Altitude Profile (344 ft to 636 ft)
This circular 7.5-mile trail makes a circuit around the base of Carn Brea and explores one of the greatest concentrations of historic mine buildings in the country. Part of the Mineral Tramways network, this predominantly off-road trail follows the route of now disused mining tracks through the former tin and copper mining belt around Redruth and Camborne.
The steep sections of the trail, though they add to the interest, are more suitable for experienced riders and the use of off-road bikes are recommended.
The route takes you through a mixture of farmland and heathland with the southern section being the location for the best preserved engine houses, tin dressing floors and other mining structure, many with sweeping views to Carn Brea and beyond to the north coast.
In the 1870s, when many copper mines were closing, a ‘lode’ of tin ore was discovered below previously worked copper deposits to the south of Carn Brea. This lode produced over 90,000 tons of high quality tin concentrate and was worked by some of the greatest mines in Cornwall. It was also flatter than most, hence its name, the ‘Great Flat Lode’.
Between South Wheal Frances and Wheal Basset the trail follows the line of the Basset Tramroad, built to carry tin ore for processing at Wheal Basset stamps.
At these major mine sites around the trail, information boards have been included explaining the mining history in more detail.
More information can be learned at the King Edward Mine visitor centre on the trail or Cornwall’s Industrial Discovery Centre at Pool.
There is also a surprising wealth of wildlife present on the trail. The derelict mine buildings, shafts and spoil tips provide unusual habitats which have been adopted by less common species including bats, adders, lizards and insects.
This very well signposted trail links onto the National Cycle Network’s Engine house trail as well as other Mineral Tramways trails such as the Portreath Branchline trail and the Redruth-Chacewater trail.
A good parking area can be found at South Wheal Frances, on the southern side of the trail.
N 50°13.526' W 5°16.337'
N 50°13'31.601" W 5°16'20.276"
N +50.2254450 E -5.27229900
N 50°13.525' W 5°16.337'
N 50°13'31.519" W 5°16'20.269"
N +50.2254220 E -5.27229700
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