Unity Wood Mine sits near Scorrier, mostly hidden amongst the trees of Unity Wood. Originally known as Wheal Bush, this mine has been working since at least the 16th century, with tin workings dotted throughout the wood.
In 1790 the Great County Adit reached the sett, allowing for deeper lodes to be reached. While it may have started as a tin mine, in the early 18th century it also became a significant copper producer which lasted until 1843 when output ground to a halt.
The mine was reopened in 1870 for tin and the remaining engine houses were built during this period, but work only lasted for a further 10 years. Between 1880-85 it was opened as West Poldice and again as Tolgullow United from 1886 to 1903.
Between 1898-1900, the area was worked in combination with its neighbour Creegbrawse. The mine was worked for a final time in 1912 alongside another neighbour Killifreth.
Engine houses on the mine include:
1819 – 52″ engine on Wood’s
1819 – 60″ and 58″ engines
1834 – 80″ on William’s
1872 – 70″ pumping engine on Magor’s
1872 – 20″ whim and stamps on Trefusis
60″ pumping engine on Western
20″ whim and copper crusher on William’s
Manual capstan and horse whim on Reed’s
Shafts on the mine include:
Magor’s (100-fathoms/183m), Blamey’s, Trefusis (100-fathoms/183m), Peter’s, Jeffery’s, Foodways/Paul’s (80-fathoms/146m), Painter’s/Henderson’s (50-fathoms/91m), Tremaine’s, Pits-an-bollar, Wood, William’s, Reed’s, Old, Tonkin’s, Oate’s, Davey’s, Broad’s/Tregullow’s, Trestrail’s, Harper’s, Sandow’s/Symon’s and Skip.
Alongside the pock-marked woods, the most prominent remains are those of the two 1872 engine houses.
The first is that of Magor’s pumping engine house which housed a 70″ engine that came from Prosper United. It’s boiler house would have stood on the NE side and some of the iron work has survived on the walls. This engine worked from Magor’s shaft.
The smaller house is that of Trefusis whim and stamps engine. This would have held a 20″ rotative engine that wound from Trefusis shaft further down the valley and worked 32 heads of stamps.
Output for the mine as per Dines:
1815-36, 38 and 52: 21,620 tons 6% copper, 570 tons tin, 129 tons arsenic, 21 tons pyrite and 1.5 tons lead
1832-6 and 1874-84: 1,152 tons 7.5% copper
1837 and 1851: 650 tons tin
1882-1903: 570 tons tin, 20 tons of 15% copper, 222 tons arsenic, 152 tons mispickel and 185 tons ochre.
The whole of this mine is available through permissive footpaths through Unity Wood and there’s another path to the engine houses in Todpool. While the shafts have been capped to varying degrees, some do look a bit dodgy, so definitely no clambering around.
Acton, B. (2000) Exploring Cornwall’s Tramway Trails: Volume 2. Truro: Landfall Publications.
Brown, K. and Acton, B. (2007) Exploring Cornish Mines: Volume Two. 2nd edn. Truro: Landfall Publications.
Dines, H. G. (1956) The metalliferous mining regions of south-west England. British Geological Survey.
Hamilton-Jenkin, A. K. (1963) Mines and Miners of Cornwall: VI Around Gwennap. Truro: Truro Bookshop.
Nance, D. and Brown, K. (2014) A complete guide to the engine houses of West Cornwall. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press.