The village of Pendeen is strung out along the B3306, with Carn Eanes, known locally as “The Carn”, towering over it. The moorlands above the village are dotted with prehistoric sites and relics of the local mining industry. The village is separated from the coastal path by fields with assorted farm animals. Over in the distance the handsome whitewash lighthouse known as Pendeen Watch, built in 1891, still lights up as soon as dusk descends, warning passing ships off this treacherous stretch of coast. The coastal path heading east from the lighthouse leads to the delightfully secluded Portheras Cove. Pendeen was otherwise known as Boskaswal Wartha, and the present-day village is divided into Higher Boscaswell and Lower Boscaswell. Anyone wanting to get a sense of the landscape around here should read ‘A Perfectly Good Man’ by Patrick Gale. My mother and stepfather live in the village, and reading this book the description of the main character’s house and surroundings felt eerily familiar.
Between Pendeen and the neighbouring village of Trewellard is the entrance to Geevor Tin Mine, which offers tours of the old mine workings. The mine was operational for a good part of the 20th century, and owes its existence to a group of St Just miners who had emigrated to South Africa but were forced to return due to the outbreak of the Second Boer War. Being claustrophobic, I have not been on the mine tour, in spite of its proximity to my relatives’ house. However, I can vouch for the novel experience of walking through this evocative industrial landscape. It is a steep and uneven walk down to the coastal path below, but well worth it for the chance to perch on the cliff top and gaze down at the sea crashing against the rocks. Near Geevor Mine is the Levant Mine and BeamEngine, owned by the National Trust. Poldark fans may recognise it, as it doubled up as Tressiders Rolling Mill in the TV series.
|Relics of the mining industry at Geevor|
Map of the area.