bunn: (Logres)
I thought I'd run out of the most conveniently located Random Mines of the Day near my house, but I'd managed to completely miss Wheal Sheba, near Luckett.



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bunn: (Logres)
This mine is a Devon one rather than a Cornish one, just for a change.  I stumbled on it this evening, walking along the banks of the River Walkham.

I don't have much historical detail on this mine, although I know that it may be known as Walkham Consols, or Walkham and Poldice Mine, or Poldice Mine,  or maybe Wheal Walkham (I'm not sure where the divisions lie, or if these are all names for the same mine).   The main adit is supposed to be blocked up, but I didn't venture into the mouth of this one sufficiently to find out if this IS the main adit, or one of the side ones that the intrepid mine exploring types use.   You can read one of their hair-raising writeups and see photos of the inside here.


What it looks like is a terrifying hole into the depths of the earth, from which eldrich Things might at any moment issue, very little obstructed by the two strands of barbed wire bravely standing between the daylight world and the Hellmouth.
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As an antidote, here is a photo of sunshine on the River Walkham, taken just a little way down the river.
bunn: (Logres)
Actually, this isn't an entirely random mine because I actually went looking for this one.   I had hoped that I might find some bluebells in the woods too, but it turned out that something rather terrible had happened to quite a bit of the wood...
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bunn: (Logres)

This Random Mine is another fairly small one, and there seems to be some confusion about it.Read more... )
bunn: (Logres)
Sitting here waiting for a near-endless upload to finish uploading, so let us have a Random Mine.


I went past this mine this morning.  You may have to click to embiggen to see that there are actually two chimneys there - the naked one on the right is clear, but I am fairly sure that the thing on the left that looks like a tall dark tree is also in fact a chimney, thoroughly shrouded in ivy.   There's an engine house in there somewhere among the trees as well, although I couldn't see it so it may well be impersonating an ivy-covered bush.
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bunn: (Logres)
Old Gunnislake is an unusually elderly mine, being already busily producing copper at the end of the eighteenth century.  The Heritage Gateway declines to guess when it was first worked, but Aditnow boldly guesses at the sixteenth century.   That means, it's from before the days when someone thought 'Hey, we should make some sort of record of where all these tunnels go'.  Which is why buying a house in Gunnislake is just a little like russian roulette, because Old Gunnislake mine is now underneath a bunch of houses.   In 1992, they lost a couple of electricity poles down a hole that opened in someone's back garden.  At least it *was* in the garden.  It turned out that that shaft had supposedly been capped with concrete, but 'no details remained' of exactly *how* it was capped.

There are a number of documented shafts and lodes plus Gribble's Shaft, which is apparently 'unlocated'.  I hope it's not under this rather nice weathercock.

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bunn: (Logres)
I almost fell into this mine today as I went blundering past it on a little-used path, so I thought I would resurrect my Random Mine of the Day.

DSC07019.jpg

This is a particularly mysterious Random Mine, because I can't find it in the Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record.
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bunn: (Logres)
I walked up through the quarry on the hill this morning.  I like to go that way on Sundays, as it's quiet then with no Monster Trucks moving and no huge bangs.  The huge bangs do shake the whole hillside when they happen, including our house, but I imagine they must be much scarier up close, with the warning sirens wailing.

It was a wild windy morning, the bare trees on the hill all bending with a tremendous rushing sound in the wind coming over from Dartmoor.  The road runs below the hilltop, so it is sheltered, but the trees up on the top were roaring.

I went up on the road that runs through the quarry, and could hear a strange distant music.  The whole place was shut up, with nobody about at all. Eventually I realised that the music must be the wind blowing through the metal steps and rails and bars that are arranged around the vast funnels and tubes and pipes that the quarry uses to process its sands and gravels.

The sound was like something between tubular bells, distant church bells on a windy day, and someone blowing a tune on a series of partially-filled bottles.  It was surprisingly beautiful.

I've heard mines singing before, when the wind races across the top of a chimney on a hillside, it can have a sort of deep voice.  But never a whole organs-worth of accidental instruments all singing together. 
bunn: (dog knotwork)
Today, I have been mostly staring blankly into space in a fog of cold-induced blurgyness.  I did not go to Holmbush mine, because the tracks around there get awfully muddy when it rains this much, and also so as to walk dogs somewhere where I could basically tip them out into a fenced area in order to not have to engage brain or travel at more than half a mile an hour.

But if I'd walked a bit further around the hill, I would have seen this:


The Cornwall Heritage Environment Record doesn't have much on Holmbush mine, but fortunately because the enginehouse is a listed building since it is ' one of very few 19th century engine houses to have retained a considerable part of its original roof structure into the 21st century', Historic England has lots about it.
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bunn: (Logres)
I photographed Drakewalls mine before, but I'm revisiting it, because I walked past this end of it the other day, and thought I would take a photo of the place where the old reservoir was before they finish building on it, partly because I liked the Giant Twirl of Orange Pipe.   I can't find any details about the reservoir apart from the name, but I do know that in 1822 when the mine was sold, it was listed as having 'two excellent water engines of 44 and 30 foot diameter'.  So I'm guessing the ex-reservoir was to hold water for those.
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bunn: (Logres)
What, you thought I'd run out of mines?  Hahaha. no.
South Bedford mine was a relatively unsuccessful coppermine on the Devon side of the River Tamar,  the little sister of North Bedford Mines, aka Devon Great Consols, just up the river.  The Heritage Gateway is unsure whether this chimney was for arsenic refining, or whether it was connected to a steam engine.   The mine was already disused by 1884.   It is located right on the river, and apparently there are signs of shutes that carried ore down to barges so it could be removed for refining, although I don't remember seeing those.   There's also a note that 'during the War' test pits were dug to investigate the possibility of finding wolfram, but these were unsuccessful.  The HER does not clarify which War they mean, but the source is from the 1950s, so I'm guessing WWII.
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bunn: (Logres)
New Great Consols mine in Luckett has come and gone, come and gone.  Mineworks in this valley probably started out as surface tin panning along the stream at the bottom of the valley in the late Middle Ages, it was first recorded as Wheal Martha in 1836, and it closed for the last time in 1946.  It was a mine that produced copper, silver, tin and a small amount of gold, as well as, yes, arsenic.

Here's a chimney, in the process of blending in to the background:
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bunn: (dog knotwork)
This really is a very random mine of the day as I snapped it very quickly with my phone as I walked past this evening and I'm afraid it came out a little fuzzy.  It is kind of interesting though...
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bunn: (Logres)
This is the one mine that you can spot from miles around.  Whereever you go, there's Kit Hill with its distinctive chimney right on the top.
I didn't bother photographing the chimney today, although I was up there this morning. It was a bit cloudy, and I knew I had so many  photos of it.
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bunn: (Logres)
Overgrown mines are really hard to photograph. It's strange: you can see the outlines of quite a lot of the buildings quite clearly under the ivy in real life, but somehow in a photo all you get is a blob even if it's all in focus.  According to the Heritage Gateway, there's a chimney for an arsenic calcining plant in here somewhere, but I have yet to spot it.  It's probably hiding, disguised as a tree.



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bunn: (dog knotwork)
I have a bit of a cold, and Rosie Roo had rather too much of dogs last weekend, and so I have been taking it easy, and trying to walk Rosie in quiet spots where she will not encounter dogs who might wind her up.  So we have not been to any mines for a bit.

However, I did go past this, so I thought I'd show you one of the chief beneficiaries of all the mining, the Duke of Bedford.  



I'm not sure if you can read it, but at the bottom, it says 'Erected by Public Subscription'.   Pp and I wondered about the mechanism by which a whole bunch of relatively poor miners and farmers came together and decided that the very best use for their hard-earned cash was to put it together to be used to erect a statue of an almost unimaginably wealthy and powerful man.   The nineteenth century was a strange place.
bunn: (dog knotwork)


Courtesy of the fact that I forgot to buy the chews that Rosie likes, and so had to pop to the shop next door. The engine house was once home to a pumping engine, and the shaft behind it is labelled rather engagingly : 'Matthew's Mine'. It was mostly a tin and copper mine, but also offered some wolfram, molybdenum, lead, silver, and of course the eternal arsenic.
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bunn: (Logres)
Since I was posting about arsenic yesterday, I thought I'd continue the theme with Greenhill Arsenic Works, the stack of which is known locally as Flashman's Column (fnar fnar). (The Fnar is compulsory, of course.)


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bunn: (Logres)
I was hanging about Kit Hill South Mine this morning, and took a couple of snaps,  but I've already done that one,

So instead I decided to randomly select this, as a change from all those 19th century mines.  This was probably once a Roman furnace, for smelting iron ore. It's just outside a large first-century-AD Roman fort, which was discovered a few years ago by some very surprised archaeologists who were looking for evidence of medieval silver mining.  

The big question here is whether the Romans knew there was a rich silver lode just down the hill or not.
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So this is probably a military furnace, created by troops commanded by Vespasian during his campaign in the South West of Britain back when he was a surprisingly -young Legate in his 30s.   About 25 years later, he would become Emperor.  
bunn: (dog knotwork)
This is on the North side of Kit Hill and rather tucked away; a steep-sided valley full of low mossy green oak and willow trees, clinging close to the steep hill-slopes for protection.  The valley is filled with shallow water and dappled green light.


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