Carn Galver to Porthmoina Cove is a perfect short walk embracing a quintessentially ruined tin mine and the sea. it’s easy to find, just beside the B3036 that runs between Land’s End to St Ives.
For a delightful walk immersed in Poldark’s Cornwall, look no further than this bite sized walk to the sea.
Our visit to Carn Galver (Wheal Rose)
The road is really a “B” road in name only. It’s a century’s old route winding through ancient field systems, standing stones, fogous and ruined tin mines. However this narrow road passes through some of the most atmospheric landscape of West Penwith.
From Ednovean Farm, we dropped down to the north coast via Madron, before finally ratting across a cattle grid to park.
There’s a National Trust car park under the shadow of the ruins of Carn Galva mine near Rosemergy. (Donations for parking fees)
Walking to Porthmoina Cove
The sea was perfectly blue and lay enticingly ahead. We wasted no time in setting out on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year.
We took the rocky right hand route from the Engine House but a top tip would be to take the easier left hand path. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
As the scrub opened to farmland we caught a first breathtaking glimpse of the coast.
Look out for Pendeen lighthouse, twinkling white in the noon day sunshine, far off along the coast to the left.
Our walk took us to the remains of mine working on the valley floor. They almost appear to be natural terraces now, so cunningly has nature decked them with wild flowers.
The old mine terrace also yields the most breathtaking view down into Porthmoina Cove far below. The sea stretched below us so exquisitely beautiful and tantalisingly inaccessible. But a mine adit drains into the back of the cove so it must have been possible at some point! I’m sure the local climbing club know a route!
Until we manage to add to the secluded list, there are still my twelve secret coves ready for you to explore and dabble your toes in the sea though!
We settled for a while to admire the sheer magnificent of the Cornish cliffs. The size of a passing helicopter outlined against a granite stack will give you an idea of the Grandeur of the Cornish cliffs.
So we retraced our steps and clambered back across a stream to continue left-handed along the south west coastal footpath.
Look out for the native British ponies’ that forage along the heathland for conservation grazing along the cliffs here.
After about half a mile we reached a footpath crossroads and turned up towards Watchcroft and the imposing Cairn that rises behind Carn Galva Mine across the road.
Or you could just simply retrace your steps back to the Engine House but remember to select the right hand fork this time!!
Carn Galva Mine (Wheal Rose)
The atmospheric ruins of two engine houses are all that remain now of Carn Galva Mine along with the Count House now reporposed to become a climbers club. This tin mine that had is productive heyday between 1837 and 1839. The mine shaft reached a depth of 130 fathoms (780 feet) with a adit (drain) at 70 fathoms leading to Porthmoina Cove. The mine was notoriously hard to drain yet employed 70 miners by 1871. It finally closed in 1878 and the Bob Wall* was demolished to fill the shaft.
These twin houses originally held a 30” pumping Engine that drew water form 760 foot deep shaft and the 20” Whim Engine House.
Last autumn, you may recall, we visited Levant Beam engine further along the coast to finally see a working Engine House.
The romantic decay of the Whim house was brought about when the Bob wall* was partly demolished in 1875 when the mine closed for the final time.
The engine houses have now been preserved by the National Trust along with the surrounding landscape that forms part of an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with World Heritage site status.
*The Weight of the wall of the engine houses had to be equal to the loads of the engine. I must admit I was intrigued by a reference to a Bob Wall so I found this info!
Bob wall info*
“Most surviving engine houses are rectangular in plan with a much thicker wall in the front (the bob wall). This was constructed using massive stones (often cut granite) and was perhaps two-thirds of the height of the other walls. It supported the beam (known in Cornish mining as a bob), which transmitted the reciprocating motion of the piston to the pump rods in the adjacent shaft (in the case of a pumping engine) or to the hoisting or crushing machinery. This wall had to withstand both the weight (that might be over 50 tons for a large pumping engine) and the rocking forces of the bob”
I do hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks blog. It’s one of the first walks we’ve tackled since Charles has had a new knee. I’m sorry I would have liked a few more photos of the mine but Whoops I forgot to charge the camera so I had to be sparing!”
Still that will be a perfect chance to return and maybe explore the Iron age fort of Bosigran Castle – a typical promitory hill fort. And Carn Galva itself with a strong place in pre hystory to delve into. Until then stay safe and we hope to see you soon!