The Cornish coast has much more to be appreciated than is possible to imagine. Every route you take reveals a brand new footpath and exploring those fascinating sites is one of my favourite things in life. I can’t get enough of Cornwall.
Every year, I visit a different area of this beautiful part of Britain. Botallack is one of these sites. You may now recognise it from your telly because it has been one of the filming locations for the BBC drama Poldark.
But besides its unforgettable views, this was also one of the centres of the Cornish mining industry in the 17th century. A dark, difficult but very proud period of Cornish history.
Located in the West Cornwall between St. Just in Penwith and the village of Pendeen, Botallack was declared in 2006 part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
These heritage sites are composed by 10 landscape areas from the west Cornwall to west Devon.
Walking is the best way to know more about this important site in the history of Cornwall. The trail that starts and finishes at the Botallack Count House is the right option.
Built between 1861 and 1862, the residence used to be where the miners gathered together and also collected their payments. Nowadays, it keeps the archive of the brave and harsh history of mining in the region.
Early activities in the area were dated from 1500 but there is evidence of the mining industry there in the Roman area.
The St Just Mining District
The views from its historical industrial site can be stunning but there are some samples of how terrible was the work condition in the area as well. Over 500 people among women, children, and men risked their lives day by day in the local mines.
It can be spotted visiting the remains of the Crowns Engine Houses clinging to the local cliffs of Botollack mines. The lower of the two engine houses (above in the picture) was constructed in 1835 to pump water from the mine.
The higher one was built in 1862 to provide winding power for the Boscawen Diagonal Shaft, running out under the sea.
The mining industry was considered a dangerous work that was also a really important activity for the industrial revolution in Britain.
Botallack produced 14,500 tonnes of tin, 20,000 tonnes of copper ore and 1,500 tonnes of refined arsenic. It was a submarine mine, and its shafts reach 570m deep and extend nearly half a mile out to sea. – National Trust
The fairly easy walking until this iconic construction can reveal stunning views. It’s a peaceful site nowadays. But these remarkable pieces of engineering certainly weren’t the safest or most enjoyable workplace some centuries ago.
The peak of the mining industry in Cornwall fulfilled those Cornish cliffs with noisy crushing machinery. The work there was certainly hard and dangerous. But hundreds of families depended on this ancient industry for many years.
This BBC drama produces has been filming in several locations in Cornwall since 2015, and Botallack one of those famous Cornish landmarks featured in the show.
Botallack is conserved by National Trust and there are over 100 engine houses in St. Just during the 19th century and even earlier.
The mines were closed officially in 1895 when the prices of copper and tin started falling rapidly.
Photos | Rob Dann
Source | TheNational Trust