Walks and Trails
Experience Europe’s only attraction celebrating Cornwall’s internationally important china clay mining industry, set within a family friendly country park.
Wheal Martyn’s grounds tell a story of the dramatic change to the Cornish landscape. Take a walk through this special place; the trails offer a unique opportunity for you to discover how Cornwall’s mining history has transformed the local area. Large waterwheels, vintage trucks, a train and fantastic woodland play area will capture your children’s imagination. Keep your eyes peeled for beautiful wild flowers, birds, butterflies and aquatic life who have made Wheal Martyn their home.
The nature trail is a half-mile walk and passes through the grounds of two china clay works. You will find man-made buildings, a range of wild animals and mature Rhododendron which disguise the signs of clay extraction. Follow the path and discover the Gomm Engine House and Viewing Point. The Viewing Point provides a spectacular open area where you can view the St. Austell River Valley.
The magical history of mining can be found at the Flat Rod Tunnel. Not originally built for human traffic, you will have to crouch as you walk through! Make sure you look out for small insects and caterpillars which are popular with the Nuthatch birds that visit here. As you follow the trail up to the working pit, your children will love running across small bridges over the site’s stream. Stay on the circular route up to ‘Pit View’ and look down into a working pit, so huge that massive machines and grown men appear to be the size of children’s toys.
Whether you are interested in history or want to discover something new, the historic trail offers a unique opportunity to explore Cornwall’s mining heritage. Discover how two clay works shaped the local area and uncover why Wheal Martyn is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The trail will take you on a tour of the historical Victorian clay works, revealing Wheal Martyn’s past life at the heart of this global industry. See Cornwall’s largest waterwheel in action, and find our second waterwheel which previously worked flat rods to the clay pit. Then follow the trail on to the crib hut. From here, you will discover our curious and beautiful turquoise settling pools.
Finish the trail in the transport yard. At the heart of our outdoor museum, the yard showcases a collection of artefacts and vehicles related to the transport of china clay. You will discover the Lee Moor No1 locomotives and our two vintage Lorries here.
Site of Special Scientific Interest and Boulder Park
See a unique example of exposed granite which demonstrates a stage of kaolinisation, normally only seen at the bottom of a clay pit. Gathered around the Site of Special Scientific Interest are some fascinating examples of local geology, showing the variety within the granite of the local area.