Wheal Droskyn at Droskyn Point, Perranporth is a perfect example of seriously old workings with next to nothing left in terms of written records. Which makes it a pain in the rear end to try and do any research on!
Anywhooo, this ‘shallow’ old man’s workings has been hacked away at for about 2000 years, up until around the 1830’s when price of tin and lack of equipment to unwater the mine brought the progress to a halt.
This is an awesome part of the beach and the old mining workings at the south-west of the beach that can be accessed at low tide. This beautifully cut tunnel runs right through this rock to the other side.
This whole workings was mined exclusively for tin, primarily utilising two north-east lodes, among others.
Names of lodes include: Droskyn and St Katherine’s.
By the 1850’s, Wheal Droskyn was part of an amalgamation including Perran St George, Wheal Perran, Perran United and Good Fortune.
Wheal Droskyn was initially dewatered using waterwheels which operated pumps; this removed an extra 60 feet of water below the normal water level. Getting water to these waterwheels was however a huge enterprise and required about 700 feet of tunnels and numerous aqueducts. This method of removing water was adequate for shallow workings, but was eventually part of the mines downfall as it was not effective enough to remove more water to allow the mine to be deepened.
There are a large number of adit openings along the cliff edge, most have now been grated to prevent access. These adits became infamous following the death of a child in 2010 who fell 30ft into a shaft.
Erosion of the cliff face has opened up some of the old tunnels to view.
There were a number of shafts sunk in the area; there were seven ‘old’ shafts, some for pumping and some for raising ore, a Wheal Drain shaft and an Engine shaft. The Engine shaft reached a depth of 50 fathoms (91m) and had an engine house erected with a 36-inch engine installed.
A look through to the old stairs that used to come down from the cliff – recent instability of the cliffs have made this inaccessible (plus a few of the steps are missing…).
Right. All of the workings that you can see in my photos can be seen at low tide on the beach.
HOWEVER. While most of the entrances have now got grates over them, some do not. This is a really dangerous and unstable mine, with open adits, shafts and frequent cliff collapses. I wouldn’t advise going anywhere near any of the holes (even the one at the start I took a photo in) as the only place you’ll end up is down a deep hole…
Dines, H. G. (1956) The metalliferous mining regions of south-west England. British Geological Survey.
Gamble, B. (2011) Cornish mines : Gwennap to the Tamar. Penzance: Alison Hodge Publishers.
Roberts, J. (1912) Reports on Droskyn and Wheal Ramoth. Available at: https://www.aditnow.co.uk/documents/personal-album-342/DROSKYN-RAMOTH-pdf-DOCUMENT.pdf (Accessed: 7 January 2018).