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The Mineral Tramways

The rich mining area of Cornwall's central mining district benefits from a 37.5 mile (60km) network of multi activity trails. Many of the trails closely follow the tramway and railway routes.  These were once used to transport ore and vital supplies to and from the many tin and copper mines in the area to ports such as Devoran and Portreath.

Description of the trails

There are 6 trails which also link in with other trails such as the Engine House Trail. The trails are:

  • Tehidy Trail - this is a 2.5 mile (4km) trail with some steep sections but otherwise relatively flat.
  • Portreath Branchline Trail - this is a 5.5 mile (8.8km) trail which includes some sections of highway.  There is one main road crossing which is unsuitable for horses. This trail links in with the Coast to Coast Trail, the Tehidy Trail and the Great Flat Lode Trail.
  • Tresavean Trail - this is a 1.1 mile (1.8km) trail which is generally level and off-road.  
  • Great Flat Lode Trail - this is a 7.5 mile (12km) trail.  This circular route has some steep sections but is mostly off-road.  It takes you through a mixture of farmland, heathland and old mine sites.
  • Coast to Coast Trail - this is a 11 mile (17.5 kms) trail which is generally level and mostly off-road.  This trail links in with the Wheal Busy Loop and the Redruth and Chacewater Railway Trail.  These in turn link in with the rest of the network of trails.
  • Redruth and Chacewater Railway Trail - this is a 7.7 mile (12.4km) trail which is based for the most part on the route of the original Redruth and Chacewater Railway. It is mostly level and off road, and occasionally crosses the public highway. This trail links in with the Great Flat Lode Trail, the Tresavean Trail and the Coast to Coast Trail.

Download the Mining Trails guide to find out more about each of the trails including where to park and nearby points of interest.

You can also find out about the heritage and scenic sites on or near the trails.

Who can use the trails?

The majority of the trails are traffic free and flat.  They are suitable for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.  They are also wheelchair and buggy friendly.

Some of the trails have steep sections which are ideal for mountain-bikers and more experienced walkers.

How to get to the trails

There are a number of ways that you can get to the mining trails:

Rail – you can catch the train to Camborne train station and Redruth train station which are on the main line.  Some of the trails are not close to the train stations so you may wish to catch a bus or a taxi from the station to the nearest village.  

Bus - buses run to many of the nearby towns and villages.  You can find information about timetables and tickets on the Traveline South West website.  

Car - view the Mining Trails guide to find out how to get to each of the trails by car.  There are a number of car parks located along the trails. View the Mining Trails guide to see where these are located or view the map below.


Cost: Free

Bike hire: is available at Bissoe, Redruth and Portreath. 

Refreshments: There are a number of pubs and cafes in the nearby towns and villages with many offering local produce.

Activities along the trails

Tin and Fishes Play Script

The Tin and Fishes is an original piece of theatre written by St Buryan-based writer Pauline Sheppard.  It premiered at Geevor Tin Mine on 20 July 2006. It tells the story of changes in the lives of people in the former mining town of St Just from 1971

The amateur stage performance rights to the play script are held by Cornwall Council.  There is a web version of the script freely available for educational and community use.  You can download the Tins and Fishes Play script and print it following the instructions below.

  1. Print landscape, starting with all the even page numbers.
  2. Feed the paper through the printer again to print all odd number pages on the reverse, saving paper by printing back to back.
  3. Simply staple the pages together and you will have a book.

Great Flat Lode Trail children's activity pack

Download the Children's Activity Pack.  The trail activity sheets are designed to give you fun things to do as you journey along the trail. Keep your eyes open and score yourself one point for every task done. Good Luck.

Mineral Tramways Heritage Project

The Mineral Tramways Heritage Project is responsible for:

  • the careful conservation of twelve important mining sites in the area
  • boosting the number of heritage sites and shafts that have already been made safe.  Therefore enabling them to be enjoyed by future generations

The Mineral Tramways Heritage Project was a £6 million Regeneration Project, managed by Cornwall Council and funded by:

  • Objective One
  • the South West Regional Development Agency
  • the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Parish and Town Councils in the Project area

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