Tintagel Slate Quarries, Cornwall

Tintagel Slate Quarries, Cornwall

The coast path between Tintagel Church and Trebarwith Strand enables you to see a number of coastal slate quarries. Slate quarrying began here probably in the late 1400's. The last of these, Long Grass Quarry, closed in 1937.

A low white building you will pass, is now a Youth Hostel, but was previously the old office, engine and blacksmith's shop of Long Grass Quarry. You can see the slate waste on the cliff face down below it. In 1886, three men were killed when the rock they were drilling, snapped off and took them them into the sea below.

Slate was taken to Tintagel Cove. A boat would be moored below the cliffs, and a derrick perched on the cliff edge would be used to load slate. A wharf was also constructed at Penhallic Point where the cliff edge was cut back to form a 100ft vertical face. Ships would lie against this cliff in the natural deep-water berth, and the slate would be lowered by crane.

Large quarries were formed by Lanterdan and West quarries. In Lanterdan quarry there is a tall, distinctive, pinnacle of rock left behind in commercial quarrying, as the slate in the pinnacle was not of a sufficiently good quality. Pinnacles were similarly left in West Quarry. The remains of old tram lines and buildings can be seen on the sites of these two quarries. Between Vean Hole and Hole Beach, at the northern end of Trebarwith Strand, is Lanterdan Slate Quarry which was once one of the biggest in North Cornwall. Lanterdan Quarry is now owned by the National Trust.

North of Hole Beach, small quarries working the cliff side. Strong points would be built into the cliff face and cradles and buckets could be down the cliff face to enable removal of slate. It is possible to see the fixing points, if you know what you are looking for.

Walking towards Trebarwith Strand from Tintagel Head you will pass the sites of:

Gull Point Quarry is opposite the Youth Hostel. You can see a round platform near the top where a blindfolded donkey would walk in a circle to activate the winding gear.

Past Penhallic Point you can make out the disused wharf and the remains of Dria and Bagalow quarries.


Slate Mines and Quarries in Cornwall