Caradon Mining District
Big skies, boom and bust
This rugged, windswept and mostly treeless Area sits high up in a remote but beautiful corner of Bodmin Moor. Rising dramatically from the surrounding plain, the granite dome of Caradon Hill dominates the Area and is encircled by engine houses, chimney stacks, thousands of tonnes of waste rock from the various mines and quarries, and the trackbed of the Liskeard & Caradon Railway.
This is a story of boom and bust: the rise of copper mining here established new settlements and expanded others, but the explosion of mining activity within this formerly isolated landscape was to last barely 50 years; large-scale mining for copper had essentially ceased by 1890.
The remoteness of the Area means it is a wonderful place to escape the crowds, cycling or on foot, and discover wide open moorland, unique natural habitats, and ancient and industrial landscapes.
To discover more about the wealth of archaeology, ecology and mining heritage of the Caradon Hill area of Bodmin Moor, the Minions Heritage Centre is well worth a visit.
• Walking on open access land along the old Liskeard & Caradon Railway (built to transport copper-ore southwards to the port of Looe), with its mostly level surface, stunning views and striking reminders of its industrial past
• Watching the sunset from the top of Caradon Hill, looking west across the golden moors and Siblyback Lake
• Visiting the Prince of Wales Shaft at Phoenix United Mine, built for the last big pumping engine made in Cornwall (1907). It’s an impressive and distinctive landmark with great views across the countryside. Nearby, the Houseman’s engine house, part of South Phoenix Mine, is now partially restored as the Minions Heritage Centre—well worth a visit
• Exploring the well-preserved cobbled floors of South Caradon Mine at the bottom of the Seaton Valley, where hundreds of women and children used to dress copper ore. The towering bleached white waste dumps either side are a striking testament to the scale of operations beneath this moorland landscape
• Visit Liskeard Museum to discover more about the Area’s heritage