The St Just Mining District during the 19th century was one of the major producers of Copper and Tin in Cornwall. It was in this area that the great mines of Botallack and Levant had underground workings that ventured far out under the sea, some for upto a mile.
The underground mineral deposits are generally very narrow steeply dipping lodes concentrated at rough right angles to the coastline. However further inland the richness decreases, at the seaward side the mineral is richer. As a result the mines are predominantly along the rugged Granite cliffs of this part of the North Coast.
This was also the home to Geevor Mine that closed during 1990, it is now a very impressive museum. The Levant Mine Beam Engine built in 1840 still survives in its original house. This along with miles of rugged cliffs and many engine houses makes this one of my favorite parts of the Cornish Coastline.
So, the images on this page are arranged as if one is walking from St Just to Pendeen lighthouse along the cliffs. A fantastic day out but the weather can be unpredictable.
Nancherrow Valley is certainly an amazing place. A hidden place full of mining remains and stunning views. It is a great place to sit and appreciate ones own life.
The works were built to extract arsenic from the tin ore produced at the mine, as arsenic left the ore almost unsaleable. The ore was heated to high temperatures in the calciner, and the fumes which were given off were drawn through long stone tunnels called labyrinths, on whose walls the arsenic would condense out.
The Cargodna Shaft halfway down the cliff face was the site of a mining disaster on 10th January 1893. Miners working in this section on the 65 fathom level accidentally breached the flooded workings of a neighbouring mine called Wheal Drea. The sound of the water flooding into the workings was described by one miner as “louder than ten thousand thunders”. Nineteen men and one boy were drowned, but their bodies were never recovered, may they rest in peace.
The Stamps house dates from 1870 and contained a 28″ multi functional engine which drove a battery of stamps (used for crushing the ore). It also hoisted from two shafts, Wheal Edward incline shaft and Cargodna skip shaft.
And the walk along the cliffs comes to an end, this page. I did this walk with Tracy in the summer of 2017. But it took us all day and a pint was needed afterwards, it is a spectacular walk, it was an amazing day.
The backing music on this page is “St Just” sung by Cornish Comedian and ex-miner Jethro, it is published here with his authority. Because he once worked underground as a “Timber Man” in Levant Mine I thought this was very fitting.