Saturday, 3 June 2017

Preparing for the annual pilgrimage to the Basset Mines

With less than two weeks before Physical Separation '17, today I did my annual survey of the paths around the Basset Mines, in preparation for the visit to the 'birthplace of modern mining' on 16th June (see also posting of 12th June 2011).
The Basset Mines walk (in red)
This desolate area of Cornwall, between Camborne and Redruth, was once the most important area of the world's copper and tin mining industry, but is now a wilderness of gorse and crumbling mine buildings, and each year new paths have to be found as the old ones succumb to nature and the mine buildings slowly erode. For this year's recce I was joined by grandsons William and Jack for their first field trip, and as always it was evident that nature is slowly devouring this area, where the incessant pounding of stamp batteries is now replaced by the cawing of crows and the whistle of the wind through the ruins.

Estimating the depth of Marriott's shaft: it took 4 seconds for a stone to reach the water table,
indicating a depth of around 240ft. When the mine closed in 1918 the depth was 2040 ft,
well short of the 5000 ft originally planned
Well off the tourist beat, these are probably the finest archaeological ruins in Cornwall, and the 2 mile walk encompasses the impressive mine at Marriott's shaft, and the ore dressing floors at Wheal Basset  and West Wheal Basset. A visit not to be missed!
Taking a break inside a concave buddle

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