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China Clay Industrial Heritage

Wheal Martyn China Clay Heritage Centre

Cornwall of Mine

The perfect complement to a museum trip, Cornwall of Mine offers the best way to explore Southern Cornwall's industrial heritage at first hand: a conducted tour in your own car or a guided walk using roads and visiting sites not open to the general public.

A series of day, half-day and short tours reveal the scale and complexity of the China Clay industry, past and present, the inheritance of the Industrial Revolution in the Luxulyan Valley and Charlestown's transformation from obscure fishing village to thriving port through one man's vision.

The China Clay tours take you deep into the surreal, lunar landscape of tips, pits and lagoons around St Austell. The half-day tour looks at the large scale processing of the clay by modern washing and refining methods: the one-day tour adds the historical perspective of 19th century processes used in the clay, tin and brickmaking industries.

Tours use private vantage-points to see the full range of pit operations, from initial hosing through refining including centrifuges to filter-pressing and drying. In addition, one-day tourists visit a preserved Cornish beam-engine and steam winder and a traditional pan-kiln.

In the shadow of Treffry's famous viaduct, those on the Luxulyan tour go back over 100 years in time to the great engineering feats which changed the course of a river, built railways and quarried stone.

Meanwhile, on the coast, a two-hour guided walk explores Charles Rashleigh's creation, Charlestown - still looking the part of an 18th century port and studded with evidence of a rich commercial past: clay dries, fish cellars, tin smelting cooperages, lime kilns and tall ships. This is the Cornwall of enterprise, of vision and innovation - in short, of Mine.


Tour Times

Tuesday Mornings, 10am: White Gold from Mid-Cornwall. Half-Day, Modern Clay Industry.

Tuesday Evenings, 7pm from the Heritage Centre: The Secrets of Charlestown. No booking required for this walk.

Wednesday Mornings, 10am: The Pyramids of Cornwall. Full Day, Old and New China Clay Industry.


Tour numbers are limited - please check availability of all tours.

Major credit cards accepted.

Stout footwear recommended.


For further information, call:

St Austell Tourist Information Centre. 01726 879500

For bookings, call: Wheal Martyn China Clay Heritage Centre.

01726 850362

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