Delabole, Cornwall

Delabole, Cornwall Slate Quarry

Delabole village is about a mile from the North Coast of Cornwall, and close to Camelford, Tintagel, Boscastle and Port Isaac and is thus in the heart of King Arthur country. Delabole is the third highest village in Cornwall, almost as high as nearby Roughtor.

Britain’s first commercial wind farm is situated near Delabole. Delabole Wind Farm has been operational since November 1991 and consists of 10 turbines made by Vestas, each rated at 400kW, giving a total capacity of 4.0MW. It was developed, and is owned and operated by Windelectric, a company owned by local farmer, Peter Edwards and run by his son, Martin.

Delabole has been producing slate since at least 1314, when its slates were used to roof Winchester Castle.

The quarry by now is a vast hole in the ground, 400 feet deep and 1.5 miles in circumference, and said to be the biggest hole in Britain. Whilst there is no public access into the bowels of the hole, you can view it from a special viewing area, with a showroom and exhibition.

Delabole Slate, is now operated by the Delabole Slate Company. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the five quarries that existed within the vicinity of the present pit assumed considerable importance, delivering slate 'throughout the realm, and even exporting it by sea to Brittany and the Netherlands'. In 1841, the five quarries formed themselves into a single controlled unit, and the Old Delabole Slate Company was formed, nd this was liquidated in 1977 by the company's bankers. After this, the quarry moved into corporate hands but in 1999 a management buy-out returned the quarry to local ownership.

The Delabole Slate Company Ltd is now, once again, a private Cornish company. Surprisingly today five people work in the actual quarry. They drill a vertical hole, then they put in two little horizontal holes to join up. Then they pass wire through the holes and join it up. And cut it out that way. Modern mining techniques mean that an average of 120 tonnes of slate block is still quarried each day using a minimum of staff. The quarry is also home to the Delabole butterfly (Spirifer vermuli).

Delabole Cornwall village web site


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