Callington, Calstock and Gunnislake Mines

Callington, Calstock and Gunnislake Mines

Callington, Calstock and Gunnislake Mines are part of the Tamar Valley Mining District. These mines worked an important group of tin and copper lodes whose outcrops can be found from Callington and Kit Hill eastwards to the edges of Dartmoor, crossing the Tamar Valley between Luckett and Calstock and centred on the village of Gunnislake. Devon Great Consols and Bedford United in Devon and Drakewalls and Gunnislake Clitters in Cornwall were the most important mines of this area, but Kit Hill mines and other mines on the western flanks of Dartmoor at Mary Tavy were also successful.

In Devon, one large estate owned by the Duke of Bedford, controlled some of the most significant mining sites, and the reversion clause that the shareholders of Devon Great Consols had to obey, ensured the clearance of almost all its buildings within months of its closure, to be followed by the planting of the site in conifers. Hence little remains of these mines in Devon.

The mining landscape on the Cornish side of the Tamar is similar though to other mining areas in Cornwall. Around Kit Hill the mines developed in open moorland or unenclosed land abutting Hingston Down. The miners cottages are typical of mining districts elsewhere in Cornwall and are clustered together in rows, often in small hamlets.

The Tamar was used for communication and transport for many centuries, though the quays along the river were not able to handle the traffic created during the 19th century mining boom. Calstock and Morwellham were developed as industrial ports with rail links to mine sites.

Mining had been carried out in this area for hundreds of years. Including work done by Thomas Bushell, a protégé of Francis Bacon. Minerals extracted included copper, tin, arsenic, lead, silver, wolfram and manganese, but it was the discovery of copper in 1844 which started a mining boom. In addition, between 1880 and 1902, the Calstock / Callington area was providing fifty percent of the world's arsenic.

As elsewhere in Cornwall, the 19th century was the height of the mining boom with over 100 mines in this area. During the First World War, wolfram was mined at Kit Hill for use in steel-making. Arsenic was produced at Greenhill, Gunnislake until at least 1930.

EAST CORNWALL: Callington, Calstock & Gunnislake
Name of Mine Principal Shafts Chief Produce Notable Minerals
Atway Mine, St Stephens      
Calstock Consols (Wheal Calstock; Calstock & Danescombe Consols; Danescombe Valley Mine)      
Cutlinwith Farm, Landrake, Saltash      
Downgate Mine      
Drakewalls   TIN & COPPER Arsenic, Lead, Silver, Molybdenum & Wolfram
Duchy Great Consols      
Excelsior Mine (incl. The Excelsior Tunnel)      
Greystone Wood Mine, Lezant      
Gunnislake Clitters   COPPER Antimony & Wolfram
East Gunnislake Mine      
Old Gunnislake Mine      
Hingston Downs Consols   COPPER Arsenic
Harrowbarrow & Prince of Wales (including Wheal Newton, Harrowbeer, Harrowbarrow Consols, Wheal Good Luck, East Wheal Brothers & Calstock United) Watson's shaft COPPER & TIN Pyrites, Lead, Mispickel & Silver
Hatt Trial, Botusfleming, Saltash      
East Holmbush      
Holmbush & Kelly Bray (Callington United Mine; Callington Mine) Hitchen's Shaft   Arsenic, Lead & Silver
East Kit Hill      
Kit Hill United   TIN & COPPER Cassiterite & Wolframite
Lidcott Mine, Laneast, Launceston      
Linnick, South Petherwin, Launceston      
Okel Tor   COPPER Tin & Arsenic
Pencrebar Wood Mine      
Redmoor (Callington United; Emmens United) Count House Shaft COPPER  
Silver Hill Mine      
Silver Valley      
Tavy Consols      
Tolpetherwin Mine, South Petherwin, Launceston      
Tor Wood Mine, Pillaton      
Trebullet Mine, Lezant      
Tredinnick Mine, St Erney, Saltash      
Trenute Mine, Lezant      
Wheal Arthur North Shaft & Main Shaft COPPER & TIN  
Wheal Benny      
Wheal Brothers (Wheal Duchy; Inc Wheal Sisters)      
Wheal Edward      
Wheal Florence (Florence & Tonkin United; Mary Florence Consols; Callington Consols)      
Wheal Langford (Baring & Langford; East Cornwall Silver Mine; St. Vincent Great Consols)      
Wheal Leigh (Wheal Lee; Leigh Durant Mine), Pillaton   ANTIMONY Antimonite & Galena
Wheal Martha (Great Wheal Martha; New Wheal Martha; New Great Consols; Great Consols), Luckett   TIN & COPPER arsenic, silver, wolfram
Wheal Sheba (Great Sheba Consols), Luckett      
Wheal Tamar, St Stephens-by-Saltash      
Wheal Truscott, Launceston      
Wheal Zion      


Mining and Mines in Cornwall