THE GREAT FLAT LODE
In the 1860s, when many copper mines were closing, a ‘lode’ of tin ore was discovered to the South of Carn Brea in an area that previously worked copper deposits. This lode, over 2 miles long, was also flatter than most, lying at an angle of about 30 degrees instead of the usual 70 degrees from the horizontal – hence its name, the “Great Flat Lode”.
The tin mines here were some of the most successful in the late 19th Century and produced over 90,000 tons of tin concentrate. The mines here closed about 1920. Since then the area has remained relatively undeveloped and it now contains some of Cornwall’s finest remains of engine houses, tin dressing floors and other mining structures. The Trail not only runs south of Carn Brea, but also to the north of the hill, where some of Cornwall’s most celebrated mines are situated.
Nature of trail: A circular route with some steep sections. Mostly off-road taking you through a mixture of farmland, heathland and old mine sites.
A circular route. Where to park: South Wheal Frances, Dolcoath Mine and at King Edward Mine Museum (where you can visit a free exhibition all about the Mineral Tramways).
Points of interest: The Great Flat Lode Trail follows part of the line of the Basset Mine Tramway, built to carry tin ore from the mines along the side of the valley for processing at Wheal Basset Stamps. The remains of Cornwall’s last tin smelter can be visited near Carnkie. Carn Brea, once an ancient fortified hill settlement can be climbed for superb panoramic views which will include the tall steel headgear of South Crofty, Cornwall’s last tin mine.
Facilities available for this trail:
Parking – Parking at South Wheal Frances car park.
Picnic areas – there are numerous appropriate places along the route to stop.
Eating and shopping – there is no shop on the route.
Public houses – no pubs on the route.
Family and children friendly – the route is very family friendly.
Cycle Trail – good long trail to cycle.
Horse Riding Trail – parts of the trail are suitable.
Walking Trail – a challenging trail due to it’s distance.
Disability access – only if you have a good strong scooter with the battery length.
- Created: 14th February 2017
- Updated: 1st May 2017
- Distance 6.94 miles
- Time 3 h 6 min
- Speed 2 mph
- Min altitude 371 ft
- Peak 633 ft
- Climb 591 ft
- Descent 594 ft