Poldark Tin Mine, Wendron, Helston, Cornwall
We have visiting many a museum or mine over the past few years, and on a recent trip to Cornwall, my wife and I decided that it might be a good idea to visit a Cornish Tin Mine. The mine we decided to visit was Poldark Tin Mine, this was because this is one of the few mines where you can see the workings of the Tin Mine underground.
As far as I know there are only two tin mines in Cornwall which have an underground exhibit, one being Poldark tin mine and the other being Geevor Tim mine near to Lands End, however we chose Poldark tin mine as they have a pottery exhibition on the site as well.
The mine is situated just off the B3047 in between Redruth and Helston, about 7 miles from Redruth. Its very easy to find, as once your almost there as its signposted from about 1 mile away.
Entrance to the mine site is free and some of the attractions are free such as the museum which is described below. The main attraction of the Poldark Tin Mine is the mine tour itself. This costs £8.00 for adults and £5.00 for the kids, however a family ticket can be bought for just £20.00. (Prices are correct as of July 2008) Prices are no longer listed on their website so might be best to telephone beforehand.
The mine tour is definitely not for the faint of heart, unfit, elderly or those of a larger frame as there are lots of steps going up and down and some of the passageways are very narrow or very short in places.
The tour starts with a brief safety introduction which basically tells you to “wear your hat”. This is a must as I’d only walked 20 metres and banged my head on the roof. The tour then takes you down into the mine to a depth of 100 feet through narrow, low and twisty passages, there is even a section where you go down several flights of stairs and the rock even interferes with your progress down these steps! Fantastic for the intreped.
All through the tour you are accompanied by a guide, our guide was called “Robert” and the bloke was a few pints short of a full barrel, but he cracked jokes and helped people throughout and put others at easy as they descended into the mine. Along the way Robert informed us about the mine, the miners and the workings of the mine. He also pointed out interesting Geological facts and answered any questions along the way. Making the tour extremely informative and amuzing.
The Poldark Tin Mine also has a post box underground where you can post letters and post cards to people and they will be specially stamped “posted underground at Poldark Tin Mine” Apparently its the only place in the UK with a underground Post Box. Not too sure how the Post Office go about emptying it as every postman I have ever met wouldn’t go to the trouble to empty this one!
To sum up most of the Poldark tin mine site is entertaining, they have a museum which houses artefacts and items on the history of Tin mining at Poldark and Cornwall in general. They also have a beam engine which now works on electricity but originally was used to pump water from the mine. As you walk round the Poldark site there are a variety of machinery scattered around the site, these include a couple of steam engines.
There are a few shops on the site which sell bits and bobs, a woodsmith shop and a pottery, which was closed when we visited the first time.
If you’re going to go and see a Tin mine and aren’t afraid to get a bit wet and dirty then Poldark is probably the closest thing to a real mine that I have been in, and I’ve visited Coal and slate mines.
Having recently returned off holiday in Cornwall, we decided to visit the Poldark Tin Mine again, as since we visited last year the mine has changed ownership.
I am glad to say that the new owners have done a good job in expanding the mine and there is now a number of Craft shops such as painting and pottery where you can either watch the experts or have a go yourself for a price.
The museum seemed a bit better since last time and the big water wheel was working this time 🙂
The food at the restaurant was very good and reasonably priced. My wife had the soup of the day and I had a Miners Bap (Bacon, Sausage and Egg) sandwich. We also had a Cornish Pastie between us which has to rate as one of the best we´ve had, this may have been because it was straight from the oven. (For the Best Pasties in Cornwall try Macfaddens of St Just, in the town square at St Just, St Just, Penwith,TR19 7HD OR Philps Pastie shop on 1 East Quay, Hayle or their Shop in Marazion, I really can recommend their cheese pasties.)).
We went on the mine tour once more and our guide again was the delectable Robert. The tour was excellent, more informative than last time, with more Corny jokes! but Robert was as helpful, entertaining and as charming as ever.
We visited Poldark Mine again in early July 2006 and went on the Mines newest form of tour, the Evening Ghost Tour. Billed as “An atmospheric tour through the partially candle lit mine accompanied by a paranormal investigator and a Poldark Mine Guide”
I wanted to go for the atmosphere of a candle lit mine as I am a little sceptical about things such as paranormal activity and ghosts.
We where accompanied from members of the MostGhost team of paranormal investigators who told us stories of ghosts and paranormal activity in the mine, and along with an olde world commentary from Robert. (Remember him from above). Very good information and a great story teller.
The atmosphere in the mine was great, the candle lights in the mine really set the atmosphere and at one point all the lights are turned off and together with no candles in the area we where standing meant it was nearly pitch black. (I am amazed at how much light a candle 70ft away gives out) The guides continue to talk to you about the activity at the mine before the tour continues.
I know a few people on the tour might have seen something, again my scepticism rears its head as I didn’t!
All too soon the tour is over and its back to the surface and daylight, another brilliant tour.
The mine was as last time we visited, with numerous craft shops, attractions and restaurants. There is also now a licensed restaurant which is open in the evenings.
If your in Cornwall and your stuck for something to do then I can heartly recommend the Poldark Tin Mine.