Wheal Coates

The Wheal Coates mining site is probably the most famous in Cornwall. It sits on one of the most beautiful cliff tops and the Towanroath shaft is very much a Cornish icon. We are most definitely in Poldark country. [click link for more Poldark locations in Cornwall]

Wheal Coates in the foreground. Wheal Charlotte in the background. And in the far distance, Carn Brea. Mining Country in Cornwall. August 2019. Click image to enlarge

I have yet to get a ‘proper’ photo of this building from the beach as it can only be done at a very low tide. But this view is one most commonly photographed, from the coastal pathway.

Wheal Coates and Towanroath Shaft Engine House. August 2019. Click image to enlarge

Meanwhile here are some views from the south west coastal path and St Agnes headland. Earliest records date from 1692 though digging for ore on the surface has been taking place since the Middle Ages. These ruins all date from 1872 until its abandonment in 1914.

Stamps and Whim Engine House (1882). August 2019. Click image to enlarge.

A last ditch attempt to mine it was made in 1910 but only 18 tons of ‘black’ tin had been mined by the time it closed for good in March 1914. The National Trust restored the Towanroath Shaft engine house in 1976 and the rest of the site was stabilised in 1983. Source NT.

~wander.essence~ photography


  1. The landscape is so dramatic and beautiful and these ruins just add to the atmosphere. Lovely photos as usual, Jude.

  2. What a picturesque setting for an old industrial building, now in ruins. I love this setting and your photos of it.

    Thanks for the link Jude. I’ll see if I can add it for tomorrow, but for some reason when I pull up my scheduled posts on WordPress using my phone, it only shows posts scheduled a couple weeks out. I can’t even remember what I’m posting tomorrow. If you don’t see it added, go ahead and add it to the comments when it posts. Thanks so much!

  3. Joanne Sisco says:

    These relics from the past are hauntingly beautiful and yet it is unlikely that when the mines were operating this countryside looked beautiful with the black smoke.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You are dead right Jo, these beautiful places must have been quite different in those days with the noise and the dirt all around. I think I probably like it better as it is now even though this means so many miners had to leave home to find work in other countries including Canada.

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        Mining history is not a kind and gentle place. In some things – like the environment – today is so much better.

        1. Heyjude says:

          And yet we are still digging ugly holes in the planet to fulfil our ‘needs’.

        2. Joanne Sisco says:

          Holes are one thing. Strip mining is a different kind of assault 😕

  4. Beautiful photos!!!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Cindy.

  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I wonder where the ‘Stamps and Whim’ came from?

    1. Heyjude says:

      Stamping – using steam powered machines called stamps to crush the ore with water. Whim is the winding gear. A great website for mining information in Cornwall is the cornwall.gov environment and planning site strangely enough!


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