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|
|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|
|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|
|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 Brothers (Wheal Duchy; Inc Wheal Sisters)|
|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|
Mining and Mines in Cornwall