Archive for Cornish Mining Heritage

10 Reasons to Visit Looe in May and June

1. Best time to visit Cornwall

One of 10 reasons to visit LooeWe’ve selected 10 Reasons to visit Looe in May and June as they’re among the best months to visit Cornwall and Looe is the perfect touring base. Come ahead of the crowds. The hedgerows are full of wild garlic and campions. If you’re quick, be dazzled by carpets of bluebells in early May.  Visit historic houses when their gardens are bursting into colour. It’s also a key festival time when Looe celebrates its connection with the sea at the Looe Festival of the Sea and the Lugger Regatta. Come and savour the wonderful fish and seafood landed on Looe Quay.

3. Cornish Bluebell Walks

Looe Valley Dog WalkCome in early May to see bluebells everywhere! They’re spectacular in the Looe Valley, especially between Sandplace and Duloe. Follow a Looe Valley Walk from Polraen and return for a light lunch or afternoon tea in the new Conservatory Tea Room & Bar now open at Polraen Wed-Sun 11 – 4 pm. 

4. Cornwall beaches without crowds 

Enjoy it all ahead of the crowds – Just by avoiding the school holidays, you can escape to deserted beaches at Whitsand Bay, enjoy a leisurely lunch in some great seafood restaurants. Relax and listen to the birdsong. No queues. No stress.

5. Cornwall Gardens at their best

Polraen country house garden LooeAs May progresses to early summer, the gardens at Lanhydrock, Cotehele, Anthony and Mt Edgcumbe become a profusion of colour. Azaleas and rhodedendrons tower over exotic herbaceous borders. Be sure to visit Caerhays Castle – as it’s only open till the end of June. And the house on the Port Eliot Estate at St Germans only opens in the early part of the summer.

6. Visit Poldark Film sets

Loving the Poldark TV drama?  Come and see the REAL thing in Cornwall! Visit the filming locations.  A walk on Bodmin Moor is guaranteed to provide a sense of solitude and amazement – this is the country for those seeking views and wild walks and a sense of history and folklore. While the familiar Poldark backdrop of the Georgian port of Charlestown harks back to the times of wreckers, smugglers and merchants, when tin and copper were loaded on to tall ships.

7. Rockpool Rambles in Looe

Join expert volunteers from the Looe Marine Conservation Group to discover where to look, how to find and identify some of the wonderful and beautiful creatures and seaweeds that inhabit Looe’s amazing rockpools. May 28th 1.30 to 3 pm on Hannafore Beach. A free event suitable for all ages. There’s no need to book.

8. Festival of the Sea June 4 – The Lugger Regatta 9-11 June

Photo Courtesy of Looe Festival of ood and DrinkCelebrate Looe’s connections with the sea. Alongside the Raft Race on June 4, the Festival of the Sea is an educational day of fun filled family activities and entertainment which takes place on Looe’s quayside. We show our respect for the sea and the livelihood it provides to a fishing community like Looe. So join us to celebrate the sustainable fisheries of Looe and its wonderful marine life.

With the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Looe Marine Conservation Group, find out how crabs and lobsters are caught, have a go at mackerel line fishing and learn about the wealth of environmentally friendly seafood available in Cornwall. Chef demos, BBQ, stalls, a crabbing competition, puppet show, dancing etc Lots of marine organisations take part including the National Marine Aquarium, the Fishermens Mission, RNLI. And the heritage continues the following weekend with famous Looe Lugger festival when historic fishing vessels return to Looe. 

9. Looe Island Visits

Book a trip across to Cornwall’s only island nature reserve, just off the coast of Looe. See the seals. Spot the nesting birds. Escape to an island for a few hours……….Boat trips can be booked along the quayside and guided walks are bookable in advance via the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

10. Come by train – get a free cream tea

Top quality guest accommodation in chocolate box historic houseCome to Polraen Country House by train with Great Western Railway in May and June and get a complimentary cream tea in the new Conservatory Tea Room & Bar at Polraen. It’s easy to reach Polraen – just a 300 metre walk from Sandplace Station on the Looe Valley Line – a branch line from the main London-Penzance service to Liskeard. Then you can explore Cornwall using cheap day returns to St Ives, Truro, Plymouth, Falmouth or Penzance. Polraen has both bus and train links so you can leave the car behind in our car park!

Tempted?

Check Availability Polraen Hotel Looe Cornwall

 

Cornish Tin Mining – A World Heritage Site

Last week I learned what Cornish tin mines have in common with Machu Pichu, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge. They’re all World Heritage Sites!  And having just completed a ‘World Heritage Champion’ training day, I found the learning quite  fascinating- inspiring me to put a Cornish Mining Heritage page on the Polraen website featuring a great widget (interactive tool) that introduces visitors to the sites, the attractions, audio trails and history – all part of the ‘Discover the Extraordinary’ project.

Learning about the history of Cornwall’s mining industry helps you to appreciate the full legacy of what has been left not only here in Cornwall but also the extent of the impact that Cornish mining had around the world.  It’s a fascinating story which started 270 million years ago when the granite that creates the backbone of the county cooled and tin and copper ore amongst others was created. From circa 1700 to 1914, the mining industry helped shape the heritage, culture and traditions of the Cornish people as well as the landscape. The population boomed as demand for mineral ores grew for industrial and military use.

Cornwall was the Silicon Valley of its day, fuelling the industrial revolution, exporting mining technology around the world along with Cornish miners who then were at the forefront of diamond mining in South Africa, silver mining in Mexico, and the gold rushes in America and Australia. High pressure steam in Cornish mining was the engineering foundation for Stevenson’s invention of the first steam locomotive leading to the mass movement of goods and people. The first tin plated can was made in 1810 revolutionising food storage and preservation. Meanwhile, social impact was reflected in choral singing, temperance religions and Methodism, the brass and silver bands which became synonymous with mining communities. The tin barons, the wealthy investors, filled the gardens of their Cornish country estates with camelias and rhodedendrons brought back from the Empire leaving the legacy of exotic flora and fauna which you can find in Cornwall’s gardens today.

We often get folks from across the UK and from abroad searching their family history, researching their Cornish surname, visiting graveyards to seek out the resting place of past generations. And now, I can help encourage visitors to get a real sense of the ‘hidden Cornwall’ that many don’t get to discover, by visiting some of the 18 attractions, many of them wet weather places, most free to enter.

What a fascinating day it was and I’ve already had a very interesting talk over a pint in the bar with a guy from Walsall, who spent 3 years in South Africa in the diamond mines after studying at Camborne School of Mining. Just goes to show, you’re never too old to learn…….. So take a look at the Polraen Cornish Mining Heritage page to plan an interesting day out discovering the extraordinary and hidden Cornwall.

 

BBCTV Countryfile features Looe marine conservation & Cornish mining

One natural, one man-made – both inspiring!

Great coverage by the BBC presenting the joint delights of the Cornish countryside and coastline in one great episode of Countryfile.  Marine Conservation efforts in and around Looe and Cornish Mining Heritage were both featured on  Sunday night (26 Feb). The media interest reflects a growing awareness of the need to protect and conserve our marine habitats and gives deserved recognition to the Cornish mining industry under its World Heritage Site status.  (Not sure how long these links to BBC iPlayer will remain live but here they are for a few days at least. )

Watch the clip of :  Ellie Explores a Wreck. As marine conservation volunteers in Looe, my daughter and I were particularly interested to see the coverage having attended a conference for marine conservation volunteers the day before, organised by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The programme exposes the plight of sea creatures trapped in a fishing net which has got caught around the sunken frigate, HMS Scilla in Whitsand Bay – a popular dive site.

Heading west from the  marine habitats of South East Cornwall, the Countryfile episode encompassed the Cornish mining industry – each in their turn contributing so much to the essence of what makes Cornwall’s landscape unique. Tin mining followed by clay  sculpting the shape of inland Cornwall while the coastline provides many of the magical memories and recreational activities that  visitors recall of their Cornish holiday.

And what lies beneath the waves? Incredible beauty and marine wildlife in abundance that we must protect.

Inspired by these two topics, I’ll shortly be giving each greater exposure on the Polraen website with pages of useful information for visitors so watch this space for interesting places to visit when planning your next holiday. As a taster:

Marine Conservation

Take a look at the exciting programme of mainly free events and activities developed for 2012 from rockshore rambles to seal trips and foraging walks. Details can be downloaded via the Cornwall Wildlife Trust website: the YourShore leaflet gives details of events  organised by the Looe Marine Conservation Group and by the 4 other Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas throughout Cornwall.

Cornish Mining Heritage

There’s so much more to know about the contribution Cornwall and Cornish miners has given to the world! South Africa without rugby? Football without the Mexican wave? From Cornish pasties to tracing your ancestors, take a  look at a new interactive website developed by the World Heritage Site organisation. It brings the story of Cornish mining to life and highlights some really interesting places to visit like the historic port of Charlestown, the clay pits at Wheal Martyn, Caradon Hill mines, and Morwellham Quay . Most are  free and most are all weather attractions – but don’t save them all for just a rainy day – they’re well worth slotting into your sight seeing plans.