Wheal Coates, situated just up the coast path from Chapel Porth, is probably one of the more famous mines in Cornwall, and definitely one of the most photographed. Positioned beautifully on the edge of the cliff, surrounded in dramatic scenery, this is surprising.
First recorded in 1692, it was mined in the form of workings in the cliff and surrounding area. Wheal Coates officially opened in 1802, remaining a fairly unsuccessful mine for its entire life. It was sold in 1844 and reopened in 1872. During the 1872 reopening is when the stamps and whim engine were built, however closed again in 1889. The mine was briefly reworked between 1910-1914 before coming under the care of the National Trust in the 70’s and 80’s.
Towanroath pumping engine house, a 36-inch engine that pumped out of Towanroath shaft. Built in 1872, it was consolidated by the National Trust in 1973.
The concrete footings for the horizontal pumping engine are still present and were built during the last reworking between 1910-1914.
A view down Towanroath shaft, which was sunk to 106 fathoms (194m) and is currently covered by a metal grid.
Remains of the dressing floor with the gas engine foundations behind. The dressing floors date from the 1870’s and the gas engine from the 1910-1914 reworking.
View of the two newest whims on the site. The closest was built in 1880 and housed a 18-inch engine and the horizontal whim behind was built in 1910. The 1880 whim was built to relieve the original dual engine of its winding function.
The 24-inch dual whim and stamps that sits right on top of the cliff. This was built in 1872 and drove 32 heads of stamps as well as winding from Towanroath shaft below. The engine stopped working in 1887, although it was modified during the 1910-1914 reworking.
It was consolidated in 1986.
Foundations for the gas engine driven California stamps
This stack was built in 1880 and served both the whim and the calciners
All that’s left of the boiler pond
The inside of the 18-inch whim
Remains of the double bayed calciner built during 1910-1914
Easily accessed after a trek up the coast path from Chapel Porth’s car park. This is owned by the National Trust and is a pay-and-display for non-members. There are a few other car parks dotted around St Agnes beacon that can also be used. Paths to the mine are open all year round (although you’d be very brave to visit in bad conditions) and are free to wander around and explore.
Mining in Cornwall (no date) Wheal Coates Mine. Available at: http://www.cornwallinfocus.co.uk/mining/coates.php (Accessed: 20 December 2017).
Nance, D. and Brown, K. (2014) A complete guide to the engine houses of West Cornwall. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press.
Simon Jones (no date) Wheal Coates Mine. Available at: http://www.cornishmineimages.co.uk/wheal-coates-mine-gallery/ (Accessed: 20 December 2017).