North from Cape Cornwall.

Start. Cape Cornwall.

Route. Cape Cornwall - St Helen's Chapel - Kenidjack Valley - Kenidjack Castle - Botallack Mine - Kenidjack Valley - Cape Cornwall.

Notes. “Smoke stacks reaching like the arms of god into a beautiful sky of southern blue”, the words of Bruce Springsteen, I think aptly describe today's little outing. A wander through modern history, a stroll amidst the bones of an industry departed. Ancient pathways guided us through the relics left by the demise of the Cornish tin industry, smoke stacks and engine houses, sorting sheds and hidden mine shafts, a poignant reminder of a past way of life. Tin was mined in these parts as early as 2150BC, in it's heyday between 1820-1870 there were 400 active mines across Cornwall, the final mine closed as late as 1998, when the head gear of the South Crofty mine stopped turning and the doors closed for the last time almost 4,000 years of hard rock mining slipped into the mists of history.

Cape Cornwall with its trademark chimney constructed in 1884 as part of the Cape Cornwall tin mine marked our starting point today. After exploring the headland we set out north along the coastal path, immediately we found ourselves wandering through the eerie remains of the south-west Cornwall tin mining industry, smoke stacks reaching into an ice blue sky, redundant engine houses, ghosts of a bygone age. We descended into the steep sided Kenidjack valley passing the mine of the same name before a steep ascent up the other side. Spectors of the past accompanied our every step, we wandered above South then North Zawn, passing Kenidjack Castle an Iron Age hill fort, here we got our first view of the Botallack mine complex. Smoke stacks like slender fingers pointing to the heavens, all around a mild sense of neglect, with names like Weal Cock, Crowns and Cornyorth, Zawn a Bell and Wheal Hazard who could resist a wander around.We spent quite some time exploring, drinking in the atmosphere, dreaming, envisaging what this cliff top scene must have been like in it's heyday.

Our visit over we turned our backs on this small slice of tin mining history, re-tracing our steps to a large track leading to the head of the Kenidjack valley, we crossed the valley to access another path leading through gorse and scrub, this path carried us above the valley to re-join our outward route near the Kenidjack mine complex. A leisurely brew back at the car followed before a final wander around Cape Cornwall.

view route map.


From Cape Cornwall looking to the Brisons around a mile offshore.

Wonderful hazy views over silvery seascapes, on the far horizon Lands End.

Boiling seas below the lookout station at Cape Cornwall.

From Cape Cornwall views to the Kenidjack valley.

St Helen's oratory, early Christian chapel.

Views over the Kenidjack valley.

Say no more.

Abandoned mine workings in the Kenidjack valley.

Cape Cornwall rises above the remains of the Kenidjack tin mine and arsenic works.

Viewing Botallack Head and the engine houses of the Botallack mine.

Looking south over a small slice of the Cornish tin mining industry.

A look across the sad remains of the Botallack mine complex, with the Allens Shaft headgear centre top.

Looking back to Kenidjack Castle.

Classic views to the Botallack tin mine the Crowns section.

Viewing the impressive stone work of one of the many mine chimneys. Like the taper of a candle reaching into a sky of southern blue.

A closer look at the Crowns section and the lower pump house of the Botallack Mine.

Looking back on a very small slice of the Cornish tin mining legacy.

Views over the Kenidjack valley.

The Brisons seen from the parked car.

A final look to Lands End.

back to top

back to list