More Poldark Locations in Cornwall: Botallack Mine
THE TIN COAST AT BOTALLACK
The sight of Cornish mine engine houses has never been so famous! Sure, engine houses that are based on the ones we have here have popped up all over the globe where the Cornish (mining) Diaspora made their mark but the sheer concentration of buildings in various states of preservation that are dotted all over Cornwall are now one of the “must-sees” for visitors to Poldark’s Cornwall. Botallack is one of the finest.
The immense mine at Botallack and the nearby mines of Levant and Geevor form the Cornish Mining Heritage area known as “The Tin Coast”. The twin engine and winding houses of Crowns mines, perched perilously and defiantly at the foot of Botallack cliffs featured in both the 1970’s series and the current adaptations of Poldark, as Francis Poldark’s ill-fated mine “Grambler”.
Whilst the walk down the cliff path looks daunting, it is in fact not as bad as it looks, as long as you remember you’ve got to come back up again! Venturing beyond the buildings however is not to be encouraged! The path falls steeply away very quickly. Further along the coast path in a south westerly direction, the first engine house you reach (West Wheal Owles: pronounced to rhyme with “holes” not “owls”) is the one you know as “Wheal Leisure”. FUN FACT: You also know it as “Wheal Grace”, because they use the same building as both mines and build the required sets on opposite sides!
WHAT SCENES WERE SHOT HERE
All outside mining scenes are shot here. They are simply too numerous to list, but the spoil heaps to the side of “Wheal Leisure” have seen some emotional scenes too. The S1 picnic where Demelza chooses to stay with Ross rather than go home to her abusive father (Wow, tough choice!!) and Henshaw’s memorial.
SPOILER ALERT FOR S4:
Big heroic moment for Ross coming up when the mine floods! The pathos of this scene is tragically: art mimicking life. The West Wheal Owles disaster of 1893 claimed the lives of 19 men and one boy when a miscalculation resulted in the flooding of the lower levels.
HOW TO GET TO BOTALLACK
Botallack is near St Just in the far west of Cornwall. Not to confused with St Just in Roseland, which although pretty and worth visiting, is a long way from the Tin Coast. Follow signs for Penzance, then for Land’s End and as soon as you see signs for St Just, follow those instead. Botallack, and its neighbouring mines of Levant and Geevor are strung along the north coast road within a few miles of each other. Botallack is very low key in its signage, (blink and you’ll miss it!). National Trust members get to park here for free and there is a short information film about the making of Poldark in the Count House Café. The Tin Coast features in our WEST CORNWALL LOCATIONS TOUR.
You can find part two of our locations guide here.