Local Mining

An Area Rich in History

Chimneys and ruined engine houses can be seen all around the Tamar Valley. Small scale mining had gone on for centuries but the development of water and steam power in the nineteenth century meant that mines could be sunk much deeper.

Devon Great Consols was the richest copper mine in Europe between 1845 and 1865, but it closed in 1900 because of declining resources and competition from large copper mines in the New World. Ore was taken by railway from the mine to Morwellham Quay and shipped to South Wales for processing. 300 ton ships could come up the river to Morwellham, making it the busiest inland port in Devon and Cornwall.

In the Tamar Valley area copper/tin lodes run east – west and lead/silver lodes cross them north – south. Okeltor Mine worked from 1845 until 1887, and produced lead, copper, tin, and arsenic. Okeltor Quay was used to bring in supplies from ships on the river. You can still see the ruins of many of the mine buildings from the trail around the site.

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