Outdoor Space

Wheal Coates, near St Agnes

You may recognise this beautiful spot as Poldark’s Nampara Valley which forms part of the Poldark Estate. In reality, this beautiful spot belies a tough, industrial past where many thousands of men, women and children worked the tin mines during the 17th century and became fundamentally important in the Industrial Revolution.

Set high on the cliffs of St Agnes Head, where swathes of hazy heather jostle with golden yellow gorse and seabirds and jackdaws wheel high in the bright blue sky, it’s hard to imagine such a beautiful spot was once a huge industrial hot spot. Lying close to the South West Coastal path, this has to one of the most beautiful stretches of the Cornish coastline to explore.

The tall chimneys and desolate outhouses that line the Cornish coastline stand as a reminder that at one time more than 30,000 people – including women and children – were employed to mine tin in Cornwall, in dangerous and unhealthy conditions.

Many technological developments were pioneered in these mines, such as the work of Richard Trevithick, lead to the invention of steam trains which ultimately changed the world.

Wheal Coates was open between 1802 and worked until 1889, until the industry began to decline and more than 10,000 miners left Cornwall to find work overseas, where the skills (and pasties!) spread across the world as far as South America.

Today, these iconic buildings stand tall and silent, serving as a memorial to all those who worked the mines and now home to jackdaws and choughs. 

Want to visit? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall here.

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