On this part of the Cornish coast we are firmly in mining territory, so much so that the makers of Poldark chose St Agnes Head as one of the locations for the TV series, using it to represent the Nampara Valley, part of the Poldark family’s estate. Find out more about the locations used in my sister blog Britain On Page and Screen. In order to soak up some of the Poldark atmosphere, park in the cark park and walk towards the coastguard’s lookout, then head along the coast in a westerly direction to the evocative Wheal Coates, a former tin mine which closed in 1889 and which now enjoys UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Further east, between Trevaunance Cove and the village of St Agnes, you will find another notable mine called Wheal Friendly, which produced 160 tons of high grade copper ore between 1823 and 1825.
Trevaunance Cove is a short distance to the north of St Agnes. It used to have an important harbour serving the local mines, but the harbour was destroyed by a terrible storm in 1915. The beach here has plenty of sand exposed at low tide, and is popular with surfers. St Agnes was a thriving village back in the mining years, with up to 1,000 people employed in the tin and copper mines, a time recalled in the local museum. Among its historic streets is a stepped terrace of cottages, former ships captains’ houses, with the intriguing name of Stippy Stappy Lane. Winston Graham, author of the Poldark novels, took the lane as inspiration for a lane in his fictional village of St Anne’s. Near the lane is yet another mine called West Wheal Kitty, which closed in 1930.
Map of the area.
|Enginehouse at Wheal Coates. Photo by Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons.|