We wanted to experience Poldark country during our visit to Cornwall, so it made sense to see one of the mines run by the National Trust. Levant Mine is not that easy to find, however, and there is a steep downhill walk from the car park although disabled parking is available at the bottom. The nature of the the old tin/copper mines in Cornwall seems to be that they’re perched on the edge of the cliffs!
It is possible to look at the displays/exhibitions about the history of the mine independently, but we waited for the guided tour which was much better. The guide who explained the development of mining in the area was excellent, and gave far more detail than could have been gained by looking at and reading the information boards.
The jewel in the crown of this visit is the beam engine, apparently the only one left in Cornwall which is powered by steam in its original housing. Again, the ‘grease monkey’ giving the talk was very good, obviously proud of his and his colleagues’ achievement in restoring and maintaining the engine, which he duly set in motion for us.
Disappointingly, the visit takes place entirely on the surface as there is no longer any safe access to the mine tunnels. However, your entry ticket does entitle you a reduction on entry to the Geevor Tin Mine, a short walk along the cliff top. We had planned to take a walk in the opposite direction to view the Botallack Mine, where the engine houses are set into the cliffs, but were unable to do so because of the weather. The NT website says you can experience “the full force of the Atlantic” here. We discovered this to be very accurate, as the wind was so strong that day we could hardly walk anywhere! The views from the cliffs out to sea are spectacular, but it would be best to visit on a day when only slight winds are expected if you don’t want to be blown over the edge!