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This walk: 2012-3-7. Kit Hill (Cornwall). Artefacts from the Bronze Age, from tin-streaming, tin-mining and from granite quarrying.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Kit Hill Country Park was owned by the Duchy of Cornwall but was given to the people of Cornwall in 1985 to celebrate the birth of Prince William.  It comprises 400 acres (152 hectares) for public enjoyment.


The Kit Hill summit stack - part of the Kit Hill Great Consols/Kit Hill United mining complex, it was built in 1858. It served a steam engine that both pumped water and lifted ore. It was also joined by a flue that took away arsenic-rich fumes from a calciner.


The stack is fitted with radio equipment for the emergency services.


Trig. point at 333 metres (1092 feet).


Memorial topped by view information ..... (this one is for the south) .....


View to the east of Kit Hill, click the image for a larger version.


View to the south, click the image for a larger version.


View to the west, click the image for a larger version.


Part of a pentangle earthwork on the to of the hill that is thought to be an 18th century folly. The summit stack stands on a bastion that is part of this structure, two other bastions can be seen in ther photograph, forming strong point in the enclosing wall of earth. It has also been thought to be an ancient stronghold, commanding a crossing place of the River Tamar. It may also have been a religious site in prehistoric times because there are at least 18 burial mounds on/around the hill.


Remains of Engine house for Kit Hill United (Summit Mine).


Fly Wheel loading slot for same engine.


Part of the collapsed flue taking arsenic fumes from a calciner to the stack (calcination is the heating of ores to melt and extract metals).


A large shaft - 660 feet deep .....


Another view.


A Bronze Age barrow, now flattened and from use as a whim platform .....


Kerb stones that surrounded the edge of the barrow.


Shaft relating to the nearby whim-platform.


As previous photo.


Looking west towards Kelly Bray, viewing one of the three "donkey pounds" or more likely John Calls' follies (as at the summit).


Self-explanatory notice!


The quarry that worked up to 1955. The fine quality granite was used in six London bridges (Lambeth, Putney, London, Blackfriars, Chelsea and Waterloo) and in various works in many places including the sea defences of Plymouth and the outer skin of the Bishop's Rock lighthouse (Isles of Scilly). The stone was shaped inside the quarry (see below) and lowered to the various railway arrangements by means of an inclined plane (see below) .....


A second quarry, now left as a nature reserve.


General gathering for information.


View across the wild quarry to the entrance area of the first quarry (see above).


Rock face inside the second quarry.


Entering the (first) main quarry .....


Abandoned pieces .....




Continuing into the quarry .....


A school "dipping" pond .....


Complete with frog spawn.


A quarry scene .....


As previous photo ....


As previous photo .....


Kit Hill Quarry notice - click the image for a larger version.


The main inclined plain for lowering stone to the railway system.


The nearby, still-working Hingston Down granite quarry.


This is a stack  taking arsenic fumes from Wheal Martha down in valley below, up and away from Luckett village.


Strollers imitating The Borrowers, beside the wall retaining waste from the earlier inclined plane.


The earlier, smaller, inclined plane for transporting granite from the quarries.


Possible explosives store, or a counting / quarry office building.


The first, uppermost water reservoir of the Medieval tin-streaming works.


A nearby wheelpit.


One of the two-mile way-marked walking and horse-riding trail around the hill .....




Looking vaguely towards the Hingston Down area, where the Saxons beat the Cornish allied with the Danes (i.e. the Vikings) in 835 (or 838), bringing an end to Cornish independence.


An abandoned stone, an excellent example of splitting by wooden wedges - these were inserted into the cut grooves and soaked with water to expand the wood and split the rock.


An abandoned apple crusher that was being made using the wooden wedge method.


Welcome to Kit Hill notice - click image for a larger version.


Entrance to No 1 Level for WW1 Wolfram Mine.


A view to the River Tamar 5 - 6 km distant (3 - 3.5 miles) and across to England .....


Walled-off mine shaft .....


Another self-explanatory notice.


Kit Hill ponies.


The boat shape up by the finger dumps was an area for a cable tramway to operate, lowering trucks of ore down the slope (WW1 wolfram mine). Eventually, the ore was taken under the road and then by Blondin across to Clitters Mine for processing.


South mine at Kit Hill, with an unexplained building in the foreground.


Modern drilling marks from splitting the granite, not feather and tare marks.


Close-up of a way marker, depicting the summit stack.


General scene at the South Mine.


South Mine notice - click image for a larger version.


The unexplained building again.


Setting off to see the six buddles in the area.


In the foreground is the balance bob pit that kept tension on a system of flat rods that ran up the hill to the mine shaft where an angle bob turned 90 down into the shaft. A steam engine turned a crank the pulled the rods downhill to give a lifting action in the shaft, the flat rods then "fell" uphill as the weight of the pump rods in the mine shaft took effect as the driving wheel of the steam engine rotated. 


62. Showing the proximity of the summit stack (at left) to the south mine.


Saying "Thank you" to John and Elaine.


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2005. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047373.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.


This walk was reached by driving to Callington from Plymouth, turning right at the first roundabout, bearing right at the second roundabout, going through a crossroads, then bearing left and finally turning left at a brown tourist sign for "Kit Hill". There are several parking areas including at the summit. We parked at the summit, marked by the yellow cross.


Distance - 2.9 km / 1.8 miles



All photographs on this web site are copyright ©2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
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