St Agnes is an important mining heritage centre in Cornwall, located within the region’s World Heritage Mining area. Remains of ancient tin and copper mines are here. Dramatic engine house remains are perched high on the cliff tops around the village and are easily explored on foot. A good place to start is the award-winning St Agnes Museum which displays numerous mining artefacts and photographs. The onsite shop sells local mining heritage guides, books and gifts crafted out of locally mined tin. You can also pick up portable MP3 guides here before heading off on the mining trail around the town taking in dramatic Wheal Coates to the south west and the Blue Hills Mine and Tin Streams, now restored and situated to the east at Trevellas.
Mining sites in the St Agnes area include some which are now restored and working with demonstrations for visitors. These include Wheal Luna which overlooks Trevaunance Cove and Seal Hole and Polberro near St. Agnes Head. Moving towards the South West discover fascinating Wheal Coates, one of the most renowned of all Cornish mine sites. Copper mines include Wheal Charlotte and the Porthtowan mines of Tywarnhayle/United Hills and the Towan group. Find Wheal Kitty and Penhalls to the west of Trevaunance Cove, with Blue Hills at the seaward end of the nearby Trevellas Coombe via a pleasant trail through Jericho Valley.
For a real insight into ancient Cornish Tin Mining visit the Blue Hills Mine and Tin Streams at Trevellas Combe. Tin is mined here today, with tin jewellery and gifts available to visitors. Blue Hills is actually several old tin mines, which were working up until 1780 on a water pump system, then later with steam power from 1810 to 1897. The history of Cornish Tin mining actually stretches way back to around 2000 BC when tin was mined from the surface – tin streaming. Other mine remains around the Trevaunance Coombe to Trevellas Porth area of St Agnes include Gooninnis Mine, Wheal Friendly and Polberro Mine and to the east Wheal Kitty.
Explore the history of St Agnes mining as well as other industries like fishing at the free entry, award-winning St Agnes Museum housed within a former chapel. See fascinating mining and natural history displays here and learn about St Agnes’ rich maritime history. Art on show includes two portraits by Edward and John Opie. The museum is famed for its unusual collections and curiosities. St Agnes Museum is a good starting point before heading off to explore the historic mining sites in the area. A great little museum shop is also on-site.