The South West has a long and important history of mineral production.

Tin mining is known to have been taking place in Cornwall since around 2,000 BC. By the beginning of the 18th century, mining for coppercharlestown ship by ainsley cocks was becoming increasingly important, and that century also saw the first commercial exploitation of china clay locally. This would become the major industry in time.

As the metal and china clay industries developed, techniques and technologies were shared. Steam machinery and other developments in mechanised mining were increasingly applied to better exploit mineral reserves and maximise profits.

treffry viaductCornwall 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 – it carries a combined horse-drawn tramway and aqueduct. 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.