Park).
10 Tuckingmill Valley Park
Valley shaped by centuries of industrial activity including tin and copper mining, and now a thriving habitat for wildlife, pondlife and some rare plants. The chimney stack, scrubber building and collapsed flues on the small island in the centre of the Red River were associated with an arsenic treatment works built around 1905.
11 West Basset Stamps
One of the finest surviving 19th century dressing floors where ore was broken down by stamps (ore crushers), reduced to the consistency of a fine sand, treated on Frue vanners and buddles to concentrate the heavy tin particles from the waste, and finally calcined to remove the traces of arsenic and other impurities prior to smelting. The stamps engine (1875) was made by the Tuckingmill Foundry. The remains show three different phases – settling and buddling (1875), an additional buddle floor (1892) and the installation of Frue vanners (1906). By the time it closed in 1918, around 11,500 tons of refined tin ore had been produced here by Basset Mines Ltd.
12 Wheal Basset
One of the most important mines of the Great Flat Lode, producing over 128,000 tons of copper ore from 1832-80. Later it also became a successful tin producer from the Flat Lode. Unusually, the stamps engine house contained two separate beam engines, side by side. It stands above a prominent Frue vanner house (1908) and Brunton calciner (1897). In 1896 it amalgamated with its neighbour, South Wheal Frances, to form Basset Mines Ltd.
13 Cornish Mines and Engines, Heartlands, Pool
A National Trust site
Two impressive Cornish Beam Engines and the story of steam in Cornish mining, at the Industrial Heritage Discovery Centre. 01209 315027
14 The Cornwall Centre, Redruth
Over 30,000 publications, 150,000 photographs, 50 Cornish newspaper files covering all aspects of Cornish history, geography, industry and art – and more. 01209 216760 (see Cornwall Centre)
15 Gwennap Pit
An open air amphitheatre in which John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, preached 18 times between 1762 and 1789. Services still held. 01209 820013 or visit the Cornwall Guide website
16 King Edward Mine Museum, near Troon
Oldest complete mine in Cornwall and formerly the training mine for the world famous Camborne School of Mines. Houses working machinery in a restored tin processing plant, guided tours and displays about the Mineral Tramways, mining and milling techniques, social history of mining and the Camborne School of Mines. 01209 614681 or visit the King Edward Mine website. From the A30 take the Camborne / Pool A3047 turn and follow the brown signs. (Located on the Great Flat Lode Trail).
17 Tolgus Tin, Cornish Goldsmiths, New Portreath Road, near Portreath
Cornish Gold site signed from the A30 near Redruth
One of two remaining tin streaming works in Cornwall containing a range of machinery used to extract residue tin particles from the river that runs through what is now “Treasure Park” at Cornish Goldsmiths. 01209 218198
When you are ready to set off you can ask advice and directions to the routes most suitable for you.
Please find below a map of the network that you can download and print or view on a phone or tablet. Also, see links to further information on some of the more popular cycle routes to take from Elm Farm.
Whether you have your own bikes or you are hiring from us you can park for free at Elm Farm.
Visitors can also use our facilities free of charge.
We do ask that anyone solely using us for free WC & parking put something in the charity boxes situated in the Bike Barn.