World Heritage Site

Cornish Mining World Heritage Site

Wheal Martyn is an Area Centre for the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, or Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, covering the nearby Luxulyan Valley and the former mineral port at Charlestown.

The South West of Britain has a long and important history of mineral production and mining for tin is known to have been taking place in Cornwall since around 2,000 BC. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, mining for copper was becoming increasingly important and that century also saw the first commercial exploitation of china clay locally which would, in the coming centuries, become the major industry. As both the metal and china clay industries developed, a sharing of techniques and technology took place, with steam machinery and other developments in mechanised mining being increasingly applied to better exploit mineral reserves and maximise profits. Cornwall has been described as being probably the most important mining district in world by the mid 1800s, and the historic features of the nearby World Heritage Site illustrate this well. The spectacular Treffry Viaduct in the Luxulyan Valley is as architecturally dramatic as it is distinctive – in carrying a combined horse-drawn tramway and aqueduct – whilst Charlestown comprises the best preserved eighteenth century copper and china clay shipping port in the world.

Today the best of the former metal mining landscapes of Cornwall and West Devon have been granted World Heritage Site status whilst Wheal Martyn, a partner attraction, focuses on the fascinating story of china clay, its technology and people.

If you would like to find out more about the World Heritage Site and other places to visit, please see the Cornish Mining website:

world heritage logo